(Feingold’s article appeared on theatermania, 3/18.)
A few weeks ago, I saw a bad production of a great play. I won't mention the play's title or the theater's name, because I like the people involved, I value their efforts, and I bear them no ill will. They chose to do a great play, they fought hard to do it justice — oh, how well all of us in the theater know that story! — and they didn't succeed, except in patches. But I won't write them off, and neither should you. After all, they aimed for greatness.
Naturally, the event set me thinking. Great plays do that. This one made me think about power and politics, about the state and the individual, about why we live and how we should live. But then, contemplating the frenzied flood of press invites to new plays in my inbox, I started to think about something else: the dearth of greatness within our profusion of productions. It sometimes seems to me as if today's theatermakers shy away from greatness, as if they had been actively discouraged from aiming for it.