By David Savran
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Extra info for A queer sort of materialism : recontextualizing American theater
Its championing by these three crit ics, moreover, must not be seen as the product of their personal idiosyn crasies. On the contrary, the emphasis on moral uplift is a hallmark of the New York Times's house style. In what other newspaper could a critic, relationship with Hollywood, which it resents and from which it tries to �istance itself, while envying its economic and cultural clout and imitat ing its product. The periodic incursions of British drama function in part as a remedy for Broadway's recurrent middlebrow anxiety attacks �y elevating its stature (at least as far as the Times is concerned), giving it a certain elite appeal, and staving off the culture of hotness.
And while lesbian performance may be marginalized, 64 1 1 1: 1 "I The Queerest Art A Queer Sort ofMaterialism the downtown performance circuit is able to offer artists like Holly Hughes or Split Britches a measure of control over the means of pro duction that Broadway (and even off-Broadway) writers sacrifice to the more corporatized interests of the large producing organizations. The success of gay men on Broadway and in regional theaters is in part the result of the work of their many distinguished-and closeted forebears.
But the play's millennialism (not unlike that, ironically, of the Christian right) functions to reassure audiences that History has a meaning and that they can awaken from the nightmare of the past. Al though Love! Valour! , in its reinvention and opening up of gay domestic drama, does not question the opposition between public and private, it is, like Angels, committed to a utopian vision of commu nity and a teleology of redemption. Yet unlike Angels, it does not attempt to reimagine gay male subjectivity or problematize racial, gendered, or class-based norms, preferring instead to exploit, proudly and voyeuristi cally, the buff bodies and physical endowments of (the actors playing the roles of) upwardly mobile gay men.
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