46 / CHRONICLESnthese truths.” The two seem to feel thisnway far more than the playwrightsnthemselves. If only they had listened,nthey could have learned somethingnfrom Michelene Wandor when shensaid, “Theater goes for novelty anyway,nand when women are seen merelynas the novelty of the moment, thennwe know we’re not progressing.” Evennmore absurd is their insistance on thenidea that not enough women havenexplored the mother-daughter relationshipn(while, aceording to them,nmen have the father-son). This particularnfixation of theirs, and not of thenplaywrights, leads to a humiliatingnmoment when they ask Marsha Norman,n”Any thought of exploring yournown mother-daughter situation?”nQuite rightiy, the author of ‘Night,nMother becomes indignant in hernreply: “You don’t think I’ve done that?n. . . it’s the funniest question I’ve evernheard. Do you think I got this mothernout of the thin air? Do you think Inmade this mother up?”nAnother theme suggests that womennplaywrights’ most “cherished” worksnwere “often” rejected by literary managersnwho “felt compelled to protectntheir audience from material they arennot ‘ready’ for.” In their purely sexistnrush to condemn these “male”ndecision-makers, Betsko and Kocnigndon’t even examine the quality of thenworks in question. They also shouldnhave had the minimum intelligence tonrecognize this excuse as standard,nrejection-letter jargon which crossesngender-lines. Beyond all that, MarynGallagher is the only playwright whonspeaks of this—and even then not as anfeminist—but still the “discrimination”nis represented as “often described.”nWhere? By whom?nFor the most part, the voices of theninterviewed playwrights are fiercely independent.nAlthough perceived byntheir interviewers as representatives ofna “movement,” they come across asnindividuals whose motives transcendnthe appetite to define and catalog.nWhile there are anecdotes of sexistndiscrimination, it may be reassuring tondiscover how many resist the label ofnwoman playwright. “It depends hownit’s being used. Generally, I don’t likenit. Do people call Sam Shepard ornRichard Foreman a ‘man playwright’?”nresponds Laura Farabough. Donna denMatteo succinctiy concurs: “I don’tnknow if I would go around callingnmyself a woman writer, the same way anmale wouldn’t call himself a malenwriter.”nWhat is lacking in this importantncollection—the first of its kind—is annaccurate overview of what has beenncollated. Koenig offers a preamble orn”Introduction” and Betsko a diatribe orn”Afterword,” but neither delivers whatnwe are entitied to: a valid synthesis ofnthe opinions, visions, and experiencesnthat have been assembled. Indeed,nwhere Koenig and Betsko are respectivelynsolo voce, they do nothing butnreveal the rhetoric of their prejudicen—a bias that riles more of the playwrightsnthan it mollifies. But instead ofnadjusting their personal vendettas accordingnto the confessions and insightsnobtained, it’s as if Betsko and Koenignwill not listen to what they have permittednus to hear.nIf a conglomerate aesthetic nevernasserts itself, certain other tendenciesndo surface from these discussions.nTina Howe, Donna de Matteo, andnMarsha Norman refer to music andnrhythm as an influence on their writingnprocess. Some relate horror storiesnabout their collaboration withndirectors—Yankowitz even describesnbeing “barred from most rehearsals” ofnher play, A Knife in the Water. Butncontrary to what Betsko and Koenignseem to suppose or care to acknowledge,nSam Shepard, Albert Innaurato,nand even Shaw and Chekhov have allntold similar tales out of school. Whilentime and again the interviewed playwrightsninsist on being viewed as writersninstead of members of a gender, theninterviewers seem hell-bent to denynthe predominantly male tradition ofntheatrical writing.nRemarkably, Chekhov—a malen— is mentioned the most often bynthese playwrights with respect and admiration.nYet if we extended Koenig’snrationale that “man” playwrights cannotnwrite female parts, whereasn”women [as] the confidantes of sons,nbrothers, lovers and male friends” cannwrite male characters, we’re left tonconstrue that The Three Sisters reallynshould have been The Three Brothers,nand A Streetcar Named Desire is ansublimation of A Subway Called Aggression.nWhen Koenig in her Introductionnsuggests that “a male-creatednfemale character can and should ideal­nnnly reflect her male creator’s empatheticnand imaginative leap toward femalensentience, it seems she is much morenfrequently a substantiation of his idealizationnor his fear of women,” she isncompletely discounting the contributionnof the actresses — an entirenprofession—in realizing these characters.nDavid Kaufman writes from NewnYork City.nMUSICnRomanticism, EvernNewnby Kyle RothweilernModern music criticism has engagednin a Herculean endeavor to misunderstandnRomanticism, both as a historicnand as a modern phenomenon. Then19th-century Romantics are relegatednto the status of antiques. Their musicalnlanguage is declared suitable for thenmusical museums of formal concertsnbut not worth taking seriously by modernncomposers. Above all, the modernncritic attempts to reduce Romanticismnto a mere conglomeration of techniques,nsome eifective and some excessive,nbut all nothing more than techniques,nand those obsolete.nThe main complaint the criticsnmake against Romantic music is itsnsubjectivity; it is too personal, too obsessivelynfocused on the emotions ofnthe composer. Subjectivity is equatednwith solipsism and, ipso facto, irrationality.nLeaving aside the emotionalnqualities of most music, what is tonprevent a composer from treating hisnsubjective states “objectively”? Thenvery fact that Romantic music conveysnso vividly an enormous range of emotionalnstates should indicate that thenartists capable of expressing such affectivenvariety cannot be helpless victimsnof their own feelings. A man chainednby the subjective states of, say, Tristannund Isolde would be incapable of writingnthem down; as Richard Straussnsaid, only a man made of ice couldnhave composed that opera.nOne clue to the Romantics’ objectivitynis provided by their famous pred-n