By Ruby Cohn
The thought of a latest cross-cultural trade in the medium of theater is the following imposed on a dozen modern Anglo-American dramatists: Alan Ayckbourn and Neil Simon, Edward Bond and Sam Shepard, David Mamet and Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill and Maria Irene Forn?s, David Hare and David Rabe, Christopher Hampton and Richard Nelson. In every one pairing, Ruby Cohn unites a British with an American playwright, exploring similarities that function a springboard for the publicity of a extra profound, culturally-based distinction.
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Extra resources for Anglo-American Interplay in Recent Drama
Once Hoss accepts his father's reply ("You're just a man, Hoss. "), the harried artist also accepts a style match with the young Gypsy Crow. Even before their confrontation Hoss is "Just a little tired," and he leaves the stage for a nap. Before we see Crow in the cool, cruel flesh, we hear his song "Poison" (in one version of Tooth). Although Crow looks like Keith Richards with an eye patch, he sounds like no one ever heard on the stage. Hoss and his henchmen speak in synthetic colloquialisms, but Crow's phrases are opaque in their clipped and mocking hostility.
In Act I Evy's lover compliments her: "If nothing else, Evy, you have a way with a phrase. . " This is not mere self-praise on Simon's part. Since Evy is as bright as she is weak, her one-liners are in character, arousing "honest" laughter, mainly at her own expense. What is dishonest is the miraculous sitcom dissolution of Evy's critical self-appraisal, so that she is putty not only in her daughter's hands, but in those of Simon. Up to the revised ending, Evy Meara is the most fully formed woman in Simon's theatre, and if her horizon is limited to her immediate plight, that is not improbable for someone who has just emerged from ten weeks in a sanitarium.
6 In contrast, Alan Ayckbourn plays a diapason of stage times as he inventories the foibles and follies of contemporary middle-class Britain. 7 In the program note to his Time of My Life Ayckbourn registers his awareness of time as a dramatic tool: "I am hardly the first dramatist to be fascinated by time. Time, I mean, as an aid to dramatic story telling.... " Three Ayckbourn plays even contain the word "time" in the title. Time and Time Again (1971) unfolds a love story that opens in spring and closes in autumn (whereas Simon's love story in Chapter Two opens in February and closes more traditionally in spring).