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wonderful column, John. As a fellow little three contemporary (but not a Psi U guy) I'm thinking maybe you and I should be youtubed singing that song--if Will Ferrell would join us I'm sure it would go viral and we would go up in flames.
Todd is simply wrong about our running time; The Wild Duck runs reliably 2 and 1/2 hours as advertised (including intermission), which is actually 15 minutes shorter than the recent London revival. Obviously he thought the play went on forever, and it's true that there is a lot of play here, and very long build up to a climax, but all of this is crucial to its shattering climax and cumulative power. Ibsen has not written a play which depends on audience empathy with his characters, whose limitations are immediately evident. Instead he has created an astonishing mix of melodrama, symbolism, irony, tragedy, satire, poetry and realism. The villain thinks he's the hero; his feckless victim thinks he is a romantic tragic figure. Blind idealism and life lies still abound. Todd thinks the material doesn't hold up but I suspect while snoozing he was weighing it very lightly:the play really is a masterpiece--the more time we have spent with it the more we have been rewarded, and our experience has been shared by actors and directors and audiences for the last 100 years. We are very proud of our beautiful production, and we encourage Todd to see the show again after he has polished his glasses, adjusted his prescription and found his white cane. I will be happy to help him find his seat and show him the light :-)
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