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Anthem Play in New York

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Here's a review of the play. Unlike some other reviews, it does not try to take on Ayn Rand, but deal with this play alone. Though he offers some positives, the reviewer is mostly down on the play. He ends thus:

“Anthem” is a powerful story in whatever form presented. However, while a book leaves it to the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks, what’s offered on stage must be strongly envisioned from start to finish for it to really come together as something that can stand on its own, instead of being a weak imitation of the original.

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I saw Anthem in New York on Wednesday the 30th and was quite disappointed. The problem is that the Anthem Ayn Rand wrote is an introspective fictional diary with little action, so it contains almost no material suited for the stage. In my opinion the playwright did not succeed in solving this problem. The main character, Equality 7-2521, narrates throughout most of the play, occasionally interacting with other characters in a scene, but I never felt that he fully abandoned the role of narrator. On page 74 of The Romantic Manifesto Rand wrote that "the introduction of a narrator into a stage play is...a breach of the theater's basic principle, which demands that a story be dramatized, i.e., presented in action;" Anthem the Play fails to dramatize a story.

Despite my disappointment I'm glad that I attended the play, if only because my experience confirmed and demonstrated the importance of the theater's basic principle cited by Rand.

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I saw Anthem in New York on Wednesday the 30th and was quite disappointed. The problem is that the Anthem Ayn Rand wrote is an introspective fictional diary with little action, so it contains almost no material suited for the stage. In my opinion the playwright did not succeed in solving this problem. The main character, Equality 7-2521, narrates throughout most of the play, occasionally interacting with other characters in a scene, but I never felt that he fully abandoned the role of narrator. On page 74 of The Romantic Manifesto Rand wrote that "the introduction of a narrator into a stage play is...a breach of the theater's basic principle, which demands that a story be dramatized, i.e., presented in action;" Anthem the Play fails to dramatize a story.

Despite my disappointment I'm glad that I attended the play, if only because my experience confirmed and demonstrated the importance of the theater's basic principle cited by Rand.

 

Thanks for your review of it.  Perhaps that may play into why the play is not being performed for as long as it was initially planned for.  I'm going to have to take a look at Rand's book there again.  It's my least reread Rand book. :)   I have a narrator in nearly all of my plays.  Only my first published  one I don't. 5 out 6 plays, have a narrator.  I use mine to advance the plot, time, inform, even hide from the audience what is about to take place onstage in one of my plays...  

Edited by intellectualammo
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Thanks for your review of it.  Perhaps that may play into why the play is not being performed for as long as it was initially planned for.

 

What is the "that" that you think played into Anthem closing early? I believe there's one primary reason shows close early: lousy attendance. The night I attended the theater was less than half full (maybe less than a third full. maybe less than a quarter full), and based on my check of available tickets for many performances, lousy attendance seemed to be the rule.

 

I'm going to have to take a look at Rand's book there again.  It's my least reread Rand book.  :)

 

Do you mean The Romantic Manifesto?

 

I have a narrator in nearly all of my plays.  Only my first published  one I don't. 5 out 6 plays, have a narrator.  I use mine to advance the plot, time, inform, even hide from the audience what is about to take place onstage in one of my plays...  

 

I wonder what modifications would be required to removed the narrators from your plays? How else could you achieve what your narrators accomplish?

 

Even if I were to accept the device of a narrator I would never accept any of the characters of a play in the role of narrator, as was the case for Equality 7-2512.

Am I the only one who attended the New York production of Anthem?

Edited by John Link
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Yes, lousy attendance, but is it because of the reviews, or not liking of Rand, not knowing about the play being performed, etc.

 

Yeah, I meant The Romantic Manifesto.

 

I am definitely not looking to cut my narrators out.  But I'm interested in taking another look at The Romantic Manifesto.   :)

Edited by intellectualammo
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