I just saw the play tonight (re: Spoiler request…..the Minutes)
Last Edit: Marlo*Manners 10:58 pm EDT 07/01/22
Posted by: Marlo*Manners 10:53 pm EDT 07/01/22
In reply to: re: Spoiler request…..the Minutes - BroadwayTonyJ 06:54 pm EDT 07/01/22

The whole majority of the play - about 75 or 80 minutes - is straightforward realism with some flashbacks to the past, etc. But all within a framework of realism and naturalistic drama.

Then in the last ten minutes or so it turns into symbolic drama. I got it as that underneath the rituals of society and democracy and ideas of equality and social equity, etc. there were darker strains of a more primitive human society - one that was tribal.

These tribes are hateful of other tribes, basically racist. They try to steal land and goods from the "other" and will even kill to assert their primacy. Underneath a modern man who is "civilized" is a tribal creature one that protects his own and looks after his own survival in a dog eats dog world. Hence the blood ritual at the end.

That whole town board meeting turns goes from bikes for poor kids to something far darker and more primal. We are also seeing it in our society now in America - "Black Lives Matter". A routine police traffic stop turns into an act of racial genocide. Divisions are being sown regarding color, race, religion and no one is trying to meet the other halfway. So underneath the social structures are battles for power, primacy, identity and goods. And the last scene is the primal rituals underlying that from an earlier more primitive society.

BTW: Albee and other playwrights would create works that are often unscrutable and gnomic ("Tiny Alice") and then refuse to explain them to the public using much the same language as Letts did: the public has to interpret it for themselves. I always feel like slapping the playwright over the head at those times. Tennessee Williams also wrote some bewildering plays late in his career giving up naturalistic for the avant garde stuff.

However, the ending really drastically changes the tone and I was reminded of something like Stephen King's "Salem's Lot" about satanic evil in a small New England town. Also, in "The Minutes" there are suggestions that Mr. Karp was "disappeared" which suggests a thriller or mystery which the rest of the play doesn't favor. Again a drastic change in tone.

Marlo Manners (Lady Barrington)

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