Wednesday, September 2, 2009

All Influential Political Plays are Leftist

I just realized that all of our influential political playwrights are anti-capitalists.

Did they become the most influential because no right-of-center playwrights were worthy? More likely, leftist playwrights have been boosted because conservative plays (or books for that matter) rarely get selected for review let alone praise in such publications as the New York Times.

I worry about a society with inadequate intellectual checks and balances. Nearly all of society's mind-molders are leftist: the colleges, Hollywood, and the news media. And don't tell me about Fox News and right-wing talk radio. They have but a tiny mindshare of the public, especially among the intelligentsia--the people most likely to vote and to create policy.

Here is a list of the political playwrights I believe to be our most influential. All are leftist, what the media prefers to call "progressive."

Clifford Odets--e.g., Awake and Sing.

Sam Shepard-- e.g., Buried Child

Neil Simon--Where he is political, he is always anti-capitalist. For example, in Broadway Bound, the wisest character is a socialist.

George Bernard Shaw--e.g., Man and Superman

Lillian Hellman--e.g., The Little Foxes

Bertolt Brecht--e.g., Good Person of Szechuan

The current playwriting stars--e.g., Caryl Churchill, Tony Kushner, Moises Kaufman, David Hare.

Even musicals have become infected. Leading musicals of the 21st century, Rent and Urinetown are both anticapitalist as well as my otherwise favorite musical of the '90s, Little Shop of Horrors.

And most famously, Arthur Miller--e.g., the ultimate anti-capitalist play: Death of a Salesman.

I cannot think of one influential playwright who wrote pro-capitalist/anti-socialist plays. Can you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're not the first to note this about US playwrights. There are some very prominent theater directors actively looking for conservative plays, or at least were last year.

is an interesting article on the topic which was followed up and agreed with by ttp://

If you've got one, you should contact this person in Ashland to see if it would fit into her framework of history plays.


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