War of the Worlds

Kent Stephens's latest project is a play about a play about a rehearsal of a play about a novel

That, to be sure, sounds like a Wellesian quest, as is Stephens's apparent animus that the most gratifying work is the ambitious stuff--the equivalent of a theatrical whale hunt. Bookish types may recall the scene where triumphant Ahab prances giddily on the Lido deck of the Pequod with the vanquished Moby Dick. Of course not every quest ends with such a happy ending. To borrow an epigram from Stephens's play: "Nothing is worth doing if it isn't worth doing badly."

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