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Guest Artist

 

continued

The problem with Guest Artist is that Joseph Harris, or Bernard Berkman, or whoever he is, is so irritating that it's hard to listen to anything he says even if he's right. He's a man in love with his own words and his own tragic sensitivities, and in love with the effect he has on young, impressionable artists. His pedantic hectoring of an almost unbelievably naive man comes off as a kind of artistic pederasty.

Far fresher and more enjoyable is the "ticket man" (Randall Godwin), who sits behind the cage of the wonderful art deco bus station (Bartley H. Bauer's set design), braying all his lines into the PA - official boarding announcements, unofficial asides about his wife, or sub rosa liquor transactions, all given the same weighty delivery, oblivious to the life-or-death debate on the Nature of Art going on ten feet away from him. This is the memorable character, not Harris. He's also the character who wasn't invented by the playwright alone but by the alchemy of ensemble theater, something Harris, for all his impassioned speechifying about the meaning of theater, seems never to have heard of. Daniels, who has a full-time career as an actor and a part-time career as a philanthropist and administrator, is also quite a good and serious playwright, but this isn't one of his more memorable contributions.

[Review published March 2006]    (end of article)

 

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