Friday, October 3, 2008

Play of the Week: Golden Boy

One of America's finest playwrights is Clifford Odets. Some say that he is the American Chekhov. He was the principal playwright of The Group Theatre in the 1930's of which Golden Boy was its most successful. Odet's plays are all lyrical yet deal with issues that were common place making them easily relatable to the every day American.

Golden Boy is one of the great American tragedies - definitely up there with Death of a Salesman. The story follows a young Italian-American whose dreams of becoming a violinist become overshadowed by glitz and glamor. He is approached by a prizefighter promoter and becomes a hugely successful boxer but looses himself in the process. Beyond the threat of injuring his hands so much that he could never play the violin again, his sensitive artistic nature becomes consumed by greed and aggression. Soon his girlfriend and family don't even recognize him. The audience watches his transformation throughout the play as he looses his sense of self.

This play is a timeless story of how we give in to quick and cheap success forcing us to ask ourselves how we define ourselves. Read the play again and think of those questions for yourself as you read it.

Happy Birthday: Vaclav Havel (October 5, 1936)

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