Is it possible for a Jewish woman in 1938 New York to develop hysterical paralysis of her legs in response to events in Nazi Germany? And how much are her symptoms a reaction to longstanding difficulties in her marriage to a man who is impotent, autocratic, subject to sporadic violent rages, and uncomfortable with his Jewish identity? Is it appropriate for an honest play which explores issues of prejudice, oppression, tryanny, and genocide to be simultaneously humorous and entertaining? What if at the end one feels almost as moved by the miserable (and dead) husband as the heroine, who finds the power to walk again only when her husband expires? These are the difficult questions posed by Arthur Miller in Broken Glass, his latest play recently in repertory at London's National Theatre. The weighty themes are leavened by the hallmark wry humour, sparkling dialogue and deft characterisation.
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