Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Republican Prince

Alas! If only I lived in the UK, I could have attended the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in order to watch this interesting-sounding play: The Republican Prince by a young playwright named Henry Afton.

On second thought, maybe I don't want to live in the U.K. There's that messy business with Britain's Racial and Religious Hatred Act, not to mention the notorious NHS. Never mind, then. I'll take our version of a mixed economy over theirs. Even so, had I known about this play earlier in the year, I might have used it as an excuse to visit London.

I have no idea whether the play is worth seeing. But the premise! The premise!! (Did I mention the premise?!) How often do we get to see a modern play that even attempts to tackle such a theme? Rostand has been dead for 88 years now, Hugo for 121 years, and Shakespeare for 390. It's been a very long time. (I mean no offense to the delightful and talented Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, W. S. Gilbert, and Arthur Sullivan; it's just that I never quite understood the early and mid 1900s, especially the technicolor frivolity of its musicals.)

As for me, I'd love to see more challenging and Romantic plays make it to the stage, even if it means listening to a bit of hackneyed dialog or stilted acting coming from early efforts. I am personally mindful of the fact that a writer has to begin somewhere. After all, I'm still in the middle of that period of writing myself.

Naturally β€” or unnaturally, as it were β€” the critics found nothing good to say about the play. Here's what (new) critic Anna Kay wrote about it in the Edinburgh Guide:

"The supposed heroic climax of the piece is ridiculous and idealistic, rather than in any way feasible."

Sounds good to me! Mr. Afton, ignore those tripe-chomping, mud-wallowing, belly-slithering cynics. Give it your best shot and keep writing!

(β€”hat tip to Medworth)

Labels: , ,