the inherent hazards of influence. Atnthe end of Lemon’s initial monologue,nshe claims, “To me what matters reallynis the people you knew, the things younlearned from them, the things thatninfluenced you deeply and made younwhat you are.”nIn the larger sense, the entire play isnmerely a demonstration of Aunt Dan’sninfluence over Lemon, which the audienceninfers can represent a microcosmnof Shawn’s influence over us.nBut the loophole in Shawn’s scenarionis that, unlike Lemon, we need notnsuccumb. What I appreciated the firstntime I saw the play was the connectionnShawn made between a naive dispositionnand weighty or corrupting matters,nas well as the ingenious way henpackaged his insights. What I came tonrealize the second time around is thatnShawn’s own politics are more suspectnthan they seemed, and more directlynmanifested by the words he has givennhis characters to speak. Though hencondemns his heroine by default, andnalso by default he implicates us in thenprocess, he offers no viable alternativento the deplorable state of affairs henfinds surrounding him.n”On the premise that this is a fictionnand that one should trust the teller andnnot the tale after all, Shawn’s appendixnto the published script seems morenreliable and decisive a resource forndetermining his stance. In “On thenARTn50 / CHRONICLESnTriptych of a Tartarnby Andrei Navwzovn”The terrible thing, my dear, is notnthat they call Schnabel the Michelangelonof our time. They call everybodynthe Michelangelo of our time. Thenterrible thing is that Michelangelo wasnreally the Schnabel of his time, andnI’m the only one who will tell you so.”nThe speaker, red-bearded and blueeyed,nis so slight of build that nothingnhe says sounds as a challenge. Hisnaccent is more peculiar than Russian,nand it helps him make the girl fromnBoston laugh. “You know, Igor,” shensays, at once playful and conspiratorial,nbasking in the strange weighflessnessnof intellectual freedom that seemsnContext of the Play,” he begins byndescribing the human motive for comfortnand by saying that “what in factnprevents me more than anything elsenfrom feeling really comfortable … isnactually the well-intentioned ethicalntraining I received as a child. Mynparents brought me up to believe thatnthere was something terribly importantncalled morality.” So far, so good. Butnhe proceeds over the course of the nextn20 pages to employ a Cartesian modenarguing for the abolition of morality.n”As I write these words, in New YorknCity in 1985, more and more peoplenwho grew up around me are makingnthis decision; they are throwing awayntheir moral chains and learning tonenjoy their true situation: Yes, they arenadmitting loudly and bravely, we livenin beautiful homes, we’re surroundednby beautiful gardens, our children arenplaying with wonderful toys, and ournkitchen shelves are filled with wonderfulnfood.”nShawn’s primary motivation as revealednhere is guilt; but surely there arenmore constructive ways for copingnwith guilt than Shawn grasps, as evennFreud allowed, and as even WoodynAllen would probably agree (it’s not fornnothing that Shawn reminds us of anWoody Allen without laughs).n”Because,” according to Shawn,n”the difference between a perfectiyndecent person and a monster is just anto fill the old house, “I never reallynliked Michelangelo.” She wants to gonon; to tell him she never heard anyonensay things like this in college; to asknhim if he really means it all; and anthousand other questions; but shendoesn’t know where to begin, andnanyway, he interrupts. “You nice girl,ndear,” he says, pouring iced, gemgreennvodka from a crystal decanternhalf-filled with black currant leaves.n”But you need husband.”nThus passes a Sunday afternoon atnIgor Galanin’s studio, the top floor ofnhis house, hidden in the woods ofnWestchester County, New York. Butnon weekdays the scene is different. Ornis it? The stereo murmurs Verdi, thenexotic plants have been watered, thenmorning pours in through the windowsnand the skylight, and the litflenman stands by his worktable, paintingnnnfew thoughts,” and since “morality isnonly a few thoughts in our heads,” andnconsidering that “all of our attitudesnflow into action, flow into history, thenbedroom and the battlefield soon seemnto be one,” there can be no positionnwe can afford to take. But as mostnthinking and feeling creatures realizednlong ago, no position is still a positionnof sorts. Amorality cannot be divorcednfrom morality as Shawn might prefernto imagine. Finally, Shawn underminesnhimself and serves as an instructivenexample for ah of us by showingnhow quite possibly those who takenmorality to the nth degree might verynwell be left with what appears to be nonmorality at all.nAt its worst. Aunt Dan and Lemonncan be dismissed as the cumulativenrebuttal to the hundreds of liberalmindednarticles that have appeared innThe New Yorker, that bastion of “correct”nthinking for which Shawn’s father,nWilliam, has served as editor forn40 years or so. If only his father hadnconsented to publish his articles, thennperhaps we would have been sparednwhat amounts to a not-so-innocentn—though terribly naive—piece of politicalntheater.nDavid Kaufman is a theater critic innNew York City.ninIgor Galaninnthe thigh of an imaginary recliningnnude. The figure he has drawn isnsculptural, solemn, startiing, like anparadox of genius; but its surroundingsn