Published together for the first time, here are Ayn Rand's three compelling stage plays. Written in 1933, and a Broadway success in 1935, Night of January 16th is presented here in its definitive, final revised text—a superb dramatic objectification of Ayn Rand's vision of human strength and weakness, a play famous for the author's refusal to prearrange a dramatized verdict, leaving the solution to the audience. Also included are two of Rand's unproduced plays: Think Twice (1939), a philosophical murder mystery, and Ideal (1934), the author's bitter indictment of people's willingness to betray their highest values, symbolized by a Hollywood goddess seemingly fleeing the authorities.
We all are familiar with Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. However Rand was also a playwright. She wrote three plays, Night of January 16th, Ideal and Think Twice. Night of January 16th was the only play to be produced on and off Broadway. Unlike The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Rand’s plays do not explicitly convey her philosophical thought, rather her sense-of-life or how one views reality on an emotional level. For me, these plays offer a psychological look into those who betray their values.
Night of January 16th is a courtroom drama of a murder trial. But what’s unique about the play is no verdict is given. The jury is to comprise of audience members. Whom they find guilty will depend on jurors’ values. This made for a fascinating read.
The next play, and my favorite is Ideal. This is about a movie star who finds herself linked to a mysterious death. Hoping to seek refuge, she seeks the help of five fans who profess intense adoration of her through their fan letters. However, when unexpectedly enters their lives, their admiration isn’t as honest as she thought.
Finally, Think Twice is centers around an altruist. He’s a wealthy man who enjoys power over individuals’ lives by spiritually killing people with his “kindness”. When I say spiritually, I don’t mean in a religious sense. To me, the wealthy man view of individuals is that of a typical “limousine liberal”. A person who professes love for people, but couldn’t care less for individuals. He’s eventually murdered. Who and why will keep you in suspense.
Ayn Rand (born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, February 2, 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism.
Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936. After two initially unsuccessful early novels, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. In 1957, she published her best-known work, the philosophical novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward she turned to nonfiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.
Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected all forms of faith and religion. She supported rational egoism and rejected ethical altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed all forms of collectivism and statism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed was the only social system that protected individual rights. She promoted romantic realism in art. She was sharply critical of most other philosophers and philosophical traditions.
The reception for Rand's fiction from literary critics has historically been mixed and polarizing, with extreme opinions both for and against her work commonly being expressed. Nonetheless, she continues to have a popular following, as well as a growing influence among scholars and academics. Rand's political ideas have been influential among libertarians and conservatives. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Rand developed and promoted her Objectivist philosophy through her nonfiction works and by giving talks to students at institutions such as Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Harvard University and MIT. She received an honorary doctorate from Lewis & Clark College in 1963. She also began delivering annual lectures at the Ford Hall Forum, responding afterward to questions from the audience. During these speeches and Q&A sessions, she often took controversial stances on political and social issues of the day. These included supporting abortion rights, opposing the Vietnam War and the military draft (but condemning many draft dodgers as "bums"), supporting Israel in the Arab-Israeli War of 1973 as "civilized men fighting savages", saying European colonists had the right to take land from American Indians, and calling homosexuality "immoral" and "disgusting", while also advocating the repeal of all laws against it. She also endorsed several Republican candidates for President of the United States, most strongly Barry Goldwater in 1964, whose candidacy she promoted in several articles for The Objectivist Newsletter.
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