Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Conservative Playwrights?

I just finished reading this article from today's NY Times:


The jist of the piece is that, in America, only plays with a liberal perspective seem to get written; a whole bunch of artistic directors are asked to name a playwright who writes conservative political theatre and they can't come up with a single one.

I suspect they're not looking in the right place. Here are a couple of suggestions: the authors of The Lion King and Legally Blonde. The theme of the first of these is that stronger and bigger creatures are entitled to power at the expense of smaller and weaker ones. The theme of the second is that privileged white people can get what they want whenever they want it as long as they have money and look good. If these aren't the sentiments of the ruling party, I don't know what are.

Who'd a thought that the good old American musical is the place to look for non-liberal ideas?


Anonymous said...

I agree entirely, but it's not so surprising. Broadway, Hollywood, Disney! -- of course they are going to be conservative, they have a stake in the status quo.

There will be conservative playwrights working off-off-off-Broadway if and when conditions are such that life in the business becomes difficult for them.

Zack said...

I read an article that explored this very subject in the Guardian a few months back. Apparently, Nicholas Hytner has been dying to get his hands on a "conservative" play. I just don't have any idea of what that would like. What would be the themes of the play?

It seems to me the idea of exploring the diverse points of view of any given story or conflict is an inherently "liberal" pasttime. I don't know a lot of open-minded conservatives, but that doesn't mean anything. Also the word conservative has had a great metamorphosis over the last 20 years. I think a lot of the United States has come to equate the word with some sort of fundamentalism or conceited nationalism, which is not what the word originally meant.

Maybe a better place to start is to ask who are the conservative heroes? Many of them have lost their way: Colin Powell, John McCain, etc. When has conservatism prevailed? I for one, would love to see a "conservative" play. I'm just trying to imagine what one would be. Maybe that's the point.