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Why arty plays will never be popular

Don't expect much entertainment here
I was listening to James Naughtie on his series about the 'New Elizabethans', being reverential (as he always is about anything arty) about Harold Pinter and his work.

There was much discussion of how Pinter's plays represented real life, with all its contradictions, without resolution, without true endings. How it's wonderful that everything is left in the air and unexplained. And it struck me exactly why such theatre isn't exactly commercial.

The fact is, we can all experience real life and real conversations and contradictions and lack of resolution. We can all be left in the air and have things unexplained. It happens every day. That's where we live. We don't need to go to a theatre to experience it. The fact that Pinter encapsulates it wonderfully is a big 'so what?' It makes for theatre that is about as engaging as Big Brother. We don't want to go to a theatre to see real life, we want to be entertained or informed or surprised or excited, or even better all four.

I suspect the minority with a 'literary bent' will continue to be thrilled by Pinter's kind of thing, perhaps because their lives are a lot less real than those of most people. But for the rest of us, I'd much rather we celebrated playwrights who are good at entertaining us, at giving us that delightful, informing, surprising, thrilling evening.

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