• David X Novak

    I’ve never had a solid understanding of tragedy, but this quote by Epictetus helps to clarify it for me: “[W]hat else is tragedy but a portrayal in tragic verse of the sufferings of men who have devoted their admiration to external things?” (Robin Hard translation)

    Philosophy might be a better guide to those disturbed by the expectation of troubled times, than theater. Youth that study it are even said to begin to question things like bullying.

    Theater has usually been an urban entertainment; whereas, if the popular image is to be believed, those in rural areas tend to favor entertainments that involve the torturing or killing of small animals.

    You hope that such a stereotype is wrong; but the current political climate seems to favor, even to encourage, the latter. More “deplorables” might be lured into the theater with an expansion of offerings along the Elizabethan model; yet bear baiting and cock fighting were not the highest achievement of Shakespeare’s age.