opaque style. Theory of the samennature as that being combated is notnwhat is needed. That is engaging thenenemy on his own terms, and thosenterms themselves are the principal issuenin dispute. Perhaps the best appealnfrom theoretical arguments — thatnmeaning is indeterminate, that thenauthor is dead, that we are confinednto the prison of language andn”aboutness” is an illusion, that thenreader alone creates meaning, that literaturenis merely ideological powernplay — is not an appeal to countertheories,nbut an appeal to actual humannpractice and experience as it hasnunfolded over centuries. All of Zeno’sntheory, after all, fails to prevent thenarrow from reaching the target.nStephen L. Tanner is a professor ofnEnglish at Brigham Young University.nSTAGEnNew AmericannPlaysnby Katherine DaltonnLouisville’s Humana FestivalnActors Theatre of Louisville’snHumana Festival of New AmericannPlays, now in its 14th year, has hadnits up and downs. But some localngrumblings notwithstanding, this year’snfestival was much better than last, withntwo excellent plays and only one realnmiss. Promised works from Slaves ofnNew York author Tama Janowitz andnnovelist E.L. Doctorow did not mater­nialize— probably a blessing. ATL hasnreturned to commissioning plays fromnplaywrights, a move that has greatlynimproved the festival. Such was ATL’snluck that even this season’s one playwritingnnovice, novelist Joyce CarolnGates, whose books leave me cold,ncame forth with two very creditablenone-acts.nThe most controversial piece wasnRomulus Linney’s treatment of thentrial and death of Hermann Goering.nEntitled 2—because Goering wasnHitler’s second-in-command — thenplay is set in the American prison innNuremberg during Goering’s trial fornwar crimes. Played very well by WilliamnDufF-Griffin, Linney’s Goeringngets the better of his American commandant,nproves so winning to his Irishnpsychiatrist that the Irishman must benreplaced, wins over the lieutenant andnsergeant set to guard him, and restoresnthe confidence of his ambivalentnGerman lawyer. In court he bests thenAmerican prosecutor, Robert Jackson,nin an active pursuit of his own defense.nEven his Jewish psychiatrist (the Amer­nican replacement), who naturally hatesnthe man, comes to feel a grudgingnrespect for Goering by the end of thenplay. The audience is likewise seducedn— despite even the atrocities filmsnshown in Act II. The night I saw 2nDuff-Griffin received a standing ovation:nas a friend dryly remarked, thenplaywright had made his point.nWith the exception of the psychiatrist,nthe Americans do not come outnwell, in what is made to appear as annelaborate show trial; even the executionnorders have been typed up twonmonths in advance. Robert Jackson’sndream of outlawing war looks even lessnrealistic now than it did at the time.nNeedless to say all these unpleasantnironies leave the theater-goer squirmingnin his seat. Given its treatment ofnthe subject, it is a real question whethern2 will get the wide staging it deserves.nDespite its merits and Linney’s reputationn(he is the author of, among othernplays. Holy Ghosts, about snakehandlingnfundamentalists), a play thatndepicts a three-dimensional Goering isnas likely to succeed as a portrayal ofnAnne O’Sullivan (as Evelyn) hoists her fishing trophy in Joan Ackermann-Blount’snZara Spook and Other Lures.nnnJULY 1990/53n