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January 20, 1924 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1924-01-20

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and the-
JANUARY 24 1924 carry him to even greater heights. In
I have often wondered if Eugene a way, it is almost impossible to ex
O'Neil's plays and particularly his plain what I mean, so intangible and
first play, "Beyond the Horizon," were unexpected is this element, but per-
really as hopelessly depressing as his Laps the best description lies in the
critics would have us believe. Harry eternal hope springing from his char-
Lurie has expressed the conventional acters, that raise them from dull
attitude in an excellent article or reaism and tinge them with the pr-
O'Neil, published in the Free Press gative effect of a Greek tragedy.
last year. If I recall rightly, the In "Beyond the Horizon", as an ex-
idea ran something like this: O'Neil ample, there is the character of Rob-
has a vast contempt for society, so- ert Mayo, who with all the weak,
cial criticism. and social obligations. vascillating inefficiency that O'Neil
Life to him is a maddening, cynical piles on him, enlists your sympathy
effort toward the ideal and beautiful and even admiration from the start.
that is consistently frustrated, leav- In his dreams and book learning an
ing his marionettes hopeless and "poetry talk" there is that courage
crushed. and idealism that is a part of all great
Obviously, it is a view that has drama from Aristotle and Shaseseare
ample proof throughout all the auth- to Gordon Bottomley. His longing
or's works. In "Beyond the Horizon", for the sublimity and beauty of life
for exanple, we have an endless pan-, is consistently refused him, yet, as has
for xamlewe avean ndlss an-been, said so many time before, this
orma of failure, in as far, at least, as sa i som any be ory this
the external success of life goes. same hublmity and beauty touches
Robert, the poet and dreamer, who' even his defeat,
longs to "wander on and on, in search In a certain light, Ruth may appear
of the beauty that lies just over there, disgusting and even repulsive. One
beyond the horizon" is forced by the may possibly feel that if only she
clutch of circumstances to remaln all had the sense to know her own mind,
his life on the farm "plowing up earth and even more, the sportsmanship t
and patting it down again." His bro- keep still when she discovers that she
ther Andrew, on the other hand, who: does not, all the trouble and mess o
loves the soil with all the inborn'pride the situation could have been diverted.
of countless Mayos, wanders all over But life somehow doesn't seem to
the world, finally to lose what little work that, way, as any over forty can
fortune he has gained in wheat spec- tell you from their own experience.
ulation-"gambling with pieces of It is true that Ruth acts the part of
paper." While Ruth herself, the un- a silly foolish woman from beginning
conscious cause of all the suffering to end, but after all, her mistakes
evolves from a normal care-free girl are no worse than the circumstances
to a sulky sullen drudge with even about her,-and about all of us.
the hope of a child finally sucked Ruth, in the final analysis, is as human
from her. Even the minor characters" as the earth itself and she, too, takes
of the father and mother with all their on the light of the pity and respect
wholesale fund of rural heartiness that we have for all error.
die of disappointment. And as a still -O'Neil, it would seem, shades hie
further ironic comment, the sour and tragedy with a romance of human
crippled mother-in-law lives through suffering. If he plays do show the
it all,. whining and complaining to seamy side of faith and often paint
the last. life as an empty dream, there is
As I say, such a play presents all through it all the sympathy and un-
the ear-marks of an insistent misan- ion of a common weakness always -felt
thrope, not unlike such neurotics as between O'Neil's characters and iE
Strindberg and Wedeind. However, audience.
there is still another side to this re- It is, of course, the easiest way to
markable author, a character which present the author's plays as gloomy
seems to have been growing on him pictures, terrifying in their tragedy.
through "Annie Christie", the "Hairy Sam Hume, as you may recall, used
Ape", and his new play "All God's this method in his production of "He-
Chil'un Got Wings", and which should yond the Horizon" some years ago
The curtain fell on an empty stage
Andrew had commanded Ruth to tell
F. L. Tilden .............Editor Robert before he died that she loved
Donald E. L. Snyder......ooks him. But she arrived too late, and
Normand Lockwood......Muslc from the next room you heard Andrew
RobertDr shouting, "Damn you! You never
Gordon Wier ...............Art told him!"
Lisle Rose, Halsey Davidson, And, without exaggeration, the audi-
Newell Bebout, Samuel Moore, ence was sick for a week afterwards.
Jr., Maxwell Nowles, Philip Wag- But as O'Neil has written it and
ner, Dorothy Sanders. not as producers have twisted it into
The Sunday Magazine solicits a melancholy mania, the play ends
manuscripts from all persons af- on a far different note. It is on a
filiated with the University. Man- hillside. Robert dies with the rising
uscripts must be typewritten, sun reflected in his eyes and with a
triple spaced and written on one satisfaction similar to the death of
side only
SThe Sunday Magazine acknow King Lear that he is going, at last,
edges The American Secular Un- to a greater peace. Andrew and Rutb
Ion review service for "The Un- turn to each other speechless for a
official Observer" department. * moment. Finally Andrew lifts hiis
eyes to hers, and forces out faltering-
ly, "I-you-we've both made such a

mess of things! We must try to help
ftisthie policy of thisagaeto each other-and-perhaps we'll come
publisi sarticles of epiniz by baot to know what's right to do...."
students and faculty members if, isn_ _
the judgment of the editor, these arti-
cles are of intrinsic value and interest. { "The most effective lure that a wo-
This does not mean that manuscripts
eolieited or voluntarily offered are man can hold out to a man is the lure
ecessarily in e accord with editoria of what tle foliotosly conceives to be
opinion either in principle orform.
her beauty. This so-called beauty, of

course, is almost always pure illusion. fying design-in brief, an object
The female body, even at its best, is d'art." H. L. Mencken,
very defective in form; it has harsh
curves and very clumsily distributed "lana unable," yonder beggar cries,
masses; compared to it the average "To stand or go." If he says true he
milk-jug, or even the average cusps- lies." Dr. Donne
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