Mary McCarthy's Theatre Chronicles: 1937-1962
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This volume brings together Miss McCarthy's lively controversial essays on the theatre from the 1930's up to the present day. The intelligence and vitality of the author's analysis brings past productions of Shakespeare, Shaw, Ibsen, Chekhov, Wild, Odets, Saroyan, Wilder back to the reader with immediacy and freshness.
Written in her trenchant prose, Miss McCarthy's articles on the drama are amusing, sharp, original and penetrating.
characters, a local citizen who is in the town and outside of it at the same time. In the third place, he has taken what is accessory to the ordinary play, that is, exposition, and made it the main substance of his. The greater part of the first two acts is devoted to the imparting of information, to situating the town in time, space, politics, sociology, economics, and geology. But where in the conventional play, such pieces of information are insinuated into the plot or sugared over with stage
Greenstreet’s Peter Sorin, down to the slick overacting of Lynn Fontanne’s Arkadina. Stark Young’s sharp and unaffected translation cleared away a great many of the cobwebs which one had previously thought to be part of Chekhov, but which prove merely to have clung to the styles of his earlier translators. It is to be hoped that Mr. Young will next devote himself to one of Chekhov’s more mature plays. Footnote 1956. It was Lunt’s performance, actually, that made the play seem “meretricious.” He
themselves. Actually, the play is half a pastoral and half a vaudeville. In The Time of Your Life, which was produced this year by Eddie Dowling on a realistic set, the pastoral element has dropped out, and what is left is almost pure vaudeville, a play that is closer to Hellzapoppin than to anything else in the theatre. The action of this play takes place in a San Francisco waterfront saloon in the year 1939. Again there is a group of relatively simple people, a pure-hearted prostitute, a boy
flaw in the new world is the presence of Nazi troops on its territory: democracy and freedom prevail and the Russian soldier dreams of the “strong firm hand” of Comrade Stalin pressing him gently on his weary shoulder. Nevertheless, the obsessions that dominate The Three Sisters persist. Of the two Russian soldiers in the play, one is obsessed with the idea of correctness, military and ideological, and the other, who is a peasant and therefore more old-fashioned, is obsessed with the idea of
uneducated wife, belongs to the prosy multitude that was patronized earlier in the century by Wordsworth: “A primrose by the river’s brim, A yellow primrose was to him. And it was nothing more.” “That there blessed wild duck,” she exclaims. “The fuss there is over it!” When Gregers, true to his metaphor, speaks of the “swamp vapor” that is morally poisoning the Ekdal household, Gina retorts: “Lord knows there’s no smell of swamps here, Mr. Werle; I air the place out every blessed day.” The Wild