Sunday, April 11, 2004

David Mamet is still cranky...

...about the PC criticism of his 1992 play Oleanna, which is about a student who falsely accuses her professor of rape. In the Guardian, he rants about that and more:
Even most dramatic roles for women, when viewed not as entertainment but as, if I may, art, are drivel. Now, Voyager and Sophie's Choice treat us to the noble spectacle of women either crying or bravely not crying. Is this writing for women? Well, it is writing about women. Or about their simulacrum. Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Noël Coward wrote women characters that were fantasies about homosexual men.

Can real women be written by men? Well, who is to say? The terrible voices of that coercion known as political correctness cry - but they cry not for parity, let alone humanity. They cry for power.

Let us apply a rational application of the rational doctrine of sexual equality: is it less heinous to enquire the sex of an applicant for our dramatic attention than of an applicant for employment? Having settled that, let us move on, and hush up, you academics brown-nosing for tenure with your authors listed by sex, race and geographical distribution. Get a job...

[Oleanna]'s first audience was a group of undergraduates from Brown University. They came to a dress rehearsal. The play ended and I asked the folks what they thought. "Don't you think it's politically questionable," one said, "to have the girl make a false accusation of rape?"

I, in my ignorance, was stunned. I didn't realise it was my job to be politically acceptable. I'd always thought society employed me to be dramatic; further, I wondered what force had so perverted the young that they would think that increasing political enfranchisement of a group rendered a member of that group incapable of error - in effect, rendered her other-than-human. For if the subject of art is not our maculate, fragile and often pathetic humanity, what is the point of the exercise?
Oh, Mamet!

[Yeah, I realise: three articles from the Guardian in a row. Why can I say? They've got good theatre writing... Anybody out there have any good theatre news/review sites to recommend?]

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