In response to:
The Disaster at Lincoln Center from the April 2, 1964 issue
To the Editors:
Elizabeth Hardwick was entirely correct in giving forty whacks to the Lincoln Center Repertory Theater. (They deserved eighty.) And the Actors’ Studio is indeed the most phoney baloney “in group” of all time. And there is a lot of silliness, bad taste, and stupidity in the New York theater.
But like Susan Sontag in Partisan Review, she hasn’t quite earned her right to be so scathing because, like many high-brows, neither really understands the art of the theater.
Here, for instance, is a list of plays produced since 1953 both on and off Broadway, which were both interesting and delightful. How many has Miss Hardwick seen or read? Big Fish Little Fish and Look We’ve Come Through by Hugh Wheeler, Suddenly Last Summer, by Tennessee Williams, In The Summer House by Jane Bowles (a masterpiece).
Many of the productions of the Living Theater have created a stir, in particular The Connection and The Brig. Other good writers who have written plays for this organization were Paul Goodman and Claude Fredericks.
It is interesting that the high-brow English theater magazine, Encore, has just published an essay by Eric Mottram called “The New American Wave,” which has given credit to the Living Theatre and the Artists Theatre for their achievement.
John Bernard Myers
New York City
April 30, 1964