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Now that Horton Foote has left us, who is putting small-town America onstage in a way that is both artful and comprehending—both of its myriad flaws and its equally compelling virtues? Few contemporary playwrights seem much inclined to try. Hence the importance of the off-Broadway premiere of “Greater Clements,” the latest of Samuel D. Hunter’s plays to take place in northern Idaho, the place where he grew up and which is to his oeuvre what southeast Texas was to Mr. Foote and the not-quite-fictional Irish village of Ballybeg was to Brian Friel.
Like his great predecessors, Mr. Hunter seeks and finds infinite meaning in the homely details of everyday life, and in “Greater Clements” he has given us what looks at first acquaintance like a masterpiece, one worthy of Messrs. Foote and Friel at their best. Only time will tell, of course, but it is already safe to say that “Greater Clements” is one of the finest American domestic dramas of the century to date, an intimate tragedy with wider social implications whose six principal characters come to grief when their little lives run aground on the unforgiving shoals of economic change….
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Samuel D. Hunter talks about Greater Clements: