The play, based on the book by Colm Toibin, opened on April 22 and was scheduled to run through June 16. But instead of lasting 12 weeks, it lasted only two. On the day it opened, I said, “it is not easy to see who is going to be drawn to this play.”
The play bombed. That’s why it closed. Quite frankly, there aren’t enough people who want to spend their evenings watching a dark performance about a fanciful Virgin Mary who rejects the divinity of her son. My only regret is that we don’t have the results of a psychological battery of tests performed on those who like this kind of stuff.
The Irish Times’ Fintan O’Toole is furious that the play bombed. He blames capitalism. “The most basic truth about Broadway is that it’s about money. It is the raw, ruthless marketplace to which some people would like to reduce all artistic endeavour. It is a primal form of capitalism: enormous risks in pursuit of enormous rewards.”
In O’Toole’s world, plays he likes should have a long run on Broadway, even if no one wants to pay to see them (no doubt he would like to get some stimulus money to subsidize his leisure). But one of the great things about capitalism is that it accurately gauges public sentiment, rewarding what people want, and discarding what they don’t. A market economy, I am happy to say, doesn’t necessarily reward what the elites want. Which is why they hate it.
Sorry, Toibin. Looks like there aren’t enough O’Tooles out there to enjoy your angry discourse on Catholicism.