Great, though sad, essay by Peggy Noonan about her trip to see the revival of Rasin in the Sun can be found here:'Raisin' and Falling
Here are three heartbreaking paragraphs:
But I must tell you of the small moment that was actually a big moment. (There's a possible spoiler coming up, so if you don't know the story and mean to see the play, stop here.) An important moment in the plot is when a character announces she is pregnant, and considering having an abortion. In fact, she tells her mother-in-law, she's already put $5 down with the local abortionist. It is a dramatic moment. And you know as you watch it that when this play came out in 1960 it was received by the audience as a painful moment — a cry of pain from a woman who's tired of hoping that life will turn out well.
But this is the thing: Our audience didn't know that. They didn't understand it was tragic. They heard the young woman say she was about to end the life of her child, and they applauded. Some of them cheered. It was stunning. The reaction seemed to startle the actors on stage, and shake their concentration. I was startled. I turned to my friend. "We have just witnessed a terrible cultural moment," I said. "Don't I know it," he responded.
And I can't tell you how much that moment hurt. To know that the members of our audience didn't know that the taking of a baby's life is tragic — that the taking of your own baby's life is beyond tragic, is almost operatic in its wailing woe.
Have we really come to this? That whole audiences of people don't even GET that it might be a TRAGEDY???? How sad. How inexpressibly sad.
Thanks to Lauren for the heads up on the article!