Published in The New York Times
Lefty playwrights are not hard to find, but recent weeks have seen a rare flurry of theatrical news from three of the world's most eminent antiwar writers -- Joan Didion, Harold Pinter (above) and Dario Fo. That doesn't necessarily mean the stage is listing to port, however. Pro-military views may be harder to find, but they're out there for those willing to look.
'The Room,' 'Celebration' and 'The Homecoming'
Antiwar point of view: In his speech accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature on Dec. 7, Mr. Pinter called the invasion of Iraq ''an act of blatant state terrorism'' and said, ''The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless.''
Productions: Double bill of ''The Room'' and ''Celebration,'' Mr. Pinter's first and most recent plays, respectively, now running Off Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company; a Broadway revival of ''The Homecoming'' expected for the 2006-07 season.
Current political resonance: Before the speech, slight. (''They're like politicians. They love power.'' -- ''Celebration'') After the speech, unavoidable.
'The Year of Magical Thinking' .
Antiwar P.O.V.: In an influential essay published in The New York Review of Books, Ms. Didion accused the Bush administration of ''initiating and waging virtually perpetual war.''
Production: The play will be her own adaptation of the book by the same name, her account of her husband's death and her daughter's fatal illness. Projected Broadway opening: spring 2007.
Current political resonance: Little or none, save for the author's reputation.
Antiwar P.O.V.: Mr. Fo has loudly criticized the British prime minister, Tony Blair, for the ''disastrous'' decision to go to war in Iraq.
Production: A one-woman play, which had its premiere on Dec. 10 in London, is about Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier who led a protest at President Bush's Texas ranch last summer.
Current political resonance: Overwhelming.
'The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial'
Pro-war P.O.V.: The writer, Herman Wouk, is known for being deeply patriotic, and the play is based on his experience in the Navy during World War II.
Production: Revival of the 1954 play begins on Broadway in April and stars David Schwimmer.
Current political resonance: The play has been interpreted as having a conservative, pro-military bent.
'Monty Python's Spamalot'
Pro-war P.O.V.: King Arthur and his chainmail-covered cohort engage in asymmetric warfare in strange lands.
Production: Musical now on Broadway at the Shubert Theater.
Current political resonance: The musical showcases British military might, while portraying the French as petulant and cowardly.
Pro-war P.O.V.: Famous tale of vengeance ends in combat and bloodshed.
Production: Off-Broadway revival at Classic Stage Company closed last week.
Current political resonance: The son of a ruler finishes off his father's former foe.