Four Plays

Four Plays

Four Plays

Four Plays

Excerpt

These four plays represent the main bulk of my serious writing for the Theatre during the last six years. (My experimental "modern morality play" Johnson Over Jordan has already been published separately in America, where it has also been produced by several Little Theatre groups.) Before the war I was able to pay regular visits to New York and there arrange for the production of my plays, but this has not been possible in wartime, with the result that, at the time of writing, not one of these four plays has been produced in New York. They were all written for performance and not for the library, but this volume will at least give students of contemporary drama some notion of what I have been doing. And the notes on the individual plays that follow may help such students.

Music At Night. Early in 1938, when I was in America, I received--and accepted--an invitation to contribute a new play to the Malvern Festival of Drama of that year. During a trip to Rainbow Bridge, when in fact we were weatherbound up at Rainbow Lodge, in the cyclopean wilds of southern Utah, I had an idea for an experimental play and immediately began making notes for it. Soon after I returned to London in the spring, I wrote this play, Music At Night, forgetting, until it was too late to do anything about changing the title, that Aldous Huxley had already used this title for one of his books of essays. In spite of the difficulties of casting, production and rehearsal under festival conditions, the play went very well, and, I believe, broke the box office record of the Festival Theatre. The ordinary playgoers appeared to understand and enjoy it, and only the dramatic critics seemed to be puzzled and rather resentful. I re-wrote some of it during the next twelve months, and then, in the fateful August of 1939, when our world was rapidly crumbling, it was put into rehearsal at the Westminster Theatre in London, by the Masque Theatre Company. Just before it was due to open, the war came, and all theatres were closed. As soon as permission was obtained to . . .

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