Saturday, February 24, 2007

Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - theatre: Theatre of the absurd:

I will doubtless be accused of elitism. But all I am arguing is that there is a risk of treating popular opinion as the deciding factor on everything. One of the most dismal public statements made in British life was by Richard Luce, a Thatcherite minister, who said of the arts that "the only test of our ability to succeed is whether we can attract enough customers". By that token, most fringe theatres would have been shut down and The Mousetrap was the greatest play of the 20th century. While ultimately the arts are answerable to the public, I think it highly dangerous if creators and critics surrender to the capricious tyranny of popular opinion. As George Bernard Shaw said, when accused of disliking an immensely successful Gallic boulevard comedy: "Forty million Frenchmen can't be right."