On the Horizon: Paddy Chayefsky's Minyan
PADDY CHAYEFSKY, it has been said many times, is the Clifford Odets of the 1950′s, and the differences between the two playwrights largely reflect a shift in popular attitudes since the 30′s. Chayefsky’s theatrical world is the same Bronx evoked by Odets twenty-five years ago, and his fundamental note, too, is the pathos of the lower middle classes. Like Odets, Chayefsky writes mostly about immigrants and their children, draws heavily on Jewish folk humor, and is more inventive at comedy than at serious drama. The aspirations, passions, and defeats of his characters are usually minor in scale; and, even more than Odets, Chayefsky likes the up-beat ending, the note of triumph over the “forces” which bedevil the “little man.” Finally, both playwrights-in contrast to O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, and others-relied greatly at first on an intense style of staging, which made their work more interesting to watch than to read: Odets depended on the Group Theatre, Chayefsky on the “Method” of the Actors’ Studio.
About the Author