Modern American Plays

Modern American Plays

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Modern American Plays

Modern American Plays

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Excerpt

The plays here printed are not, of course, the only five which might have been selected. From the many possible American plays of the last ten years these five have been chosen because decided success has been theirs, and because today they are worthy of professional revival. There is, however, a third test which has excluded many plays otherwise desirable, -- the selections made must show the greatest possible variety.

Romance, played very successfully in the United States for a season or two, was revived by Miss Doris Keane in London in War time. Its "run" was over a thousand nights, one of the longest on record. The central situation, an unsophisticated young man infatuated with an actress, is undeniably not new. We have seen it in Nance Oldfield, and more recently in Barrie's Rosalind, indeed, in a dozen other plays. What lifts Romance free of triteness is just what produced its unusual success, the characterization of Mme. Cavallini. So inseparably is the part associated with Miss Keane, who first acted it, that it is impossible exactly to distinguish the contributions of the author and the actress to the final effect of perfect characterization. After all, the drama is a collaborative art, and no rôle -- even Hamlet or Lear -- is seen at its best till an actor of such sensitiveness and matured technique plays it that not merely what the text obviously says, but its slightest implications are revealed. In Mme. Cavallini, as played, author and actress worked in perfect accord.

The heroine of Romance quickly wins, and thereafter holds, the sympathy of the audience. The fortunes of an . . .

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