Night Music: A Comedy in Twelve Scenes


Judgment of plays on Broadway is a very curious thing. It is curious because while there are many who will tell you that a play is "lousy," "swell," "great fun" or, in another tone, that a play "doesn't quite jell," has "good things in it," contains "a fine idea" or still again that a play is marked by either "strong" or "sordid realism," is "too heavy" or "too slight," very few people will tell you what a play actually is, what they really see in it, what specifically it makes them experience.

When a very candid play likeSaroyan's My Heart's in the Highlands is produced, we hear that it is terrible because it is meaningless or that it is wonderful because of its meaninglessness. One play is praised for its slick plot, another is damned for its lack of slick plot, and finally a discussion arises whether, after all, all plots aren't just an unnecessary evil. This is, of course, quite natural, but I submit that judgment of plays made in this spirit tells you no more about them than the exclamations "ouch" or "ah" tell you about the nature of the pain or pleasure that provokes them.

In the case ofClifford Odets's Night Music we . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1940


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