Eight European Plays

Eight European Plays

Eight European Plays

Eight European Plays

Excerpt

This book needed a preface, and I have been asked to write it: fortunately, I think, for the cause of truth. As a critic of plays it is my duty to tell you honestly that the volume here offered for your delight is a misleading and fraudulent compilation. Just why I will tell you in a moment. As author of the preface I am going to blow my trumpet, of course, and tell you as emphatically as I can how good most of these plays are, but that isn't why Miss Katzin's octet needs a commentary.

The quality of the plays brought together within these covers is so exceptional that you are going to think the editor has struck a rich vein of ore in the contemporary drama of Europe, that all she has to do is to go on editing collections of masterpieces by new and comparatively unknown men, for the sake of us who are always delighted to find good things in the theater where we least suspected their existence.

But don't be deceived. This is not so. I don't know on just what basis Miss Katzin has made her selection, but she has managed to convey the impression that these plays are representative, presumably a few choice specimens of a far more extensive line of goods waiting only to be snatched up by enterprising producers. What she has actually done is to spot good plays wherever she has come across them, regardless of anything else, and she hasearched in the most unlikely and unpromising places.

Who else, for instance, would think of reading Heinrich Mann's plays? Walter Harlan seemed so unlikely, and as for....

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