Now that the play “The Monster-Builder,” by Amy Freed, has opened – indeed premiered – at the Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Ore., here is a theater review. The writer, Richard Wattenberg, is not identified other than as, I presume, a regular reviewer. His review is much more interesting than the one I last posted. He, at least, has had the advantage of having seen the play. The headline is “Amy Freed’s ‘The Monster-Builder’ at Artists Rep entertains but also dishes up lots of food for thought.” Too bad the reviewer doesn’t really chew on that food. He has alluring things to say about the performance of the actors but little about the ideas in Freed’s play. It is a comedy. He says that Freed “eschews the serious in her attack on the Modernist world view.” What does that mean? Well, here’s another quote, immediately beforehand, that may shed some light:
[H]e [the protagonist/modern architect] does not design buildings for people but instead imposes environments on them. In short, he exemplifies an intellectual elite that hides its hunger for power behind jargon and a fraudulent faith in a clean, clear, unified and pure vision – a vision free of the emotional baggage and nostalgia that supposedly muddies the waters of traditional culture.
As I say, for whatever it’s worth. Am I finding a refusal among critics to directly address the ideas of Amy Freed that (based on her interview in my first post about this play) criticize modern architecture, or am I interpreting these critics as saying what I expect them to say? That’s something I occasionally criticize others for doing. Any thoughts?
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