You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
More portmanteau plays / by Stuart Walker ; edited, and with an introduction, by Edward Hale Bierstadt. Walker, Stuart, d. 1941. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b96-5-34068448 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. More portmanteau plays / by Stuart Walker ; edited, and with an introduction, by Edward Hale Bierstadt. Walker, Stuart, d. 1941. Stewart & Kidd, Cincinnati : 1919. xxx, 209 p. : ill., plates ; 20 cm. Coleman A lady of the weeping willow tree -- The very naked boy -- Jonathan makes a wish. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1996. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-21089) ; SOL MN05604.03 KUK) Printing Master B96-5. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Bierstadt, Edward Hale, 1891- STEWART & KIDD DRAMATIC SERIES The Portmanteau Plays By Stuart Walker Edited and with an Introduction by Edward Hale Bierstadt VOL. 1-Portmanteau Plays Introduction The Trimplet Nevertheless Six Who Pass While the Lintels Boil Medicine Show VOL 2-More Portmanteau Plays Introduction The Lady of the Weeping Wil- low Tree The Very Naked Boy Jonathan Makes a Wish VOL 3-Portmanteau Adapta- tions Introduction Gammer Gurton's Needle The Birthday of the Infanta "Seventeen" Each of the abote three volumes handsomely, bound and iliustratitd. PTr tolnume net 1.75 STEWART & KIDD CO., PUBLISHERS This page in the original text is blank. MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS BY STUART WALKER Author of Portmanteau Plays Edited, and with an Introduction by EDWARD HALE BIERSTADT ILLUSTRATED CINCINNATI STEWART & KIDD COMPANY 1919 This page in the original text is blank. ILLUSTRATIONS STUART WALKER WITH THE WORKING MODEL OF His PORTMANTEAU THEATRE . . . Frontispiece FACING PAGE THE LADY OF THE WEEPING WILLOW TREE, ACT III . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 THE LADY OF THE WEEPING WILLOW TREE, ACT III . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 THE VERY NAKED BoY . . . . . . . . 8o JONATHAN MAKES A WISH, ACT I. I30 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH, ACT II .149 This page in the original text is blank. INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION During the period which has elapsed between the publication of Portmianteau Plays, and that of the present volume our country entered upon the greatest war in history, and emerged victorious. t is far too early to estimate what effect that war has had or may have upon all art in general, and upon the dramatic and theatric arts in particular, but there is every indication that the curtain is about to rise on the great romantic revival which we have watched and waited for, and of which Stuart Walker has been one of the major prophets. During the actual period of the war many of the creative and interpretative artists of the theater were engaged either directly in army work or in one of its auxiliary branches. It is amusing to recall that the present writer met Schuyler Ladd serving as Mess Sergeant for a Base Hos- pital in France, Alexander Wollcott, late dramatic critic of the New York Times, attached to the Stars and Stripes in Paris, and Douglas Stuart, the London producer, in an English hospital at Etretat, the while he himself was serving as an en- listed man on the staff of the same hospital. These are minor instances, but when they have been multiplied several hundred times one begins to see how closely the actor, the critic, and the producer were involved in the struggle. Again the problem of providing proper entertainment for the troops was, and still is, a serious one. In the great number of cases it seems highly prob- V INTRODUCTION able that the entertainment along such lines done by the men themselves was far more effective than that provided by outside organizations. More than once, however, it appeared to the writer that here was a field especially suited to the Portrnanteau Theater and to its repertory. The question of transportation, always a crucial point with such a venture, was no more difficult than that presented by many companies already in the field, and doing immensely inferior work. My return to America put me in possession of the facts of the matter, and without desiring in any way to cast blame, much less to indict, or to em- phasize unduly a relatively unimportant point, it seems only fitting that there should be included in this record the reasons for what has seemed to many of us a lost opportunity. They are at least much more brief than the apologia which precedes them. The Portmanteau Theater, its repertory of forty-eight plays, and its trained company, was offered for war purposes under the following con- ditions: no royalty was to be paid for any of the plays, no salary was to be paid Mr. Walker; the company was to go wherever sent, whether in or out of shell fire, in France or in England; the only stipulation being that the members of the company should be remunerated at the same rate paid an enlisted man in the United States army, and that the principal members should receive the pay of subalterns. On the whole an arrangement so generous that it is almost absurd. To this offer the Y. MI. C. A. turned a deaf ear. Their attention was concentrated on vaudeville at the vi INTRODUCTION moment, and with one hand they covered their eyes while with the other they clutched their purse strings. The War Camp Community Service could see no way in which the Theater could func- tion for the men either at home or abroad. The Portmarnteau was, in a word, too " high-brow " a venture for them. The reader is referred to the Appendix of this volume showing the repertory in use at that time. Another official contented himself with the statement that the problem of transportation involved rendered the project im- practicable. The matter is too lengthy to discuss here, but the writer, who was able to observe the situation at first hand, knows this to be an error. The navy then asked for plans and estimates so that a number of Portmanteau Theaters might be constructed aboard the ships. MIr. Walker of- fered to put all his patents at the complete dis- posal of the Navy Department, and himself was ready to draw plans and make suggestions. The navy approved the idea, and with sublime assur- ance requested Mr. \Walker to proceed with the work of construction -at his own expense. It was impossible; the money could not be afforded, and the venture was abandoned. It is therefore very evident that there was an opportunity, and that that opportunity was lost; but it was not the Portmanteau which lost it. At any rate we are left free to take up the history of Mr. WValker's theater and his plays at the point where we left off in the first book of the series. The close of the highly successful season at the Princess Theater in New York, the winter of i1i5-ii6, was followed by twelve weeks on the vii INTRODUCTION road, three of which were spent in Chicago, and then by thirteen weeks in Indianapolis. It was in this last city that the production of the adapta- tion of Booth Tarkington's book, " Seventeen," changed all plans by its instant popularity. On the way East, a stop was made in Chicago, and before that city had time to do much more than voice its enthusiasm, the company left for New York. During the fall of Iq I 7 ScOWenteen was played regularly, with the addition of some spe- cial performances of the repertory. Se-;' ent-en was played in New York for two hundred and fifty-eight performances (Chicago had already had one hundred), arid the special performances of The Book of Job were renewed in the spring. It was during the next fall, that of i9i8, that a second Seventeen company was sent out on the road. That company is still out, the total pl.,N- ing time for the w-ork since its production be"rIg (April, i919) just one hundred and four weekss. The next summer, 9 18, included a riepertory season of thirteen weeks, again at Indianapois, and four in Cincinnati, while the following winter, just past, claimed ten weeks of repertory at teic Punch and Judy Theater in NeN York. To sum up in brief then - Mr. Walker has, beinning in the spring of i916 and ending in the spring of 19 19, played seventy-six weeks of repertory, in which he has produced forty-eight plans. This does not include the Se;'entecn run which, as I have said, totals one hundred and four weeks to date. It is safe to claim that this represents as successful repertory work as has been done in the VWii INTRODUCTION United States so far. WVe shall, however, return to that presently. In the fall of I917, so important to the Part- manteau company, a change of management was instituted, by which the following staff came into control: Stage Director -Gregory Kelly: Stage Manager- Morgan Farley: MIusical Director -Michel Bernstein: I'vIanager- Harold Hol- stein: Press Representative-Alta May Cole- man: Treasurer - Walter Herzbrun. The changes were excellent, and were thoroughly jus- tified in their results. An arrangement was made with the Shuberts, whereby booking was greatly facilitated, and with its structure thus reinforced, the Theater was in an excellent position to " carry on." It may be remembered by those who read the first book of the Portmanteau Series that in my introduction I placed the greater portion of my emphasis on the theatrical side; that is, the Port- manteau as a portable theater rather than as a repertory company. It is my intention here to reverse the process, and this for two reasons. First: Mr. Walker has in the last two years by no means confined himself to the Portmanteau stage. The recent run at the Punch and Judy Theater in New York was upon a full size stage, and this was not at all an exception. The Port- manteau was, and is, an idea, but that idea has no very definite connection with repertory as such. There is no longer the need, in this particular instance, that there once was, for the invariable use of the Portmanteau, except as convenience re- ix INTRODUCTION quires. At the very beginning, when the company often played for private persons, the portable stage was indispensable. But so thoroughly did the Portmanteau idea justify itself that from be- ing a crutch it grew into a handy staff, always valuable, but no longer essential. All that has been said of it, and of its possibilities, is quite as true today as ever it was, but now having proved his original thesis, if so it may be called, Mr. WValker may well be content to work out the future gradually and in his own way. Second: the reper- tory idea is certainly of infinitely more importance than any theatrical device or contrivance, however interesting and valuable such a departure may be in itself. As to any difference in the acting ne- cessitated by the change from a small to a large stage that amounts to little. It is entirely a dif- ference in quality, an ability to temper the inter- pretation to the surroundings, and as such would apply as readily to the staging and setting of a play as to the acting itself. On a large stage one might take three steps to convey an impression where on a small stage one step would produce the same effect. An arch or pylon wouId obvi- ously have to be of greater proportions on a large stage than on a small one. Yet in both these in- stances the ultimate effect is precisely the same. Let us turn then to a consideration of the Port- manteau, not as a theater, but as a repertory com- pany. There is certainly no space here, and just as certainly no necessity, for dwelling long upon the prime importance of repertory. Several excellent books have been written on that absorbing subject, x INTRODUCTION and we may surely take for granted that which we know beyond all doubt to be the truth, namely, that repertory as opposed to the " long run " and to the " star" system is the ultimate solution of a most vexatious and perplexing problem - how to change the modern theater from an industry to an art. The disadvantages of the present mode of procedure are too evident to call for recapitu- lation; witness the results obtained. On the other hand there can be no question that there is a prac- ticable and simple panacea in repertory; see what has been done by the Abbey company in Dublin, by Miss Horniman's players in Manchester, by the Scottish Repertory Theater, on a smaller scale, in Glasgow, by John Drinkwater's repertory thea- ter in Birmingham, concerning which I have, un- fortunately, no exact data, but which I understand is doing remarkable work with distinct success, and by the Portmanteau company in the United States. It would be well also to include Charles Frohman's season at the Duke of York's Reper- tory Theater in London; in fact the inclusion of this seventeen weeks' season would be inevitable. Where the experiment has failed it has failed for reasons which did not, in any way, shape or manner, invalidate the principle at stake. Thus, to cite the great example on our own side of the water, the New Theater was doomed to failure from the very start in the fact that it was born crippled. It may be restated to advantage, just here, that from the spring of i9i6 to the spring of 1919, a period of three years, Mr. Walker has produced forty-eight plays, has given seventy- six weeks of repertory, and has had a nearly un- xi INTRODUCTION broken run of one hundred and four weeks with one play which has been commercially successful beyond the others. Of the forty-eight plays pro- duced during this time eighteen had never been seen before on any stage; four were entirely new to America (except for a possible itinerant ama- teur performance) ; and twenty-six were revivals, modern, semi-modern, and classical. It is my belief that this record will take a creditable position in the historv of American repertory. Abroad, however, its place is less secure, but even here the Porintanteau is by no means snowed under. In the other great English speaking country there are four outstanding examples of repertory work, as has already been stated. On the Conti- nent the situation is entirely different; there is no " problem " there, for the repertory theater has long been an established fact. France, in the Comcdic-Francaise, and Germany, in several of her theaters before the war, merely provide us with a criterion. In Great Britain, however, and in America, we are in the process of building and adiusting, so that the examples of one will rea- sorably affect the other. At the risk of being misunderstood we shall pause long enough to call attention to the Irvi'ng Place Theatre,' of New York, a German house supporting German plavs, and attended very Iargrelv by a German clientele, but notxvithstandinf all this a repertorv theater of standing, and of some distinction, from which we might learn several useful lessons. However, it Since America's entrance in the War given over to the movies." xii INTRODUCTION is with the Anglo-American stage that we have to do at the moment. Doubtless, first in importance comes the Abbey Theater Company of Dublin. From December, i go, to I)ecember, 1912, there were produced at the -ibbey Theater (I am unfortunately unable to include the several important tours made) seventy-four plays, of which seven were transla- tions. Of the rest but few were revivals, as the history of the Irish literary movement will show. They were plays written especially for the theater, for particular audiences, and to achieve definite purpose as propaganda. Moreover, when the Jbbey was tottering on the brink of failure, Miss florniman came to the rescue with a substantial subsidy which enabled the theater not only to pro- ceed, but finally to establish itself on a sound run- nin(g basis. \r. Walker's company has had to fight its own way from the very start. In Manchester, Miss Horniman's own reper- tory company at the Midland Theater and finally at the Gaiety has been distinctly and brilliantly successful. In a period of a little more than two years there were produced fifty-five plays; twenty- eight new, seventeen revivals of modern English plays, five modern translations, and five classics. This is a repertory as well balanced as it is wide. In 1910, however, there was inaugurated the practise of producing each play for a run of one week, so that from that time on the theater was open to the criticism of being not a repertory in the fullest sense of the term, but a short run theater. But for that matter, I do not think that there is a repertory theater either in England or in xiii INTRODUCTION America which fulfills the ideal conditions set down bv William Archer who had in mind, as he wrote, the repertory theater of the Continenit. W Nhen we speak of a repertory, we mean a number of plays always ready for performance, with nothing more than a ' run through ' rehearsal, which, therefore, can be, and are, acted in such alternation that three, four or five different plays may be given in the course of a week. New plays are from time to time added to the repertory, and those of them which succeed may be per- formed fifty, seventy, a hundred times, or even more, in the course of one season; but no play is ever performed more than two or three times in uninterrupted succession." I This applies exactly to the ComediJ-Francaise, which, in the year i909, presented one hundred and fifteen plays, eighteen of which were per- Mr. John Palmer, in his book, "The Future of the Theater," gives the following as the programme for the then, 1913, pro- jected National Theater. The war intervened, however, and the venture has been lost sight of for the moment. This state- ment is ever, more reasonable than that of Mr. Archer, for this is intended for practical use in England while his was merely taken from France. it seems desirable to state that a repertory theater should be held to mean a theater able to present at least two different plays of full length at evening performances in each completed week during the annual season, and at least three different plays at evening performances and matinees taken to- gevher . . . and the number of plays presented in a year should not be less than twenty-five. A play of full length means a play occupying at least two-thirds of the whole time of any perform- ance. But two tNo-act playt, or three one-act plays, composing a single programme, should, for the purposes of this statute, be reckoned as equivalent to a play of full length." As Mr. Palmer remarks " this statute is both elastic and water- tight." E. H. B. xIv INTRODUCTION formed for the first time, the remainder being a part of the regular body of the repertory of that theater. In the first decade of the present cen- tury there were no less than two hundred and eighty-two plays added to the repertory of the Cornedi6. It may be of service to remember, however, that the CoinediW-Francaise was estab- lished by royal decree in i68o. If the Globe Theater of Shakespeare's day had lived and pros- pered up to the present we might have an example to match that of France. It is probable that if one were to use the phrase " repertory in America " the wise ones of the theater would raise their eye-brows stiffly and remark, " There is none." That would be nearly true, but not altogether so. It is my desire here to sketch in brief the early beginnings of what has been termed the " independent theater " move- ment,' from which repertory in this country un- questionably grew, up to the time of the estab- lishment of the " little theaters " which now dot the country, and into which movement that of the "independent theater " eventually merged. In 1887 there was inaugurated by A. M. Pal- mer at the Aladisonl Square T/eater, of which he was manager at that time, a series of " author's matinees " which appear to have been in some sense trv-outs for a possible repertory season. Only three plays were produced, however, before Mr. Palmer decided against the scheme as im- practicable. It is interesting to note that these three plays were all by American authors - How- ells, Matthews, and Lathrop. The attempt was 1 See Appendix for complete repertories. xv IN'TRODUCTION actually not repertory in the strict sense, but it un- doubtedly marks a tendency, slight, but evident, to incline in the right direction. Some four years later, in the fall of I89I, a NMr. MIcDowell, son of General McDowell of Civil 'War fame, started the Theater of Arts and Letters with the idea of bringing literature and the drama into closer relationship. Five plays were produced, and among the names of the authors (again they were all natives) one finds several which have since become famous. Commercially, the venture was a total failure, and the authors did not even collect their full royalties. A short tour was made with several of the more successful plays, one by Clyde Fitch (a one-act which was afterwards expanded into The Moth and the Flame) , one by Richard Harding Davis, and one by Brander Matthews. All three of these were one-act. American authors were willing enough to write plays, but they apparently could not suc- ceed, except in isolated instances, in writing good ones. There was evidently an utter dearth of suitable material. Nevertheless, when foreign plays were put on no better fortune ensued, un- less they represented the old school of pseudo melodrama, and farce adapted from the French and German, such as Augustin Daly delighted in. Daly too had discovered that to encourage the American playwright was to court disaster. In 1897 The Criterion, a New York review of rather eccentric merit, endeavored to establish the Criterion Independent Theater modeled on the Th&atre-Libre of Antoine. A company was re- cruited, headed by E. J. Henley, and performances Xvi INTRODUCTION were given at first the Madison Square Theater, and then the Berkeley Lycnum. It was frankly in- tended that the appeal should be to a small, select audience, and, in spite of the jeers of the press, five plays were produced - one Norwegian, one Italian, one French, one Spanish, and one Amer- ican. A glance through the list shows us that the American play, by Augustus Thomas, is the only one which has not since entered into the permanent literature of the stage. Internal dif- ferences, and imperfect rehearsals combined to overthrow the venture which, after one season, was abandoned. The success of the last produc- tion, however, El Gran Galeoto, inspired Mr. John Blair to produce Ibsen's Ghosts with Miss Mary Shaw at the Carnegie LyCeum in 1899. From this sprang The InJdtpendcnt Theater, gen- erously backed financially by Mr. George Peabody FustIsS of \Washington. The list of the patrons of this theater reads like a chapter from " Who's Who." Many of the men associated with the plan gave their services free or at a nominal cost. The three persons more directly responsible for the artistic side of the wvork were Charles Henry Meltzer, John Blair, and V\autghan Kester, while among the pa- trorns were WV. 1). Howells, Bronson Howard, E. C. Stedman, E. H. Sothern, Charles and Daniel Frohman, and Sir Henry Irving. Six plays were given, this time none of them of American origin. The press and critics were most bitter in their denunciation of these foreign importations, as they had been on the previous occasion. There was, however, on the part of the audiences a defi- xvii INTRODUCTION nite tendency to let drop the scales from their eyes, and to awake to the new forces in the drama and the theater as represented by Ibsen, Hervieu, the Thcatre-Libre, and the Independetnt Theater. But in spite of all this, one season's work saw the conclusion of the project. A part of the reper- tory was given in other cities, notably Boston and Washington, but, though a very real interest was aroused, it was not sufficient to permit the com- pany to continue. Xbout two thousand dollars represented the deficit at the end of the season; by no means a discreditable balance, albeit on the wrong side of the ledger, when one considers the circumstances. The actual results of the work are summed up in a privately printed pamphlet written by Mr. Meltzer than whom no one was more closely in touch with the whole independent movement. " What have the American ' Independents' achieved by their efforts " They have succeeded, thanks to Mr. George Peabody Eustis, the general manager of the scheme, in giving twenty-two performances of plays recognized everywhere abroad as charac- teristic, interesting, and literary. " They have extended the ' Independent ' move- ment from New York to Boston and Washington. " They have encouraged at least one ' regular ' manager to announce the production next season of an Ibsen play. " They have revived discussion of the general tendencies of modern drama. " They have interested, and occasionally charmed, an intelligent minority of playgoers, Xviii INTRODUCTION who have grown weary of the rank insipidity, vul- garity, and improbability of current drama. " They have bored, angered, and distressed a less intelligent majority of playgoers and critics. " They have discovered at least one new actress of unusual worth. " They have prepared the way, at a by no means inconsiderable cost of time, thought, and money, for future, and perhaps, more prosperous move- ments aiming at the reform of the American stage. " Coming at the time it did, sponsored bythe best minds in America, and worked to its conclusion by whole hearted enthusiasts, The Independent Thzea- ter did, beyond all doubt, have a very vitalizing effect on both the stage and the drama of this country. The next step, perhaps the climactic one of the series, was longer in coming ( i909). The New Theater has been our greatest at- tempt and our greatest failure. The details of these two seasons have been placed before the public so many times that there is no necessity for doing more here than suggesting a broad outline. If the enterprise had, from its very inception, been in the hands of capable men who knew their work, instead of being handicapped by wealth y amateurs the history of a failure might never- have been written. In its first season The New Theater presented thirteen plays at intervals of a fortnight. Of these, four were classics, three were original works by native authors, and two by contemporary British dramatists. During the second season, at the end of which the idea was given up and the New Theater abandoned, eleven xix IN-TRODUCTION plays were produced; six of these were of British origin, semi-modern; one was a classic; three were Belgian, and one was American. I have counted in this season, two plays produced the season be- fore, the only revivals. Altogether then, twenty- two plays were given, only five of which can be considered as home products. Mr. Ames, the Director, was balked at every turn by the com- bined forces of Fifth Avenue and Wall Street, while the outrageous and impossible construction of the theater itself proved an insurmountable handicap. In addition it was now found almost impossible to induce the American dramatist to turn from the great profits of the long run Broad- way theaters to the acceptance of one hundred and fifty dollars a performance at the New Theater. There was something to be said on both sides. The iNewz: Theater was a splendid and costly at- tempt, and it taught us several invaluable lessons, chief among them the occasional unimportance of money. Probably next in order comes the short reper- tory of \Iiss Grace George at the Playhouse in 19I5 and 19I7. This lasted for about one sea- son and a half, and, while there was promise of continuation, the project was finally abandoned. It is only fair to s that Miss George worked under the peculiar disadvantage of entire lack of sympathy, and indeed, open antagonism as well, on the part of several of her most important confr6res. The real trouble seemed to be one of those that affected the New Theater, that is, Miss George was totally unable to secure Amer- ican plays for her purposes. In the period of xx INTRODUCTION her project she produced seven plays; five the first year, and two the next. Of these, five were modern British plays, one was a translation from the French, and one was semi-modern American. Again it will be observed that American plays were simply not forthcoming, a condition widely different from that obtaining during the nineties when the Theater of Arts and Letters, and the Criterion Independent held their short sway. MNliss George's effort was distinctly worth while, but in the end there was added only another grave- stone to the cemetery of buried hopes.' \Vith the advent of the " little theater " move- ment, from about i9(o_, there are many small companies and theaters which can, in a broad sense, fairly be termed repertory. To discuss any number of them would require a book in it- self, and the reader is referred to " The Insurgent Theater" by Professor Dickenson as the work most nearly fulfilling this need. Probably the Wf'aihington Square Players of New York are typical, more or less, of them all, and their reper- tory for twt o years is giv etn in the Appendix. Aside from the natural condjtions resulting from the war, one reason of their failure seems to have been their pernicious desire to be " differ- ent " at any cost. In spite of their excellent work they ultimately found that cost to he prohibitive, but the discovery was made too late.2 The ma- ]ority of the little theaters are, however, too en- 1 Announcement has jUst been made that Miss George will continue her repertory during the season of 919g-1920. 2 They only failed for 3000, however: the rent of a Broad- way theater for a week. xxi INTRODUCTION tirely provincial in their appeal to warrant an assumption of any great influence, in spite of their vital and unquestionable importance.1 It will be observed that in speaking of Stuart Walker's work I have used the phrase repertory company, not, repertory theater. That is, of course, part of the secret. A theater anchored to one spot is obviously at a disadvantage. It cannot seek its audience, but must sit with what patience and capital it has at its disposal, and wait for the audience to come to it. With a touring company the odds are more even. An unsuccess- ful month in one city may be made up by a suc- cessful one in another. The type of play that captivates the west may not go at all in the east, and the other way about. There are plays now on the road, and which have been there literally for years, doing excellent business, which have never ventured to storm the very rocky coast bounding New York. And there are plays which have had crowded houses in the metropolis which have slumped, and deservedly so, most dismally when they were taken out where audiences were possessed of a clearer vision. Hence it is easy to see that Mr. Walker, playing in both the east and the west, in small cities and in large ones, can do what the New Theater and the PlayhousC could not do. True, they could send their com- panies out on tour, but the New Theater with its huge stage and panoramic scenery could find but I This statement hardly applies to The Neigthborhzood Thea- ter, or to that successor to The Wr ashington Square Players, The Theater Guild, the work of which at the Garrick Theater, New York, during, the first part of i919 has been excellent in the very highest degree. xxii INTRODUCTION few theaters which could house it, and the whole idea of both that and Miss George's company was a fixed repertory theater. Indeed in both of them the faults of the " star " system were never wholly absent. The facts that I have been able to give here seem to point to but one conclusion. That is, that Stuart Walker's repertory company stands numerically on a par with anything else of the kind ever attempted in the United States, and that it is not unworthy of comparison with the best reper- tory work in England. It must be borne in mind that, in some measure, all this has been done on a fairly small scale. There has not been the money at hand to do it otherwise, nor has there been the necessity. The company may be compared better with the Gaiety of Manchester than with the Duke of York's Theater. And too, as with the Gaiety, many of the players have been rela- tively unknown before their advent on the Port- manteau stage. It is the definite mission, or some part of it at any rate, of the repertory company to encourage new dramatists, new players, and new stage effects when such encouragement is advis- able. To be merely different is by no means to be worth while. The three plays included in this volume have all been presented successfully both in the east and in the west. The two long plays - The Lady of the Weeping Willow Tree and Jonathan Makes a JPish - both have the distinction of being popu- lar with audiences and unpopular with critics, a condition of affairs not as unique as it might seem. As for the third, The Very Naked Boy, it is a thor- xxiii IN'TRODUCTION oughly delightful trifle, unimportant as drama, yet very perfect in itself, and has been liked by nearly everyone. Combining, as it does, comedy and sentiment, it possesses all the elements that go to make for success with the average audience. The Lady of the Weeping Willow Tree is founded on an old Japanese legend, how old no one knows. M\Ir. Walker became interested in Japanese folk-lore through a collection of bal- lads; it is amusing to observe how his fondness for ballads has followed him through all his work, and this play was the result. From the first it went well. Apparently no one could resist the pathos of the intensely human story which culmi- nated in so tragic a form. One might think that the appeal in a play of this type, written by an author so well known as an artist in stage-craft, would be largely visual. While that appeal is unquestionably there in abundance, the real essence of the tale is the vitally human quality of its char- acters. One is indeed inclined to believe that we take our pleasures sadly, when he has seen an audience quite dissolved in tears at a perform- ance of this play, and all the while enjoying them- selves unutterably. It is a drama of imagination and of emotion. The cold, hard, and more often than not deceiving light of the intellect plays but a small part. It is the human heart with its pas- sions, its fears, its regrets, and its aspirations that concerns us here, not the human mind with its essentially microcosmic point of view, and its petty, festering egoism. The play is beautiful because it is true, and equally it is true because it is beau- tiful. It seems to me quite the best and soundest xxiv INTRODUCTION piece of work Mr. Walker has done so far, though he himself prefers his later play, Jonathan AMakes a WI s h. This last play is more realistic -stupid term! -than anything of a serious nature that the au- thor has so far attempted. It is, however, the realism of Barrie rather than that of Brieux, and this at any rate is consoling. The first act is ex- traorditiary, splendid in thought, in technique, and in exeCItioon. Therein lies the trouble, if trouble there be. Neither of the two acts following can reach the level of the first, and with the opening of the second act the play gradually, though hardly perceptibly, declines, not in interest, but in strength. The transposition of the character of the ITramp from an easy going good nature in the first act to that of a Dickens villain in the second may require explanation. The last sensa- tion the boy has is that of the blow on his head, and his last visualization is that of the Tramp's face bending over him. Thus, in his delirium, the two would inevitably be associated. The story of the delirium, the second act, is peculiarly well done. One feels the slight haziness of outline, the great consequence of actually inconsequential events, the morbid terror lurking always in the near background, which are a very part and parcel of that strange psychological condition which is here made to play a spiritual part. The last act suffers for want of material. In reality, all that is necessary is to wind up the play speedily and happily. It seems probable that the introduction of the deliciously charming Frenchwvoman, played so delightfully by Margaret Mower, would give xxv INTRODUCTION the needed color and substance to this portion. As it is, one feels a little something lacking -but only a little. That the play is, as one pseudo- critic remarked, an argument in favor of infant playwrights, is too absurd to discuss. If it argues at all, it is that the relationship between the child world and the adult must be democratic, not ty- rannic, and that flowers grow, like weeds, only when they are encouraged, not trod upon. The play is interesting, true, and imaginative to a de- gree; if it is not wholly satisfactory, it but partakes of the faults of virtue. Audiences, young, old, metropolitan and urban, have responded to the work in a manner which left no doubt of their approval. In New York it was slow in taking hold, and unfortunately the company was obliged to leave to fill other engagements just at the time when a more definite success was at hand. In the west the spirit of the thing caught at once; there was no hesitation there. From the beginning there has been a very defi- nite plan in Mr. WValker's mind as to what his objective point was to be, and especially in view of what I have said of his company in connection with repertory it may be interesting to suggest the outline of that plan here. This is no less than to establish in some city a permanent repertory theater and company, and to use the Portmanteau Theater and company for touring purposes. It is an amusing thought; the little theater would shoot out from under the wing of its parent as a raiding party detaches itself from its company, but the consequences would be, one hopes, less destructive on both sides. The thought, however, is really xxvi INTRODUCTION much more than amusing; it is of very real con- sequence and importance. It will readily be seen that in this we have a combination of the advan- tages of both the stationary and the touring rep- ertory company, and hence, double the chances of success. And Mr. Walker would by no means be restricted to one Portmanteau Theater. If con- ditions warranted it he could as easily construct and send out a dozen on the road, taking his work into every nook and corner of the theater-loving country. In fact the ramifications of the idea are so vast that it is useless to endeavor to do more than suggest them here. The reader will see for himself what great possibilities are involved, and what an effect this might have on all repertory work in America. During the last two years the work of Mr. Walker's company has improved in every way. The addition of new members, such as Margaret Mower, and particularly George Gaul, whose performance in The Book of Job was, in my opin- ion, one of the finest ever seen on the American stage, has naturally served to strengthen the fab- ric greatly. The older members of the company, Gregory Kelly, McKay Morris, Edgar Stehli and many others, have all improved in their work, increasing in assurance and finish. The success that has attended the fortunes of the theater has made possible finer stage effects (the Dunsany pro- ductions have been immensely improved) and the repertory has been greatly enriched by some really fine plays, and has been enhanced by others of a more popular character. One thing must be said, however, in all fairness. It has seemed to the xxvii INTRODUCTION writer that of late there has been an increasing tendency on the part of Mr. Walker's scenic art- ists and costume designers to fall away from the plain surfaces and unbroken lines of the new stage- craft, and to achieve an effect which one can only characterize as " spotty." This can best be ap- preciated by those who know the two American productions of Dunsany's one-act play, The Tents of the Arabs. I am rather regretfully of the opinion that, aside from the actual playing and reading of the parts, Sam Hume's production was superior to that of Mr. Walker. An opulence of variegated colors does not always suggest as much as flat masses. The set used by Mrs. IHapgood in her production of Torrence's Simon the Cyre- nian illustrates excellently the desired result. It is, however, Stuart WValker's privilege to adapt the new ideas, and to make such use of the old, as seems best to him. One is sometimes inclined to miss, nevertheless, the simplicity of his earlier work, especially when it is compared with the splendor, not always well used or well advised, of his later productions. His company has al- ways read beautifully, and its reading is now bet- ter than ever. The only adverse criticism., if ad- verse criticism there he at all, lies against the Stage Director himself. I am especially glad to be able to say this, for the producer whose work is too good, too smooth, is surely stumbling to a fall. The very fact that there is definite room for im- provement in the Portmanteau presentations, leads one to feel, knowing the record of the com- pany, that these improvements will be made. To return for a moment to an earlier phase of Xxviii INTRODUCTION our discussion, it may be both interesting and prof- itable to note the fact that while the Abbey, the MIanchester, and the New Theaters were all aided by material subsidies, the Portmanteau has stood on its own legs, albeit they wabbled a trifle on oc- casion, from the very start. A little, but only a little, money has been borrowed, and there has been just one gift, that of 5ooo. This last was accepted for the reason that it would enable the Theater to mount sets and costume plays in a rather better fashion than heretofore. WAhile it was not absolutely essential to the continued ex- istence of the Portmantcau it made presently pos- sible productions which otherwise would have been postponed indefinitely; in British army slang it would be called " bukshee," meaning extra, like the thirteenth cake in the dozen. The record of the Portmanteau is its own, and that of its many friends who have been generous in contributing that rarest of all gifts, sympathetic understanding. Before withdrawing my intrusive finger from the Portmanteau pie I should like to pay a small tribute to Stuart Walker himself. I do not think I have ever known a man who gave more unspar- ingly of himself in all his work. That dragon of the theater, the expense account, has often neces- sitated someone shouldering the work of half a dozen who were not there. Always it is Mr. Walker who has taken the task upon his back, cheerfully and willingly, and despite physical ills, under which a less determined man would have succumbed. His never wavering belief in his work and his ability to do that work have brought him through many a pitfall. It is not a petty vanity, xxiX INTRODUCTION but the strong conceit of the artist; that which most of us call by the vague term ideals. The spirit of the Portmanteau is to be found alike in its of- fices and on its stage; a spirit of unselfish belief that somehow, somewhere, we all shall " live hap- pily ever after " if only we do the work we are set to do faithfully here and now. The theater, the organization which has that behind it, in con- junction with a keenly intelligent co-operation or team-play, will take a great deal of punishment before it goes down. Mistakes have been made, of course; otherwise neither producer nor com- pany were human; but it is in the acknowledgment and rectification of errors that men become great. The repertory theater, the new drama, and stage craft, have an able ally in the Portmanteau. Wye may look far afield for that elixir which will transmute the base metal of the commercial thea- ter to the bright gold of art, but unless we remem- ber that the pot of treasure is to be found at this end of the rainbow, and not the other, our search will be in vain. EDWARD HALE BIERSTADT. New York City, April, 1919. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I wish to acknowledge with gratitude the assistance given me by Mr. Brander 'Matthews, Mr. Montrose Moses, and by Mr. Charles Henry Mleltzer in obtaining data, verifying dates and names, and by their kindly ad- vice. E. H. B. xxx THE PROLOGUE TO THE PORTMIANTEAU THEATER This page in the original text is blank. THE PROLOGUE As the lights in the theater are lowered the voice of MEMORY is heard as size passes through the audience to the stage. MEMORY Once upon a time, but not so very long ago, you very grown-ups believed in all true things. You believed until you met the Fourteen Doubters who were so positive in their unbelief that you weakly cast aside the things that made you happy for the hapless things that they were call- ing life. You were afraid or ashamed to per- sist in your old thoughts, and strong in your folly you discouraged your little boy, and other people's little boys from the pastimes they had loved. Yet all through the early days you had been surely building magnificent cities, and all about you laying out magnificent gardens, and, with an April pool you had made infinite seas where pirates fought or mermaids played in coral caves. Then came the Doubters, laugh- ing and jeering at you, and you let your cities, and gardens, and seas go floating in the air unseen, unsung - wonderful cities, and gardens, and seas, peopled with the realest of peo- ple. . . . So now you, and he, and I are met at the portals. Pass through them with me. I have something there that you think is lost. The key is the tiny regret for the real things, the little regret that sometimes seems to weight 3 TIlE PROLOGUE your spirit at twilight, and compress all life into a moment's longing. Come, pass through. You cannot lose your way. Here are your cities, your gardens, and ylour April pools. Come through the portals of once upon a time, but not so very long ago - today - now! She passes through 1he soft blle curtains, but unless You are willing to follow her, turn back now. There are only play-things here. 4 THE LADY OF THE WEEPING WVILLOWV TREE A PLAY IN THREE ACTS C HARACTERS O-SODE-SAN, an old woman O-KATS U-SAN OBAA-SAIN THE GAKI OF KOKORU, an eater of unrest RIKI, a poet AOYAGI WEEPING WILLOW TREE ACT I [Before the House of Obaa-San. At the right back is a weeping wvillow tree, at the left the .sinmple little house of Obaa-San. [0-Sode-San and O-Katsu-San enter. O-SODE-SAN Oi !.. . OiI . .. Obaa-San ! O-KATSU-SAN Ohaa-San! . . . Grandmother! O-SOD F-SAN She is not there. o-K XTS U-SAN Poor Obaa-San. O-SODE-SAN Why do you always pity Obaa-San Are her clothes not whole Has she not her full store of rice 0-KATSU-SAN AY! o-SODF -SAN Then what more can one want-a full hand, a full belly, and a warm body! ()-K;.ATI SU -SAN A full heart, perhaps. 0-SOD1-SAN What does Obaa-San know of a heart, silly O-Katsu She has had no husband to die and leave her alone. She has had no child to die and leave her arms empty. O-KATSU-SAN Hai! Hai! She does not know. 7 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS O-SODE-SAN' She has had no lover to smile upon her and then -pass on. O-KATSU-SAN But Obaa-San is not happy. O-SODE-SAN Pss-s! O-KATSU-SAN She may be lonely because she has never had any one to love or to love her. 0-SODE-SAN How could one love Obaa-San She is too hideous for love. She would frighten the chil- dren away -and even a drunken lover would laugh in her ugly face. Obaa-San ! The grandmother! O-KATS U-SAN O-Sode, might we not be too cruel to her O-SODE-SAN If we could not laugh at Obaa-San, how then could we laugh She has been sent from the dome of the sky for our mirth. O-KATS U-SAN I do not know! I do not know! Sometimes I think I hear tears in her laugh.! O-SODE-SAN Pss-s! That is no laugh. Obaa-San cackles like an old hen. O-KATSU-SAN I think she is unhappy now and then - always, perhaps. O-SODE-SA N Has she not her weeping willow tree -the grandmother 8 WEEPING WILLOW TREE O-KATS L-S.\ X\ Av. She loves the tree. O-SODE-SAN The grandmother of the weeping willow tree! It's well for the misshapen, and the childless, and the loveless to have a tree to love. O-KATS U-SAN But, O-Sode, the weeping willow tree can not love her. Perhaps even old Obaa-San longs for love. O-SODE-SAN Do we not come daily to her to talk to her And to ask her all about her weeping willow tree O-KATS U-SAN Oi! Obaa-San. [A sigh is heard. O-SODS -SAN What was that, O-Katsu O-KATSt -SAN Someone sighed - a deep, hard sigh. O-SOD E-SAN (Wi! Obaa-San! Grandmother! [The sigh is almost a mioan. It seemed to come from the weeping willow tree. O-SOD E-SAN O-Kiatsu! Perhaps some evil spirit haunts the tree. (-K- A1 SVt -SA IN' Some hideous Gaki! Like the Gaki of Kokoru -the evil ghost that can feed only on the un- rest of humans. Their unhappiness is his food. Hle has to find misery in order to live, and win 9 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS his way back once more to humanity. To dif- ferent men he changes his shape at will, and sometimes is invisible. O-SODE-SAN Quick, Katsu, let us go to the shrine and pray - and pray. O-KATSU-SA N Ay. There! [They go out. The Gaki appears. THE GAKI XWhy did you sigh THE VOICE OF THIE TREE O Gaki of Kokoru! iMly heart hangs within me like the weight of years on Obaa-San. THE GAKI Why did you moan THE TREE The tree is growing - and it tears my heart. THE GAKI I live upon your unrest. Feed me! Feed me I [The tree sighs and moans and The Gaki seems transported with joy. THE TREE Please! Please ! Give me my freedom. THE GAKI Where then should I feed Unless I feed on your unhappiness I should cease to live - and I must live. THE TREE Someone else, perchance, may suffer in my stead. THE GAKI I care not where or how I feed. I am in the sixth hell, and if I die in this shape I must re- Io WEEPING WVILLOW TREE main in this hell through all the eternities. One like me must feed his misery by making others miserable. I can not rise through the other five hells to human life unless I have hu- man misery for my food. THlE TREE Oh, can't you feed on joy -on happiness, on faith TE I F GA K f F aith Yes, perhaps - but only on perfect faith. If I found perfect faith - ah, then I dare not dream.- There is no faith. THlE TREE Do not make me suffer more. Let me enjoy the loveliness of things. TI 11E GCAKI Would you have someone else suffer in your stead TILE TREEl Someone else - someone else - Tl I EGA KI Ay - old Obaa-San - she whom they call the grandmother. [The Tree moans. TlE CAKI She will suffer in your stead. THE TREE, No! No! She loves me! She of all the world loves me! No not she! THIE CGAM It shall be she! THE TREIE I shall not leave I I I MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS THE GAKI You give me better food than I have ever known. You wait! You wait! THE TREE Here comes Obaa-San! Do not let her suffer for me! THE GAKI You shall be free - as free as anyone can be when I have made the misery of Obaa-San com- plete. T IE TREE She has never fully known her misery. Her heart is like an iron-bound chest long-locked, with the key lost. THE GAKI We shall find the key I -We shall find the key! THE TREE I shall warn her. THIE GAKI Try! TIlE TREE Alas! I can not make her hear! I can not tell her anything. TILE GAKI She can not understand you! She can not see me unless I wish! Earth people never see or hear! THE TREE Hai! Hai! Hai! [Obaa-San enters. She is old, very, very old, and withered and mnisshapen. 'lhere is only laughter in your heart when you look at Obaa- San unless you see her eyes. Then 12 WEEPING WILLOW TREE OBAA-SAN My tree! My little tree! NVhy do you sigh TILE TREE Hai! Hai! Hai! OBAA-SAN Sometimes I think I pity you. Yes, dear tree! TIIE TREE Hai! Hai! Hai! THE' GAKI Now I am a traveller. She sees me pleasantly. - Grandmother! OBAA-SAN Ay, sir! THIE GAKI Which way to Kyushu 013AA-SAN You have lost your way. Far, far back beyond tde ferry landing at Ishiyama to your right. That is the way to Kyushu. lTIE (GAKI Ah, me! 01B A A-SAN YOu are tired. Will you not sit and rest- W1ill you not have some rice Till. CAKI Oh, no.- Where is your brood, grandmother (GBA;\-SA N I have no brood. I am no grandmother. I am no mother. TII, GAKI XWhat! Are there tears in your voice OB A A-SAN Tears! Why should I weep '3 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS THE GAKI I do not know, grandmother! OBAA-SAN I am no grandmother! WN'ho sent you here to laugh at me -Sode-San 'Tis she who laughs at me, because Til. (AKI No one, old woman OBAA-SAX .N Yes, yes, old woman. That is it. Old woman! -Who are you I am not wont to cry my griefs to any one. THE GAKI Griefs You have griefs OBAA-SAN Ay! Even I -she whom they call Obaa-San -have griefs.- Even I! But they are locked deep within me. No one knows! THE GAKI Someone must know. OBAA-SAN I shall tell no one. THE GAKI Someone must know! OBAA-SAN You speak like some spirit -and I feel that I must obey. THE GAKI Someone must know! OBAA-SA N I shall not speak. Who cares -What is it I shall do Tell my story - unlock my heart - so that O-Sode-San may laugh and laugh and I4 WEEPING WILLOW TREE laugh. Is it not enough that some evil spirit feeds upon my deep unrest TIHE GAKI Hlow can one feed upon your unrest when you lock it in your heart (The voices of O-Sode- San and 0-Katsu-San are heard calling to Obaa- San) I-lere come some friends of yours. Tell them your tale. [Ile goes out. OBAA-SA N Strange. I feel that I must speak out my heart. [0-Sode-San and 0-Katsu-San come in. O-SOD E-SA N Good morning, grandmother! OI3AA-SAN (with a strange wistfulness in her tone) Good morning, O-Sode-San. Good morning, O-Katsu-San. May the bright day bring you a bright heart. O-KATSU-SAN And you, Obaa-San. O-SOD F-SAN I-low is the weeping willow tree, grandmother OB AA-SAN It is there -close to me. O-SODE-SAN And does it speak to you, grandmother- OBAA-SA N I am no grandmother! I am no grandmother ! I am no mother! O-Sode, can you not under- standl I am no mother.- I am no wife.- There is no one., I am only an old woman.- In the spring I see the world turn green and I hear the song of happy birds and feel the per- fumed balmy air upon my cheek -and every is MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS spring that cheek is older and more wrinkled and I have always been alone. I see the stars on a summer night and listen for the dawn- and there never has been a strong hand to touch me nor tiny fingers to reach out for me. I have heard the crisp autumn wlinds fight the falling leaves and I have known that long winter days and nights were coming - and I have always been alone -alone. I have pretended to you - what else could I do Grandmother! Grandmother! Every time you speak the name, the emptiness of my life stands before me like a royal Kakemono all covered with unliving people. 0-SODE-SA N' You never seemed to care. OBAA-'..-AN Did I not care! Grandmother! Grand- mother! Why Because I loved a weeping willow tree. Because to me it was real. It was my baby. But no lover ever came to woo. No words ever came to me.- Think you, 0- Sode-San, that the song of birds in the branches is ease to an empty heart. Think you that the wind amongst the leaves soothes the mad un- rest in here. (She beats her breast) I have no one - no one. I talk to my weeping willow tree - but there is no answer - no answer, O-S de-San - only stillness - and yet - sometimes I think I hear a sigh.- Grand- mother! Grandmother! There! Is that enough I've bared my heart to you. Go spread the news - I am lonely and old - old. i6 WEEPING WILLOW TREE I have always been lonely. Go spread the news. O-KATSU-SAN No, Obaa-San. We shall not spread the news. No one shall know. O-SODE-SAN But - we pity you. OBAA-SANT I need no pity.- Now my heart is unlocked. The dread Gaki of Kokoru who feeds upon un- rest can come to me and feed upon my pain. I care not. THE TREE Hai! Hai! Hai ! O-KATS U-SAN Someone sighs. OBAA-SAN Yes. It is my tree. Perhaps there, too, someone in deep distress is imprisoned -as I am imprisoned in this body.- Hai! You do not know. You do not know! O-SODE-SAN Obaa-San - we have been hurting. I never knew - I am sorry, Obaa-San. O-KATS U-SAN You have been lonely, Obaa-San, but you have always been lonely. I know the having and I know the losing. O-SODE-SAN Ay. 'Tis better to long for love than to have it -and then lose. Look at me, whom the villagers call the bitter one. He came to me so long ago.- It was spring, Obaa-San, and 17 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS perfume filled the air and birds were singing and his voice was like the voice from the sky- dome all clear and wonderful. Together we saw the cherry trees bloom - once: and on a summer night we saw the wonder of the fire- fly fete. My heart was young and life was beautiful. We watched the summer moon- and when the autumn came- Ai! Ai! Ai! Obaa-San.-I knew a time of love -and oh, the time of hopelessness ! And I shut my heart. I did not see, Obaa-San. OBAA-SAN You knew his love, O-Sode-San. You touched his hand. 0-K ATS U-SAN But what is that To her -my little girl - I gave all my dreams. I felt her baby hands in mine and in the night I could reach out to her. I lived for her. And then, one day- Obaa-San, I had known the joy of motherhoq I and I had known the ecstasy of - child - and now- Her little life with me was onlv ai dream of spring, but still my back is warm with the touch of her babyhood. The little toys still dance before my eyes. Oh, that was long ago. - Now all is black. OBAA-SAN All blackness can never fill a mother's heart.- O-Katsu-San, you have known the baby's hand in yours. But I am old -and I have never known, can never know.- I'd go to the lowest hells if once I might but know the touch of my own child's hand. i8 WEEPING WILLOW TREE TlEl TREE Hai! Hai! Hai OBA3A-SA N Just once -for one short day-to fill the empty place in my heart that has always been empty - and a pain - O-SODE-SAN Who is that man, Obaa-San OBA A-SAN There That is a stranger seeking for Kyu- shu. O-KATSU-SAN He seems to wish to speak to you. OB3AA-SAN A strange man. 'Twas he who seemed to make me unlock my heart to you. O-SOD E-SA N Then shall we go.- And we'll return, Obaa- San. OBAA-SAN Grandmother! O-KATSU-SAN We'll laugh no more. [ They leave. Obaa-San turns to the tree. The Gaki enters, strangely agitated. TIHE GAKI Obaa-San, for so they called you, tell me did you say you'd go to the lowest hells if you might know the touch of your own child OBAA-SAN Forever - could I but fill this emptiness in my mother-heart. THFE GAKI Would you really pay '9 MORE PORTMANITEAU PLAYS OBAA-SAN Yes, yes. But why do you ask -Who are you TIlE GAKI I am a stranger bound for Kyushu. OBAA-SA.N Why do you, too, make sport of me THEII G.K Go you into your house and come not till I call. [Obaa-San obeys under a strange compulsion. THE TREE Hai! Hai! Hai THE GAKI You can not feed me now. That cry was the wind amongst your branches. Come. I bid you come to life, to human form. THE TREE I do not wish to come. TIE- GAKI I bid you come! [When he touches the trunk of the tree, Aoyagi steps forth. She is small. 11er little body is swathed in brown and from her arms hang long sleezes like the branches of the weeping willow. At first she shrinks. Then freedom takes hold on her and she opens her arms wide. THE GAKI You are free. AOYAGI Free! TIlE GAKI As free as one in life. You are bound to the tree as one might be bound to his body in a dream -but you may wander as one wanders 20 WEEPING WILLOW TREE in a dream -free until the waking- then when the tree suffers, you shall suffer. Though you be leagues away, you shall suffer.- But first you shall dream.- Now you are to be the daughter of Obaa-San. AOYAGI Oi! THIE GAKI Do not call yet.- You are to wed the first young man who passes here and you are to follow him. AOYAGI But - Obaa-San THlE GAKI She shall feed me with her new-made misery. AOYAGI No - no - she loved me so! THE GAKI She shall feed me. You will be happy. [lie disappears. AOYAGI Free! And happy! [The Gaki's voice is heard calling Obaa-San. She comes in and looks about. At last her old tired eyes see Aoyagi. For a moment they face each other. AOYAGI Hai. ('BAA-SAN A dream ! AOYAGI Mother- [O baa-San stands mute. She listens - yearn- ing for the word again. 21 MORE PORTMIANTEAU PLAYS OBAA-SAN Have you lost your way AOYAGI -No, mother [Obaa-San does not know what to think or do. 4 strange giddiness seizes on her and a great light fills her eyes. OB AA-SAN How beautiful the name ! But I am only Obaa- San. Your mother - [She shakes her old head sadly. AOYAGI Obaa-San, my mother. [Obaa-San lays her hand upon her heart. Then she stretches out her arms. OBAA-SA N Obaa-San - your mother - where is my pain And you - who are you AOYAGI I am Aoyagi, mother. OBAA-SAN You have not lost your way AOYAGI I have but just found my way. OBAA-SAN MIy pain is stilled. There is no emptiness. It is a dream - a dream of spring and butterflies - Aoyagi! [She stretches out her arms and silently Joyagi glides into them - as though they had always been ztaiting for her. OBAA-SAN I seem never to have known a time when you were not here. 2 WEEPING WILLOW TREE AOYAG1 Oh, mother dear, it is now -and now is al- ways, if we will. OBAA-SAN It seems as though the weeping willow tree had warmed and shown its heart to me. AOYAG1 I am the Lady of the Weeping Willow tree I OBAA-SAN 1 care not who or what you are. You are here - close to my heart and I have waited always. I know I dream - I know. AOYAG[ How long I've tried to speak to you I OBAA-SAN How long my heart has yearned for you ! AOYAGI Mother! [The Gaki appears. THE GAKI Such happiness. Already she has forgotten the coming of the man. OBAA-SAN Oh, how I've dreamed of you! When I was very, very young and had my little doll, I dreamed of you. I used to sing a lullaby and still I sing it in my'heart: See, baby, see The ears of the wolf are long; Sleep, baby, sleep, Your father is brave and strong. I grew into womanhood and still I dreamed of you. And, dreaming still, I grew old. And all the world it seemed to me, made sport of 23 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS my longing and my loneliness. The people of the village called me grandmother. The chil- dren echoed the grownups' cry and ran from me. Now -Aoyagi -you are here. Oh, the warmth - the peace. Come let me gather flowers for the house. Let me- AOYAGI Oh, mother, dear. I am so happy here. OBAA-SAN (suddenly becoming the solicitous mother, she handles Joyagi as one might han- dle a doll) Are you - truly - Are you warm - You are hungry! AOYAGI No - I am just happy. [She nestles close to 0Obaa-San. There is com- plete contenttmcnt. OBAA-S A N I shall bring you - a surprise. [She darts into the house. Immediately The Gaki comes in. THE GAKI You seem very happy, Aoyagi. And your mother is very happy, too.- And I am hungry now. AOYAGI You will not hurt her! Let me go back to the Weeping Willow Tree - THE GAKI That would kill her - perhaps. AOYAGI No - no - I should be near her then - al- ways. 24 WEEPING WILLOW TREE THIE GAKI But where would I have my food Not in your heart, not in hers - I should starve and I must live. AOYAGI What then THE GAKI See ! [He points to the road. H4oyagi looks in that direction as The Gaki disappears. Riki comes in. Occasionally one mnay hear a bit of a lu/- laby sung in thc old cracked voice of Obaa-San: See, baby, see The ears of the wolf are long; Sleep, baby, slcep, Your father is brave and strong. Riki is a poet, young, free, romantic. He faces Aoyagi a little moment as though a wondcrful dragonfly had poised above his reflection in a pool. RIKI You are she! AOYAGI My -who- are -you RIKI I am a poet - I have sought everywhere for you. AOYAGI I am the Lady of the Weeping Willow Tree I RIKI You are my love. AOYAGI I am the daughter of Obaa-San, 25 MORE PORT.NLE.N'I EAU PLAYS RIKI I love you so! AOYAGI Yes - I love you so!- But I love Obaa-San, my mother- RIKI Come with me. AOYAGI But Obaa-San RIKI Come with me. Butterflv, butterfly, alight upon the Willow Tree And if you rest not well, then fly home to me. See! I make a little verse for you. AOYAGI But - Obaa-San - is very old and very lonely. RIKI She is your mother.- She must be glad to let you go. AOYAGI She does not know you. RIKM I know you. AOYAGI Yes -but I can not leave Obaa-San. RIMK We can not stay with Obaa-San. AOYAGI Can we not take her with us RIKT No - like the Oshidori - we can go only by two and two along the silent stream - and as Oshidori in silence and in happiness float on and on and seem to cleave the mirrored sky that lies 26 WEEPING WILLOW TREE deep within the dark waters, so we must go, we two, just you and I, to some silent place where only you and I may be -and look and look until we see the thousand years of love in each other's hearts. A0YAGI Something speaks to me above the pity for poor Obaa-San. RIKI It is love. AOYAGI I love Obaa-San. RIKI This is love beyond love. This is earth and air -sea and sky. AOYAGI I do not even know your name. RIKI What does my name matter I am I -you are you. AOYAGI I love Obaa-San, my mother.- I feel happy in her arms; - I felt at peace; -- but now I feel that I must go to you.- I am fearful -yet I must go.- You are - RIKI I am Riki. But what can Riki mean that al- ready my eyes have not said AOYAGI I feel a strange unrest - that is happiness. RIKI Come! AOYAG1 First let me speak to Obaa-San. 27 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS RIKI Look-out there -a mountain gleaming in the fresh spring air.- Amongst the trees I know, a glade that waits for you and me.- A little stream comes plashing by and silver fishes leap from pool to pool -dazzling jewels in the leaf-broken sunlight. Tall bamboo trees planted deep in the father earth reach up to the skv.- And there the hand of some great god can reach down to us and feed our happiness- AOYAGI Riki - I must go - I feel the strong hand leading me - I feel the happy pain - I long -I would stay with Obaa-San; but, Riki, I must go.- Yon mountain gleaming in the sun - the bamboo trees - the silver fishes - you - [Obaa-San enters carrying an armful of wista- ria blossoms. She is radiant. Then - she sees the lovers- and she understands. The blossoms slip from her arms. OBAA-SA NT When do you go AOY AGI Obaa-San, my mother - something outside of me calls and I must obey. OBAA-SAN I understand.- It must be wonderful, my little daughter. AOYAGJ Mother! - This is Riki. OBAA -SAN' Riki! - See that you bring her happiness. 28 WEEPING WILLOW TREE RIKI I could not fail. I have searched for her al- wsvays. OBA AA-SX N We always search for someone - we humans. - Sometimes we find - sometimes we wait al- ways. AOYA, I Riki, I must not go. Obaa-San is my mother - and I am all she has. OB AA-SA N Yes, Aoyagi, you are all I have and that is why I can let you go. Be happy- A0YAG1 But you, my mother. OBAA-SAN For my sake, be happy. Some day I shall be Obaa-San no more -and what of you then Go, my little darling, go with Riki.- Some day, you will return. RIKI XWe shall return some day, Obaa-San. AOYAGI Farewell. [Very simply she steps into Obaa-San's out- stretched arms and then, as though they had been forever empty, Obaa-San stands gazing into space with her arms outstretched. Joyagi and Riki go out. OBAA-SA NT Hai! -Hai! [She lays her hand upon her heart and, looking into space, turns to the house. There is the 29 MORE PORTNIAN'TEAU PLAYS empty tree -her empty heart! The Gaki comes in. TIlE GAKI Oi! Obaa-San ! [Obaa-San turns mechanically. GB AA-SA N Did you not find your way THE GAKI I found my way.- But why this unhappiness in your eyes OBAA-SA N I am very lonely. I have lived my lifelong dream of spring and butterflies a single instant - and it is gone. [She turns to go. THE GAKI I feed! I feed! [The voices of O-Sode and O-Katsu are heard calling Obaa-San. Here are your friends again. [0-Sode and O-Katsu come in. O-SODE-SA N- Hai! Obaa-San, a little lady passed and told us you were lonely. OBAA-SA N- I am lonely.- But I have always been lonely. O-SODE-S.A N What has happened [The Gaki, hidden, has been triumphant. Sud- denly he seems to shrivel as if drawn with rage. OB AA-SA. N' I waited, oh so long -you know.- I opened my arms.- My dream came true.- I sang my 30 WEEPING WILLOW TREE lullaby - to my child.- A lover came; - they have gone. O-KATS U-SAN She is a-wander in her mind. OBAA-SAN I opened my arms here - like this.- She stepped into them as though she had been there always - and now she has gone.- In one short moment I lived my mother-life. O-SOD F-SA N It was magic! Come, Obaa-San, we'll make some prayers to burn. O-KATS U-SA N Some evil ghost. OB AA-SA N No! No! Some kindly spirit from the sky- dome came to me.- I have had one moment of happiness complete.- I dreamed and I have known. Now I shall dream again - a greater dream - a greater dream. [The old women go into the house. THE GAKI What! I can not feed ! My Lady of the Weeping Willow Tree is gone! Obaa-San has built a circle of happiness about her head. IIai! I shall die in this shape.- I must feed. - Perhaps she tries to trick me.- I shall lis- ten.- W0hy does she not weep - Why do they not wail [He starts for the house. Js he nears it, the voice of Obaa-San is heard crooning the little lullabyv. See, baby, see The ears of the wolf are long; 3' MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS Sleep, baby, sleep, Your father is brave and strong. THE GAKI (defeated, seems beside himself. Sud- denly he looks out and sees the mountain-peak) I'll find them in the bamboo glade. Perhaps I can make unhappiness there. Riki and Ao- yagii The Curtains Close. 32 WEEPING WILLOW TREE ACT II a Bamboo Glade on the Alountain-side. [The Gaki comes in. THE GAKI This is the glade on the mountain side -the glade where Aoyagi and Riki think to find their happiness. Here must I feed or I shall die in this shape.- Hai! - They come. [Riki and Ioyagi enter. RIKI . . .and so like every other prince who is a real prince, he charged to the top of the hill before his men; and they, following him, fell upon the enemy and victory was theirs. AOYAGI And then- RIKI And then the Princess laid her hand upon her heart. A0YAGI Is that all RIKI Is that all What more need there be A0YAGI Did they not wed and have great happiness RIKI You can answer that. AOYAGI I I never heard the story before. 33 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS RIKI One may always end a story -just right. AOYAGI Not a weeping willow tree RIKI Even a weeping willow tree I A0YAGI How RIKI I'll show you.- Stand right here.- So! I stand here.- Now look at me. AOYAGI I am looking. RIKI Place your hand upon your heart. AOYAGI Ay. RIKI Now I am the Prince. With sword in hand I come to you. From Kyushu to Koban I've fought my way to you; - through forest, marsh and mountain path I've striven for you. Now I am here.- Look at me. AOYAGI Ah! [JVith a cry of delight she rushes to his arms. RIKI And did they wed AOYAGI Ah, love beyond love. RIKI And did they have great happiness AOYAGI Ah! 34 1 HE LADY OF THE XVEEPIN(G WVIIIL)W JTREE Acru 111. This page in the original text is blank. WEEPING WILLOW TREE [Shc nestles close to him. RIKI My little princess! I did not come to you sword in hand; I did not fight my way from Kyushu to Koban. But I strove for you through forest, marsh and mountain pass.- Within me throbbed a mighty song that I could not sing. I saw almost all the world, it seems, and once I heard a voice that seemed to call to me alone. It was at the ferry of Ishiyama. I followed the sound - and there she stood all aglow in the morning sunlight. But when I saw, the song still throbbed within my heart and I could not sing to her.- Someone else called to me -" Hai! Hai! Hai! AOYAGI And what of her- the vision at the ferry of Ishiyama RIKI For all I know she may still be standing there in the morning sunlight all aglow.- I have found you! AOYAGI And was she -fair RIKI Ay -how can I say Now all the world is fair because I see only you in earth and sky and everything. AOYAGI She was aglow in the morning sun. RIMK How can I sav I heard her voice; - a song was in my heart - a song for you.- I saw her - the song staid locked in my heart for you. 35 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS AOYAGI Riki - Riki- RIKI A dream that's true. A0YAGI I do not understand it all.- Obaa-San -you - this happiness.- I have known happiness, but not like this.-. When I was in the weeping willow tree - sometimes I was happy and sometimes I was hurt.- Oh, Riki, Riki, this glade is like the weeping willow tree! When- ever the soft air sways the leaves, I feel the same sweet joy as when the little breezes played amongst my branches. The rain - oh, the gentle little rain that cooled me in the hot sum- mer -the drops that danced from leaf to leaf and felt like smiles upon my face. Tears! The rain is not like tears, Riki. RIKI The dew is tears, perhaps. AOYAGI The dew! It came to me like a cool veil that the morning sun would lift and little breezes bear away. Then sometimes -the voice, the loneliness of Obaa-San. RIKI Look where her home lies. Far down there beyond that stream, see - there is Kyushu. AOYAGI Oh, Riki, my Riki, my august lord, why, why can I stay here in happiness with you when I know that Obaa-San is miserable and alone RIKT I can not say I only know that we are here 36 WEEPING WILLOW TREE you and I - and we are happy. Two make a world, Aoyagi. Why How I do not know. AOYAGI Can we not send a message to Obaa-San RIKI Yes. I shall go down the mountain to the road and tell some passer-by. AOYAGI And I RIKI Sit here and rest - and watch the silver stream at Kyushu. AOYAGI I shall wait - I shall wait. RIKI Sayonara. AOYAGI Sayonara.- Sayonara, my august lord. [Riki goes out. Aoyagi, left alone, feels the air in the old way. She sways slightly in the breeze, then flutters toward the steps. Oh, Kyushu! The silver stream at Kyushu! [She evidently sees the place where Obaa-San lives. Her eyes dim a bit and slowly she hums the old lullaby: See, baby, see, The ears of the wolf are long; Sleep, baby, sleep, Thy father is brave and strong. Poor Obaa-San! [The Gaki appears. TII GAKI I have lost my way. 37 MORE PORTMAN'TEAU PLAYS [,oyagi turns quickly) questioning him almost fearfuly) with her eyes. There is something of the Joyagi of the t'ime when The Gaki bade her leave O0baa-San. AOYAGI Whither are you bound THE GAKI I am a stranger bound for Kyushu. AOYAGI There is Kyushu. (She indicates the silver stream ) THE GAKI I am told there is a ferry on the way to Kyushu. AOYAGI Yes,- at Ishiyama. THE GAKI At - Ishiyama. AOYAGI Why do you speak so THE GAKI I merely echoed your own words. AOYAGI I did not say them so terribly. TIlE GAKI W'hat is in your heart came into your voice, perhaps. AOYAGI There is the way to Kyushu. THE GAKI Down that path AOYAGI Yes. Did you not meet Riki THE GAKI Riki 38 WEEPING WILLOW TREE AOYAGI Yes, my august lord. THE GAKI I passed no one - except - a tall woman who was climbing slowly and singing a wonderful song -which I had heard once near the ferry at Ishiyama. A0YAGI But Riki just left me here. You must have passed him on the way. THE GAKI The by-paths are many and the trysting places are secret -like this. AOYAGI Riki would take no by-path. My august lord needs no trysting place save this. THE GAKI I do not know. I saw no Riki. AOYAGI My lord needs no trysting place. I am here. He knows I am here -waiting. [The Gaki looks at her. THIE GAKI Riki AOY AGI He knows I am waiting- THlE GAKI Riki - Oh, yes the name - I heard it once - at the ferry at Ishiyama. He has been there. AOYAGI Yes. THE GAKI A poet 39 MTORE PORTNIANTEAU PLAYS AOYAGI Yes. TIlE GAKI He writes wonderful love-songs - they say. AOYAGI They THIE GAKI Yes,- the people at Ishiyama. I heard one.- It goes- let me see: " Butterfly, butterfly, alight upon the willow tree -"' A0YAGI He did not speak that at Ishiyama. He made that for me. THE GAKI I heard it, strange to say, at Ishiyama. Per- haps they brought it from-where did you say AOYAGJ He made that for me only yesterday. THE GAKI And I heard it - yesterday - at Ishiyama. There the wonderful woman was singing. (She looks at him) The one I passed just now. AOYAG1 That is a mistake.- You are wrong.- I know my - Ah ! what is it here - that hurts me, tears me, seems to choke me! Riki! -I am all in all to him - he told me that.- He can not make poems for another. THE GAKI I should not have told anything.- Forgive me. - I did not know.- To speak truth is deep in 40 WEEPING WILLOW TREE my heart.- I have no gracious subtleties.- I am sorry- A0YAGI In the valley there is a mist. I can no longer see the silver stream at Kyushu.- Who are you - I am afraid! - Riki - Riki - [There is no answer. THE GAKI He does not seem to hear.- I shall go to meet him. He went this way, you say AOYAGI Yes.- There is a mist in the valley and I can not see the silver stream at Kyushu - [She does not see The Gaki who goes in the direction opposite to the one royagi has indi- cated. Oh, the little day -the little day -of love beyond love.- Riki -my mother, Obaa-San. - Yesterday the mountain-top gleamed like the topmost heaven in the spring sunlight. Today - the valley dies in mist and the mountain-top is lost in the sky. RIKI (coming in singing) Hai! Hai! Hai ! RIKI Aoyagi! AOYAGI I must go back to Obaa-San, my mother. RIKI What has happened, Aoyagi AOYAGI We came up the mountain path side by side, Riki. Without question I gave myself to you. 4I MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS RIKI Aoyagi i AOYAGI I gave my love - my love beyond love. I be- lieved. RIKI Why not believe A0YAGI Your first words were -" You are she! " did not question. And now - RIKI Oh, my little love, was I gone too long AOYAGI My love knows no time, Riki.- You were gone -how can I say- ages. RIKI It was ages, too, to me, Aoyagi. AOYAGI (sof tening) I watched the silver stream at Kyushu - and I waited. RIKI What, are those tears AOYAGI Nothing, Riki - but I feel so far away - front Obaa-San. RIKI She can bridge the distance with her heart. A mother can always bridge all distance with her heart. AOYAGI Hai! RIKI Our happiness is all she wants. 42 I WEEPING WILLOW TREE A0YAGI Our hppiness - (bitterly) RIKI (We' goes to her. She moves away) Why A0YAGI The silver fishes- RIKI What has happened, Aoyagi AOYAGI Did you send the message to Obaa-San RIKI Yes. AOYAGI Did you go down the path RIKI Yes. AOYAGI Did you pass a stranger on the way RIKI No. A0YAGI A' stranger just came by.- He came up the mountain path. RIKI I crossed the stream. AOYAGI (She takes a deep breath) You crossed the stream. RIKI Aoyagi - little sweetheart - I cannot under- stand.-What do you mean A0YAGI Oh, Riki, Riki, I am so alone. Tell me what - why -why- 43 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS RIKI Aoyagi, was I gone too long Has some de- mon come to you AOYAGI No demon came. You were gone too long. RIMK I went down the path and crossed the stream to take a shorter way. I met a stranger AOYAGI Singing RIKI Yes - I think she was singing. AOYAGI She was singing. RIKI What do you mean, Aoyagi AOYAGI Who was she RIKI I do not know.- She said she would pass Ishi- yama. AOYAGI WAhere did you see her RIKI Beyond the stream- in a little glade. AOYAGI Did she sing your song RIKI My song No. AOYAGI Did she know your songs RIKI Aoyagi! What do you want to know 44 WEEPING WILLOW TREE AOYAGI Did she know your song to me- " Butterfly, butterfly, alight upon the tree " RIKI Perhaps.- I made that to you years when you were a dream in my heart. AOYAGI At Ishiyama RIKI Perhaps. AOYAGI Hai! - Obaa-San, my motherI - C heart - my heart - RIKI Aoyagi-what have I fort you ! [He goes to her. AOYAGI You leave me nothing in RIKI I give you all my world. AOYAGI Hai ! Hai I Hai I RIKI Let me go and call the yama. AOYAGI Riki ! -ah I I' willow ago - [h, my done Let me com- all the world. lady bound for Ishi. RIKM Little Aoyagi - my love - she will be tender with you.- And when your tears are gone, she'll bear your message on to Obaa-San. 45 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS [He goes to her, but she draws away. For a moment he is uncertain what to do; -then - he speaks. I'll bring her back to you. AOYAGI Riki! - No! - We came up the mountain- path together - side by side.- We - but now, Riki, we go two ways.- I to Obaa-San - you to- RIKI What do you mean AOYAGi Go sing your songs at Ishiyama! Go make your poems to the butterfly.- I RIKI I have made songs only for you. AOYAGI But the songs for me are on every tongue. RIKI Ay - I am proud of that. AOYAGI The lady at the ferry at Ishiyama RIKI She learned the song to you! A0YAGI Ah! [Alofyagi rushes upon him and before she real- ies what she is doing, she strikes him. He stands petrified a moment, then faces her very calmly. RIKI I shall find the stranger-woman and send her to you.- I can no longer help you. 46 WEEPING WILLOW TREE A0YAGI You can no longer help.-Oh-life-oh, love - this too short day RIKI I shall stay near at hand until you return to Obaa-San. AOQ'AGI I shall find the path alone. RIKI I'll send the stranger-woman to you. [Riki goes out. AO X0GI Hai! Hai! Hai! I watched the sunrise only yesterday and I trembled with the wonder of the dew-cooled dawn. Life seemed all peace and - today - I have known a mother's love and my mother.- I have known a lover's touch -love beyond love.- I am waking from a dream. The Gaki said I'd waken -I'd be as free as one in life. Oh, what is this thing they call life No happiness complete a vision of a mountain top - a climbing to the goal - a bamboo glade - oh, the mist at Kyushu.- When I go back to Obaa-San - I shall love her so - hut oh, the memory of Riki - the moun- tain gleaming in the sun- [She starts sadly from the path. The Gaki enters. THE GAKI Lady, I am here again. It seemed to me that I must return to you. Something seemed to call. (Aoyagi almost collapses) I feedl I feed! 47 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS A0YAGI I can not go! THE GAKI You seem to suffer. AOYAGI Oh - I have lost my way in life THE GAKI Lost your way in life Let me help you. AOYAGI I have stood on the mountain side and I have seen the green valleys far below. THE GAKI Talk to me -as you would to yourself.-I hear but I shall not speak what I hear. AOYAGI Riki- no, I can not speak even to myself. Deep in me there is a hurt.- I can not tell- THE GAKI A woman gives all; - the man forgets. AOYAGI But to Riki - he knows - I brought him my full belief - my all-in-all. THE GAKI Your perfect faith. AOYAGI Ay, my perfect faith.- He spoke to me and then I bowed to my august lord.- I followed him without question.- And he forgets so soon. THE GAKI Are you sure he has forgotten AOYAGI You know -you saw the lady from Ishiyama. THE GAKI True.- I saw her. 48 WEEPING WILLOW TREE AOYAGI You did not meet him on the path. TIlE, GAKI True.- I did not meet him on the path. AOYAGI Ile crossed the stream. TIHE GAKI Perhaps to shorten the way. AOYAGI le met her in a little glade.- Hail TIlE GAKI What shall you do AOYAGI I'll go my way. I'll return to Obaa-San. TI-. GAKI I'll guide you down the mountain side.- Come, we'll take the shorter way -the by-paths across the stream - through the little glade AOXYAGI (She looks about once more at the scene of her happiness) Hai! TI G EAKI Come! AOYAGI No, let us go down the path.- I want to see my footprints - side by side with his. THlE GAKI Perhaps they're being crushed under the feet of the lady from Ishiyama! [floyagi starts a moment as though to fly along the path before the lady comes.- She sways slowly - and then falls in a pitiful little heap. - The Gaki takes her in his arms and, utterly triumphant, starts up the mountain-side. 49 MORE PORTMIANTEAU PLAYS We'll go up -up -sweet Aoyagi. to the snow peak - gleaming in the sun.- You'll find the mountain-top - not lost in the sky.- Your perfect faith - Oh, you silly human - oh, fu- tile love - climb, Aovagi - climb without love.- But first we'll make footprints for the lover's eyes.- Blindness will lead him to the mists at Kyushu.- Jealousy will lead you to the lonely stars. [He holds loyagi so that her feet touch the ground - toward the downward path. Then with a wild laugh, he turns toward the mountain top. As the laughter dies, the voice of Riki is heard calling Aoyagi! Aoyagi! . . . Oi The laugh of The Gaki is heard once mnore very far away - as he ascends the mountain with his burden. RIKI Aoyagi! - Aoyagi! [Riki coimes running in. Presently he sees the footprints. Oi! - Aoyagi! [He runs down the path. Aoyagi! - Aoyagi! [Far, very far away The Gaki's laugh is heard. RIKI Aovagi I -Aoyagi! [Night has fallen slowly. Aoyagi! - Aoyagi! The Curtains Close. 5o WEEPING WILLOW TREE ACT III Before the House of Obaa-San [It is moonlight. ifs the curtain opens, Obaa- San is heard singinsq the lullaby; from the dis- tance the voice of Riki calls. RIKI Aoyagi! - Aoyagi! - Aoyagi! - Aoyagi! Oi ! [Obaa-San appears in the doorway. Aoyagi! OBAA-SAN (She goes toward the voice) Oi! [Riki enters. RIKI Obaa-San! Where is Aoyagi 0BA \ -SA\ N Where is Aoyagi RIKI Is she not here OBA A-SA N She is not here. Where Riki! RIKI I left her in the bamboo glade -and when I returned she was gone. Her footprints pointed toward the path -and then were lost. OBAA-SAN Why did you leave her RIKI I left her because she I left her. 5' MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS OBAA-SAN I do not know, Riki, what has come to pass but this I know - I am waiting for her.- I am waiting for her. Go seek for her - and bring her back to me. RIKI I shall search for her.- Obaa-San, she- OBAA-SAN I care not what she did. I am waiting here for her. [Riki looks at Obaa-San a moment and then un- derstands. RIKI Aoyagi! [He goes out. Obaa-San turns to the empty house - the empty willow tree. OBAA-SAN She will come back to me. [She goes into the house. The Gaki conters. THE GAKI Foolish Riki ! He searches in the valley. MIad Aoyagi! Alone with the lonely stars! -Oh, wondrous misery that makes itself. [He sees Obaa-San. She enters from the house. Good-morning, Obaa-San, my friend. OBAA-SAN Good-morning, traveller. THE GAKI Why do you rise before the dawn 0BAA-SAN- I could not rest.- Why are you not at Kyushu THE GAKI There is a mist at Kyushu -and I feared to lose my way. 52 WEEPING WILLOW TREE OBAA-SA\N Did you pass a little lady -Aoyagi, by name - alone TIlE GAKI It seems -I met a little lady.- She was not happy.- That one o) B A-SAN Where TILE GAKI I am a stranger here -I cannot say. Over there - or over there. OBAA-SAN She will come to me, perhaps. T1111 GAKI Do you know her OBAA-SAN She is my daughter,- Aoyagi. T1 1 1 GAKI Do you not fear for her ()1'Ai-SAN Ierhaps.- She will be here soon.- Riki has gone for her. '1 I . GAKI She must know the way. [The vOices of O-Sode and 0-Katsu are heard. This has been a restless night for age. (He disappears. 0-Sode-San and 0-Katsu-San en- ter) OBAA-SAN Good-morning, O-Sode-San. Good-morning, O-Katsu-San.- The lily hands of sleep have passed you by. O-KATSU-SAN A strange unrest has seized upon me. I think 53 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS and think of my little one. She is glorious in my heart, and words with wings seem to flash before my eyes like fireflies in the dark- ness. O-SODE-SA N I, too, have lived in words. O-KATS U-SAN Obaa-San, is it not wonderful to put a joy or pain in words OBAA-SAN Ah, yes - if there is anyone to hear them. All my long, long years before Aoyagi came to me, my heart sang, and words freighted with my dreams and my love would come to me -- here; and they would die because they found no ear attuned to them.- Tell me what you thought. O-Sode-San. 0-SODE-SAN The moon in calm restlessness Shows the water grasses of the River of Heaven, Swaying in the cool spring air I know the time to meet my lover Is not too far away. OBAA-SA N Everv one has a poem in his heart, I believe.- What was your poem, O-Katsu O-KATSU-SANN Oh, messenger of the other world, My little one is young; She can not find her waav Do you kindly take my little one Upon your warm, broad back Along the twilight path. 54 WEEPING WILLOW TREE O-SODE-SAN And you, Obaa-San, - was it words that kept sleep from your eyes OBAA-SA N Ay, bitter dream-words. And for the bitter- ness I am paying dearly.- Over and over the words came to me: Here lies my daughter's sleeping body On the mat beside me. But her soul is far away Asleep in her lover's arms - And I. her white-haired mother, Hold only an empty shell. Oh, I am ashamed - ashamed.- And just now Riki came to me -and told me he could not find Aoyagi. O-KATSU-SAN AND O-SODE-SAN Hai I O-SODE-SAN Can we not search for her OBAA-SA N I am waiting here.- She may find her way back.- I would not hasve her come to an empty house.- Come - let's go within - and dream that yours and yours and mine are on their way to us. [The old women go into the house. There is just a moment's silence - then: AOYAGI Hai! Hai ! Hai I [Aoyagi, utterly forlorn, enters. She looks at the house, turns and sees the mountains, covers 55 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS her eyes, and drags herself wearily to the willow tree. She moans as though winter had fallen upon the world and were taunting her. The Gaki enters. THE GAKI So you have found your way - in life. AOYAGI Oh, let me go back to my tree! THE GAKI No, little Aoyagi- you would be happy then. A0YAGI Let me die! THE GAKI One can not die. AOYAGI Hai! THE GAKI Where have you been AOYAGI So far - so far! I am weary.- When I awoke, I was on the mountain-top - alone. THE GAKI W\Vere there no stars AOYAGI Oh - the stars, the lonely, lonely stars! I tried to touch them - they seemed so near.- I found the path - the glade - our footprints - strange people - I am here. Let me back! Let me back! THE GAKI And what of Riki AOYAGI He does not care. WEEPING WILLOW TREE THIE GAKI And what of Obaa-San AOYAGI What can. I give to Obaa-San now - but mis- ery Am I never to be free THIIF GAKI What would you do if you were free -climb to the mountain top to see the lonely stars AOYAGI Hla! - Riki! - Ohaa-San! [Obaa-San enters. The Gaki disappears. OBAA-SAN Was my name spoken in the dawn AOYAGI IMother! [JJWith a cry of joy, Obaa-San enfc in her arms. OBAA-SAN Nadeshiko! MIy little girl! AOYAGI XWhere is Riki OB A.-SAN I-le has gone to search for you. AOYAGI Was he alone OBIAA-SAN Alone AOYAG I Yes. \Vas there no woman with hii from Ishlyama OBAA-SAN A lady from- AOYAGI Yes - tall - fair - singing 57 olds Aoyagi m -a lady NIORE PORTMNIAN'TEAU PLAYS OBAA-SAN He was alone. A lady from Ishiyama - (Jo- yagi shudders with dread) brought me a mes- sage in the early night - AQYAGI It was she - young OBAA-SA N No - old. AOYAGI Had she seen Riki OBAA-SAN Yes. On the mountain-side AOYAG1 The stranger said she was young and fair. OBAA-SAN Perhaps the stranger did not see with honest eyes. AOYAGI He would not lie. OBAA-SAN Sometimes the eyes and the ears lie. AGYAGI Ah! OBAA-SAN' And if she had been young and fair AOYAG1 Riki met her in a glade. OBAA-SAN Did you see them meet AOYAGI No - she was singing. OBAA-SAN A happy song, perhaps. 58 WEEPING WILLOW TREE AOYAGI She sang the song he made to me. OBAA-SAN flow do you know AOYAGI Riki said she knew his song to me. OB AA-SAN Ah, that is beautiful, that she should love his song to you. AOYAGI le- 013AA-SAN' My little darling, I do not know what really happened; but this I know, you did not speak fairly to Riki or Riki did not speak fairly to you. Almost every unhappiness comes because we speak too much of our pride and speak too little of our hearts. AOYAGI I asked him if he saw her. 013 AA-SAN' Why AOYAGI A stranger told me OB\AA-SAN \Was it the stranger you believed before Riki could defend himself AOYAGI But, mother, I gave my all in all to Riki. He does not care. OJ3AA-SAN Do you know AOYAGI I asked Riki if they met 59 MORE PORTMAI NTEAU PLAYS OBAA-SAN Did he tell you AOYAGI He seemed to be proud to tell. OBAA-SA N Then he was unashamed to tell- AOY.\GI I asked him questions. OBAA-SAN But did you ask him the great question in your heart -\OYAGI Oh- 013 -A-SAN Did you say, " Riki, my love, you are in all my heart. Am I in all yours A0YAGI He told me that. OBAA-SAN And did you believe A0YAGI .Above all the world! o0IAA-SAN Then why doubt him later AOYAGJ The lady from Ishiyama passed by. OBAA-SAN My child, a lady bound for Ishiyama passed by! Had she been singing all the love-songs of all the worlds; had she been fairer than the lotus-flower, why should you have doubted Riki AOYAGI A stranger 6o WEEPING WILLOW TREE 013 AA-SAN A stranger!-a stranger! -Oh, why -why - why do the eyes of love grow blind because a stranger speaks You, Aoyagi, did not see the lady bound for Ishiyama. You did not hear her song - and yet upon the ears and eyes of a stranger you would shatter your love.- I saw the lady.- She was singing.- She was not fair.- If she had been - Oh, my little child - Riki is Riki, your august lord, the lord of your life. When he comes back, go to him and speak from your heart. A0YAGI What shall I say O0' AAR-SAN I need not tell your heart.- It is only your head that can not learn to speak unprompted.- Do you love Riki AOYAGI Ay -so dearly! [ The voice of Riki is heard. RIKI Aoyagi! AOY AGI Hie is coming! [0Obaa-San, unnoticed, goes into the house. Riki enters. RIKI A0ovagi [JWhen he sees she is safe, he drops suddenly. She goes to hiM. AOYAGI Riki, my august lord, listen to my heart.- 6i MORE PORTMIAN TEAU PLAYS Forget my anger.-Tell me once again that you love me.- I'll believe. RIKI You know - I have always loved you.- When you were a song in my heart, I loved you so! And now A0YAG1 Oh, Riki, can we ever forget the blow I struck RIKI That was yesterday - see, this is today: the dawn has spread across the sky. What shall we (lo Look back upon the bitterness of yes- terday, or try to see the fears of tomorrow, or live in the gladness of today AOYAG1 The Gaki of Kokoru is here at the tree. I-le will not let us live in happiness. Hie let me go with you because he meant to feed upon the misery of poor Obaa-San. RIKI He has not come upon us vet. We are strug- gling against tomorrow. This is the dawning of today. A0YAGI Then shall we live - today. [Obaa-San enters from the house. OBAA-SAN Come, Aovagi; come, R iki. We have found happiness at our door. Moith-i there is rice and tea. Come. [They go into the house. Thc- Gaki enters. THE GAKI There is love'! - Now what shall I do for mis- ery Old Obaa-San rem-nembers happiness. 62 This page in the original text is blank. 0 z- C Hi : ,:I'l l WEEPING WILLOW TREE She has taught O-Katsu and O-Sode to remem- ber happiness. The lovers are reunited; now they understand.- And I - I, ah, I must die in this dread shape and stay in this hell through all the eternities unless I bring new misery to them. What can I do (He turns to see the tree) Ah - I shall kill the tree - slowly - slowly - and I'll feed upon them all. Aoyagi is bound to the tree as one is bound to his body in a dream.- I'll kill the tree. [He draws his short sword and smites the tree. There is a cry from the house and Aoyagi en- ters quickly, followed by Riki, Obaa-San, 0-Katsu-San, and O-Sode-San. Joyagi holds her heart. RIKI Aoyagi! (She droops in his arms. Obaa-San lays her hand upon her dear child's head. 0-Kats u-San understandso The Gaki in tri- umph smiles again. Aoyagi cries out and shud- ders as she clings to Riki) Oh, whatever power gave strength to me and led me to my love, give me the chance to save my love. AOYAGI The tree! -The tree! [The Gaki smites again. RIKI The Gaki of Kokoru! Ay, I know! I know I I fight a fear, Obaa-San. Hold Aoyagi fast - with all your love.- I shall find the Gaki of Kokoru! (The Gaki smites the tree again and again, and at each stroke Joyagi fails more and more until she finally crumples in a heap among the three old women) All strength ! 63 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS All faith to me ! Into my hands give the power to break the bitterest hell asunder! Into my eyes put light that I may see the cowardly fears that infest our way.- Gaki ! Gaki ! where are you -I pass about you and in my heart I carry fearlessness and faith.- Upon your wickedness I hurl belief.- Ah, now, I see you. THE GAKI Let me go ! Let me go! RIKI You shall bring misery into no more hearts I THE GAKI Ah, pity me! Let me go! I must feed or I shall die ! RIKI You shall feed no more! THE GAKI Do not let me die in this sixth hell! Do not let me die! Once I was human - like you and you. I came into this hell because I was bitter in life.- I made misery for others.- I put mischief in their minds.- RIKI (leaping upon him) You shall make no more misery. THE GAKI Let me feed! Let me live! I can not die thus. RIKI (throttling him) Dread demon, the end has come ! THE GAKI Please - please - hear me. RIKI Nay, you have made your last horror in our lives. 64 WEEPING WILLOW TREE OB AXA-SA N Riki! Hear him - hear him.- We know not what we do, perhaps. RIKI Then speak. TlHE GAKI Let me go! Do you think it did not punish me to see your misery, to bring misery upon you That is what these hells are. In life we can not always see what wretchedness we make; in the hells we see and know and understand, but we can not escape our evil until we've sucked the bitterness, the horror to the blackest end. Oh - five hells lie between me and human life. In each I may perchance forget the lesson learned before. Let me live! Let me live! - I can not fight your faith! - Let me live! RIKI \What further harm will you do THE GAKI I cannot help myself. I must live on you.- You are young [He tears himself from Riki and once more rashes to the tree. Aoyagi writhes a moment in agony. Riki leaps upon The Gaki, throt- tling him once more. The struggle is terriffic. RIKI Die! T11E. GAKI Let me go! Let me live! -I promise any- thing I RIKI Too late! - You shall harm no more ! [WJith one supreme ef ort, The Gaki draws him- MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS self to his full height and seems about to crush Riki. le leaps upon the prostrate Ioyagi and flings her body high above his head. Riki starts for him. THE GAKI I shall live ! I shall live I RIKI Aoyagi I THE GAKI Come not near me, Riki, or I shall crush her at your feet. I shall live! [He laughs the hideous laugh of triumph which rang out on the mountain side yesterday. OBAA-SA.N Give her back to us! Feed on me! THE GAKI In your heart there is only hope and beautiful memory. Old fool, I can not feed on you.- But now in my arms I hold the precious gift by which I shall pass from hell to hell. O-KATSU-SAN' Take me! THE GAKI Silly old woman, you, too, like Obaa-San, can not feed me. Age learns to grasp at bubbles and pretend that they are stars. O-KATSU-SAN But I shall dream of my little girl. THE GAKI Av, dream of her and have tender memories that are not pain. O-SODE-SAN I shall think of him and long for him, my lover. 66 WEEPING WILLOW TREE TIFi GAKI Aiv, and in the memory of the firefly fete you'll make a poem that will leave you all melting-like and holy - then where shall I feed RIKI Obaa-San, are you content I'll let her die at mny own hand before I'll let him live. [He draws his dagger and leaps toward The Gaki; but old Obaa-San is too swift for him. She catches his hand. OBAA-SA N Riki! Would you l ill the evil by killing the joy of us all RIKI But the joy - my little Aoyagi - can not live so. See OBAA-SA N O Gaki of Kokoru - I stand before you, no longer a suppliant. I am old and in my years I have known all the wanting, all the hopeless- ness one can know in life. But in your evil way, you brought to me a moment of happiness yesterday and in that moment I saw the beauty that I had always believed must be and yet that I had never known. In your evil arms you hold the treasure of my life -you hold the songs that filled the heart of Riki. But you do not feed, oh, Gaki of Kokoru. You can not feed. Oh, Gaki, what is this sixth hell of yours - Who made it Some man who was afraid of the joy of life; -it was too beautiful for his belief. Misery makes itself: so happiness makes itself. You stand before us, holding the darling of our dreams, but there is no misery 67 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS so great as yours. See! I stand before you -unafraid -and in my heart lies happiness. - Aoyagi rested in my arms and my breast is warm and there is a glory where her dear head lay. In my life - if you take her from me - there will be an emptiness.- There will be long silences in the days to come; but my breast will still be warm with her touch and my ears will still hear the sweet words you cannot unsay - the lullaby I sang.- Oh, Gaki -it has been sung to her.- The climbing to the mountain gleaming in the sun - the glade where love found the perfect mystery - that cannot be undone whether we live or die.- Love that has been can never be undone. [The Gaki looks from one to the other, but finds only that splendid happiness that is almost pain. He loosens his hold upon Joyagi and turns to Riki withl her. THE GAKI She is yours! - I have met perfect faith.- Five hells lie before me - but I have met a perfect faith.- You cannot know what wonder I am knowing. From the sixth hell I have seen a perfect faith.- I am content to die in this shape. Strike, Riki! RIKI I have my love. THE GAKI But a peace has come upon me, a peace that I have never known.- I seem to be on wings - afloat in the sky.- Stars and suns swing gently by -and cool clouds brush my brow.-- Five hells lie before me.- Can it be, in each I shall 68 WEEPING WVILLOW TREE find peace like this-(He falls on his knees) Now a fire rages deep in me - a pain - I'm torn.- Oh, Obaa-San, I die - I die.- Come to me - touch me - let me feel your gentle hands.- So! So! - I have never known such gentleness.- Oh, I am cold - cold! Hold me [He rises - sways - and falls. It is full day. The Gaki rises wonderfully. Obaa-San - I see - I see.- The hells were made by some man afraid of the joy of life.- It was too beautiful for his belief.- Riki Aoyagi, there is the mountain gleaming in the morning light.- Go - see your footprints side by side.- A Gaki's feet trod upon them, but left no mark - and they are there side by side. - O-Sode-San, I look across the River of Heaven; - there stands your lover waiting for you - an empty boat is here to bear you to him. - O-Katsu-San,- the messenger of the other world bears your little one upon his broad, warm back.- They are smiling, O-Katsu-San - Obaa-San- [He points to Riki and Aoyagi. Obaa-San goes to thent and lays her hands upon them. OBAA-SAN My little girl! - my little boy! - Today the sun is very bright. The Curtains Close. 69 This page in the original text is blank. THE VERY NAKED BOY AN INTERLUDE BEFORE IIHE CURTAIN CHARACTERS SHE HE BROTHER The scene is half way to a proposal. 4 hallwav with a heavily-curtaincd doorway in the centrc. Right of this are two chairs with a tabou ret between them. Right and Left are curtained arches. THE VERY NAKED BOY She enters quickly, crossing to the chairs. HE (following breathlessly and almost colliding with her as she stops) Genevieve! SHE (with a calmness strangely at variance with her entrance) Well LIE Why did you SLIE I didn't. HE I beg your pardon, you may not have known it, but you did. SHE I didn't. HE If you'll only say you didn't mean it. SHE I didn't do it. lIE Now, Genevieve, you know- S Hi, I didn't. LIE Well, why did you - SHE I didn't do it! I-E (meltingly but without humor or subtlety) Well, if you didn't do it, dear [She is adamant. Why did you run away the moment I came up to you 73 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS SHE I didn't run away [He looks at her quizzically. I just came out here. HE (hoping it isn't true) But you seemed to be trying to avoid me. S HE (with sphinx-like indifference) Why should I avoid you HE Genevieve! You make it impossible for me to talk to you.... I'll apologise if it will help. SHE Why should you apologise HE Perhaps I've misconstrued your meaning. SHE I didn't mean anything [He smiles pleasantly with more hope than dis- cretion. - because I didn't do it. lIE Now, Genevieve, I saw you do it. S IIH You'll have to excuse me, Mr. Gordon, from further discussion. [She seats herself, fully prepared for all the discussion she can force from him. H1E But, Genevieve [He seats himself. SHIE I didn't do it -and besides if I did what dif- ference does it make I'm free white and twenty-one. 74 THE VERY NAKED BOY HE (with a frail attempt at humor) How old did you say SLIE, I said I was free white. LIE But, Genevieve, you must admit that- S ilIl Mr. Gordon! HIE Please call me Henry. (In his emotion he pro- nounces it Hennery) I don't see why I should. LIE You did last night. SIIE That was different. You were Dr. Jekyll last night. LIE Oh, Genevieve- SILL You're showing your true colors tonight. III, (appealingly) I'm - sorry SEIE. You're a tyrant. LIE I don't mean to be. I think you're wo S11," Now don't be personal. I'm not interested in your thoughts. LIE But, Genevieve, won't you tell me why you did it 75 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS SHE I did it because - I've told you often enough I didn't do it. HE (bitterly) Joe- SL E Joe - what HE Joe squeezed your hand. SIHE WVell, it's my hand, and besides I don't see why I should be cross-questioned by you. HE You know I'm [He leans toward her and she moves away. SHE You're what HE I'm crazy about you. SHEF Please, Mr. Gordon ! IIE Call me Henry! Just once. SHE I don't see why I should. H E Please, Genevieve. SHE Now don't be silly! HE Oh, Genevieve, if you only knew how it hurt me when you did it! SHE Did it hurt you 76 THE VERY NAKED BOY HIE I could have killed Joe -gladly. S I I E, Honest! HIE You know - you must know ! SIll" You certainly are calm about it. III; (in the most absurd position that hopeless love can twist a mnan into) What can I do I can't be ridiculous. SHE Did you really see us IIE, Yes, I saw you. S IIr You seemed terribly tied up with Ethel. Ill I had to sit by her. S ITE I don't see why. TI I I didn't have any place else to go. SI IIF I knew you were looking. LI I Then why did you do it SITE Don't ask me why. I loathe why. LIIE But oh, Genevieve, I love you so! [He grasps her hand, not too violently. She gasps slightly, smiles pleasantly and becomes stern. 77 MORE PORTMAN'TEAU PLAYS SHE (encouragingly) Please, let go of my hand. rHe does so. She looks at him in mingled wonder and chagrin. HEI Genevieve, isn't there any chance for me I've never thought of such a thing. What do you mean! H1E I mean I love you. SILE ...Yes HE (taking her scarf in his hand) Aren't you interested SHE Why, really, Mr. Gordon, you ask such strange questions. HE Oh, Genevieve -Genevieve [He kisses the scarf gently. SHE (looking at him in wonder, disappointment and delight. Don't be silly. HE When a man's in love he always does silly things. SLIE Always HE Oh, Genevieve- [He reaches for her hand reverently and this time she seems content to let matters rest. SHE (making conversation) 78 THE VERY NAKED BOY I have the next dance with [S/he racks her mnemory. IE' Joe, I suppose. [He rises and crosses to the far side of the centre arch. sijiv (drawing her scarf about her and brushing against himt as she passes. Excuse me, please. ILE1 (torrentially) You shall not go. You shall listen to me. You have no right to treat me as a plaything when I love you so! I love you so! I love you so! I think of you all day long, I lie awake at night wondering what stars are looking upon you and I find myself envying them- every one of them. [She tries to speak, but he presses her head against his shoulder. I won't listen. You must hear me out. I've waited dlays and days and days for this chance to speak to you, and you've trailed me about like like -like a poodle. I'm tired of it because f love you so. [She tries to speak again; but succeeds only in mussing her hair. IHL I want you to marry me, and marry me you shall if I have to carry you away with me. Oh, Genevieve, my darling Genevieve, just know that for this moment I am almost completely happy. You are close to me and I do not feel any struggle against me. Oh, if you will only listen to me, I do not mean to be brutal. I 79 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS have torn your dress. I have mussed your precious hair. But I love you so! I love you so! SHE Oh, Henry - Henry - You are so wonderful ! [They embrace one long moment when an arm comes out between the curtains and tugs at his coat. He lets go of her as though he had been shot, turns and sees the naked arm and the top of the Boy's head. BOY (whispering) Get her out of here I SHE Oh, Henry, Henry, have I been cruel to you HE (constrained) We'd better go. SHE (looks questioningly at him) Please let's stay here. [He presses her head against his breast and looks surreptitiously at the curtains. The Boy makes as though to get out. He starts violently - shoves the Boy back. SHE I saw you first - do you remember - at Poughkeepsie. HE Yes, yes- SHE I think -I liked you then. . . But I never thought you'd be so wonderful. HE Let's go (whispering). Darling, let's go. 8o THE VEIRY NAKiEU BoY This page in the original text is blank. THE VERY NAKED BOY SI-fE SHE No, I want to stay here. I love this nook. [He laughs nervously as she crosses to the cur- tains. I should love to fill it full of great tall lilies. [By this time she has become lyric and swept her arms against the curtains: with a cry, rush- ing to him for protection. Henry, there's a man behind those curtains I HIE I think we'd better go. SHE Oh, Henry, you're not going to leave him here. 11E We'd better. BOY (poking his head and a naked arm through the curtains. Yes, you'd better, because I'm going to get out of here. SHE Bob! You get your clothes on ! BOY I told Mr. Gordon to get my clothes. SHE Mr. Gordon- BOY Call him Henry - just once - please, Gene- vieve. HE (stiffly) I'll get your clothes. WVhere are they BOY In my room. MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS HE What do you want BOY Everything. SHE (straightening up) Don't be common, Robert. [He starts for the door. No, I'm not going. Hen - Ir. Gordon! . . . Very well. I'll go! HE No, you won't go either! SHIE Please! BOY Well, I'll go. [Boy moves as though to part the curtains. She screams a stifled little scream and both he and she rush to the curtains to hold them to- gether. 31l1. Oh, Bob, if you won't get out I'll do anything for you. BOY WVell, I'm cold. S IF. Mr. Gordon, please go. HFE I won't go! SHE You are very strange, indeed.... I'll go! [She nears the door.- Stops. 82 THE VERY NAKED BOY SHE Never mind. BOY Oh, Henry, it's Ethel. TIJE Bob, won't you be a good sport We'll turn our backs. BOY But will everybody else turn their back HE Old man, can't you see how it is We're we're going to be engaged -and Ethel is out there - and - and - well BOY Joe's out there, tovo. IIE Well, yes. Sill" Bob, I shall tell Father on you. [She starts. BOY All right, go.ahead. I'll tell Ethel. SHE Just wait. BOY I'll get out of here! [Again the two rush precipitately to hold the Boy in place. Bob, be a man ! You are childish and common. You are old enough to know better and I think it's an outrage for you to subject your sister to this fright. We can't go out of here just now 83 MIORE PORTMANTTEAU PLAYS -and you're making it very embarrassing for us. SrE. Mr. Gordon - there's a cape in that closet. Will you get it for Bob. . . He says he's cold. [He goes to the closet. SFE, Bob, I'll get even with you. You ought to be ashamed. I'm humiliated. BOY Why - Sis SHE Imagine my being with a gentleman and having a very naked boy pop into the conversation. [He returns with the cape. HE Here's the cape. [He tosses it over the Boy's head and suddenly leans over and kisses her. BOY WN'hy don't you smother me! [Boy begins to emerge. SIlIl Bob, be careful. [He and She turn away. The Boy rises and as he does so the cloak falls about him until, when he steps out of the cur- tains he discloses trousers and shoes. BOY I can't go through the hall looking like this. SlIF You must. HE (turning) 84 THE VERY NAKED BOY - Go away, Bob. Your sister is very nervous. [He sees the boy fairly well clothed. He gasps. HIE Why SIE Bob [Turning she sees the boy fairly well clothed. I thought - How did you - Why didn't you - What were you doing in there BOY Father was going to get strict and keep me off the water tonight and just as I came down here to get my swcater I heard him coming to the coat room so I jumped behind the curtains and let him pass and then Joe and Ethel came in and I couldn't let them see me this way. And then somebody else came and then you came in -well, I got cold. lIE. (looking out) Run on now, Bob, the hall is clear. [Boy starts. BOY What was it you did, Sis S11 . I didn't do it. BOY Why didn't you do it S [L ' I didn't do anything BOY Hie said Joe squeezed your hand. SIIE Absurd I MORE PORT.NI;\NTEAU PLAYS BOY Well, I hope not, because -he and Ethel got engaged in here too! [Ile and She look fondly at each other and He murmurs, " Genevieve " as he reaches out for her. T'he Boy begins to sing, " Oh, Genevieve, Sweet Genevieve," and they become aware of him, turning upon him and pursuing hint withi a warn- ing cry of " Bob." The End 86 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH A PLAY IN THREE ACTS CHARACTERS AUNT LETITIA SUSAN SAMPLE UJNCLE NATHANIEL UNCLE JOHN JONATHAN MLLE. PERRAULT HANK ALBERT PEET MARY JOHN III ACT I JONATHAN MAKES A FRIEND [The scene represents the lumiber room in the carriage house on John Clay's suburban estate. The room is crowded with old trunks, paintings, barrels, boxes, chests, furniture showing long residence during slow epochs of changing taste. Everything is in good order and carefully la- belled. At the right of the room is a door opening onto the stairs whitc/ lead to the ground floor. A small window is set hiil/ in the/ peak of the gabled end up centre. At the left a chi/rt- nev comes through the floor and cuts into thle roof as though it had been added by Victorian standards of taste for exterior beautification. An open stove intrudes its pipe into the chimn- ney. The single indication of the life of today having touched the place is the studied arrange- ment of an old rosewood square grand piano. The keyboard is uncovered. On the top is a tiny theatre-- a model masked and touched with mystery, according to earl/ adolescent standards. Two benches stand in front of the piano, and the piano stool is meticulously set in place. A flamboyant placard leaning against the music rack announces: 89 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS TODAY ZENOBIA A tragedy in ten acts by Alexander Jefferson, Sr. The light in the room is dim, although it is quite bright out of doors. There are two low win- dows which are heavily barred. The little thea- tre is so arranged that when the manipulator stands on the box to work it, his head can be seen over the masking. The curtain rises disclosing an empty room. Presently laborious steps are heard on the stairs and a key is turned in the lock. Then A1unt Letitia enters followed by Susan Sample. Aunt Letitia is a motherly old woman who has been in the Clay home for many years. She may have preferences, but like the buildings on the estate, she stays where she is. Susan Sample is a tall, slender girl of fourteen with a very gen- tle manner and a way of looking at people that indicates a receptizity rarely met in one so old. Letitia goes to one of the trunks marked E R in large white letters and unlocks it. LETITIA Here they are, my dear. Help me with the hasps. SUSAN What does E. R. really stand for, Mis' Letitia LETIT IA E. R. . . . That's a secret, Susan, that little girls aren't supposed to know. 90 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH SUSAN I won't tell. LETITIA But what good would that do, my sweet Please open the windows. SUSAN (opening the window and returning to her question) No one would know you told me. LETITIA I would know. Yes, I would know that I had told somebody else's secret. SUSAN Whose secret is it Please. LETITIA I've been living in this house for thirty-five years, Susan, and I've known the secrets of all the boys and girls from time to time. SUSAN You know mine, too. LETITIA And I've never told one of them, either. SUSAN Does old Mr. John ever have secrets LETITIA Old Mr. John! For shame! . . . Of course he has secrets. SUSAN I wish I knew some of his, Mis' Letitia. LETITIA My dear, you never will know them. John is very quiet. SUSAN Who in the family didn't have any secrets at all 9 I MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS LETIT IA Oh, they all had secrets when they were young. Nathaniel had fewer than any of them and [Her words are lost tenderly in a memory. SUSA N Why hasn't he ever come back home LETITIA (as she busies herself with the contents of the trunk) That is his secret, Susan, and we mustn't ask too many questions. Nathaniel is coming to- day. I won't ask any questions. . . . He was a fine young man. Yes, he's coming back today, my dear. He was the baby of the family. SU SAN How old is he now LETITIA You little chatterbox! Between you and Jona- than I have to fight to keep anybody's secrets. SUS.USN Does Jonathan ask many questions IATJTITIA WA'hen we're alone he does. He's just like his Uncle Nathaniel. God bless him! sIus.\x (seeing a costume in the trunk) Oh, isn't that just wonderful ! LETITIA (holding the costume up for Susan to see) That is what you can wear in the pageant, my dear Susan. SUSAN (taking the costume) Oh! Oh! Oh! . . . I wish I knew whose it was. LETITIA Would that make it any prettier 92 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH SUSAN No, but I'd like to know just the same.... Was it E. R.'s [A cry is heard outside, " Aunt Letty! Aunt Letty! LETIT IA Oh, Susan, it's Nathaniel! It's my boy. Here I am, dear. [She has an armful of costumes which she drops nervously. SUSAN Mis' Letitia, I believe you love him best of all! LETITIA No, I don't, but I always understood him, I think. [The voice below calls again, " Where are you " Come up here, my boy. Come up to the lum- ber room. [Steps are heard on the stairs, young eager steps, and Nathaniel Clay bursts into the room. He is an eternally young man of thirty-five, who has touched the dregs and the heights of the world and remained himself. NATHANIEL (taking Letitia in his arms, then hold- ing her from himn as he inspects her. Aunt Letty! Not a day older. . . . But oh, so wise. LETITIA Nathaniel, my boy, my darling, darling boy. NATHANIEL Now, now. I)on't cry. LETITIA My boy, my boy. My splendid boy. 93 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS [Susan has forgotten her costume in her ad- miration for Nathaniel. She puts it down on the bench in front of the piano. NATHANIEL And this is LETIT IA This is Susan Sample. NATHANIEL Not- LETITIA Yes, time has been flying, Nathaniel. This young lady is Mary Sample's daughter. NATHANIEL How do you do I can't believe it. You were only a little pink cherub up there in the sky when I ran LETITIA (hurriedly interrupting him) Yes, Susan was born three years after you went away. NATHANIEL Oh! . . . And, Aunt Letitia, you've opened Emily's trunk! LETITIA Yes, Susan is going-to be in a pageant. SUSAN Who was Emily NATHANIEL She was LETITIA Nathaniel dear, you must not satisfy her curi- osity. (To Susan) You go find Jonathan, dear, and tell him that his uncle is here. 94 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH (To XVathani.l) I'll put these things away, and we'll go into the house. SUSAN (reluctantly) Good-bye, Mr. Clay. NAT IIANIEL Good-bye, Susan. You'll you SUSAN Oh, yes. Good-bye. NATHANIEL Good-bye. [Susan goes out. LETITIA come back, won't She hates to go. She's never seen anyone just like you: and I have only seen one. NATHANIEL Who's Jonathan LETITIA Hle's the one. . . He's Emily's boy. NATIIANI EL lYou mean Emily LETITIA No, no, my (lear. Emily was married, left the stage. She wasn't happy. The boy was her only comfort. NATAN IN-I EL I-Ie's my nephew. Why, I'm Uncle Nathaniel. Oh, Aunt Letty, I'm getting to be an old man! LETITAT Nathaniel, Jonathan doesn't know about his mother. I sent Susan away because I didn't want her to associate these things with Jona- than's mother. 95 MORE PORTMAINTEAU PLAYS NATHANIEL .My God, Emily didn't do anything wrong. LETITIA \Vell, she was an actress. NAT HIANIEL And a good one, too. LETITIA Yes, yes, dear. All that has been talked over many times, but John is the head of the family and he doesn't approve of the stage. NATHANIEL So! John is still himself. LETITIA John is austere, Nathaniel. He is a Clay through and through and he holds to the tradi- tions of the family. N\AT IIA N I EL I remember the traditions. Aunt Letitia. LETITIA I never oppose John. He feels that he is right. But it is very hard sometimes to live up to his rules. NATHIAN'IEL Has he rules LETITIA 'Well, he has ideas, dear -much like your fa- ther's. \We might call them rules. NATHIANIEIL Where is Emily .EITITIA Two years ago, Nathaniel. [There is a moment's silence. NATHIAN-IEL Did she ever go back to the stage 96 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH No. John forbade it. NATHANIEL And John is still forbidding. LETITIA John is the head of the family. NATHANIEL So. . . The Clay family is still an absolute monarchy. LETITIA Nathaniel, dear, will you promise me- NATIIANILL (with a smile) I'll try. LETITIA Will you promise not to antagonize John NATHANIEL Will John antagonize me I came back to see my home - to see you, my dear aunt. But I am a grown man now. LETITIA Won't you try to be patient It will be pleas- anter for me. And I have waited so long to see you, Nathaniel. There are seventeen very, very long years for us tc talk about. Let John have his way. NATIIANI E, WVell, I'll try for a few days. But I give you warning, my ideas have been settling during the past few years, too. LETITIA Remember, he is used to being obeyed just as your father was. NATHANIEL Yes, I remember that, dear Aunt; but John isn't 97 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS my father. He is just a brother to whom fate gave a fifteen years' start by birth. [As a voice calls, " Nathaniel, are you up there " Nathaniel looks at Letitia. NATHANIEL His voice is just the same. (Calling) Yes, John, I am up here. [The antagonism between the two brothers is apparent immediately. John Clay enters. He is an austere, pompous man of fifty who has the softness of the tithe- collector and the hardness of the tax-collector. He speaks with an adamantine finality which is destined to rude shattering. JOHN How do you do, Nathaniel NATHANIEL I am very well, I thank you, John. How are you [They shake hands perfunctorily. JOHN You arrived ahead of time. NATHANIEL Yes. JOHN We haven't met for seventeen years. NAT HANIEL No. I've been away, John. JOHN Where have you been NATHANIEL I shall be here for two weeks, John, and if I should tell you all about myself today, I should have nothing to talk about tomorrow. 98 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JOHN (severely) You haven't changed, Nathaniel. You are still frivolous. NATHANIEL I shall be serious when I am your age, brother. JOHN I came out here to ask you to be very careful of your conversation before the children. NAT IAI EL The children JOHN Yes, my two grandchildren.- NATHANIEL Grandchildren! My, that makes me a great uncle. I am getting old, Aunt Letitia! JOHN I do not care to have them or Jonathan hear about any revolutionary or other unusual ideas. NATHANIEL I shall try not to contaminate the children and Jonathan. How old are the children JOHN Mary is four and John 3rd is two. NATHANIEL I shall try to spare their sensibilities. JOHN They may not understand you but they will hear. NATHANIEL (to Letitia) How old is Jonathan LET ITIA Fourteen. NATHANIEL The impressionable age. 99 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS The silly age. NATHIAN-IEL Brother John, no age is the silly age. Fourteen is the age of visions and enchantments and fears. What a boy of fourteen sees and hears takes on a value that we cannot underestimate. 'Iost men are defeated in life between fourteen and twenty. At fourteen a boy begins to make a lens through which he sees life. He thinks about everything. Ambition is beginning to stir in him and he begins to know why he likes things, why he wants to do certain things. He formulates lasting plans for the future and he takes in impressions that are indelible. Things that seem nothing to old people become memo- ories to him that affect his whole life. The memory of a smile may encourage him to sur- mount all obstacles and the memory of a bitter- ness may act as an eternal barrier. Nathaniel, are you a father" -NATHANIEL No, John, I am only a bachelor who is very much in love with life in general and one lady in particular. JOHN You can know nothing of children, then. NATTIANTEL I remember myself. Most men forget their younger selves and that is fatal. JOHdN One would think to hear you talk that the most 100 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH important things in life were a boy of fourteen and his moorings. NATHANIEL One might know it. JOHN Y'ou are still the same impractical theorist. NATHANIEL I am the same theorist - a little older, a little more travelled. The trouble with you, John, is that you think no age is important except your own. You always thought that, even when you were fourteen. Oh, I know I wasn't born then, but I know you. JOHN Did you come back to your home in order to lecture me NATHANIEL No, no. I beg your pardon. I came back to see my home and Aunt Letitia and the children - and you, and I - I think - Jonathan. JoEnn Nathaniel, when your letter came telling me that you had decided to come back to see us, I was going to ask you not to come- NATHAN IEL I gave no address. JO[IN But on second thought, I made up my mind to forgive you NATHANIEL Thank you. JOHN To let bygones be bygones. I0I MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS NATHAN IEL That is the better way, brother: let the dead past bury its dead. JOHNN Why did you run away from home NATHANIEL Because we couldn't agree, John. JOHN I was older than you; my judgment was mature; I was the head of the family, in my father's place NAATHANIEL WiVe didn't speak the same language. I wanted something out of life that you couldn't under- stand; that my father couldn't understand. I determined to get it by myself. JOHN Weell NATHANIEL And so, I ran away. JO H N Leaving no trace, no word;. N.AT H ANIEL Oh. yes, I left a very impo.trtant ,vord-" Good- bye." TOHN You were willing to lease all the work of our father's business on my shnoulders. NNAT H A'NI FL You were willing to take it all,. AndT I wanted my freedom. JOHN You were selfish and heartless. 102 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH NAT HANI EL Selfish Because I had my life to live and meant to live it JOHN You should have told us where you were living. NATHANIEL I preferred to work out my salvation alone, without interference. My going away gave you a free hand. John, don't tell me that you were not overjoyed that my flight gave you all my father's fortune. JOHN It was my duty as head of the family to protect you. NAT IHANIEL I didn't ask for protection. I wanted under- standing. JOHN A boy of eighteen must not be allowed freedom. NATHA ANI EL Perhaps not, John, but he must be allowed to grow toward his goal. Eighteen is not too young for a man to fly through the air in de- fense of his country, or you. The burden of the world today is on the shoulders of men from eighteen to eighty, share and share alike. ... I wanted to be a writer JOHN And our brother Henry wanted to be a musical composer and our sister Emily wanted to be an actress! A fine putout for the leading com- mercial family of this state! NATHANIEL Well, John, our brother and our sister have 103 MORE PORTANIX TAU PLAYS paid the final penalty. Th-v have died. Henry left a handful of worthless little tunes and Em- ily left a trunkful of costume:' as monuments to their folly. And now Lrnilys boy is here under your wing. JO H N He's a dreamer like all the rest of you. -NATIHANIFI. (with interest; tenderly) Yes JOHN He spends all his leisure time playing with that fool toy there. [He points to the mnodel theatre. Nathanicl smiles and crosses to the piano and lifts the cloth that covers the theatre; then he looks at the placard and laughs joyously. .NATrFIANIFL " Zenobia." " Alexander Jefferson, Sr." JOHIN; He pretends that's his name - Alexander Jef- ferson, Sr! -NATH JINE L People like to have other names. Look at all artists - like writers, pugilists, and actors, and base ball players. And the Sr. is an effort to appear older. JOHN hWell, I'm breaking him of all that nonsense. I allow him only a certain number of hours for play. Emily used to spoil him and it's been a task to conquer him. N-ATHAIS.NEL Jonathan is fourteen. When I was fourteen- W\Vhat are Jonathan's tastes 104 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JOHN He reads all the time and he wants to write plays and poetry; but I am conquering that sil- liness. NATHANIEL I think I am going to like my nephew. John, I'll come into the house shortly. I think I'll look at this toy a moment and I'll get Aunt Leti- tia to show me some of Emily's things. A mere matter of sentiment. JOHN Now don't put any foolishness into the boy's head. NATHANIEL I promise you I sha'n't try to change the boy's head, brother. JOHN I play golf from five to six. NATHANIEL Oh, you've taken up athletics JOHN The doctor's advice. Will you join me NATHANIEL Thank you, no. JOHN Very well. I'll see you at dinner. NATHANIEL Thank you. ( John goes out. Nathaniel looks musingly at Letitia who has been sitting silently on Emily's trunk, knitting Nathaniel crosses to her and sits on a stool at her feet) Does John always talk to you so much, little church mouse I05 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS LET IT IA I have been a poor relation for thirty-five years, my boy, and to be a successful poor relation, one must learn the art of silence. NBATlANIKEL No wonder I ran away! LETITIA But you should have written to me. NAT I I .N-I EL Perhaps - I should - yes - I should have written, but I didn't. You see, Aunt Letty, I was a sensitive boy. All my life I had dreamed of doing my own work. I saw Henry disap- pointed in life, I saw Eomily made miserable enough through the traditions of the family. John couldn't understand me and I couldn't urn- derstand him. There was no common meeting- ground. John was the head of the family and so deeply was the idea of submission to rule ingrained in me that I could think of on'y one way out of my restraint. I wouldn't study en- gineering, and I wouldn't continue at Somerset School. Well, I ran away from my ancestral castle to find my way in a new world. I think I have found it. LETITIA Jonathan doesn't want to study engineering, either. N-ATHANIEL (Looks closely at her a moment and then smiles) As Ibsen would say - Ghosts' (He zwalks to- ward the window) Poor John! LETITIA Poor Jonathan! io6 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH [At this moment Jonathan enters the room. He is a slender boy of fourteen withi a deep problem in his eyes. ihZen he smiles before his elders, which is seldom, he seems always prepared to restrain the smile. His voice is just changing and this adds to his reticence. He has a tremendous capacity for expressing zwonderment and, as usual with one of his type, he is capable of great displays of temper. He gives the impress ion of thinking about every- thing he sees. He is at the age of wonder and only custonm prevents the world from becoming the promised land of visions and enchantments. NAT i IhAN I El L Poor Jonathan! [He turns5 and sees the boy. The two stand face to face for a moment. For Nathaniel it is the first moment of a new rela- tionship. For Jonathan it is a moment of un- certainty. He has heard himself called " Poor Jonathan " and he is facing another male rela- tiv e. Jonathan looks first at Letitia, then at Nathaniel and then at Letitia. LETITIA Jonathan, this is your Uncle Nathaniel. Na- thaniel, this is Ermily's boy. NATIIANIEl, (Holds out his hand uhich Jona- than takes very shyly) Jonathan! JONAT HI A N How do you do, sir NATI IANIT, How tall you are ! 107 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN (quite conscious of his short trousers) Yes, sir. NAT HANI EL I didn't take you away from any studies, did I J ON-AT H IAN No, sir. . . I was just writing something when Susan called me. N ATHAIAN-IELI. MIay I ask what you were writing JON AT HAN Yes, sir.... [He swallows. A play. NAT HSA NI E L A play! Zenobia JONATHAN (Looks quickly for some indication of laughter in Nathaniel's eyes) Yes, sir. NATHANIEL It's a tragedy, isn't it JONATHAN Yes, sir. NAT HAN IEL In ten acts. JO N-AT HAN There may be only eight. NNATHAIIANNIEL Then I know who you are! (Jonathan looks at him in surprise) You are the celebrated dramatist, Alexander Jefferson, Sr. JONATH AN Did Aunt Letitia tell you NATHANIEL No, sir. I read it on the billboards. (Jon4- I08 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH than laughs with a catch in his breath) And I should like to attend a performance, Mr. Jef- ferson. JONATHAN It isn't finished yet. NATHANIEL Well, when am I to see this theatre LETITIA Your Uncle Nathaniel and I shall come to- gether. JO NAT HAN You've seen all the plays. LETITIA That doesn't make any difference. I'd like to see them again. [Jonathan looks at her to be sure she is in ear- nest. Then he smiles. JONATHAN I'll finish Zenobia for tomorrow. NATHANIEL Agreed! Can you get the scenery ready JONATHAN I painted it last week. LETITIA You must have the orchestra, too, Jonathan. JONATHAN Yes, ma'am. Susan has some new pieces. NATHANIEL Is Susan the orchestra JONATHAN Yes, sir. NATHANIEL What else have you written I09 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN A lot of plays, sir. Mother and I used to write little plays. I don't write many any more. NIATHANIEL Why not JON-AT I HAN I'm getting too big. NATHANIEL Do you ever write anything beside plays JONATHAN Yes, sir. NATHANIEL That's splendid. Stories JONATHAN Yes, sir. . . . And I've written some po- poetry. NATHANIEL Excellent! JONATHAN They're not very good, but Susan always wants me to write the poetry for the music. [Aunt Letitia has repacked the trunk and locked it. She sees that Nathaniel and Jona- than are getting on famously. LETITIA I'll go to the house now and you can talk to Jonathan, Nathaniel. [Jonathan looks appealingly at Letitia, but with a smile she goes downstairs. Jonathan and Nathaniel look at each other for an embarrassed minute, then Jonathan takes refuge at his theatre. NATHANIEL May I see some of your plays 1I0 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN Do you really want to see them NATrHANIEL Yes. [Jonathan goes to a box on the piano in which there are many manuscripts carefully bound. He hands one to Nathaniel. JONATHAN Here is one that mother and I wrote. She loved the theatre. NATHANIEL (taking the strange-looking little manuscript. Reading:) " Robin Hood and His Merry Men." JONATHAN We used to make all those old stories into plays. NATHANIEL Do you like to write JONATHAN Oh, yes. I wish I could write real plays, but there's no one to help me now. My mother used to correct them and tell me what was wrong. She knew a lot about the theatre and she used to tell me all sorts of things. But now Aunt Letitia doesn't say anything. Sometimes she comes to a show, but she can't help me. And Uncle John doesn't like the theatre. He thinks I'm too old to give shows, but I can't help it. There's nothing I like so much. NATHANIEL May I read this some time JONATHAN Yes, sir. . . Whould you like to see it played NATHANIEL I want to see them all. III MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN Forty-one of them NATHANIEL Forty-one of them I Where do you keep them all JONATHAN Here in this box. [He shows all the manuscripts. NATHANIEL What are the pink ones JONATHAN Those are the ones mother liked best and these -(showing blue ones) are the ones I liked best. . . . I like them all now, but it used to be lots of fun to choose our favorites. NATHANIEL What is this one that's different from all the rest JONATHAN That's one that mother wrote all by herself. It's best of all. NATHANIEL You must save these carefully, Jonathan - all your life. JONATHAN Oh, yes, sir. NATHANIEL Some day you may be proud of them. JONATHAN See - she wrote this, and I wrote this. I was a bad writer, wasn't I NATHANIEL What do you want to do, Jonathan 112 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN You mean what do I want to be NATHANIEL Yes. JONATHAN I want to write plays. NATHANIEL Is that all JO NAT HAN Well, I'd like to run a theatre. NATHANIEL What else JONAT HAN I'd- you won't tell anyone, will you NATHANIEL Of course not. JONATHAN You see, Uncle John wants me to go to Somer- set School to study engineering and learn the business. NATHANIEL And you don't want to - Is that it JONATHAN I'd rather be a writer. NATHANIEL They say you can't make any money at writing. JONAT HAN That's what Uncle John says, out I want to just the same. NATHANIEL If you follow John's advice, you'll be a rich man. II3 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN I'd rather be poor. What would you do, Un- cle Nathaniel NATHANIEL I - why I'd Oh, come now, Jonathan you know John is the head of the Clay family and you and he must decide this question. JONATHAN XVouldn't you want to be what you want to be _NAT IIANIEL Perhaps I should. JONATHAN I don't see how anyone can decide what you want to be - no matter how old he is. NATHANIEL Have you ever talked to Tohn JONATHAN Oh, yes, sir. NATHANIEL What did he say JONATHAN He said I had to study engineering or go to work in the factory next fall for good. NATHANIEL What do you want to do JONATHAN I want to go to a fine prep school and then to college and then- -NATHANIEL Then what JONATHAN I want to be an actor!! N ATHANIEL I see. "14 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN Don't tell anybody. NAT JIANIEL I won't. That's pretty far from engineering, isn't it JONATHAN Yes, sir. But everybody can't be alike. You and Uncle John aren't anything alike. NATHANIEL And we're brothers, too. JONATHAN Do you ever get all mixed up and don't know what to do NATIfANTEL Oh, yes. I think everybody does. JONAT HAN What do you do then NATHI ANI EL I do something very silly. JONAT HAN Do you do silly things, too NATIIANIEL Yes. I'm afraid I do. JONA TIAN What do you do when you get all mixed up NATH I ANIEL I'll tell you- it might not work with every- body, you know - but it works with me. JONAT HAN Yes, sir! NATILA NIEL My mother used to sing me a song called- " There is a green hill far away." I always liked that song because it gave me a feeling of I Is MORE PORTIMIAN-TEAU PLAYS contentment and happiness. I imagined that I could see that hill with its pleasant green slopes and at its foot lay a little cottage all cool and pleasant and open to the winds. There were no locks and bolts to keep one out or to keep one in. I used to imagine that I was climbing that hill to the top of the world and when I reached the summit I could see JONATHAN (enthralled) I know - the whole wide world. NATHANIEL Its very bigness made me happy in my imag- ination. . . . Then when I grew up and heavy troubles came to me I remembered the Green Hill Far Away and one day I found such a hill and I climbed it clear to the top - and there below me lay the world - the whole wide world -and I told the world something then and felt the better for it. . . . Jonathan, there is nothing like a hill-top to make a man feel worth while. JONATHAN I know what you mean. . . . But I always want to jump when I look down from any place, do you NATHANIEL I suppose everybody does. JON AT HAN Uncle John thinks every boy ought to be alike. .NATHANIEL Many schools used to think that way. JONATHAN But boys don't all think the same. They're dif- i I 6 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH ferent just like men, only they don't know so much. NATHANIEL Perhaps not. JONATHAN Uncle John won't let me put on long pants until I'm fifteen. NATHANIEL He let me put them on when I was fifteen, too. JONATHAN Were you as tall as I am NATHANIEL Just about the same height, but my legs were like pipe stems and I was very much ashamed. JONATHAN So am I. NATHANIEL You'll forget all about it after you're fifteen. JONATHAN I can talk to you like I used to talk to my mother. NATHANIEL Thank you. We're going to be fine friends, aren't we JONATHAN You bet. Is it silly for me to like to write plays NAT HANIEL Why do you ask that JONATHAN Because Uncle John says it's silly. NATI-IANIE I. Well, it all depends upon the way you look at it, I17 MORE PORTMMANTEAU PLAYS Jonathan. The world has never been able to agree as to what is and what is not silly. NIr. Browning, the poet, might have considered hooks and eyes the silliest things in the world; but to Mr. de Long, they were, no doubt, the most important things in the world. Many men agree with Mr. Browning and many ladies agree with Mr. de Long. JONA THIIA N That's what I think. NATH IANIEL You and I probably have many thoughts in common. [Susan and ,IIZ'e. Perrault enter. Mlle. Per- rault is a Frenchwoman of exquisite grace and poise. She speaks English /luently, but with a charming accent and an occasional Gallic phrase larding her pleasant sentences. Her entrance into the room is electric. She has already won Susan. NILLE. PERRAULT Ah, there you are, Mr. Nathaniel Clay. I met la belle Susanne in the roadway and she told me you were in the lumber room in the carriage house and I say to her, " We shall track him to his lair." Besides, I want to see what a lum- ber room is. NNATHA NIEL I was hiding from you. NILLE. PERRAULT Villain! And this is Jonathan. How do you do Susanne tells me you write poetry and she writes music and she promise me that you will sing for me. I I8 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN I can't sing. MILLE. PERRAULT Ah! Susanne tell me you have a theatre and you write plays and paint scenery and write poe- try and sing songs and she say if I come here to the lumber room in the carriage house you will play me a tragedy and sing me a song. JONATHAN Yes, ma'am. .NATHANIEL Ha'ing introduced yourself to everybody, will you tell me, Susan, how MIlle. Perrault learned so much in such a little time SUSAN WNell, I was waiting for Jonathan to call me. JONATHAN Oh, I forgot. MLLE. PERRAULT She was sitting like a little fairy in the grass by the roadway, and I stop my car and ask for MIr. Nathaniel Clay and she say you are here in the lumber room in the carriage house and she tell me many things -because we like each other very, very much and we walk very, very slowly. NATHANTIEL Now! Now that you know all about Miss Susan Sample and Mr. Jonathan-(He real- izes hle doesn't know Jonathan's second naine) I think I shall introduce you by your pen name, Jonathan - Mr. Alexander Jefferson, Sr. ( To A file. PerraulIt) I am going to let them know about you. This, I I9 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS lady and gentleman, is MIle. Marthe Perrault of Paris, France. Mlle. Perrault, may I pre- sent my friend Susan and my nephew Jonathan MLLE. PERRAULT (falling into the mood) I am very, very pleased to see you again, Miss Sample. It is a great pleasure to have the honor of meeting you, Mr. Alexander Jeffer- son, Sr. I am looking forward to the premiere of your great tragedy, Zenobia, of which Miss Sample has been tel'ing me. SUSAN (Puts her arms about AI1e. Perrault and Jonathan is uncertain whether to be happy or afraid) He wrote lots of others, too. JONATH1AN Fortv-one. NATHANIEL I think I'll tell you two a secret. (Susan pricks uip her ears) Do you like secrets SUSAN Yes, sir. NATHANIEL And can you keep them SUSAN Oh, yes, sir. NATHANIEL W\Vell, some day Mile. Perrault is going to be my wife. [He kisses A1lle. Perrault's hand. Mlle. Perrault shows her engagement ring. SUSAN When NATHANIEL Very soon. She is here on some war work and I20 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH when she and her father go back to France I shall follow and we shall be married. SUSAN Ooh- NAITIANIEL Now you mustn't tell. SU SAN Honest. JONAT HAN No, sir! NILLE. PI RRAUTLT Now, we have a secret. And you are going to sing me a little.song. SUSAN Come on, Jonathan. Let's do the new one. JONATH AN Well, I'll try. [Ile is quite miserable with stage-fright. Susan sits at the piano and plays a chord. Then Jonathan begins to si'g with much fear in his voice. JONATHAN (singing) All on a summer's day, With flowers by the way, AX fair young prince and his purple knight Found a princess at her play. So by the crescent moon He asked a royal boon And sat him down on a soft green knoll- And the night-time came too soon. NILLE. PE.RRAULT Oh, that is just like a little French peasant song! IHlow does it go La-la-- la-la -la -Ia. I21 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS [Susan begins to play it again. Jonathan sings more surely than before. Slowly AIlle. Perrault falls into the rhythm and very simply dances a little peasant dance to Jonathan's and Susan's song. The two young- sters are in the seventh heaven of delight. So -when one is very happy or very sad, he makes a song and when he's very, very happy, he dances. And when he is Very, very, very unhappy he dies. You see, I am very, very happy. When do you play Zenobia, Mr. Jef- ferson, Sr. JONATHAN I'll have it ready tomorrow, maybe tonight. NAT HANIEL We shall have a season ticket. But now, I want you to meet my blessed Aunt Letitia. She hasn't changed one bit in all these years. MILLE. PERRAULT To Aunt Letitia then. Good-bve, Jonathan. Tomorrow is the day of the great premiere. JONATHAN (awkwardly) Thanks. MILLE. PERRAULT And la belle petite Susanne, au revoir. SUSAN I'll walk with you part of the way. NILLE. PERRAULT Very well. Marchons, marchons.... [They go out. NATHANIEL (holding back a little) Good-bye. Mr. Manafger. [He goes out calling " Mvlarthe." Jonathan is left alone in his joy. As he stands, 1 22 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH a strange, aimnless, vacuous whistling is heard outside the window as though from one am- bling by. Jonathan hears it unconsciously, moves to put his plays away, alternately whis- tling and singing ",Ill on a sumimer's day." Presently the whistling of the strange air is heard as though comning from downstairs. It stops and a voice calls out "Hi! JONAT IAN Who is it VOICE It's me. J ONATrIIAN What do you want [By this time the Voice has become a person in the shape of Hank, one of the scum of creation who asks nothing of life and gives nothing. He was born of woman and he grew into man's form, but one looking at him wonders how hle survived dirt and the mere effort of breathing. He is stoiutish zwith no marked coloring unless it be a cross between khaki and field-gray. Weather and time have conspired to render him inconspicuous. When he speaks his voice is produced wit/h a careful effort to conserve en- ergy. JJ'Ihen he zwalks it seenis to be a move- ment in answer to prayer rather than a physical f act. HANK Say J ONATILAN How'd you get in here HANK Well, it's this way, you see. The gate was open I 23 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS out there and this looked pretty fine to me so I come in. JONATHAN You'd better go away before my uncle sees you. [lANK Look here, young feller, I ain't goin' a-do no harm. JONATHAN W\ell, he doesn't allow strangers on the place. HIANK I jus' come in to ask if I could sleep somewhere around here if I worked for my sleep and grub. JONAT HAN No, he won't let you. HANK How do you know he won't JONAT HAN 'Cause it's a rule. [Hank whistles a snatch of the strange air and sits down. HA NK Where's your pa JONATHAN He's dead. HANK Long JONATHAN Ten years ago. HANK How old are you JONAT HAN Fourteen. I24 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH EIANK Your pa died when you were four. So did mine. JONATHAN Did you ever have an uncle HANK How many you got JONATHAN I got two living and one dead. IIANK All three of mine's dead. [He whistles a snatch of the strange air and takes a chew of tobacco. Where's your ma JONATHAN (Is about to become impatient, but an innate tolerance causes him to answer) She died when I was twelve. HANK So did mine. (Whistles) We're alike in lots of ways, ain't we JONATHAN What did you do when your mother died HANK I felt pretty sorry. JONATHAN Did your brothers and sisters help you any HANK Flave you any brothers and sisters JONATHAN No- HANK Me neither. (W'7histles casually) No one took no notice of me. 125 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONAT 11AN What'd you do HANK I went away. JONATHAN Why didn't you try to work HANNK Couldn't find nothing suitable. 'T first I felt sort o' worried an' then I kep' walkin' on and I seen so much trouble where I went I says to myself, " Hank, you're lucky," I says. " You ain't got no fam'ly to bother you an' you ain't got nothing to worry you an' you don't have to get no place in partic'lar and you don't have to stay no place. A man wot's got a wife's all the time worrying about her health or her money spendin' or her gaddin' or her naggin'. An' a man w'ots got a fam'ly's always wondering where they'll end. An' a man's wot's got a home's all time worrying about keepin' it locked up. I bet the poor nut wot owns this place can't breathe easy for bein' scared things'll be took or burnt up. W'y you - look at you - (JWlhistles) You're wishin' I'd go 'cause you're 'fraid I'll take somethin'. I won't take nothin', young feller, 'cause I don't need nothin' now and I won't need nothin' till it's cold again -and then I'll git an overcoat maybe. It's too much trouble takin' things - 'cause you have to carry 'em. (Whlzistles) You goin' to let me sleep here some place JONATHAN I can't. My uncle would drive you away. Maybe he'd have you arrested. I26 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH HANK I ain't done nothin'. I ain't hurtin' nobody. JONATHAN WVell, he doesn't allow strangers around. HIANK (Whistles. At tle window) That's where I went by jus' now. JONATHAN I heard you whistling. HANK That's a tune I made up once. (Whistles) JONATHAN Do you make up tunes HANK That's the only one I ever done. It comes in handy and it don't hurt no one. [Jonathan unconsciously tries to whistle a phrase of the tune. HANK No, that ain't it. It's this way. [WThistles. Jonathan tries it again and fails. No. Here. Jonathan makes it this time. HANK That's it. Say, what you got these bars for It's like jail. Are they afraid you'll jump out on them rocks JONATHAN No, I guess not. There isn't much danger of my wanting to jump out. HANK You never can tell for sure, young feller. JONATHAN It's to keep people from climbing in. I27 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS HANK There ain't no bars over that one. (Pointing to gable window) JONATHAN That's too high. HANK It'd be like fallin' off the top of a house, wouldn't it [Whistles. Jonathan whistles "A11 on a Summer's Day." HANK What you got there JONATHAN That's my theatre. HANK A show JONATHAN Yes. HANK How does it work JONATHAN These are the actors. HANK \What's the string fer JONATHAN You put him in a groove and pull him. HANK Lernme see it. JONATHAN All right. I'll show you a scene from the play I'm going to play for my Uncle Nathaniel to- morrow. HANK Fire away. I 28 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH [Jonathan lights the lamps that are back of the screen and pulls the blinds or some cover over the barred windows. HANK I wouldn't have all this junk if you'd give it to me. No, sir, when I move I carry my house with me and there ain't much o' that now. (In- dicates his clothes) JONATI-IAN All ready. Now you sit there. [Places Hank on the bench. He goes behind the screen and taps some bells. HANIK What's that fer JONATHAN That's to get ready. HANK WVell, I'm ready. [Jonathan opens the curtain and discloses a scene from Zenobia. That's beautiful. It's just like real. [Jonathan pulls a figure across the stage. Hello, old man. That's the one I jus' seen. Where's the string [Jonathan lifts the string. JONATHAN Here it is. HANK Now where's that feller goin' to JONATHAN (coming out from behind the screen) Well, you see, Zenobia HANK Zenob - God, what a name ! I29 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN They used to have names like that. HANK How d' you do it JONATHAN Look, I'll show you a little. [He goes behind the screen and closes the cur- tain. HA NK XWhat you doin' that for I like to see that picture. JO N AT HAN I'm going to show you -how I do it. [Jonathan rings the bells. HANK All right. I'm ready. Let her go. [Jonathan opens the curtain and pulls a charac- ter on, then another. JONATHAN (in assumed voice) " Hail, noble duke." " All is well, I ween." HANK Say, are they talkin' to each other JONATHAN Yes. HANK Which is the noble duke JONATHAN (pulling a string) This one. HANK And the other one's name is Iween, ain't it JONATHAN No, his name is Rollo. 130 2 i 3; "J -,C. This page in the original text is blank. JONATHAN MAKES A WISH HANK All right, fire ahead. I guess you know what you're doing. JONATHAN (in assumed voice) " Hail, noble duke." " All is well, I ween." " Not very well, noble duke." W What is wrong " " Queen Zenobia is very mad, noble duke." " WVhat is she mad about, Rollo" [Uncle John enters suddenly. JOhIN Jonathan- [ite sees Hank. What does this mean HAN K I'm seein' a show. JOHN You get out of here this instant. hA N K I ain't hurtin' nothin', mister, but I'll you say so. JOHN What do you mean by this, Jonathan H[A NK I'll git out. Thank you fer the show, [Ile goes out whistling. John crosses to the door. JOHN (calling after Hank) Come on, get out of here quickly. HANK (off) I'm out, mister. '3I git out if boy. MORE PORTM.A-\NTEAU PLAYS JOHN Now, Jonathan, what do you mean by bringing such people into this place JONATHAN I didn't bring him in. He came up while I was working. JOHN Do you call that silly stuff working JONATHAN I was getting it ready for Uncle Nathaniel. JOHN He's been putting that nonsense in your head, has he JONAT HAN He asked me to let him see all my plays. JOHN I suppose he told you to ask that dirty tramp in here. JONATHAN No, sir. He didn't see the tramp. [Hank is heard whistling. John crosses to one of the windows and opens it. JOHN (calling) You get away from there. Move on. HANK'S VOICE I guess the roadside's free, mister. JOHN 'We'll see about that. [Hank whistles. JO IN- Jonathan, I won't have you waste your time on this stuff. I've been pretty lenient with you and I've allowed you to keep your toys because 13 2 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH Emily spoiled you; but you're too big for such things and I'm going to put my foot down right now. I'm not going to have this silly stuff around. JON AT [IAN Uncle Nathaniel doesn't think it's silly. JOTIN I'll decide what is and is not good for you. JONAT 1-IAN The same thing isn't good for everybody. JOTIN Don't talk back to me, young man. JONATIIAN I've got a right to think. JOHN Jonathan ! JONATHAN If my mother was living, she wouldn't call everything I like to do silly. JOHN Your mother didn't know what was good for you. JONATHAN My mother was the best woman in the world. JO H N That will do, Jonathan. Your mother was my sister and I am not saying anything against her. But I do say that stuff must go. [He starts for the door. JONATHAN If this theatre goes, I go, too. I'm not- [John walks over to the theatre and sweeps the whole structure onto the floor. '33 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JOHN NoWxv. JON-AT HAN' You dirty coward, you- [John turns upont the boy and strikes him across the face. In mingled rage and humiliation Jonathan sobs wildly once or Itwice, then controls himself and glares violently at his uncle. JOHNy I'll let you think about it. I'll leave you here with your toys like a girl-baby. [He goes out the door, closing it and turning the key in the lock. Jonathan runs to the door. JO NATf I A N You let me out of here! You let me out of here! [He pounds the door with his fists. Then he turns in despair and humilialion. He paces the floor a miozment, not knowing what to do. Suddenl/v Hank's whistle is heard. The boy listens as thou gh fascinated and goes to the window and waatches Hank. Jonathan goes to his wrecked theatre and, taking it up, piles his manuscriptls, the pink and the blue, on it. Ile hesitates to include one in the pile, offering once or twice to put it in his pocket, but he finally places it in grim determination with the others. Then he takes it of and stnffs it in his pocket. Ile stuffs the pile in the stove and sets a match to it, watches it a moment, then writes on a piece of paper, fastens it to the door. Then he finds a piece of rope on a packiny case, 134 JONATFIANN MAKES A WISH moves the ladder under the gable window, fas- tens ti/e rope to a peg in the wall, climbs the ladder, considers a 1moie711ent, returns to the stove withi the beloved manuscript, stuffs it in the fire, remounts the ladder and lets his weight onto the rope. As he disappears from view, the rope breaks and a cry and sound of falling are heard. The /lames from the burning theatre and manu- scripts flicker against the wall for a silent mo- ment. The key is heard to turn in the lock and John and N athaniel enter. JOI-IN Jonathan ! NAT HANIEL He's hiding. JOHN Jonathan! NATHANIE.L (Sees paper on door) What's this JOHN What does it say NATH LIANIEL " Good-bye! . . . Jonathan." JOHN (I ooks suspiciously at Nathaniel) Did you tell the silly boy about your running away NATA I I NI EL I told Jonathan nothing about myself. You are the head of the Clay family and out of cus- tom I respected your position; but, by God, John, you're a failure with this boy. I35 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JOHN He [Hank enters carrying Jonathan in his arms. Jonathan is limp and pitiful. His clothes are torn. He is moaning pitifully. HANK He fell on the rocks out there. NATHANIEL Put him over here. [Hank places Jonathan on the bench near the piano. Nathaniel places the costume, which Susan left there, under his head for a pillow. JOHN What was he doing HANK He was- NATHANIEL This is no time for questions, John. Call a doctor. [Jonathan moans and rolls his head, looking vacantly at Hank now and then. JONATHAN (moaning) Good-bye. . . . Jonathan. JOH N We'd better take him in the house. JONAT IAN- My mother was the best woman- NAT HANIEL He'd better stay here until the doctor comes. [John exits. JON AT HAN All on a summer's day [All the time Nathaniel has been passing his hands over Jonathan. 136 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH HANK He's out of his head, ain't he NATHANIEL Perhaps, but sometimes one's a delirium. HANK He acts like his back's broke. NATH IANIEL My God - his back! [ Touches the boy's back. Jonathan winces with pain. JONATI-IAN My back's broken, Hank. HANK Listen, he's saying my name. sure nuff. JONATHAN My back's broken, Hank. heart speaks in We wuz pals, Curtain. 137 This page in the original text is blank. J(ONATHAN MAKES A WISH ACT II Six years have elapsed since Act I as years elapse in a boy's imaginings. Throughout this act the characters are disclosed without reason as in a dream; and the movement of the act represents four terrors of a deliriumr-anxious effort to make oneself known, a feeling of fetters, climbing and a sudden fall. JONATHAN BUILDS A FEAR [Before the curtain rises the voices of Jona- than, Hank, Nathaniel and John are heard, mu//led and far away. HANK He fell on the rocks out there. NATHIANI EL Put him over here. JOHN What was he doing THANK He was- NAT ANI EL This is no time for questions, John. Call a doctor. JONAT TrAN Good-bye. . . . Jonathan. JO HN W0e'd better take him in the house. JONAT THAN My mother was the best woman NAT II A NI ,EL He'd better stay here until the doctor comes. '39 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN All on a summer's day HANK He's out of his head, ain't he NATHANIE L Perhaps, but sometimes one's heart speaks in a delirium. HANK He acts like his back's broke. NATHANIEL My God - his back I JONATHAN My back's broken, Hank. HANK Listen, he's saying my name. We wuz pals, sure nuff. JONATHAN My back's broken, Hank. [The curtain has risen unnoticed. X faint light that grows steadily brighter as light does when one comes out of a swoon dis- closes Jonathan and Hank seated on a log at the left of the stage, where the bench had been. Jonathan seems much older, and he is crooked and dirty and unkempt, and Hank is somewhat brutalised, less negative. JONATHAN My back's broken, Hank. [Hank looks at him. Tired HANK Sure.. . 140 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN I think Uncle Nathaniel would help me if he saw Mne. HANK He couldn't do nothin' for you. You can't straighten a crooked back. JONATHAN Hank, I'm tired of this and I'm going back. HANK Going back where JONATHAN I'm going back home. HANK Your Uncle John won't let you in. JONATIIAN Uncle Nathaniel will take me in. HANK lIe ain't there no more and besides he won't know you. JONATHAN Honest -don't you think he would HANK Sure, he wouldn't. JONAT IAN I wish I hadn't run away. HANK If you don't quit wishing I'll run away from you. JONATHAN You wouldn't leave me, would you, Hank HANK Sure, I'd leave you. . . . What do you think I am - a wishing stone . . . I want peace, I 14I MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS do. . . . An' your wishing's disturbing my peace. . . . Every day fer six years you squeal about what you done. . . . Your Uncle John swatted you and you burned your theatre things and jumped out o' the window and broke your back and I saved you.... JONATHAN I can't do anything with a broken back! II AN-K What do you want to do anything for JONAT IIAN- Sometimes I'd like to write a little. HANK Go ahead.... I'll wait for you. JONATHAN And I'd like to give a show. You know, Hank, I used to want to be an actor. HANK Sure, all kids want to be actors or go in a circus or do something where a lot o' people are lookin' on. JONAT IAN But I can't be an actor now, because nobody'd want to look at me. HAN-K You act like that hump's ruined your life, when all you got to do's crouch over a little more and look sad and you can get anything you want. Why, it's money in your pocket, that's 'what that hump is; it's money in your pocket. [He closes the conversation by whistling. Say, go on over to that house and get us some- thing to eat. I42 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH [Jonathan prepares for the quest and Hank rolls over to go to sleep. /Js Jonathan crosses, lights disclose a hill with pleasant green slopes. At its foot stands a little cottage, all cool and pleasant with great glass doors. There are no locks and bolts to keep one out or to keep one in. A high plas- ter and brick wall flanks the cottage. A4s Jonathan nears the cottage he meets Uncle John, whose austerity is more apparent than ever. Jonathan cowers a moment, then attempts to smile. JONATHAN Hank said you'd turn me away if I came back. JOHN Were you talking to me, boy JONATHAN I'm so sorry I ran away, Uncle John. JOHN Uncle John JONATHAN Don't you know me, Sir JOHN Indeed I do not. JONATHAN I'm Jonathan- JOHN Jonathan! My nephew Jonathan-Ha! Ha! JONATHAN Don't you remember I didn't want to study en- gineering -I didn't want to go to Somerset School I43 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JOHN Where is Jonathan JON AT HAN I'm Jonathan, sir. You remember I jumped out of the window and I tried to run away. JOHN You seem to know a lot about it. Where is Jonathan JONATHAN I tell you I am Jonathan. . . . Don't you re- member you struck me - You struck me across the face -that's what made me run away. JOHN I should have whipped him and put him to bed. JON ATHAN I would have run away just the same, Uncle John. JOHN Don't call me Uncle John I JO.NAT IAN But you are my Uncle John. JOHN I ask you where is Jonathan. JONATHAN Would you like to see him JOHN I should like to know what has become of him. JONNAT H A N Would you let him come back home JOHN No. When he ran away, I cast him out for- ever. JONATHAN Couldn't you forgive him if he was very, very '44 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH sorry for what he had done . . . Couldn't you forgive me, sir . . . I am Jonathan. Honest I am Jonathan. JOHN Don't try to deceive me. Jonathan was im- pudent as you are; but he was a Clay: he was straight and fine. JONATHAN But I broke my back. JOHN Tell me where Jonathan is, you imposter. [He takes Jonathan by the arm and twists it brutally. Tell me. . . . Tell me. JONATHAN I don't know. . . . Let me go. . . . I'm not Jonathan. JOHN Tell me.... JONATHAN (in desperation) He's dead. JOHN What! JONATHAN He's dead. He died somewhere. JOHN And so you tried to palm yourself off as Jona- than. JONATHAN I'm sorry. JOLIN Don't you know you can't make your way with lies I45 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN Yes, sir. JOHN You ought to be whipped, but I suppose you don't know any better. I should have you ar- rested for vagrancy. [Jonathan winces. But I won't. I pity you, you dirty little beggar. [He starts to walk. You ought to wash your hands and face at least. JON-ATHAN Please, sir - one minute. . . . How are Mary and John third JOHN Mary is ten - a big girl - and John third is eight -a strapping boy who will be a great help to me. JON ATHANX And - how is Aunt Letitia My aunt died of a broken heart. JON-ATrHAN-r A broken heart JO H IN Because Jonathan ran away. [Jonathan buries his face in his arms. There! Don't cry for someone you've never seen. . . . Here, here, take this [He presses a coin into Jonathan's hand and goes out. Jonathan looks at the coin, then after John, and seems to close his heart. He crosses to the sleeping Hank. 146 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN Here, Hank. HANK (taking the coin) What'd he say JONATHAN He didn't know me. HANK I guess you're not going back home now I JONATHAN No, I haven't any home. IIANK Then qdit your snifflin' an' go on over to that house. JONATHAN All right, Hank. [Hank curls up and goes to sleep again. Jonathan crosses to the cottage and finally sum- mons the courage to knock on the door. As he does so the lights within grom bright and disclose a lovely little room with a beautiful piano in the centre. In a moment a young woman appears and opens the doors. It is Susan Sample. She is charmingly older; but she is dressed almost as she was in the old lum- ber room. JONATHAN Please, Miss -why - SUSAN What do you want JONATHAN I - don't you know me SUSAN No, I don't know you, little boy. What do you want '47 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN I - don't you really know me SUSAN I've never seen you before. JONATHAN I know you. . . . You're Susan Sample. SUSAN Who told you JONATHAN I'm - (He becomes conscious of his back) Why Jonathan told me. SUSAN Have you seen Jonathan JONATHAN Yes. SUSAN Where is he JONATHAN I don't know. S USAN He ran away. Why doesn't he come home JONATHAN Because - oh, I don't know. SUSAN Who are you JONATHAN I'm a vagrant. S USAN Are you hungry JONATHAN (looking toward Hank) No. I'm not.. .. I'm not begging. .. . But will you do something for me SUSAN Yes, if I can. 148 This page in the original text is blank. z 0 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONAT [IAN Will you play for me SU SAN Oh, yes.... What shall I play JONATHAN Anything. [Jonathan notices his dirty hands. Excuse me a moment. [He goes to a bird-bath and washes his hands, wipes them and returns to the piano. Susan plays a bit of a nocturne with ease and grace. JONATHAN Do you remember this [He hums "A ll on a Summer Day." SUSAN Oh, yes. [She plays the tune in a sophisticated musical way, but Jonathan is disappointed. SUSAN You don't like it JONATHAN That isn't exactly the way it goes. SUSAN Oh, yes, it is. [She plays it once more and sings it. JONATHAN No -no - no. It ought to go this way. [Ile sings it as he had sung it years before. SUSAN You sing that just as Jonathan used to sing it. JONATHAN I like i.t that way. I49 MORE PORTMAN.-TEAU PLAYS SUSAN Did Jonathan teach it to you JON.AT ITA N Yes. . . . A long time ago. S U S A N Did he tell you JO NAT [HAN About the lovelv lady who danced to the tune Oh, she was wonderful! S SA- N J onahan ran away -and he never wrote to me or thought of me. JON-AT [IAN He thought of you and he talked of you and he sang of you. SUSAN No . . . I can't believe that. JONATHAN Jonathan loves you very much. S US AN If a man loves a woman very much he can't go away from her for years and years. JONA:v [IAN Suppose Jonathan had pride and was ashamed to let you know that he had failed. SUSAN Jonathan wouldn't fail. I know Jonathan. JONAT [IAN He - Susan Sample! [Susan plays softly. She is lovely in the sun- lig/it zthich is lengthening across the lawn. [Jonathan watches her quietl/. The love of the boy fans into flame and he reaches out to I5O JONATHAN MAKES A WISH her, then in the consciousness of his deformity he turns azway. SUSAN Will you tell me where Jonathan was when you last saw him JONATHAN I don't know - The last time I saw Jonathan -he was tall and straight -and making his way. SUSAN Oh, well. [A4lbert Peet enters. Hie is a little man of immaculate appearance and great preciseness. ALBERT Ali, Susan. SUSAN Albert, you are late. ALBERT Who is this SUSAN This is a friend of Jonathan's. ALB ERT Jonathan who SUSAN Don't you remember Jonathan who had the toy theatre He ran away from home. ALBERT Oh . . . and this is his friend How do you do. SUSAN Do you remember this I used to play it for you. [She begins " All on a Summer's Day." Jonathan and I made it up. I S I MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS ALBERT (laughing) Oh, Ves. SUSAN (to Jonathan) Come on and sing it. [Jonathan is not sure of the status of Albert Peet. [Susan plays and she and Jonathan sing with great feeling. ALBERT (looking at his watch. Well, all this is very pleasant indeed, but we'll have to go, Susan dear. [At the "Susan, dear " Jonathan turns quickly and sees the two holding hands. Susan holds up her left hand and shows an engagement ring on it. Jonathan is utterly crushed. JONATHAN I think I'd better say good-bye. [He takes up his cap. SUSAN Good-bye. If you see Jonathan, tell him I'm going to marry Albert Peet. He'll know. ALBERT Good-bye. [Albert and Susan walk off happily in the sun- shine. Jonathan looks after them. SMlle. Perrault enters followed by MVary and John 3rd. ilIlle. Perrault's dress is almost like the one she had worn when she first met Jona- than in the lumlber-room, except that the colors are reversed and more brilliant. Afarv is a lovely little yellow-haired child of ten and John 3rd is a stoical matter-of-fact boy of eight. I 5 2 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH The two children are evidently very f ond of Mlle. Perrault, as fond as Jonathan and Sutsan had seemed. If the children seemi thoughtless and cruel, it is because they are children and life has not yet laid a hard hand upon them. Thet, sun rays are very low against the wall now so that anyone walking near it will cast a very heavy shadow. MARY John, look -he's a hunchback. MLLE. PERRAULT 'Sh! Children. [The children whisper. Jonathan turns and seeing AlMie. Perrault smiles. How do you do, little man. JONATHAN I am well, I thank you. MLLE. PERRAULT What are you doing here JONATHAN I am with fhank. MLLE. PERRAULT Hank JO NAT HIAN Yes, Hank's my pal. There he is - asleep. MLLE. PERRAULT Oh, what a dreadful person. . . . Children, don't go near him. JONAT HAN He's not so bad. MLLE. PERRAULT But he is a vagrant - a tramp. Why does he do nothing I 53 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JON AT 1-IA N He's happier that way. MILLE. PERRAULT Are you his son JONAT HAN Oh, no. MNLLE. PERRAULT Where is your mother JO NAT HAN MIy mother's dead. MILLE. I'IRRAULT Where did she live JONA-VTIIAN (Looks for a trace of recognition) I'd better rnot tell you. MARY Oh, please tell us. JONATHAN I'd better not. MARY You ask him, John. JOHN III Uh-uh! MARY Why not JOHN III I don't want to know. MILLE. PE.RRAULT Why don't you want to tell us We won't tell anybody. JON ATI I AN N'o.bodv'll believe me. MARY Why I54 JONATHAN MNAKES A WISH JONATHAN You see, 1 ran away from home JOIHN III When you run away from home, you're no good. MARY Now, John, that isn't always so. JOHN III It is. MARY It isn't. Goldilocks and the Babes in the Wood and the Marquis of Carabas were all good, and they ran away from home. JOHN III But they had bad homes. MARY Was your home bad JONATHAN I thought it was. JOHN III You thought it was. But was it JONATHAN No. JOHN III Then you're no good. MILLE. PERRAULT Oh, John. JOHN III No, he isn't. Grandfather said nobody who ran away from home was any good! MARY Why did you run away from home JONATHAN I mustn't tell. '55 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS MARY Oh, you won't tell anything! JOIIN nII (pointing to Hank) What did you say he was, Ma'mselle NILLE. PERRAULT He is a vagrant MARY AND JOHN III What's a vagrant MARY Ooh [Puts up her hand to make a wish. JOHN III Aw, I'm not going to make a wish. C father'll get it for me anyway if I want it MARY Now, John Clay III [Jonathan looks up quickly. You always spoil things. JONATHAN Is that Mary Clay and John Clay MLLE. PERRAULT Yes. JONAT HAN They don't remember Jonathan, do they MILLE. PERRAULT You mean Jonathan who ran away JONATHAN Yes, ma'am. MARY Who's Jonathan JOHN-r III He's David's friend. I know that. Ai was very good. irand- nd he JONATHAN MAKES A WVISH MLLE. PERRAULT What do you know about Jonathan JONATH AN I knew him once MILLE. PERRAULT I-le was a splendid little man! He could make such lovely songs. JONATIIAN Do you remember the one he and Susan Sample made up MLLE. PERRAULT Let's see -how did it go [Hums a little - tries several folk tunes. The children edge up to Jonathan during this and manage to touch his back several times, each keeping count. Jonathan smiles at them, thinking it's attention. JONATHAN No, it went this way. [He sings a little of the song and Mlle. Per- rault joins him. As he stops singing she switches the time to waltz time and begins to sway to it. The music is taken up as by a dream-orchestra and Mlle. Perrault dances a very lovely little waltz. JOHN III Oh, look at your shadow! [Mlle. Perrault turns and sees her shadow on the wall. I can make a bigger one than that. MARY Oh, come on, ma'mselle, let's all make shadows. [The three of them stand in front of the wall. I57 MOREL PO RTMANTEAU PLAYS JOHN III Boy, you come, too. MILLE. PERRAULT Come, boy. [Jonathan joins them standing so that his de- formity doesn't show in the shadow. Now, let's dance - Give me your hand - so. [The four dance, while AIlle. Perrault hums "/il on a Summer's Day." They are having a very good time when Susan and A/bert enter. Jonathan is a little conscious of Susan and al. bert, and he manages to make several awkward moves. NILLE. PERRAULT Now, let's make everybody's shadow dance by itself. MARY Oh, come on. JOHN III You first, NIle. M.ARY It's your turn, lTe. [Mi1 le. Perrault stands before the wall and makes a very lovely shadow. John, you do it now. JOHNf III I won't. I'm going to be next to last. He's going to be last. [MAary makes a pretty ' statue." MARY Now, John- [John III, holding a staff, stands bow-legged and pigeon-toed. All of them laugh. I 5 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH MLLE. PERRAULT (to John III) You little Jackanapes! You! JOHN III (to Jonathan) You can't do that. [Jonathan, still conscious of Susan, but more in the spirit of the game nevertheless, laughs al- most gleefully. JONATHAN You just wait. [He stands in front of the wall and does some comical movements with his feet and legs, then he turns in such a way that for the first time the shadow of his hump is thrown into a pitiful distortion on the wall. He doesn't see it at first, for he is lost in the game with the chil- dren. JOHN III (yelling suddenly) Oh, look! [The children laugh immoderately, and Jona- than turns his head quickly, but in so doing alters the shadow. He smiles joyfully and then once more falls into the distorted picture. MARY Ooh JOHN III That's funnier than mine. [Jonathan turns his head this time and sees the full horror of the thing. MIle. Perrault and Susan have realized too late to protect Jonathan. MILLE. PERRAULT John! Mary! Tell the little boy good-bye. We must go. [Jonathan looks toward Susan and Albert. I59 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS There is pity in Susan's eyes and a smile in Al- bert's. SUSAN Albert, come -let's go! [They pass into the house. JotN- iii (A/most as Susan speaks. Wasn't he funniest of all! NILLE. PERRAULT Now, run along, children. Run along. MARY Look, I can make a hump-back. JOhIN' III So can I. MARY Not a good one! JOHIN III You can't touch mine. [He smacks Mary on the back and runs off, Mary following him. MNILLE. PERRAULT Little man, I'm very sorry. You mustn't let them hurt you. They are only children. JONATHAN Yes, ma'am . .. Thank you. MLLE. PERRAULT May I do something for you J ONATH AN No, ma'am . . . if you please . . I must go to Hank. MILLE. PERRAULT Here, take this- [She offers a coin. JONATHAN Oh no, ma'am.... i6o JONATHAN MAKES A WISH [He puts his hand behind him. MLLE. PERRAULT I am sorry. . . . Very, very sorry. JONATHAN Yes, ma'am. [Mille. Perrault goes out silently, and in a moment she is heard to call " Marie "- " John," and a distant answer is heard. Susan comes to the door and sees Jonathan. She crosses to him. He looks at her almost with madness in his eyes. SUSAN They didn't mean to hurt you. [She lays her hand on his arm. JONATHAN Yes, I know. [There is a moment of the tenderest, most un- derstanding silence. He turns away. Susan starts to reach in her bag, she even takes her purse out; but she replaces it unopened, and instead of bestowing alms, she takes a flower from her hair and presses it in Jonathan's hands. He looks at her with years of pent-up gratitude loosed from his heart. Silently, she turns away and goes into the house. Jonathan, left alone, turns so that his hump once more shows in the most distorted shadow. He lifts the flower and for a single moment, its shadow rises above the shadow of the hump, a tiny cross on his little Calvary. Then he lays the flower against his cheek and sits upon the log near Hank. Hank awakens. i 6i NIORE PORTMAINTEAU PLAYS HANK (looking up stupidly) What you goti JONATIHAN (hiding the flower) Nothing. HANK Come across, fTumpy. JONA-AT1AN Don't you call me that! HANK So - ho! What you yelling at me for [He sits up. JONT-.-N HA.N Nothing. . . . I didn't mean to yell. HANK What you got there JONATHAN I tell you I haven't got anything, Hank. HANK Come on. Come across. ON ATIIA n It's not for you. HANK Come on. JONATHAN (Rises and moves away) No. HANK Gimme it here.... [He grabs Jonathan and tears the flower from his hand. JONATHIAN Stop that! HANK Great God! (Throwing the crushed petals on the ground) Say, what's the matter with you I62 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN I tell you, I'm going back.... I'm going back to my home. . . . I'm going to find my Uncle Nathaniel. I know he'll take me in. He won't blame me because I'm a cripple. . . . I know.... I know.... Didn't he say, " Poor Jonathan " [,It this moment Nathaniel enters, and the two stand face to face as they had stood in the lum- ber-room at their first meeting. Hank slinks away. Arathaniel is untouched by the years. Jona- than looks at him hopefully, but there is no glint of recognition in Nathaniel's eye. JONATHAN (timidly) Uncle Natharfiel. NATHANIEL What did you say, my boy JONATHAN (Less and less audible, as his dis- appointment increases) Uncle Nathaniel. NATHANIEL I can't hear you. JONATHAN You - are - my - Uncle Nathaniel. NATHANIEL Come, come, my boy. I can't hear you. JONATHAN Aren't you - Mr. - Nathaniel - Clay NATHANIEL (kindly, but as to a stranger) Yes, I am Mr. Nathaniel Clay. [Jonathan smiles one of his old half smiles. JONATHAN My name's - Jonathan. I63 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS NATHANIEL Jonathan! . . . I had a nephew whose name was Jonathan. JONATA11,.XN Don't you know me NAT I1A N ILL You must forgive me, little man -but I do not remember you. Boys grow so quickly. JONATHAN Don't you remember Zenobia INATHANIL L Zenobia Who was she JONATHAN Don't you remember the little theatre NATHANIEL Oh, yes, my nephew Jonathan had a little toy theatre, and he wrote a play called Zenobia. . . . He burnt them. J ON-ATH IA N Was it wrong to burn them NATHANIEL I don't know. You see Jonathan ran away, and I have never seen him since. JONATHAN Do you blame him NATHANIEL Well, I can't say. When a fine boy like Jona- than runs away from home, he may have what he considers a good reason. JONATHAN Don't you know why he ran away NAT LIANI EL I think I know. i64 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN Would you tell me why NATHANIEL That wouldn't do any good, my boy.... If you had an uncle who liked you very much, would you run away JONATHAN No, sir - not if I had another chance. NATHANIEL What do you mean JONATHAN Don't you really know me NATHANIEL I'm sorry - no! JONATHAN (pointing to Hank) Do you know him NATHANIEL That tramp JONATHAN Yes, sir. . . . That's Hank. NATHANIEL Hank JONATHAN Yes, the one I ran away with. NATHANIFeL Did you run away, too JONATHAN Yes, sir; I jumped out the window, and I fell and broke my back. Hank said NATHANIEL What a dirty man I JONATHAN He's my pal. I65 MORE PORTN ANTE AL PLAYS N'ATHANIEL You're evidently a fine young man inside. JONATHAN Oh, I'm sorry, sir, that I ran away. NATHANZIEL You can't undo -the past, my boy, but you can make the future. JONATHAN I can't straighten my back. NATHANIEL Perhaps not, but you can straighten your life. JONATHAN I'm only a beggar, sir. NATHANIEL There is something everybody can do. JONAT HAN There isn't any place for me.... NATHANIEL NMy boy, there is a place for everybody who wants a place. JONAT iH AN Do you remember what your nephew wanted to do- N AT HAN'IEL Yes, he wanted to write plays and run a theatre and be an actor. JON AT HAN I couldn't ever be an actor, could I NATIIANI EI. No, my boy. JONAT HAN Supposing you had your heart set on something and couldn't do it, what would you do i66 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH NATHANIEL I'd not give up.... I'd try something else. JONATHAN Supposing I were your nephew, what would you do NATHANIEL I'd find out what you wanted to be. JONATHAN Don't I look like Jonathan NATHANIEL Jonathan must be very tall now. JONATHAN If Jonathan weren't tall NATHANIEL But he is tall and splendid. I know Jonathan! And he's doing what he set out to do. JONA-T IhAN I hope you'll find him, sir, and I hope he'll make you proud. NATHANIEL (very earnestly) My boy, how old are you JONATHAN I'm twenty. NATHANIEL Twenty. . . . Will you try to pull yourself out of the rut JONATHAN What do you mean, sir NATHANIEL Look at that man. What is he to you JONATHAN He's my pal. I67 MORE PORTMA.NTEAU PLAYS NAT HIANIEL You mustn't waste your life on such emptiness as his. JONAT HAN I'm going to try, sir.... And if I make good, will you believe I'm Jonathan NATHANIEL I'l believe you are you. . . . Here.... [He offers Jonathan a coin. JONAT HAN Oh, no, sir. . . . I can't - from you- NATHANIEL \Vell, you are a strange beggar- JONATHAN I'm not a beggar at heart. . . . I don't want to be what I am. But I don't know which way to turn. I'm all mixed up. NAT I 1A NIEL All mixed up [N athaniel turns and looks toward the hill. Bov, there is a green hill far away. Climb to the top of it, look about and you will see- JONAT HAN I know: the whole wide world ! NATHI IA NI EL Exactly. JONATHAN Yes, sir. NATHANIEL Go to the hilltop alone -and cry out to your heart's content.- There's nothing like a hilltop to make a man feel worth while! JONATHAN I knew that, sir; but I forgot it. I'm going- i68 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH NATHANIEL Good-bye, boy; God bless you. [ The two clasp hands and Nathaniel goes. JONATHAN He believes in me.... [He watches Nathaniel with wide eyes, then calls to Hank. Hank! Hank! HANK What you want JONATHAN He didn't know me ! HANK Who didn't know you [Hank lies down. JONATHAN Uncle Nathaniel. . . . He just passed by.... But, Hank, he believed in me! He believed I'd make good. HANK Say, what's the matter with you today JONATHAN I'm goin' to leave you, Hank. HANK Huh JONATHAN Old pal, I'm going to leave you forever. You've stuck by me- HANK Sure, I've stuck by you. [MIIakes himself comfortable. Ain't you saved me a heap o' trouble I69 TMORE PORTMA.NTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN But I'm going nnv-, Hank. Good-bye. I'm going to the green hill far awav. [ He starts awcay lcaz.itna Hank alone and asleep. The lights fade out. Soft music is heard through the darkness and slow/v the outline of the green hill appears close at hand. Jonathan outlined against the sky appears at the edge of the hill, climbing with difficulty. NATHANIEL ( The voice is heard with the music) Nine ninetv-nine - one thousand. You're nearly there, Boy. JONATHAN Nine hundred and ninety-nine - one thousand - I'm almost there. NATHANIEL (far aw;ay) A thousand and one - a thousand and two JONATHAN A thousand and one, a thousand and two I am here! NATHANIEL (far away) The world is here. JONATHAN (as though addressing the world) Listen. . . . I ran away. I ran away. I was fourteen. I saw visions of great things. I heard voices of the past and the future. I wanted to tell what I saw and heard. . . . Oh, you who made sport of my dreams, I am here at the top of the world! Uncle John, I have heard things you will never hear, and I have seen things you will never see. JOHN (far away) But your back's broken. I70 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN Oh, Susan - Susan Sample - see - see. I told you I wasn't a beggar. See - see Jonathan stands at the top of the world! SUSAN (faintly) But your back's broken. JONATHAN Oh, people of all the world, I am a boy who asks you to hear me and to understand. I only wanted to work out my way. . . . I planned my way because I couldn't help it - I wanted to build my own world -alone. . . . I climbed clear to the top -Jonathan stands before you - VOICES Jonathan's dead. JONATHAN Dead . . . Oh, see the wreck of everything. . . . Jonathan is dead! [He falls. NATHANIEL Boy - boy - Jonathan! - I believe you are you. JONATHAN Uncle Nathaniel! [He rises slowly. Oh, people of all the world, my Uncle Nathan- iel understands.- I speak for all the boys of all times. Have patience - patience and under- standing. Don't you remember when you were young We come to you with hopes and dreams and wishes and fears,- and these are the things that life is made of - I7I MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS NATHANIEL I am here, Jonathan. JONATHANr I'm coming to you. I'm coming back to you with all rmy hopes and dreams. NATHIIANIEL We're waiting for you, Jonathan. JONATHAN' I've made my wish that's coming true 1! [He jumps into space. Curtain. 172 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH ACT III JONATHAN MAKES A WISH [The scene is a summer house on the estate of John Clay. It is charmingly furnished with wicker chairs and a table. The building is hexagon shape and we look into half the hexa- gon. The doors at the left open on to the path that leads from, the house. The doors at the back open onto a garden path that leads to a gate. Eight weeks haze elapsed since the first act. The curtain rises disclosing an em pty stage. It is early evening and sunset is leaving only the faintest tinge above the hills. After a moment Jonathan enters. He is unchanged except that he still carries in his eyes some of the horror of his delirium. He opens the back windows and then sits above the table and begins to look at an illustrated paper. Nathaniel enters carrying a manuscript. He seems a bit less carefree than at his home- coming, and he also seems closer to Jonathan. NATI HANIE'L Well, my boy JONATHAN Uncle Jonathan, did you know that Caproni was an artist NATHANIEL You mean the Caproni who makes the wonder- ful aeroplanes I73 MORE PORTMIANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN Yes, sir. NATHANIEL 'No, I didn't know its but I'm not surprised. JON ,T HIAN Aren't these pictures fine NATHANIEL Excellent. JONATHAN He made them. . . . They're like great dragon-flies, aren't they NATHANIEL A whole swarm of them. JONATHIAN It must feel funny to fly through air. NATHAN IEL Would you like to try it some time JONATHAN Yes . . . but I'd have to get used to it.... It must be like diving. NATHANIEL '"'hen you were very ill you seemed to imagine you were falling. JONATHAN Did I talk much when I was unconscious NATHA'NIELI You talked almost continuously. JONATHAN Did I . . . You said you'd tell me what I said - when I was strong enough. . . . I'm pretty strong now. NATHANIEL Do you know what I did I 74 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN I don't know. NATHANIEL (showing manuscript) Can you guess JONATHAN (Looks at manuscript) " Jonathan Builds a Fear." What does that mean NATHANIEL When you were delirious I listened to what you said and then I made a story out of it. JONATHAN You mean this is all about me NATHANIEL It's about a little hunchback who thought he was you. JONAT HAN I know. I was always trying to make some- body know me, and finally I thought I jumped from the top of a hill and I seemed to be fall- ing for years and years.... NAT IIANIEL Those were terrible days, my boy, and do you know, we were afraid you wouldn't live. JONATHAN It was a terrible feeling. NATHANIEL I know, but all that's over now; and there's the whole story about the little hunchback you never were. JONATHAN [Hank's whistle is heard. Jonathan rises very quickly and looks at Nathaniel. 175 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS NATHANE IL He comes every now and then to ask about you and to get something to eat. [Hank wh'stles again. HlANK'S VOICE (at back) Hi! NAAT HAN'I E L Come in, Hank- HANK Is the old man here NATHANIEL No. HANK (Enters through the gateway whistling) Hello, boy. JONATHAN I'm well now. How are you HAN-K I'm beginning to get cold, so I think I'll go south tomorrow and I thought I'd drop in to say good-bye. NATHANIEL I'll give you an overcoat, Hank. HAANK No, thanks. It's too hot to carry it. I'll get one when I really need it, maybe. NATHANI E L Well, here's something for you. [He of ers him a five dollar bill. Five dollars! No, thanks. If I had that much money I'd lose it maybe. Give me two bits and call it square. [Nathaniel hands him a quarter. Thanks.... W Well . . . good-bye.... I'm glad your back wasn't broke. I76 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN Good-bye, Hank. HANK Good-bye, Mister.... I'll see you next year maybe, when it's warm.- Say, kid, I'd like to see that Zenobia show again: -" Hail, noble duke," " All's well, Irene." " Not very well, noble duke." [He goes out, chuckling to himself. Aunt Letitia enters. As usual she has some- thing to keep her hands busy. She seats her- self comfortably in a chair that custom has evi- dently made her very own. In her work she shows the effect of time upon her eyes and she may feel a tiny draught that causes her to close the doors behind her and draw her scarf a bit more closely about her. Never has Aunt Le- titia seemed more successfully the poor relation. LETITIA I thought you were out with John. NAT HANIEL No. [Jonathan is looking at the manuscript. LETITIA (to Jonathan) How do you feel, dear JONATHAN Fine; . . . I think I'll go in the house and read this. (To Nathaniel) I'm glad it isn't true. [He goes out. NATIHANIEL It's the story of his delirium. I thought it would interest him - and relieve him. 177 MNORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS LETITIA Has John gone NATHANIEL Only for a stroll -the doctor's orders. LETITIA Well NATHANIEL Well LETITIA Sit down. NATHANIEL In John's chair LETITIA If you wish. NAT HAN IEL John's chair! The throne of the head of the family! (He sits in John's chair) Well LETITIA Nathaniel dear, you are making John very un- happy. .NATHANIEL And John has made me very unhappy, dearest Aunt Letty. LETITIA The feeling at the dinner table was almost un- bearable tonight. There we sat strained and silent. NATHANIEL I am sorry. I try to avoid meals with John as much as possible. LETITIA You've been here eight weeks and John and I know nothing of you. For me it is enough that you are here; but John is the head of the fam- I78 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH ilv and he feels that you ought to treat him with greater deference. NATHANIEL It is revolting to me to have a tsar in the family. LETITIA Your father and your father's father and grand- father were rulers of the Clay family. NATITANI I I don't question that. LETITIA You can't change John. NATHAINIEL. I don't want to change John. LETITIA Then why not tell him something about your- self NATHANIEL It is none of John's affairs how or why I live. It is none of his affair how or why or when I shall marry MIle. Perrault. LETITIA Perhaps not. NAThANIE'L When I tell him anything, Aunt Letty, it will be one thing - I have stayed here because I love Jonathan, because he needs me. And I have listened to the boy's fears and to his hopes as they came out of his poor tortured little soul in his delirium. I have watched him during his convalescence, and I see in him a growing man in prison. John sees in him only the potential head of the family; but he is my flesh and blood as much as he is John's and I intend to set him free. I79 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS LETITIA My beloved Nathaniel, John will not give Jona- than up to you. NATHANIEL I don't want Jonathan unless he wants to come to me, but I do want Jonathan's free- dom. LETITIA Isn't he a bit young to have freedom. NATHANIEL Aunt Letitia, I don't mean a silly license.- I mean freedom. If you are cultivating a peach- tree you don't expect oranges on it even if it could wish to be an orange tree, but you can help to make it bear better peaches. Jonathan isn't a mechanical business person. His bent is in another direction. LETITIA What are you going to do NAT HANIEL Frankly, I do not know. [ Up to window. All I know now is that I shall stay here until I find a plan. [Jonathan enters. JONATHAN Where is Uncle John NATHANIEL He has gone for a stroll. LETITIA What do you want, my dear JONATHAN Uncle John sent word that he wanted to see me here at 7 :30. I 8o JONATHAN MAKES A WISH [Letitia and Nathaniel look at each other. Jonathan takes out a iarge silver watch. It's 7:29 now. NAT 1-JANJIEL John will be on time - count sixty slowly [John enters. He is rather pale, seems pre- occupied and even more unapproachable then ever. LETITIA Did you have a pleasant stroll JOHN I wasn't walking. LETITIA I shall go into the house, I think. JOHN No, Aunt Letitia, I would rather you'd wait, if you please. [Nathaniel is an interested spectator. le can- not understand why Jonathan should be present for what will probably be an eventful family scene. Nathaniel, will you sit down NATHANIE L Certainly.- Where JOHN (tartly) Would you like my chair NATHANIEL Thank you. [He sits in John's chair, much to John's annoy- ance. JOHN Jonathan, sit do vn. [Jonathan sits. John also sits. Aunt Letitia knows what to expect. Nathaniel is more curi- I 8 I MORE PORTMIANTEAU PLAYS ous than angry. Jonathan is attending his first family conference. Jonathan, I've sent for you because I want to talk to you seriously. JONATHAN Yes, sir. NATHANIEL Do you think the boy is strong enough JOHN The doctor told me today that he would be quite equal to it. . Fight weeks ago, Jonathan, you made an effort to run awivay from your home, because I punished you. In your foolish defiance of all family authority Vou suffered a fall that might has-e resulted in a lasting and serious injury. Fortunately you have recov- ered fully from the result of your fall. NATHANIEL Excuse me, John, but all of us know this. JOHN One moment, please, Natharniel. . . I. have now arranged that you begin your preparation for your life work im.nrediately. Y ou will leave for Somerset School the day after tomor- row. JONATHAN (desperately) Uncle John, I don't want to go to Somerset School, JOHN You will leave for Somerset day after tomor- row. Good night, Jonathan. NATHANIEL Why Somerset I82 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JOHIN Good night, Jonathan. [Jonathan, dazed, goes out. NATHA NIL L Jonathan will never go to Somerset School. JOHUN Nathaniel, you forfeited your rights in the fam- ilv councils when you ran away from home sev- enteen years ago. NA.FTANIEL Trhis boy will run away again and again and I mean to save him from what I have suffered, if I can. JOHN Nathaniel, by what right do you attempt to interfere with my decisions NA7TIA'ANJ E.L By the right of blood and understanding. JO I IN Blood and understanding Where were you when Emnily had to leave her husband and brought her boy into my home. Where were you when Emily died I took Emily in and I took her boy in. As head of the family it was my duty to do so and as head of the family it is my duty to see that the boy is brought up in the best traditions of the farnily. NATHANIEL John, you can't force this boy into a mold. JOHUN A boy of fourteen doesn't know his mind. ... Do you know what Jonathan wants to be I83 MORE PORTI ANTEAU PLAYS NATHANIEL Yes, a writer of plays, a theatre director, and an actor. JOHN Imagine! . . . And I suppose you encouraged him. NATHAN'IEL No, but I didn't discourage him. The selection was wide enough for him to find some lasting life work. JOHN He never told me he wanted to be an actor. NATHANIEL Oh, my brother, every growing boy has a deep secret wish that he cannot bring himself to dis- close! As you know, I always wanted to be a writer, but most of all I wanted to be a left- handed base ball pitcher. And although I'm irretrievably right handed I used to practice religiously - pitching with my left hand. JOHN That was juvenile foolishness. NATI-ANIEL Yes, but it was genuine. [John starts to speak. What am I now I am going to tell you, John - by and by. First, we must dispose of the boy. JOHN I shall decide about the boy. NATHANIEL No, John; the boy must decide for himself. JOT! N He'd decide to be an actor. I84 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH NATHANIEL If he did, what of it JOHN I want members of my family to do useful work. NATHANIEL What is useful work An actor serves his pur- pose just as a plumber or lawyer serves his. . . . The only difference is that all of us are not plumbers or lawyers while all of us are actors. Yes, John, we're all playing something - you are playing at head of the family, I'm JOHN Still I do not regard acting as a worth-while or lucrative profession. NATIIANIEL You never know, John.... Five generations ago the Clays were respectable carpenters. They weren't wealthy and they gave no promise of becoming wealthy. Then suddenly our re- vered ancestor became a successful maker of cypress drain pipes -- sewer pipes, I think we used to call them! The family fortunes were founded!! Our ancestor bought a high hat and the esteem of his neighbors. Cypress was in time replaced by pottery. Conduits for wires and terra cotta building materials were added to our achievements and then in your regime superfine sewers became a specialty. JOHN Every kind of concrete work! NATHANI EL I beg your pardon I Concrete sewers and other concrete things.- Such is the foundation of the family. 185 MORE PORTMANTEAUi PLAYS JOHN You are evidently ashamed of our business. NATHANIEL Not at all, but I cannot consider the manufac- turing of sewers a greater achievement than act- ing. JoI N- Nathaniel, are you an actor NATHANIEL No. JOHN What are you NATHANIEL For the present I am Jonathan's uncle. JOHN You have nothing to do with Jonathan. NATHANIEL The boy is not going to Somerset School. JOHN Nathaniel, I shall not tolerate your interfer- ence. Now I must ask you to leave this house. NATHANIEL What LETITIA John . . . Nathaniel . . . my boys, it isn't my wav to interfere; but please for my sake. for your mother's sake - think what you're doing. JOHN (With some tenderness he lays his hand on Letitia's) I have thought, Aunt Letitia. I can not allow this boy's life to be ruined as Emily's and Hen- ry's and Nathaniel's were. NATHANIEL Ruined John, I'll tell you how ruined my i86 J0NATHLAXN MAKES A WISH life has been and I'll tell you in terms you'll understand. My income last year was over 350,0001 JoIJN Are you acting now NAT HIANIEL Yes, I'm acting - I'm acting in terms that you will understand. . . . You know that I'm your brother Nathaniel. Do you know who else I am I am a writer and a playwright and a director in the United Baking Company and a stockholder in the National Munitions Com- pany - munitions, John; think of it, millions, millions in them -and I'm willing and eager to take Emily's boy and educate him in the way he wants to live his life. JOHN What are these heroics NATHANIEL I mean what I say. If need be I shall use brute force, financial force or any kind of force to free Jonathan from the misery that I endured in this house. JOHN You had everything you wanted. NATHANIEL Everything except freedom to think my own thoughts. John, some people are like rein- forced concrete. Someone builds the iron frame and the wooden molds, then pours the cement and when it has hardened, the molds are removed and lo, you have a monolith - a solid unchangeable stone. I87 MORF' Q'O RTN TE AU PLAYS JO N- You talk vcrv 'well, Nathaniel, but I shall insist upon brining up nay sister's child in my wav. NATHANIEL WRould you have him run away as I did Jo f[N He will never run away again. lie has had his lesson. [Jonathan enters carrying a suit case. JONATHAN Mnlay I speak to you, Uncle John JOHN What are you doing with that suit case JONATHAN I'm going away. JOHN Who gave you permission JON'ATHAN Nobody. . . I've been thinking since a little while ago and at first I thought I'd run away again; but that wouldn't be quite fair -so I came to tell you. JOHN Take that suit case back into the house. JONATHAN No, sir! I'm going and nobody can keep me here unless they tie me. JOHIN- Well, I'll tell you one thing - if you leave this house without my permission I'll cut you off without a penny and you'll never be allowed to come back again. I88 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN Yes, sir. I know that; but I'm going and I came to tell you good-bye. JOHN Very well. You've made your choice - and I never want to see you again as long as you live. Good-bye, Jonathan. Good-bye, Nathaniel. LETITIA John, don't say things you'll regret. Jonathan doesn't mean what he's saying. JONAT HAN Yes'm, I do mean what I say. JOHN Good night. [Hle goes out. LETITIA Boys, you are so hot-headed so much alike. NATHAN`IEL You dear, you have always been content to com- promise while we two must go our own ways or not at all. You go to John. Help him as you can. He's not a bad man -he's just a struc- ture of reinforced concrete. You love John and he in his way loves you. Go to John and comfort his outraged authority. LET IT IA I'm sorry things have turned out this way. (She kisses them) Good night, my dears. Wait until morning if you can, my darling Na- thaniel. [She gecs out. NATI IANIE'L Now you've done it! I89 MORE PORTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN I couldn't help it. 'sNATHANIEL What are you going to do JONATHAN I don't know. . . . They say there's plenty of work on farms. NATHANIEL You can't write if you work on a farm. JONATHAN I can earn some more money and save. Other boys have worked their way through school and college. I can do that. NATHANIEL Of course - that is a way out of it. Yes . . . of course.... [Nathaniel opens the back doors and sees the thinnest crescent moon hanging in the sky. The new moon... Fhey say if You make a wish on the new moon it will come true. JONATHAN You have to see it over your right shoulder. NATHANIEL You saw it over your right shoulder. JONATHAN I don't believe that, do you NATHANIEL Well, suppose it were true, what would you wish. JO NATHAAN You mean for right away NATHANIEL Yes. I90 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH JONATHAN (carefully looking over his right shoulder. I'd wish to be with you. NATHIANI.J, More than anything JONAThAN Yes, sir. NATHANIEL More than being a writer or a theatre director or an actor JONATHAN Oh, yes, I'm too young to start right away.I have to have an education first. NATHANIEL Suppose that wish couldn't be, then what would you wish JONATHAN That you'd write me long letters and let me write you long letters. [ Takes up his suit case. I'd better be going now. NATHANIEL Aren't you going to tell John and Aunt Letitia good-bye JONATHAN No, sir. I don't think I'd better. Uncle John doesn't care and Aunt Letitia will understand. NATHANIEL Yes, she always understands somehow. JONATHAN Good-bye, sir. NATHANIEL Jonathan, suppose we go away together. I'm not wanted and you're not wanted. I9I MORE POWRTMANTEAU PLAYS JONATHAN You're going to Paris to marry Mille. Perrault! NATHANIEL Would you let me be your father, Jonathan J ONAT FHAN Sir NATHA NIEL You shall go to the schools where you will find the work you want. . . . Will you be my son JONATHAN Do you like me that much NATHAN-I.EL I like you more than that much. You'll get some long trousers and we'll plan and plan. Suppose we run away together. JONATHAN Do you think we ought to leave some word, Uncle Nathaniel NATHANIEL Of course. How stupid of me. JON-ATHAN You write it. N AT I IANI I.L No, we'll both write it. JONT\rAHAN I don't know what to say. I've only run away once. NATHANIEL So have I. JONAT HAN Did you ever run away NATHANIEL Yes - when I was eighteen. 192 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH J ONAT HAN Oh! NATHANIEL (taking Up paper) The message ought to be short. JONATHAN Why did you run away NATHANIEL I wanted to write. JONAT IIAN You did! NATHANIEL Didn't you know I ran away JONAT HAN No, sir; they never would tell me what became of you. NATHANIEL They didn't know. JONATIHAN How could you keep it from them NATHANIEL I changed my name -Mr. Alexander Jeffer- son, Sr! What shall I say JONATHAN I can't think. . . Did Uncle John lock you in NATHANIEL No, I just ran away. JONATHAN How long did it take you to make up your mind to go NATHANIEL I thought about it first when I was twelve. My father was still living then. JONAT I-IAN Did you go to Somerset School '93 MORE PORTM-ANTETAU PLAYS NATHANIEL Yes -for three years. JONATHAN What did you do after you ran away NATHANIEL I had a very hard tirne, my boy -at first. I worked at anything I could get, then I got into a newspaper office, then I wrote " autobiog- raphies " of famous men. JONATHAN I thought you had to write your own autobiog- raphy NATHANIEL Not nowadays. Then I wrote some successful short stories, then some very successful long ones - and now I am independent; but it took me ten bitter years to make my first success. . . . What shall I write here JONATHAN I never could think of things to say when I was going away. NATHANIEL Neither could I. JONATHAN Don't you think " good-bye " would be enough NATHANIEL (writing) Capital.. . . " Good-Bye - Nathaniel." Now you sign it. JONATHAN (Signs) "Jonathan." . . . Maybe we ought to put a line under it so Aunt Letitia won't feel so bad. NATHANIEL (makes a line) Dear Aunt Letitia will understand. She is the blessed kind who always does. Now, where I94 JONATHAN MAKES A WISH shall we put it . . . On John's chair, and maybe he'll understand too. [He pins the note to John's chair. JONATHAN Don't you want to pack your things NATHANIEL I'll wire for them. [Susan enters. On second thought, I'll ask Aunt Letitia to send them. [He goes out. JONATHAN Hello, Susan. SUSAN Jonathan, I just saw Miss Letitia and she was crying. . . . What's the matter JONATHAN I'm going away, Susan. SUSAN Where are you going JONATHAN I'm going with Uncle Nathaniel. I'm going to be his son. And I'm going to a fine prep. school and learn to write and do what I like. SUSAN When are you coming back JONATHAN I don't know. When I'm older maybe. SUSAN Can't we write any more songs JONAT HAN I'll send some words to you in letters. SUSAN Will you write every week I95 MORE P0RT.MANTIEAUT PLAYS JONATHAN Yes.... Will you S USAN Yes. I lish I Nwas going, too. JONATHAN So do I. SUSAN Maybe I'll come to see you graduate. JONATHAI N That will he floe. SUSAN (She kisses hin z-r snimply) Good-bye, Jonatthan. JONATHAN Good-bye, Susan. SUSAN I can hardly wait until you graduate. JONATHAN Neither ran I. . . . .ood-bye. [Nathaniel enters. N AT IAN IT 1. On third thought, I decided to wire for my things. SUSAN Good-bye, '\r. Nathaniel. I hope you'll have a nice time. NAT HIANIEL . Good-bye. Susan, [fle kiises her. She qoes out. JONATHAN Good-bve, Susan. SUSAN (Calling) Send me some picture postcards, Jonathan. JONATHAN I will. I96 JONATHAN .MAKES A WVISH [He waiches her. NA-I-XIN JI.E (Goes to window) Don't you want to make your wish on the new moon, Jonathan JONAT1 1A I don't know what to wish now. The only one I could think of has come true. N T1 IiANJEF L (Gfood . . . come, my boy. JONAT HA N I'll write a long letter to Susan Sample every week. NATHANIELI YoU can write her a long letter from New York. JONATHAN And I can send her picture postcards from every place we go to. [Arm in arm they go out talking The Curtain Falls. 197 This page in the original text is blank. APPENDIX This page in the original text is blank. APPENDIX A. M. PALMER - AUTHOR'S MATINEES Mladison Square Theater MARJORIE'S LOVEIRS ...... FLAINE (from Tennyson) . . A FOREGONE CONCLUSION. I887 Brander Alatthlews G. P. Lathrop W". D. IIhowells THE THEATER OF ARTS AND LETTERS 23rd Street Theater GILES COREY........... SQUIRREL INN (from Frank Stockton) ............ TILE OTHER WOMIAN ..... HARVEST .............. TILE DDECISION OF TIE COURT ........... I89I Mlary E. Wilkins Frank Presbrey Richard Harding Davis Clyde Fitch Brander Alatthews Frederick J. Stimson THE CRITERION INDEPENDENT THEATER Aladison Square Theater Berkeley Lyceum JOHIN GABRIEL BJORKNIAN. TiEl RIGHTS OF THE SOUL THAT OVEIRCOAT ...... FROm A CLEAR SKY .... EL GRAN GALEOTO ...... 20I I 897 Ibsen Giacosa Augustus Thomas Henri Dumay Echegaray APPENDIX TIlE INDEPENDEN T THEATER Carnegie Lyceum FL GRAN G,\LEoTo ...... E TIES. .......F.... THE NIASTER BU'ILDER . I, TIHE STORM . ........... C THE HEAT IJER F'If LD . . ,I A TROUBADOT.. C TIlE NEW THE First Season ANTONY ANID CLEOPATRA. . S Tl1E COTTAGE, INTIHE AIR . A STRIFE . .......... G THIE NIGUER . ...... S TFlfr SCHOOo. FOR SCANDAL S J LIZ THE M ....Ii.. F DON . .......... . B Tw'ELFTH NIGiT . ........ S TLIE WITCH (adapted from Scandinavian by ..... I a3 BR\ND (act I V - densed) ...... SIST-rER BEATRICE . 11r WVINTER'S TALE B1EETHOVEN ....... con- .... . .... . ... . I899 Ichegaray lervieu bsen Wstrovsky Iartyn 7oppe zATER I909-I9II hakespeare 7noblauch ,alsworthy heldon heridan Ienn and Bryce lesier hakespeare [agadorn Jenssen) (Wiers- Ibsen Allaeterlinck Shakespeare Fauchois Second Season THE BLUE BIRD ..... M... Maeterlinck THE MERRY WIVES OF W IINDSOR.......... Shakespeare 202 APPENDIX THE THUNDERBOLT ..... Pinero iDO ................ Besier SISTER BEATRICE ...... Maeterlinck MARY MAGDALENE .....A. ilaeterlinck OLD HEIDELBERG .....A... lleyer-Foerster VANITY FAIR .......... . R. Hichens and C. Gordan Lennox TIE PIPIR ............. Marks NOBODY'S DAUGIrTER ..... Paston THE ARROW MAKER ....z. iquStiln In addition there was a borrowed production of A SONG OF THE PEOPLE . . . Michaelis MISS GRACE GEORGE-THE PLAYHOUSE The Playhouse I 9 I95-I9I7 I1st Season THE NEW YORK IDEA . . . Mitchell TilE LIARS .............. Jones EARTH ................ Fagan MAJOR BARBARA ........ Shaw CAPTAIN BRASSBOUND'S CONVERSION .. ........ Shaw 2nd Season EVE'S DAUTGITER ....... Ramsey ELEVATION ............. Bernstein WASHINGTON SQUARE PLAYERS1 Bandbox and Contedy Theaters I915-1917 INTERIOR .............. . Maeterlinck ' Taken from Prof. Dickenson's book, "The Insurgent Theater," in which a number of interesting and more recent repertories of "independent " theaters are given. 203 APPENDIX EUGENICALLY SPEAKING . . LiCENSI:D .............. ANOTHER INTERIOR ...... LOVE OF ON 'S NEIGHBOR . MOONDOWN ............ MY LADY'S H(ONOR....... Two BLIND 131GG(.ARS AN)D . ONE IESS Bm-\D ...... THE SIIEPHER lN IIlL Dis- T .ANCE ( pantomime) TEI. MIIRA(I 1L OF1 ST. AN. TONY ................ IN APRII. .............. FORBIDDEN F-111 .U..... SAVIOURS ............ THE BEAR ............. HELENA'S HUSBANI)...... FIRE AND \ATlR ........ THE AN- ICK ........... A NIGHT OF SNOWS ...... LITERATI-RE ............ TIE HONOU RAE l, LOVJER . W 1.Its........ . .. . O0V EFRTC)N-ES ............ TIE. Ci oip ............. THE ROAxi)-lHOUSE IN AR- DE'-................ . THE INR........... THE R I) CLOAK (panto- mime) ............... CHILEDRI ............. THE AG\(E 017 RI`qAS50 + Goodman Lawrence ........... ,Jndreyev Reed Pc m berton Alo eller ... hudson 74lac!erlinck Stoke s Feu/ilet Goodman T'chekhov .Aloeller fk'hite AlacKaye Bracco SSchnitzler Bracco Al asset Gerstenberg Beach Mloeller J Wedekind Ale)y er Bolton and Carlton D) orrian THE MIAGIAI. CIT' ......k. n1ils MONSIEUR PIERRE PATELIN . 204 APPENDIX AGLAVAINE AND SELYSETTE Maeterlinck THE SEA GULI ......... A MERRY DEATH ........ LOVER'S LUCK .......... THE SUGAR HOUSE ..... SISTERS OF SUSANNA ..... BUSHIiO ............... TRIFLES ............... ANOTHER WAY OUT ..... ALTRUISM ............. TIIE DlEATH OF TINTAGILEIS TILE LAST STRAW ....... THE HERO OF SANTA MIA- RIA ................. IMPUTDENCE N. .. PLOTS AND PLAY\WRIGHTS THE LIFE OF MAN ....... SGANARELLT. ........... THEi POOR FOOL ......... GHOSTS. PARTAII ................ T Tchlekhov Ev rfinev Porto-Riche Brown l oeller 1 u( o0 Glas p/ll Lan gner Elti/nger Alacterli/uck Crocker Goodmnan and Hec ht A uernh eimer lf assey 4ndreyev l1foli/re Bahr Ibssei Strindberg REPERTORY OF THE STUlART WALKER COMN\PANY THIE TRIMPLET ...... W.... alker A FAN AND Two CANDLE-. STICKS ............... MacMillan SIX WHIO PASS WIILE TIIE LENTILS BOIL ......... Yalker THE SEVEN GIFTS (a pan- tomime) ............. Walker THE MOON LADY (a panto- mime) ..........W..... alker 205 APPENDIX NEVERTHELESS ...... W.... [alker GAMMER GURTONTS NE1EDEI.E (adapted by Mr. Walker) Stevenson THE LADY OF THE, WEEPING WILLOW TRFr . ........ fJ alker THE GOLDEN DOOM ...... Dunsany VOICES ....... ......... Flexiter THE CRIER BY NIGHT ..... Bottomley THE GODS OF THE MO()UN- TAIN ....... . ....... Dunsany THE 'MEDICINE SFOw . .,H JJ alker THE VERY NA:IID Boy Walker THE BIRTHDAY OF THE IN- FANTA (from Oscar Wilde's stor3) .JJalker KING ARGIJIEN'.S AND) TIE UNKINOWN \VARRIOR . .. Dunsany IT PAYS TO ADVERTISE .... A'[elrue THE DUmm.Y. O'Iig gins and Ford THE CONCERT . . Bahlr KICK IN ..ack SEVEN TEEN. . Walker SEVEN KEY S rbro BALDPATE . Co/han THE COUNTRY BoY . Selwyn You NL VTR CA'N ITELL ... Shaw OFFICER 666 .McHugh BROADWAY JONES ....... Cohan TE3E W OMAN\.. .. DeMille THE SHOW SJOP .Forbes A NIGHT IN AVIGNON .... Rice THE SON OF ISIS .Kelly STINGY .Parry THE BOOK OF JOB ....... ROMANCE .Sheldon 206 APPENDIX STOP THIEF ............ THE HERO ............ THE MISLEADING LADY .. ALIAS JINIMY VALENTINE (from 0. Henry's story) PASSERS BY ............ SEVEN UP ............. THE THREE OF Us ..... THE FORTUNE HUNTER ALICE SIT BY TI-IE FIRE . THIE WORKHOUSE WARD THE WOLF ............ THE TRUTH ........... JONATHAN MAKES A WISH TILE LAUGHTER OF THE GODS ................ THE TENTS OF TIlEr. ARABS. THE CINDERELLA MAN .. . GOOD GRACIOUS ANNABELLE LEAvi KLESCIINA ...... OVER NIGHT ............ THE PASSING OF THE TILIRD FLOOR BACK .......... MILESTONES ............ KISMET. DON .................. THE GIBSON UPRIGHT .... THE1 MURDERERS ........ Too MA.NY COOKS ....... jMoore Brown Goddard and Dic- key A4rmstrong Chambers Coleman Crothers Smith Barrie Gregory Walter Fitch Walker D unsany Dunsany Carpenter Kumnmer AMacClellan Bartholo mae Jerome Bennett and Kno- block Knoblock Besier Tarkington and Ail- son Dunsany Craven 207 CASTS THE LADY OF THE WEEPING WILLOW TREE CAST FOR OPENING O-SODE ............. O-KATSL ........... OBAA-SAN ........... THE GAKI OF KOKORU AOYAGI ............. RIKI ............... HE SHE BOY Harrie Fumade Annie Lowry Florence WVollersen McKay Morris Nancy Winston Wilmot Heitland THE VERY NAKE-l) Boy CAST FOR OPENING ................... Willard Webster ................... Dorothea Carothers ................... Gregory Kelly JONATHIAN MAKES A WISH NEW YORK CAST AUNT LETITIA .......... Elizabeth Patterson SUSAN SAMPLE .......... Beatrice Alaude UNCLE NATHANIEL ..... George Gaul UNCLE JOHN ...........A insworth AIrnold JONATIIAN ............. Gregory Kelly MLLE. PERRAULT ....... Margaret Mower HANK ........ .... Edgar Stehli ALBERT PEF1 ............ Joseph Graham .MARY ........ .... Elizabeth Black JOHiN III ............ John Talbott First producedl at the apolis, AUgUSt 12, 1918. M1urat Theatre, Indian- 208 APPENDIX At the Princess Theatre, New York premiere, September ii, i9i8, Elizabeth Patterson played Aunt Letitia, which was played in Indianapolis by Judith Lowry. 209 This page in the original text is blank. A SELECTED LIST zg OF A DRAMATIC LITERATURE PUBLISHED BY STEWART & KIDD COMPANY CINCINNATI DRAMATIC LITERATURE European Theories of the Drama An Anthology of Dramatic Theory and Criticism from Aristotle to the Present Day, in a Series of Selected Texts, w.ith Commentaries, Biographies and Bibliographies By BARRETT H. CLARK Author of " Contemporary French Dramatists," "The Continental Drama of Today," " British and American Drama of Today," etc., etc. A book of paramount importance. This monumental anthology brings together for the first time the epoch- making theories and criticisms of the drama which have affected our civilization from the beginnings in Greece down to the present day. Beginning with Aristotle, each utterance on the subject has been chosen with reference to its importance, and its effect on subsequent dramatic writing. The texts alone would be of great interest and value, but the author, Barrett H. Clark, has so connected each period by means of inter-chapters that his comments taken as a whole constitute a veritable history of dramatic criticism, in which each text bears out his statements. Nowhere else is so important a body of doctrine on the subject of the drama to be obtained. It cannot fail to appeal to any one who is interested in the theater, and will be indispensable to students. The introduction to each section of the book is followed by an exhaustive bibliography; each writer whose work is represented is made the suabject of a brief biography, and the entire volume is rendered doubly valuable by the index, which is worked out in great detail. Prof. Brander Matthews of Columbia University says: " Mr. Clark tleserves high praise for the careful thoroughness with which he has performed the task he set for himself. He has done well what was well worth doing. In these five hundred pages he has extracted the essence of several five-foot shelves. His anthology will be in- valuable to all students of the principles of playmaking; and it ought to be welcomed bv all those whose curiosity has been aroused by the frequent references of our latter day theorists of the theater to their predecessors." Wm. Lyon Phelps of Yale Universitv writes: "Mr. Clark's book, ' European Theories of the Drama,' is an exceedingly valuable work and ought to be widely useful." Large 8vo, 5oo pages .. At, 3.50 - I STEWART & KIDD COMPANY Plays and Players LEAVES FROM A CRITIC'S SCRAPBOOK BY WALTER PRICHARD EATON PREFACE BY BARRETT H. CLARK A new volume of criticisms of plays and papers on act- ing, play-making, and other dramatic problems, by Wal- ter Prichard Eaton, dramatic critic, and author of " The American Stage of To-day," " At the New Theater and Others," " Idyl of the Twin Fires," etc. The new volume begins with plays produced as far back as i910, and brings the record down to the current year. One sec- tion is devoted to American plays, one to foreign plays acted on our stage, one to various revivals of Shakes- peare. These sections form a record of the important activities of the American theater for the past six years, and constitute about half of the volume. The remainder of the book is given over to various discussions of the actor's art, of play construction, of the new stage craft, of new moven ents in our theater, such as the Washington Square Players, and several lighter essays in the satiric vein which characterized the author's work when he was the dramatic critic of the New York Sun. Unlike most volumes of criticisms, this one is illustrated, the pictures of the productions described in the text furnishing an ad- ditional historical record. At a time when the drama is regaining its lost position of literary dignity it is partic- ularly fitting that dignified and intelligent criticism and discussion should also find accompanying publication. Toronto Saturday Night: Mr. Eaton writes well and with dignity and inde- pendence. His book should find favor with the more serious students of the Drama of the Day. Detroit Free Press: This is one of the most interesting and also valu- able books on the modern drama that we have encountered in that period popularly referred to as ",a dog's age." Mr. Eaton is a competent and well- esteemed critic. The book is a record of the activ- ities of the American stage since i910, down to the present. Mr. Eaton succinctly restores the play to the memory, revisualizes the actors, and puts the kernel of it into a nutshell for us to ponder over and by which to correct our impressions. Large 12mo. About 420 pages, 1o full-page illustra- tions on Cameo Paper and End Papers ..... Net 2.00 Gilt top. Y4 Maroon Turkey Morocco ........ Net 6.5o STEWART & KIDI) COMPANY Four Plays of tile Free Theater Francois de Cured's The Fossils Jean Jullien's Tue Se'rtenade Georges de Porto-Riche's Francoise' Luck Georges Ancey's The Dupe Translated wxith an introduction on Antoine and Theatre Libre by BARRETT H. CLARK. Preface by BJRIEUX, of the French Academy, and a Sonnet by EDMOND ROSTAND. The Review of Reviews says: "A lengthy introduction, which is a gem of con- densed information." H. L. Mencken (in the Smart Set) says: "Here we have, not only skilful playwriting, but also sound literature." Brander Matthews says: "The book is welcome to all students of the modern stage. It contains the fullest account of the activities of Antoine's Free Theater to be found anywhere- even in French." The Chicago Tribune says: "Mr. Clark's translations, with their accurate and comprehensive prefaces, are necessary to anyone in- terested in modern drama . . . If the American reader will forget Yankee notions of morality . . . if the reader will assume the French point of view, this book will prove a rarely valuable experience. Mr. Clark has done this important task excellently." Handsomely Bound. 12mo. Cloth ............ Net, 1.75 DRAMATIC LITERATURE Contemporary French Dramatists By BARRETT H. CLARK In "Contemporary French Dramatists" Mr. Barrett H. Clark, author of "The Continental Drama of Today," "The British and American Drama of Today," translator of "Four Plays of the Free Theater," and of various plays of Donnay, Hervieu, Lemaitre, Sardou, Lavedan, etc., has contributed the first collection of studies on the modern French theater. Mr. Clark takes up the chief dramatists of France beginning with the Thetre Libre: Curel, Brieux, HIervieu, Lemaitre, Lavedan, Donnay, Porto-Riche, Rostand, Bataille, Bernstein, Capus, Flers, and Caillavet. The book contains numerous quotations from the chief rep- resentative plays of each dramatist, a separate chapter on "Characteristics" and the most complete bibliography to be found anywhere. This book gives a study of contemporary drama in France which has been more neglected than any other European country. Independent, New York: "Almost indispensable to the student of the theater." Boston Transcript: " Mr. Clark's method of analyzing the works of the Playwrights selected is simple and helpful. As a manual for reference or story, 'Contemporary French Dramatists,' with its added bibliographical material, will serve well its purpose." Uniform with FOUR PL.A)'S. Handsomely bound. Cloth ....................... Net, 1.75 3/4 Maroon Turkey Morocco ............... Net, 5.00 DRAMATIC LITERATURE The Antigone of Sophocles By PROF. JOSEPH EDWARD HARRY An acting version of this most perfect of all dramas. A4 scholarly 'work in readable English. Especiallly adaptable for Colleges, Dramatic Societies, etc. Post Express, Rochester: "He has done his work well." "Professor Harry has translated with a virile force that is almost Shake- spearean." "The difficult task of rendering the choruses into English lyrical verse has been very cred- itably accomplished." Argonaut, San Francisco: "Professor Harry is a competent translator not only because of his classical knowledge, but also be- cause of a certain enthusiastic sympathy that shows itself in an unfailing choice of words and expression." North American, Philadelphia: "Professor Harry, teacher of Greek in the Cincin- nati University, has written a new metrical transla- tion of the Antigone of Sophocles. The translation is of fine dramatic quality." Oregonian, Portland: "A splendidly executed translation of the celebrated Greek tragedy." Herald, Boston: "Scholars will not need to be urged to read this noteworthy piece of literary work, and we hope that manv others who have no special scholarly interest will be led to its perusal." 8vo. cloth. Dignified binding ................. Net, 1.oo - I STEWART & KIDD COMPANY "European Dramatists" By ARCHIBALD HENDERSON Author of "George Bernard Shaw: His Life and Works." In the present work the famous dramatic critic and biographer of Shaw has considered six representative dramatists outside of the United States, some living, some dead-Strindberg, Ibsen, Maeterlinck, Wilde, Shaw, Bar- ker, and Schnitzler. Velma Swanston Howard says: "Prof. Ilenderson's appraisal of Strindberg is cer- tainly the fairest, kindest and most impersonal that I have yet seen. The author has that rare combina- tion of intellectual power and spiritual insight which casts a clear, strong light upon all subjects under his treatment." Baltimore Evening Sun: "Prof. Henderson's criticism is not only notable for its understanding and good sense, but also for the extraordinary range and accuracy of its information." Jeanette L. Gilder, in the Chic igo Tribune: "Henderson is a writer who tl'rows new light on old subjects." Chicago Record Herald: "His essays in interpretation are welcome. Mr. Henderson has a catholic spirit and writes without parochial prejudice-a thing deplorably rare among American critics of the present day. One finds that one agrees with Mr. Henderson's main conten- tions and is eager to break a lance with him about minor points, which is only a way of saying that he is stimulating, that he strikes sparks. He knows his age thoroughly and lives in it with eager sympathy and understanding." Providence Journal: "Henderson has done his work, within its obvious limitations, in an exceedingly cmnpetent manner. He has the happy faculty of makin.g his biographical treatment interesting, combiningp Ine personal facts and a fairly clear and entertainir g portrait of the indi- vidual with intelligent critical comment on his artistic work." Photogravure frontispiece, handsomely printed and bound, large rzmo............. Net, 2.00 I - DRAMATIC LITERATURE At Last You May Understand G. B. S. Perhaps once in a generation a figure of commanding greatness appears, one through whose life the history of his time may be read. There is but one such man to- day. George Bernard Shaw HIS LIFE AND WORKS A CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY (Authorized) By ARCHIBALD HENDERSON, M.A.Ph.D. Is virtually the story of the social, economic and esthetic life of the last twenty-five years. It is a sym- pathetic, yet independent interpretation of the most po- tent individual force in society. Cultivated America will find here the key to all that is baffling and elusive in Shaw; it is a cinematographic picture of his mind with a background disclosing all the formative influences that combined to produce this universal genius. The press of the world has united in its praise; let us send you some of the comments. It is a large demy 8vo volume cloth, gilt top, 62S pages, with 35 full page illus- trations in color, photogravure and halftone and numerous pictures in the text. 5.oo Net DRAMATIC LITERATURE The Changing Drama By ARCHIBALD HENDERSON, M.A. Ph.D. Author of " European Dramatists," " George Bernard Shaw-His Life and Work." Etc. A vital book, popular in style, cosmopolitan in tone,, appraising the drama of the past sixty years, its changes, contributions and tendencies. Hlas an expression of the larger realities of the art and life of our time. E. E. Hale in T/ie Dial: " One of the most widely read dramatic critics of our day; few know as well as he what is 'up' in the dramatic world, what are the cur- rents of present-day thought, what people are thinking, dreaming, doing, or trying to do." New York Times: " Apt, happily allusive, finely in- formed essays on the dramatists of our own time-his essay style is vigorous and pleasing." Book News Monthly: " Shows clear understanding of the evolution of form and spirit, and the differentia- tion of the forces-spiritual, intellectual and social- which are making the theatre what it is today . . . we can recollect no book of recent times which has such con- temporancousness, yet which regards the subject with such excellent perspective . . . almost indispensable to the gen- eral student of drama . . . a book of rich perspective and sound analysis. The style is simple and direct." Geo. Middleton in La Follette's: "The best attempt to formulate the tendencies which the drama is now taking in its evolutionary course." Argonaut: " Marked by insight, discernment and en- thusiasm." Large r2mo. Dignified binding .............. Net, r.75 DRAMATIC LITERATURE Short Plays By MARY MAC MILLAN To fill a long-felt want. All have been successfully presented. Suitable for Women's Clubs, Girls' Schools, etc. While elaborate enough for big presentation, they may be given very simply. Review of Reviews: "Mary MacMillan offers 'SHORT PLAYS,' a collec- tion of pleasant one to three-act plays for women's clubs, girls' schools, and home parlor production. Some are pure comedies, others gentle satires on women's faults and foibles. 'The Futurists,' a skit on a woman's club in the year i882, is highly amus- ing. 'Entr' Act' is a charming trifle that brings two quarreling lovers together through a ridiculous pri- vate theatrical. 'The Ring' carries us gracefully back to the days of Shakespeare; and 'The Shadowed Star,' the best of the collection, is a Christmas Eve tragedy. The Star is shadowed by our thoughtless inhumanity to those who serve us and our forgetfulness of the needy. The Old Woman, gone daft, who babbles in a kind of mongrel Kiltartan, of the Shepherds, the Blessed Babe, of the Fairies, rowan berries, roses and dancing, while her daughter dies on Christmas Eve, is a splendid characterization." Boston Transcript: "Those who consigned the writer of these plays to solitude and prison fare evidently knew that 'needs must' is a sharp stimulus to high powers. If we find humor, gay or rich, if we find brilliant wit; if we find constructive ability joined with dialogue which moves like an arrow; if we find delicate and keen characterization, with a touch of genius in the choice of names; if we find poetic power which moves on easy wing-the gentle jailers of the writer are justi- fied, and the gentle reader thanks their severity." Salt Lake Tribune: "The Plays are ten in number, all of goodly length. We prophesy great things for this gifted dramatist.' Bookseller, News Dealer & Stationer: "The dialogue is permeated with graceful satire, snatches of wit, picturesque phraseology, and tender, often exquisite, expressions of sentiment." Handsomely Bound. 121no. Clot/h .. Net, 1.75 I DRAMATIC LITERATURE Miore Short Plays BY MARY MACMILLAN Plays that act well may read well. Miss MacMillan's plays are good reading. Nor is literary excellence a detriment to dramatic performance. They were put on the stage before they were put into print. They differ slightly from those it the former volume. Two of them, "The Pioneers," a story of the settlement of the Ohio Valley, and "Honey," a little mountain girl cotton-mill worker, are longer. The other six, " In Mendelesia," Parts I and II, "The Dryad," "The Dress Rehearsal of Hamlet," "At the Church," and " His Second Girl," contain the spirit of humor, something of subtlety, and something of fantasy. Brooklyn Daily Eagle: "Mary MacMillan, whose first volume of short plays proved that she possessed unusual gifts as a dramatist, has justified the hopes of her friends in a second volume, ' More Short Plays,' which reveal the author as the possessor of a charm- ing literary style coupled with a sure dramatic sense that never leads her idea astray. In them all the reader will find a rich and delicate charm, a bounti- ful endowment of humor and wit, a penetrating knowl- edge of human nature, and a deft touch in the drawing of character. They are delicately and sympatnetically done and their literary charm is undeniable." Uniform with " Short Plays" . . . . Net, 1.75 I I - I STEWART & KIDD COMPANY The Gift A POETIC DRAMA By MARGARET DOUGLAS ROGERS A dramatic poem in two acts, treating in altogethcr nevs fashion the world old story of Pandora, the first woman. New Haven Times Leader: "Well written and attractive." Evangelical M essenger: 'A very beautifully written portrayal of the old story of Pandora." Rochester Post Dispatch: "There is much poetic feeling in the treatment of the subject." Grand Rapids Herald: "TTIE GiFr, dealing with this ever interesting mythological story, is a valuable addition to the dramas of the day." St. Xavier Calendar: "The story of Pandora is so set down as to bring rut its stage possibilities. Told by Mrs. Rogers in exquisite language." Salt Lake Tribune: "The tale is charmingly wrought and has possibil- ities as a simple dramatic production, as well as being a delightful morsel of light reading." Cincinnati Enquirer: "The love story is delightfully told and the dra- matic action of the play is swift and strong." Buffalo Express: "It is a delightful bit of fancy with a dramatic and poetic setting." Boston Woman's Journal: "Epimetheus and Pandora and her box are charm- ingly presented." Worcester Gazette: "It is absolutely refreshing to find a writer willing to risk a venture harking back to the times of the Muses and the other worthies of mythological fame. The story of Pandora's box told in verse by a woman. It mav be said it could not have been better written bad a representative of the one who only as- sisted at the opening been responsible for the play." Ha-xdsornsly bound silk cloth .................. Net, 1.oo DRAMATIC LITERATURE Comedies of Words and Other Plays BY ARTHUR SCHNITZLER TRANSLATED BY PIERRE LOVING " The Hour of Recognition" "'Great Scenes " The contents are - " The Festival of Bacchus" H"is Helpmate" " Literature." In his " Comedies of Words," Arthur Schnitzler, the great Austrian Dramatist, has penetrated to newer and profounder regions of human psychology. According to Schnitzler, the keenly compelling problems of earth are: the adjustment of a man to one woman, a woman to one man, the children to their parents, the artist to life, the individual to his most cherished beliefs, and how can we accomplish this adjustment when, try as we please, there is a destiny which sweeps our little plans away like help- less chessmen from the board Since the creation of An- atol, that delightful toy philosopher, so popular in almost every theater of the world, the great Physician-Dramatist has pushed on both as World-Dramatist and reconnoiterer beyond the misty frontiers of man's conscious existence. He has attempted in an artistic wiay to get beneath what Freud calls the " Psychic Censor " which edits all our suppressed desires. Reading Schnitzler is like going to school to Life itself ! Bound uniform with the S & K Dramatic Series, Net 1.75 DRAMATIC LITERATURE Lucky Pehr By AUGUST STRINDBERG Authorized Translation by Velma Swanston Ho'ward. .4n allegorical drama in five acts. Compared favorably to Barrie's "Peter Pan" and Maeterlinck's "The Blue Bird." Rochester Post Express: Strind'berg has written many plays which might be described as realistic nightmares. But this remark does not apply to '-Lucky Pehr." This drama is one of the most favorable specimens of Strindberg's genius. New York World: "Pehr" is lucky because, having tested all things, he finds that only love and duty are true. New York Times: 'Lucky Pehr" clothes cvnicism in real entertain- ment instead of in gloom. And it has its surprises. Can this be August Strindberg, who ends his drama so sweetlv on the note of the woman-soul, leading up- ward and on. Worcester Gazette: From a city of Ohio comes this product of Swedish fancy in most attractive attire, attesting that the pos- sibilities of dramatic art have not entirely ceased in this age of vaudeville and moving pictures. A great sermon in altruism is preached in these pages, which we would that millions might see and hear. To those who think or would like to think, 'Lucky Pehr" will prove a most readable book. An allegory, it is true, but so are iEsop's Fables, the Parables of the Scriptures and many others of the most effective les- sons ever given. Boston Globe: A popular drama. There is no doubt about the book being a delightful companion in the library. In charm of fancy and grace of imagery the story may not be unfairly classed with "The Blue Bird" and "Peter Pan." Photogravure frontispiece of Strindberg etched by Zorn. .lso, a reproduction of Velma Swanston Howard's authorization. Handsomely bound. Gilt top . ........... Net, 1.75 STEWART & KIDD COMPANY Easter (A PLAY IN THREE ACTS) AND STORIES BY AUGUST STRINDBERG Authorized translation by Velma Swanston Ioward. In this work the author reveals a broad tolerance, a rare poetic tenderness augmented by an almost divine under- standing of human frailties as marking certain natural stages in evolution of the soul. Louisville Courier-Journal: Here is a major key of cheerfulness and idealism -a relief to a reader who has passed through some of the author's morbid pages. Some critics find in this play (Easter) less of the thrust of a distinctive art than is found in the author's more lugubrious dramas. There is indeed less sting in it. Neverthe- less it has a nobler tone. It more ablv fulfills the purpose of good drama-the chastening of the spec- tators' hearts through their participation in the suf- fering of the dramatic personages. There is in the play a mystical exaltation, a belief and trust in good and its power to embrace all in its beneficence, to bring all confusion to harmony. The Nation: Those who like the variety of symbolism which Maeterlinck has often ernployed-most notably in the 'Bluebird"-will turn with pleasure to the short stories of Strindberg which Mlrs. H-oward has included in her volume. Thev are one andl all diverting oni ac- count of the author's facility in dealing with fanciful details. Bookseller: "Easter" is a play of six characters illustrative of human frailties and the effect of the divine power of tolerance and charitv. There is a symholism, a poetic quality, a spiritual insight in the author's work that make a direct appeal to the cultured. The Dial: One play from his (Strindberg's) third, or sym- bolistic period stands almost alone. This is "Easter." There is a sweet, sane, life-giving spirit about it. Photogravure frontispiece of Strindberg etched by Zorn. Also, a reproduction of Velma Swanston 11oward's authorization. Handsomely bound. Gilt top .. ... Net, 1.75 - STEWART & KIDD COMPANY The Hamlet Problem and Its Solution By ENIERSON VENABLE The tragedy of Hamlet has never been adequately in- terpreted. T-wo hundred years of critical discussion has not sufficed to reconcile conflicting impressions regarding the scope of Shakespeare's design in this, the first of his great philosophic tragedies. We believe that all those students w.-ho are interested in the study of Shakespeare mill find this volurme of great value. The Louisville Courier=Journal: "Mr. Venable's Hamlet is a 'protagonist of a drama of triumphant moral achievement.' He rises through the play from an elected agent of vengeance to a man gravely impressed with an imperative sense of moral obligation, tragic in its depth, felt toward the world.'" E. H. Sothern: "Your ideas of Hamlet so entirely agree with my own that the book has been a real delight to me. I have always had exactly this feeling about the char- acter of Hamlet. I think vou have wiped away a great many cobwebs, and I believe your book will prove to be most convincing to many people who may yet be a trifle in the dark." The Book News Monthly: iMr. Venable is the latest critic to apply himself to the 'Hamlet' problem, and he offers a solution in an admirably written little book which is sure to at- tract readers. Undeterred by the formidable names of Goethe and Coleridge, Mr. Venable pronounces un- tenable the theories which those great authors pro- pounded to account for the extraordinary figure of the Prince of Denmark. Mr. Venable looks in another direction for the solution of the problem. The solution offered bv the author is just the reverse of that proposed by Goethe. From Mr. Venable's viewpoint tha key to 'Hamlet' is found in the famous soliloquies, at d his book is based upon a close studv of those utterances which bring us with- in the portals of the soul of the real Hamlet. The reader with an open mind will find in Mr. Venable a writer whose breadth of view and searching thought gives weight to this competent study of the most inter- esting of Shakespearean problems." x6mo. Silk cloth ............................. Net, 2.00 i - STEWART & KIDD COMPANY Portmanteau Plays BY STUART WALKER Edited and with an Introduction by EDWARD HALE BIERSTADT This volume contains four One Act Plays by the in- ventor and director of the Portmanteau Theater. They are all included in the regular repertory of the Theater and the four contained in this volume comprise in them- selves an evenings bill. There is also an Introduction by Edward Hale Bier- stadt on the Portmanteau Theater in theory and practice. The book is illustrated by pictures taken from actual presentations of the plays. The first play, the " Trimplet," deals with the search for a certain magic thing called a trimplet which can cure all the ills of whoever finds it. The search and the find- ing constitute the action of the piece. Second play, " Six who Pass While the Lentils Boil," is perhaps the most popular in Mr. Walker's repertory. The story is of a Queen who, having stepped on the ring-toe of the King's great-aunt, is condemned to die before the clock strikes twelve. The Six who pass the pot in which boil the lentils are on their way to the execution. Next comes " Nevertheless," which tells of a burglar who oddly enough reaches regeneration through two chil- dren and a dictionary. And last of all is the " Medicine-Show," which is a character study situated on the banks of the Mississippi. One does not see either the Show or the Mississippi, but the characters are so all sufficient that one does not miss the others. All of these plays are fanciful-symbolic if you like - but all of them have a very distinct raison d'itre in themselves, quite apart from any ulterior meaning. With Mr. Walker it is always "the story first," and herein he is at one with Lord Dunsany and others of his ilk. The plays have body, force, and beauty always; and if the reader desires to read in anything else surely that is his privilege. Each play, and even the Theater itself has a prologue, and with the help of these one is enabled to pass from one charming tale to the next without a break in the continuity. With five full-page illustrations on cameo paper. I2mo. Silk cloth ........... ................. 1.75 I DRAMATIC LITERATURE The Truth About The Theater Anonymous Precisely what the title indicates - facts as they are, plain and unmistakable without veneer of any sort. It goes directly to the heart of the whole matter. Behind the writer of it-who is one of the best known theatrical men in New York-are long years of experience. He recites what he knows, what he has seen, and his quiet, calm, au- thoritative account of conditions as they are is with- out adornment, excuse or exaggeration. It is in- tended to be helpful to those who want the facts, and for them it will prove of immeasurable value. " The Truth About the Theater," in brief, lifts the curtain on the American stage. It leaves no phase of the subject untouched. To those who are ambitious to serve the theater, either as players or as playwrights, or, again, in some managerial ca- pacity, the book is invaluable. To those, too, who would know more about the theater that they may come to some fair estimate of the worth of the in- numerable theories nowadays advanced, the book will again prove its value. Net 1.00 i i I L