January 22, 1955
The next time we have a meeting I wish we could bring up the matter of paying Lenya for the stock which Kurt owned in the Playwrights' Company. 1 As you know, he paid $3,000 for the stock he acquired when he came in, and since his death we have taken in members who must have paid similarly for their places on the board. 2 It seems to me that Lenya should not take a loss on this. The stock still exists and is just as useful and necessary as it was when Kurt bought it.
Harold tells me he is coming close to a picture sale. 3 In that case I should soon be able to pay my long-standing debt to the company, and we should all feel a little less financial pressure than we've been accustomed to. Anyway we don't need to be stingy with an old friend.
As ever Max
March 8, 1955
Dear Elmer-- 1
"ORDEAL BY FIRE" is an impressive play, beautifully written, absorbing, and about as ambitious as any playwright could attempt. It puts the Book of Job into modern terms, and in doing so questions every value on which modern life is built. It seems to say that a man who has everything that constitutes success, and then suddenly loses it all, may find that life still tastes sweet and is worth living when he is reduced to base, unflattered existence, if he faces things as they are left, makes the necessary compromises, and makes himself as useful as he can.