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Conservative theater-an oxymoron?

November 11, 2008
An interesting Wall Street Journal piece (read it here) asks why we don't see conservative political theater. Apart from Tom Stoppard and David Mamet, the writer of the piece "can't think of a single well-known American or British playwright whose political views are even slightly to the right of center."

In it, the writer references "Drunk Enough to Say I Love You"--currently on stage at our own Phoenix Theatre--as one of many plays in which "we are presented with a black-and-white universe of victims and villains, a place where every deck is stacked and never is heard a surprising word."

"...the problem with today's political theater," the story states, "is that its practitioners see their plays not as works of art but as means to an end."

Is it possible that conservative-minded playwrights just need time to emerge? Is the deck stacked against them by theater producers? Or is the audience inherently both left of center and unlikely to go see anything outside of its comfort zone?

Or do conservative playwrights simply not exist--or write for other media because theater won't have them?

Or is the WSJ just looking in the wrong place. (Aren't most musicals inherently traditional-minded? They do seem to get behind the traditional definition of marriage.)

Finally, if artists tend to react against the status quo, can we expect a different kind of theater to emerge from after the results from last week's election settle in?

Your thoughts?
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