Saturday, October 6, 2007

LOOK BACK IN ANGER by John Osborne

Look Back in Anger is an autobiographical play by John Osborne. The main character is Jimmy, a miserable young man. He rants and raves through the entire play, verbally abusing everyone he comes in contact with and taking delight in making them miserable as well. He has no redeeming characteristics at all (unless one wants to say he is "honest" with his feelings), and ranges from detestable to pathetic (his lame attempts at "bears and squirrels" cutesy talk with his wife, for example).

Why is he so angry? How is it that such a person has not one but two women fall in love with him and leave all for his sake? What is the point of people sitting through this? Apparently, none of these questions require more than superficial explanation.

A number of elements in the play feel contrived. I understand that for the stage you have limitations, but here we have a friend of the family hooking it up with Jimmy not five minutes after his wife leaves him. Sure, okay.

Contrary to what many reviewers of Osborne's day claimed, The dialogue is sub-par and stilted. Every character continually shares his innermost feelings in a hostile environment where they are constantly belittled.

Every character in the book is miserable on some level. No doubt this was extremely cathartic for Osborne, but it's just unpleasant for everybody else.