Two trips down memory lane:
The most horrific historical events — like the Holocaust, the focus of Vilna, a new play at Theater at St. Clement’s off-Broadway — demand the most amount of art about them — to record them, to ensure the devastation wasn’t in vain, to learn lessons that will help us avoid repeating such tragedies in the future, to remember and memorialize the fallen, to understand how to properly preserve the still-standing, present and future. But the more art about a certain subject is made, the more rote depictions there will be in the world. And reducing extraordinary conditions to ordinary artistry can have an unfortunate desensitizing effect. The most effective method to honor history isn’t by telling new stories, though it helps; a wiser approach is to tell these stories in new ways, to affect us anew.
I’ll probably never enjoy another Oklahoma! more than the current revival at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre, but the ceiling on how much I can enjoy ANY production is fairly low.