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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Critic’s Notebook

Death takes a holiday? Not onstage

The single best-known line in the history of Western drama puts the matter front and center: “To be or not to be?’’ It’s right there, too, in the title of the most famous American play ever written: “Death of a Salesman.’’ And the experience itself is often described with a phrase drawn from the world of theater: the final curtain.

We’re talking about death. On local stages and on Broadway recently, the subject has been nearly inescapable.

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