Arnon Grunberg



Charles Isherwood wrote in The Times that “The Mystery of Love & Sex” was “a perfectly wonderful new play by Bathsheba Doran”.

(Here’s the review.)

Yes, the play is new and definitely well-made. Bathsheba Doran knows how to write dialogues, but I had the feeling that the play could have been written in 1955, except for a few minor details.

The audience (white, middle-aged) appeared to enjoy the show about a New York Jew who married a Southerner, a daughter who happens to have a black man as best friend. And then there are lesbians, gays and brief nudity. As if the nudity should convince the audience that this is a really edgy show.
And there were bits of hyper-realism: really smoked turkey, real salad.

I had an enjoyable evening, but apparently some believe in realism as other people believe in God. And what’s realism? Copying television shows, commercials and politicians doing town hall meetings.

I don’t want to be harsh on Bathsheba Doran, but I had the feeling that at the end of the show we would hear a voice saying: “I’m Hillary Clinton and I approve of this message.”

And what’s the message?

a) Be apolitical.
b) Be tolerant of pot smoking parents, Jews, blacks, gays, nudity (but only when it’s brief and the lights must be dimmed).
c) Marriage is the goal.
d) The wedding party is the highlight of your life. Don’t fool yourself. All other highlights are silly.
e) Happy endings are not a sexual thing.
f) Happy ending means loving your family.
g) Forgive bookish academics.
h) Never try to be more original than primetime television shows.
i) Talking about vomiting is permitted, but don’t do it on stage.

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