Best Sign of Theater's Continued Relevance

Most theater is about as immediately relevant as the magazines in a dentist's waiting room. When companies decide to "get political," it's usually the smaller fringe groups, who don't have to worry about how patrons and corporate sponsors might react (since they don't have any patrons and corporate sponsors). But this past year, even several of the MAINSTAGE THEATERS STEPPED UP AND RISKED CONTROVERSY. The Rep's production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie not only came with its own collection of protesters (protesters! In front of a theater!) but actually received coverage from cable television network Al Jazeera. Then, last month, ACT gave us Stuff Happens, David Hare's sharp and comprehensive examination of how the Bush and Blair gang sold us on the invasion of Iraq, featuring R. Hamilton Wright's perfectly pitched George W. And now Intiman is producing the world premiere of A Prayer for My Enemy, Craig Lucas' story of two boyhood friends and their struggles to reconnect after one of them does his first tour of duty in Iraq. Like the rest of the country, our theater scene seems to be finally waking after a long slumber, and the results are not just a sharp and sober analysis of where we are as a nation, but some truly engaging productions.—John Longenbaugh

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