Saturday, September 05, 2009

Unsettling dark farce ...

... Terry Teachout on The Crafty Art of Alan Ayckbourn. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
But if Ayckbourn is an audience-aware pragmatist, then he is one with a strong experimental streak. Fascinated in his youth by the avant-garde dramaturgy of Eugène Ionesco and Luigi Pirandello, he is drawn to conceptual storytelling techniques so stylized as to approach the surreal. The best-known example is The Norman Conquests, which consists of three interlocking plays that feature the same six characters and take place during the same period of time—a single weekend—set in different parts of the same country house.

Check out Terry's Sightings column, too: The War That Never Ends. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
The Second World War is to filmmakers what chicken is to chefs, a canvas on which every imaginable kind of picture can be painted. "They Were Expendable" is elegiac, "From Here to Eternity" romantic, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" implicitly pacifist, "The Dirty Dozen" comic, "Patton" triumphal, "Saving Private Ryan" grimly hyperrealistic. No matter what you want to say about war—or, it seems, anything else—World War II can serve as your vehicle.

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