Theatre Matters

Contemplations on the dramatic arts from a national perspective

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Steven Oxman has contributed to such publications as the Los Angeles Times, American Theatre, Stagebill, and, most frequently, Variety, for which he has written over 300 television and theatre reviews.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

A Must Read

Charles Isherwood in The NY Times writes this terrific piece about British directors staging American classics.

For those who hadn't been reading Charles's writing in "Variety" prior to his moving to The Times, definitely pay attention. Professional friendship aside, I have to say that there's nobody better writing out there. He's a terrific critic -- smart, personal, always witty. OK, occasionally snide, but I love that. How many theatre critics can sometimes make you laugh out loud? Charles sure can.

Now, that comment refers specifically to his reviews, and the one downside of his move to The Times is that he's not covering some of the big stuff. Instead, he's writing "think pieces" and features. To this point, most of these have been OK but a little forced. But, boy, is he getting better fast with this feature. Note the ability to make a point -- British directors are prepared to directed classics in a way Americans aren't; then contradict it: there are certainly American directors out there who can do it too (regional theatre folks, natch!); and then bring it together to give a clear-sighted view of some of the biggest issues confronting the culture of American theatre -- the inability to provide big opportunities to young talented directors.