The US Constitution Brought to Life
The Constitution is both a very old document written by dead white men and a living commitment, spanning centuries, to strive together to uphold a set of fundamental values. Critical engagement is what is called for—and that is precisely what Heidi Schreck provides.
April 30, 2019
Love, It’s What Makes ‘Suburra’
The surprising and ultimately tragic intimacy that develops between its principal characters stands out as one of Suburra’s great pleasures, setting it apart from the plodding, grisly portentousness of contemporary prestige crime dramas such as Narcos.
February 11, 2018
The Bitter Secret of ‘Wormwood’
Whatever conclusion we draw about Frank Olson’s death, we do know that the cold war bequeathed a branch of behavioral science built around the desire to discover universal psychological mechanisms through which human beings could be manipulated.
January 18, 2018
The Longest One-Act Play
Kudiyattam performances are never short. In their natural form, they range from twelve hours to over one hundred and fifty hours. This summer I spent all of August in central Kerala with my Sanskrit and Malayalam students, witnessing one of the great compositions of this tradition, the so-called Anguliyankam, or Drama of the Ring, which went on for some 130 hours spread over twenty-nine nights.
November 24, 2012
The Unbearable Truth of War
Simone Weil once wrote that “nothing of all that the peoples of Europe have produced is worth the first known poem to have appeared among them.” She was referring to the *Iliad*, and, judging by the recent raft of translations, adaptations, and novelizations of the poem, we would seem to agree. Four new English versions, all published within a few months of each other, enter a market already glutted with Iliads, many of them—like Richmond Lattimore’s recently reissued classic 1951 translation and Robert Fagles’s widely used 1991 rendering—still vital. Now, the New York Theatre Workshop has staged *An Iliad* (up through April 1), a play that compresses the entire epic into a one-man, hundred-minute performance.
March 29, 2012