The phenomenon took me a while to notice, because for me it's always been an integral part of my work. If somebody dredged up a play from 1955, I'd bop over and check it out, partly because 1955 was my childhood, but mostly because a play from then would be a respite in the weekly torrent of plays from right now. I'd have done the same if they'd dredged up a work from 1755 or 1855. The interest comes with the job: Whatever the theater may be doing in the present, those of us who write about it always keep one eye on the past. The driver of the car has to watch the road ahead; we who pontificate in the backseat get to scrutinize the scenery that tells you where you've been. The procedure's so natural that I didn't realize, until very recently, the extent to which our theater had shifted gears: Maybe because the road ahead looks so troubled, the guys and gals at the wheel have slowed down so that they, too, can study the scenes we've passed by. Suddenly, we backseat drivers aren't the only ones taking a strong look back at where we've been, in search of clues to where we might... More >>>