In short (2)

British justice has scored another victory for art, and with that ineffable style of which British magistrates are capable. This time the threat was to the National Theater's production of Aeschylus's classic ''Oresteia'' trilogy, from which London fire authorities wanted to eliminate a climactic flaming torch of ''enlightenment, reconciliation, and humanity.'' An electric lamp was ''pathetic'' in rehearsal, said the director. Magistrate Edmund McDermott read the play, examined the torch, found its naked flame not to be ''a realistic danger,'' and overruled the firemen.

Besides: ''If the author were given the permission to leave Olympus and visit these far-distant northern shores, and the South Bank, I am sure he would be outraged if he saw no real flame in the action of his play.'' And no one who has just read a tragedy by him would want to risk the wrath of Aeschylus.

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