1907, 1957, and...Now?

Welcome to Off-Off-Broadway's newest theatrical discovery—the past

Tour de '60s: The Madness of Lady Bright, from West Village Fragments
photo: Stefan Hagen
Tour de '60s: The Madness of Lady Bright, from West Village Fragments

Which brings us to a quip by the first playwright ever to win an Obie Award, Lionel Abel. Close on 60 years ago, when a young couple, Julian Beck and Judith Malina, announced that they would name their newly formed troupe the Living Theatre, Abel joked, "You can't have a living theater until you've had a dead one." In a sense, it's taken us till now to discover that he was right. The old theater—every old way of making theater, even the old Off-Off theater—is dead and gone. All that remains is to take the scripts it left behind and make them live again, older than Methuselah and yet brand-new. The Living Theatre itself, living again as of this spring, with a new young company, in a shiny new Lower East Side space, must know exactly what I mean, busy as they are displaying the bleakest truths of 1963, painfully true again today, to the eager young faces lining up nightly to see The Brig.

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