In a recent Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout reviewed a play titled A Day by the Sea by N.H. Hunter, a British dramatist who died in 1971. Greatly admiring the play, Teachout asked why it was mounted in New York in 1955 but never after that until now, in 2016. What he believes to be the answer is that critic Kenneth Tynan unfairly crushed the opus in his ’50s review of it, thus creating a hands-off attitude among theatre directors. According to Teachout, Tynan “had little use for plays without a political message” and non-political, I take it, is what A Day by the Sea is.
That a professional critic did such a thing doesn’t surprise me. And I can be confident that Tynan lapped up plays with a political message when the message was one he agreed with (i.e., a leftist message).
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