warded. Ms. McLendon’s book tries tonmake a dignified portrait from a carica­nStagenIneptitude as ManifestonIsrael Horovitz: The Primary EnglishnClass; St. Nicholas TheatrenCompany; Directed by Gerald Gutierrez.nThe drama (play, comedy, allegory,nskit or trifle—whatever suits one) takesnplace in a classroom at night, accordingnto the program. We can infer from thenremarks of the characters that the adtionngoes on in New York and in the present.nIn essence, there’s nothing wrong withnsuch economy of environmental indications—thentheatrical avant-garde hasnseen some high artistic value in inauthenticitynfor roughly a century; afternall, for a metaphor to efficiently servenas such it must be murky, universalnand vague. What’s wrong with Horovitz’snplay (drama, commoedia, etc.)nis that his great metaphor is either sonabysmally profound that I, at least, hadntrouble penetrating its universality,nhaziness and ambivalence, or so utterlynbanal that most of us would have difficultynin classifying it as a metaphor at all.nIsrael Horovitz is a so-called “solidlyncommitted” playwright with impeccablenradical credentials, one of the multi-antivoicesnof the ’60s and early ’70s. He wasndutifully and obligingly against the war,nthe system and assorted corruptions, andnhas duly conformed to all the preordainednpostures. Nonetheless, he wrote passionatenand skillful theatrical manifestos innsincere concord with his beliefs aboutnwho was guilty of what and why thensociety was as bad as it seemed to himn—which resulted in two above-averagenplays. The Indian Wants the Bronx andnShooting Gallery. One would assumenthat at the age of 40 he would have collectednenough overall insight, professionalnexpertise and philosophical ma­n^^^.^mmmmmmmmmnChronicles of Culturenture—that is something that’s usuallyndone the other way around. Dnturity to have something to say. Not so.nAdvertising copy calls The PrimarynEnglish Class “an explosive comedy,”nand one who reads these words cannotnhelp but wonder where the limit is toneuphemism in modern cultural marketing—whichnMr. Horovitz, given hisnideological persuasion, should considernto be one of our worst social ills.nA viewer may suspect that The PrimarynEnglish Class reveals to us thatnpeople cannot communicate because ofnthe diversity of languages. This hasnalready been noticed in the Bible, butnMr. Horovitz is looking for a modernninterpretation. “Language is the firstnmask,” he announces in his Notes tonthe play, but he fails to demonstrate itnon stage. Instead, he puts up a show ofnincoherence and improbability. Henwants us to believe that people fromnaround the world come to Manhattannwithout the knowledge of a single wordnof English, even the adjective Englishnitself; or that they are unable to expound,neven through sign language orngesticulation, that their glasses arenmissing, and that such a condition impairsntheir vision. His extremes of makingnpeople totally incommunicado maynhave some surrealistic intention, butnthere’s a marked difference betweennsymbolism and surrealism in the theatre:nthe former is the message, the latter thenmethod or form, and not knowing whatnserves what is simple ineptitude. Mr.nHorovitz’s German is portrayed by hisnclicking his heels and the Frenchman bynhis garrulousness—as if these werenthe most intrinsic substances of Germannessnand Frenchness anno 1979.nMoreover, the inevitable judgment ofnAmericanism amounts to saying thatnit means only psychotic aggression,nidiocy and destructiveness when dealingnwith other nations. So much for domonsua. Thank you.nThe St. Nicholas Theatre Companynproduction is mildly mediocre, the actingncorrect and uninspiring—exceptnfor the part of the American teacher,nin which a young and talented actressnvaliantly struggles with the hystericalngibberish imposed upon her by Mr.nHorovitz. (ES) DnBooks in the MailnThe Eighteenth Day: The Tragedy of King Leopold III of Belgium by Remy, translatednby Stanley R. Rader; Everest House Publishers; New York. A defense of the honor andnpatriotism of a man who was used as a scapegoat during World War 11.nCapitalism and Socialism: A Theological Inquiry edited by Michael Novak; AmericannEnterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; Washington, D.C. Transcripts from anconference which examined the importance of religion and spiritual values in the formationnof public policy.nKeep Off the Grass: A Scientific Enquiry into the Biological Effects of Marijuana bynGabriel G. Nahas, O.B.E., M.D., Ph.D.; Pergamon Press; New York. A look at thenshort and long-term effects of marijuana use.nEconomic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow by Ludwig von Mises; Regnery/nGateway, Inc.; South Bend, Indiana. A series of six lectures, delivered in simple terms,nin which von Mises relates his economic theories.nReflections on History by Jacob Burckhardt; Liberty Fund, Inc.; Indianapolis. A newnprinting of a classic by a master historian of the 19th century.nAbout Face: The China Decision and Its Consequences by John Tierney, Jr.; ArlingtonnHouse Publishers; New Rochelle, New York. A collection of expert viewpoints on thenimportance of Taiwan in U.S. foreign policy.nFree & Unequal: The Biological Basis of Individual Liberty by Roger J. Williams;nLiberty Fund, Inc.; Indianapolis. A look at man’s inherent physical differences for thenpurpose of refuting the “uniformity” theory of human nature which has gained popularitynin our time.nnn