IS WRITING A PLAY LIKE MAKING LASAGNA? The Terry Teachout aside that most Shakespeare plays should be cut in performance was made in his review of Tony Kushner’s new play The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures. In the review, Teachout says that Kushner’s play should have been cut just as Shakespeare’s plays should be cut: “Even if ‘The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide’ were 15% better than ‘Lear,’ Mr. Kushner’s play would still have profited from being stripped of its lengthy digressions and superfluous subplots, most of which serve only to obscure the play’s good parts.” Teachout’s proposal that Kushner’s play should be streamlined stands in sharp contrast with Kushner’s idea of writing a play. Jesse Green has a wonderful quote from Kushner in this article from New York magazine: “He [Kushner] has compared the process [of writing a play] to making a proper lasagne: ‘All the yummy nutritious ingredients you’ve thrown into it have almost-but-not-quite succeeded in overwhelming the design. A play should have barely been rescued from the mess it might just as easily have been.’”

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