iOS app Android app

Robert Brustein
GET UPDATES FROM Robert Brustein
Robert Brustein is a veteran of World War II, a former Professor of English at Harvard University, former drama critic for The New Republic and former Dean of the Yale Drama School. He is now a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University.

He was the founding director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre and served for 20 years as Artistic Director during which time he founded the ART Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. Having retired from that post in 2002, he now serves as Founding Director. He is the author of eighteen books (including The Theatre of Revolt), twelve adaptations (Including the Klezmer musical Shlemiel The First), and eight plays (including a trilogy about Shakespeare). He is presently working on a new Klezmer musical with Hankus Netsky called King of the Schnorrers. His latest book is Rants and Raves: Opinions, Tributes, and Elegies; and his most recent play is The Last Will. He has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, and was awarded the 2010 Medal of Arts by President Obama at the White House.

Entries by Robert Brustein

A Terrorist Ph.D

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 8:01 AM

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, brutal head of ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham), is not only a terrorist leader, but a poet with a Ph.D. from Baghdad's Islamic University. We have just managed to obtain a transcript of his doctoral defense of his dissertation, "On Creating an International Caliphate,"...

Read Post

Busy Obama, Lazy Congress

(100) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 3:32 PM

Since his presidency began, and as of June 14, 2014, President Barack Obama will have made 36 international trips to 47 different countries, in addition to the Vatican and the West Bank. This, in addition to his frequent visits to domestic sites such as tornado and hurricane disaster areas, not...

Read Post

The Apple Impasse

(7) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 10:19 PM

Among the number of Apple product users (I would give you the precise figure if Google didn't require a password), I wonder how many billions have been as frustrated as I am over Apple's password requirements. I do know my wife is one of them, since she has been on...

Read Post

Winter of Discontent

(1) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 10:35 AM

For many educated people in America, the post-millennial years have seemed like one long winter of discontent, and we have yet to see much sign of glorious summer. Among those feeling more than their customary quota of gloom I count myself, admittedly a traditionally disgruntled commentator (whose early writings were...

Read Post

Return of the Booboisie

(94) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 11:38 AM

"Absolute reason expired at eleven o'clock last night," a character shouts in the mad scene from Ibsen's Peer Gynt. That certainly seems to describe the mental condition of present-day America. A group of lunatics, self-named after Boston's Tea Party, but actually descended from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Alice...

Read Post

Lay Off Obama

(498) Comments | Posted August 29, 2013 | 3:12 PM

Sometimes I think we elected Barack Obama president only in order to abuse him. You can disagree about the kind of job he has been doing for the past six years. I happen to believe he has been a remarkable leader -- patient, thoughtful, dignified, unruffled -- under very trying...

Read Post

Arab Spring Forward, Arab Fall Back

(33) Comments | Posted July 11, 2013 | 7:22 PM

The chaos we are witnessing these days in the Middle East reflects not only a failure of American policy but also a pitiful lack of American self-knowledge. For some reason, hardly because of the current dynamic of government in Washington, we have been trying to convince the Arab world that...

Read Post

The Like Generation

(70) Comments | Posted May 4, 2013 | 9:22 AM

In the '60s and '70s, young people were referred to as the "Love Generation," partly because of their insistence on sexual freedom, which they proposed as an alternative ("make love, not war") to the Vietnam conflict. Today's young people could be more accurately identified as the "Like Generation," for reasons that...

Read Post

Tenth Anni-VERSE-ary of Iraq

(1) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 3:34 PM

This speech (from Henry V) should be recited every day in front of a mirror by Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, and quite a few other members of the previous administration.

But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath
a heavy reckoning to make, when all...

Read Post

Philip Roth at 80: Tales Told Out of Schul

(11) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 10:36 AM

Philip Roth, who has just turned eighty, has been writing novels, stories, essays, autobiographical books, and other species of cultural provocation for over half a century now. Claiming that literary composition is a form of mental anguish and physical agony (he writes standing up to spare a bad back), he...

Read Post

A Modest Proposal

(2) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 2:59 PM

I herewith submit a modest proposal for helping to relieve the suffering about to be caused by sequestration. The Republicans want to cut government spending rather than raise taxes. Why don't they start with themselves? I suggest cutting the salaries of all our political representatives by two-thirds. For reasons I'll...

Read Post

'Breaking News'

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2013 | 12:51 PM

THIS JUST IN!

Members of the NRA armed with assault rifles entered the House of Representatives today and took over the Speaker's platform, pushing Representative Boehner to the floor. Claiming that such weapons were constitutionally mandated in order to maintain a well-regulated militia, the NRA spokesman added that Terrorists, Looters,...

Read Post

Gun Play

(0) Comments | Posted December 24, 2012 | 4:56 PM

Scene: The teller's window of a local bank in Tombstone, Arizona. A well-dressed man walks up to the window, where the teller is counting cash, puts a gun to his forehead, and speaks:

ROBBER
I am a bank robber, and this is a holdup. Hand over your cash.

...
Read Post

The Press Assess the Gettysburg Address

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 5:18 PM

We hear the concluding phrases of the Gettysburg address being spoken by Abraham Lincoln, while three TV panelists, a male anchor (Wolf), a male commentator (Sean), and a female pundit (Rachel), prepare to air their comments on the event.

VOICE
-- and that government of the...

Read Post

Theater and the University: Marriages and Misalliances

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2012 | 10:13 AM

Remarks made to the Theater Communications Group panel on "Theater and the University" at the Park Plaza Hotel (June 22, 2012)

My name is Robert Brustein. Welcome to Boston and thank you for coming. Our subject today is the wedding between the professional theater and the university -- a marriage...

Read Post

The Comfort Zone

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2011 | 8:26 AM

(A room. Totally unfurnished, except for a gleaming white toilet in the middle of the stage. Two windows. Sounds of explosions and occasional gunfire outside. Two Uzi automatic rifles against the wall. Pete, with a manual in hand, and Sally on stage contemplating the toilet with awed reverence.)

SALLY. Fantastic.

...
Read Post

The New Anarchists

(76) Comments | Posted November 10, 2011 | 10:04 AM

At the same time that many Republicans are calling President Obama a Socialist, the Grand Old Party is becoming indistinguishable from the most radical revolutionary movement in world history.

I refer to Anarchism, the political theory that holds the state to be unnecessary and invidious, a constraint on the...

Read Post

Sex and the Married Man

(7) Comments | Posted June 13, 2011 | 6:08 PM

The media furor over the uncontrollable testosterone of male political figures has been a bottomless source of recent entertainment, particularly on the comedy shows. Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, and all the rest of the gang have been taking the opportunity to mock...

Read Post

Sarah in Blunderland or the Mad Hater's Tea Party

(2) Comments | Posted February 1, 2011 | 11:43 AM

(A table set under a tree. Starched Hair and the Mad Hater throwing teacups at each other.

Enter Sarah, dressed as Alice.)

THE MAD HATER
Who are you? Get out. There's no more room at this Tea Party!

SARAH
My name is Sarah. And you...

Read Post

Frozen Revenge

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2010 | 6:45 PM

In the Sunday, October 31st publication of the New York Times Book Review, the singer-composer, Paul Simon, wrote a front page review of a book by the lyricist-composer, Stephen Sondheim, called Finishing the Hat. It quoted some miffed reactions by Sondheim to a show we did together with Burt Shevelove...

Read Post