The current New Yorker magazine (dated Aug. 7, 2000) features a lengthy excerpt from the journals of the late drama critic, Kenneth Tynan. In the diary, which Tynan kept from 1970 until his death from emphysema in 1980, he records his thoughts, impressions, and ideas, as well as experiences with such figures as Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Marlene Dietrich, Michael Blakemore, Peter Hall, Joan Plowright and others.
The journal will be continued in the next issue of the New Yorker.
Tynan wrote for the New Yorker from 1958 and 1960 as a guest writer. Beginning in the early '50s, Tynan was the drama critic for London's Observer, and became -- despite his youth -- the most eminent British theatre commentator of his day. His collections of criticism, "Curtains" and "Tynan Left and Right," are considered classics of their genre.
Tynan was one of the few theatre critics to hob-nob with actors and directors, becoming friends with Marlene Dietrich, Tom Stoppard, Orson Welles and others. With Olivier, he helped to found the Royal National Theatre, and served as its literary manager until 1972. He also conceived the infamous erotic revue, Oh! Calcutta!.
-- By Robert Simonson