Sunday, July 05, 2009


From Wikipedia:

Fifth of July is a 1979 play by American playwright Lanford Wilson. Set in rural Missouri in 1977, it revolves around the Talley family and their friends, and focuses on the disillusionment with America in the wake of the Vietnam War.

More here.

I'm not ordinarily one, these days anyway, to wallow in cultural instances of Baby Boomer navel contemplation, but I've done this play twice, once way back in high school, with my buddy Matt who is a regular Real Art reader and sometimes commenter, and again during my ill-fated attempt at grad school back in 1991 at the University of Houston--both times I played the asshole, John Landis. So I've got a personal connection to it.

And when I say "Baby Boomer navel contemplation," I'm actually kind of halfway joking. This isn't an anti-liberal pseudo-feminist hatchet job like Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles is: Fifth of July, despite its strong doses of "everything the Boomers did was more important than anything you'll ever do," stays pretty close to a celebration of 1960s progressive ideals, while examining what it all may mean for the upcoming conservative era, which, I must admit, was pretty prophetic considering that it wasn't yet entirely clear when the play was written that American liberalism was fated to collapse in the 80s.

Obviously, I'm posting this because today is, you know, the fifth of July.

It's a good script. Unfortunately, being a copyrighted work and all, it's not freely available online. But Amazon's got a good deal on it. You should check it out.