An artist is a parasite," says one of S.J.
Perelman's characters, "scratch any one of 'em, and what you'll find underneath is money from home." The culture that bases everything on money doesn't really have a social role for artists to fulfill. Identifying with the underdog while yearning for acceptance by the elite, they're our spiritual equivalent of the homeless. In the past, before our perceptions were shaped by the electronic media barrage, artists had the prospect of earning a modest living, and sometimes more, from their work alone. Today, no such luck. Unless they throw out their artistic sense and play by the media's money rules, the occupations that sustain most artists include everything but their art: teaching, clerking, catering, proofreading, dog walking. This is the world
into which Richard Greenberg's comedies extend Perelman's cynicism about art and money. It was in a Greenberg play, after all, that a restaurant patron stopped the show by putting up his hand to summon a waitperson and calling... More >>>
By Joan Marcus
Paul Michael Valley (left) and Peter Frechette in Hurrah at Last: the fruits of affluence