A nice, short piece on Wallace Shawn from The Telegraph. There’s a three-month festival of his work at the Royal Court theater in London, which includes the premiere of Grasses of a Thousand Colours, his first new play in ten years.
Shawn admits to a long-standing suspicion of theatre’s middle-class cosiness, and underlying assumptions about its audiences’ essential worth. “It’s a human tendency to enjoy feeling superior to others,” he says. “It’s a tendency of playwrights to present characters who are transparently stupid, wrong, evil. The truth is that intelligent people can believe terrible things. It’s a mistake, for example, to feel that we are more intelligent than, say, people who lived in Thirties Germany. Henry Kissinger, who is discussed at length in Aunt Dan, is a very intelligent man. If I’m going to write a play about the American government, I could single out the stupidest person to mock, but that would be a pointless exercise. The question has to be: how can you answer the arguments of the most intelligent people who disagree with you?”