one hundred essays I don't have time to write*

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57. Advice to dead playwrights from contemporary experts

To Ionesco: “I can’t track the rhinoceros’ journey”.
To Shakespeare: “You should cut that long speech ‘To be or not to be’, it’s confusing and it doesn’t advance the story.
To Sophocles: “I don’t get enough information about Oedipus’ backstory in the first act.”
To Shakespeare: “It is too sudden when the lovers fall in love with each other in the forest, couldn’t they get to know each other a little better first?”
What can a living playwright learn from this? Canonical plays are weird. Being dead is the most air-tight defense of one’s own aesthetic.

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