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hour and is built about an idea that is intensely fascinating. It centres about a genial old man who invites to his house for a weekend twelve guests whom he has never seen before. the last evening, at dinner, he tells them they have been asked because there is among them one person who has murdered his brother and he is set upon discovering the criminal. From then on the piece reaches out and brings the audience into chairs at the very table. It has a trick ending which may be fatal to it; for an audience likes to go home satisfied, and it leaves the play as interesting and as uncertain as it was in the beginning.
Three other plays opened under auspices that were excellent. One was "Mrs. Partridge Presents" by Mary Kennedy, who (as the paragraphers always say) is a charming actress and the wife of Deems Taylor, and Ruth Hawthorne. It is an American comedy, humorous and skilfully done. The surprise of the piece is that a young actress named Ruth Gordon runs away with the laurels intended for the veteran Blanche Bates.
Philip Barry, "author of the Harvard prize play 'You and I'", of which he must be sick of hearing, is the author of "The Youngest", a fresh air sort of comedy with some excellent moments in which Henry Hull becomes miraculously a boy of eighteen. There is nothing remarkable about the piece save that you like every moment of it.
After some time on the road, Walter Hampden at last brought his production of "Othello" into New York, where it should be good for a run almost as long as his "Cyrano", not because there is anything excellent about it except perhaps Baliol Holloway's Iago - but because it is done in the way that people who like Shake
speare feel it ought to be done. The scenery is good. The costumes are good. The acting is good. The direction is good. Well? There is still something lacking. It is perhaps that fire which makes the vast difference between an inspired work of art and a capable one. It has no rough edges. It is capable. If Mr. Hampden is too conscientious he will become simply another Sothern and Marlowe.
The tradition of the starving author or artist or musician is pretty well defunct. Much water has passed under the bridge since the day that Mrs. Astor (as Thomas Beer relates in "Stephen Crane"), on hearing that Alice Duer (Miller) was writing verse, said, "Too bad! I thought she was such an attractive girl." If Mrs. Astor, in tiara and stomacher, returned today, she would find herself rather out of it, for artists and musicians and writers have become the thing. No really good party is given without the presence of one great lion and several cubs. Igor Stravinsky certainly visited America this winter without having to buy himself a single meal. Indeed, he went about so much and graced so many parties that when the time came for him to do the thing he had come for, namely to conduct his music, he was too exhausted to do his music justice. In any case, something went wrong, for his conducting was sour. It may have been that his hostesses made him roar too often.
His two concerts were beyond question the events of the season. The audience fairly oozed through the sickly yellow walls of Carnegie Hall. The corridors reverberated to the sound of Russian and the gasps of swooning women, overcome by the wonder of his music. Everything was there from the tiaras of Park Avenue to the art jewelry of Greenwich Village. And
altogether a good time was had by all. Still there were a few haunted souls in the audience who found that the seats grew more and more hard. They applauded, perhaps because they feared that silence might result in mob violence, but they applauded languidly. Also there were a few who found the music spirited, brilliant, and interesting, but missed an undercurrent of substance which is a part of all great art, musical or otherwise. The New Yorker was among these useless people of the middle path. He found an entire program of Stravinsky little more than tiresome. It was too cold, too devoid of emotion, too clearly the work of a mind that was excellent in the business of arrangement and experiment but not so good on the side of creation. There were moments in "Petrouchka" and "L'Oiseau de Feu" that burned with beauty; but there were moments, like those in "Fireworks", that were simply brilliant pinwheels going round and round in emptiness. Clever but empty.
As for the conducting, Vladimir Golschmann, who came into fame as the director of the Swedish Ballet (which America found simply dull), did a much better job with the composer's own "L'Oiseau de Feu" when he played it a week earlier with the New York Symphony.
Almost as spectacular as the Stravinsky concerts was the opening of the annual show of the New Society of American Artists, when the crowd was so great that it was impossible to see the pictures. But on varnishing day, no one cares about the pictures anyway. The crowd comes to see and be seen. "Everyone", as the saying goes, there." The New Yorker noticed at least two persons who were taking it calmly; they were Hendrik Willem Van Loon, smiling and enormous, and
THE DRAMA SHELF
"The Guardsman" by Franz Molnar (Boni, Liveright). This brilliant revival reads as well as it plays.
"Weber and Fields" by Felix Isman (Boni, Liveright). Here is much anecdotal and amusing material of the old theatrical days.
"The Firebrand" by Edwin Justus Mayer (Boni, Liveright). One of the most charming of current shockers.
"The Dramatic Works of Gerhart Hauptmann - Volume Eight: Poetic Dramas" (Huebsch). Great plays translated in mediocre English verse.
"The Bright Island" by Arnold Bennett (Doran). Another island sociological story, but in fantastic vein this time.
"The Valiant" by Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass (Swartout). This play, most effectively presented by amateurs, is already well known and deservedly so.
"There Came Two Women" by Herbert Quick (Bobbs-Merrill). Interesting; but it is a pity that the talented author did not write it in prose.
“Old English" by John Galsworthy (Scribner). A better part than play · superbly acted currently by Mr. Arliss.
"Costuming a Play" by Elizabeth B. Grimball and Rhea Wells (Century). Interesting notes for the amateur with good line illustrations.
William Allen White, serene, sane and balanced, from the open spaces of Emporia, Kansas.
Once the crowd had thinned a bit, it was possible to see that the show, like the Stravinsky concerts, was not so good as it was expected to be. It has possessed in the past more variety, more individual pieces which stood out as striking. This year there were some fine water colors by Randall Davey, three studies in still life by Paul Dougherty, a landscape by George
Luks, and a picture by George Bellows which were impressive. On the second day, the show was saddened by the death of Mr. Bellows, one of the best of living artists. Now that he is dead, his pictures will, no doubt, command the same prices as those by bad foreign painters.
One missed from the show this year the grand, bleak pictures of Rockwell Kent. They would have helped it enormously.
At the same time the Reinhardt Galleries were showing pictures by Zuloaga who, rumor has it, will consider painting guileless Americans for a mere twenty thousand dollars a sitting. Any possible sitter should go at once and see what he has done to Julia Hoyt, Michael Strange (Mrs. John Barrymore), Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, and William Fahnestock. They hang in a row, painted in his traditional manner against landscapes which, if not meant to be Spanish, still have a Spanish twist. The gallery was crowded to the doors, and before the portrait of Michael Strange there was unbroken congestion due, no doubt, to the fact that she was painted in the rôle of Hamlet, clad in black tights and
patent leather pumps with an Iberian version of Elsinore in the middle distance. The painting of the pumps is admirably realistic.
But in fairness to Zuloaga, it must be said that his Spanish subjects turn out better. There is a fine portrait of a Castillian shepherd and three fine studies of Belmonte, the Babe Ruth of the Spanish bull ring. The best picture is a portrait done in the traditional manner of the Duke of Alba. It possesses style, characterization, and a masterly sense of design and emphasis. The show has its ups and downs. a little bit of everything.
The New Yorker went to two movies during the month, rather in the mood to see what had been done to "So Big" and "Wife of the Centaur". There was nothing in either picture to set the pulses leaping. The books were better. Yes, there was one thing. In "Wife of the Centaur" there were several feet of magnificent film showing the hero skiing down the mountainside in full flight from Inez, who, through the magic of the celluloid, had been converted into the conventional desperate vamp.
THE BOOKMAN'S GUIDE TO FICTION
THE BOOKMAN will present each month tabloid reviews of a selected list of recent fiction. This section will include also the books most in demand according to the current reports in "Books of the Month", compiled by the R. R. Bowker Company, The Baker and Taylor Company's Retail Bookseller", and "THE BOOKMAN'S Monthly Score".. Such books as the editor specially recommends are marked with a star.