Monday, March 07, 2011

Who Will Champion The Champion?

Ben Brantley gives the Broadway revival of That Championship Season a thumbs down.  What's interesting is while he doesn't think much of the production, his main complaint is about the play itself.

"That Championship Season,” Jason Miller’s portrait of morally bankrupt men remembering their glory days as a high-school basketball team, was never what you would call a shy play. Like its liquored-up, confession-prone characters, this award-laden 1972 drama states its intentions loudly, repeatedly and often embarrassingly. [....]

And make no mistake. “Season” appears to have been assembled according to the rule book of Playwriting 101, 1952 edition. Each of the five characters here arrives with a Personality and a Problem, both as conspicuous as a gaudy necktie, and it’s not hard to predict the conflicts that will arise and the symmetry with which they will be presented.

The New York Times is a singularly powerful voice on Broadway, but I have to wonder what effect this review will have.  For those who like the play, why would they trust Brantley?  For those who don't know it, they might wonder how something that won a Tony and a Pulitzer could be so weak in the first place.  And those who don't like it presumably won't come anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a revival like this, what matters most to the audience is the cast. They've got some decent names, especially Kiefer Sutherland. They should do okay.

12:31 AM, March 07, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're reading a bit too quickly, LAGuy. His complaint is about America: "The boys of “Season” are afflicted by the disease of being American, and as this play ponderously presents it, there’s no cure in sight."

This is of a piece with NPR's cultural view of the people who pay their salaries. Deliciously funny? Sad? Off key, anyway.

6:30 AM, March 09, 2011  

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