Richard Nelson’s New Play Closes Part of Theater History


Jay O. SandersHe had acted in all 12 plays with his wife, Maryann Plunkett—the “beating heart” of the panorama, as Nelson calls it—remembering that he had asked a question during “The Gabriels” and was promptly answered by a man in the audience. As in Kate’s story, she apparently wanted to join them at the table.

But this is the effect of Nelson’s style, where there is no discussion and people represent nothing; As Sanders said, “Just the drama of living is enough.” “What happened?” On a note to Nelson, he includes a striking quote from a heroine of early 20th century theater artist Harley Granville-Barker:

One tends to imagine a play to be written in desperate defiance of Aristotle. to do would be completely eliminated, in which nothing be would be left. The task set by the actors will be to interest their audience as to what the characters are. NS, apart from anything else can do.

It’s easier to imagine than do. Nelson said he was cut off every time he wrote a line that sounded like him or his beliefs. “The truth,” he added, “comes from characters speaking to another character, not for the audience to hear.”

At rehearsals, actors are instructed to speak as they would at home rather than reflect as they normally do. They are always aware of where to direct their questions or lines. In real life, Nelson said, rarely does one person address an entire room; so it doesn’t have any characters.

“This is very unusual,” Sanders said. “And it takes a lot of courage.”

There are flashes of foreboding and recognition in games. For example, you can trace the career of former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo with seven Apple games opened with media swearing and mention of his name. The first episode of “The Gabriels” aired from early March 2016, followed by the now haunting “Don’t you feel like something really bad is going to happen?” contains the replica.


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