Angélique's Reviews > The History Boys

The History Boys by Alan Bennett
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's review
Aug 06, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: plays
Read on December 17, 2010

3 1/2 Stars. I can't recall what made me interested in this play a few years ago, nor can I explain exactly what I have gained from it now that I've read it...but there is definitely something touching and soul-trembling about this play. It connects with something beyond cognition and verbalization so that one encounters the play on two levels--one concerned with the reality which the play represents and the other concerned with the emotional current which gently prods reality forward--much as the boys encountered education on two levels through Hector and Irwin. This multiple focusing layers the play so that Hector's bike rides and Irwin and Dakin's interactions are seen as more than simply teacher indiscretions, but also the manifestation of something more elusive that must be pondered. My only qualms with the work are the lack of stage directions and the minimal character development in light of the initial presentation. It's not uncommon to focus a work on a select number of characters and to only outline the rest, but for a play that gives off the initial sense of the characters being this progressing whole, much of the whole is ignored throughout.

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