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August 8, 2012 by Paula Reed Nancarrow

Review of Ivory Tower Burning by Jay Gabler

One of the reasons I like reviewing in my blog before posting on the Fringe site is I can follow my own rules.  I can write long rambling introspective reviews if I want to; I can compare shows if I want to; I can even refer to my own show, The Computer Wore Semiotics, if I want to.  And sometimes I do, not for promotional purposes so much, but because it helps me feel part of a whole.  It is a relief to know that there is a place for thoughtful academic subjects and nuanced intellectual discourse at the Fringe – not that I don’t like goofiness and satire and drama and dance as well.  Ivory Tower Burning is one of a collection of acadramas at the Fringe this year. I took one course in sociology as an undergraduate, and what I primarily remember is that my instructor wore a bow tie – just like C. Wright Mills – had a Charlie Chaplin mustache, and favored banana-colored pants.  If he had been as interesting as Jay Gabler playing Talcott Parsons I would have at least remembered the AGIL paradigm.  It is a well-written play and covers a nice range of issues – probably not as many as Sociology for Dummies, but in a more entertaining way.  I would have liked to have seen some recognition – perhaps voiced by Mills – of the irony Talcott Parsons embodies at the end – insisting he is a scientist looking only at data, then exploding with passion as he claims his system is the Bible and he is God.  It is a play I would recommend to anyone interested in the history of ideas.

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