A posh critic on public radio recently denounced some obviously underwhelming playwright as "A poor man's Samuel Beckett." This rather brutal judgment made me wonder what dramatist could be considered a rich man's Samuel Beckett. Eugene Ionesco? Tom Stoppard? Probably not. Those two are more likely on the level of a comfortably well-off man's Samuel Beckett. And as for Harold Pinter, well, take a look for yourself: he's a piggy-bank saver's Samuel Beckett.
I guess that leaves us with Pirandello. Surely any discerning rich man would employ Pirandello over Beckett to write his plays? If only there was a system similar to Renaissance-era patronage today, then we would know for certain. But I don't think the Medici would enjoy either Waiting For Godot or Six Character In Search of an Author. You would have to think that David Mamet is more their idea of entertainment. I doubt Cosimo would approve of Absurdist plots; money men never do, it seems, unless it's Ponzi schemes and retirement plans we're talking about.