(David Cote's article appeared in the Guardian, 2/19.)

Why couldn't American theatre produce its own Enron?

Lucy Prebble's play is a brilliant dissection of America's biggest corporate scandal – but why didn't a US playwright get there first?

Yes, here in New York we expect the English to give us world-class Shakespeare. But could you keep your hands off our new American plays? I mean the ones we forgot to write? Or produce? Or revive? In early April, previews start for the Broadway run of Enron, writer Lucy Prebble and director Rupert Goold's apparently brilliant anatomy of our nation's biggest corporate scandal. But the excitement over this transfer from the West End is mitigated by shame that no one here had thought of it first.

Like the astonishing production of Black Watch from the National Theatre of Scotland a few seasons back, Enron serves to remind us that American artistic directors are shockingly unimaginative. They ought to dangle commission money in front of hungry playwrights in return for a smart, timely drama. Instead, they programme whatever inoffensive living-room pap they think subscribers want to see.


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