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July 31, 1929 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1929-07-31

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i4r wnmmr-
Published every morning except Monday
during the University Summer Session by
the Board in Control of Student Publications.
The Associated Press is exclusively en-
titled to the use for republication of malnews
dispatches credited to it or not otherwise
credited in this paper and the local news rub-
lished herein.1

Campus. Opinion
Contributors are asked to he brief,
confining themselves to less than 300
words it possible. Anonymous com-
munications will be disregarded. The
names of communicants will, however,
be regardedtas confidential, upon re-
quest. Letters published should nut be
construed as expressing the editorial
opinion of the Daily.
To The Editor:

Untered at the Ann Arbor, Michigan,
postoffice as second class matter.
Subscription by carrier. $x.So; by mail
Offices: Press Building, Maynard Street,
Ann Arbor, Michigan-
Telephone 4925
Editorial Director........Howard F. Shout
Women's Editor..........Margaret Eckels
City Editor.......................:.......Charles Askren
Books Editor..... .....ILawrence. R. Klein
Sports Editor..........S. Cadwell Swanson
Night Editors
Howard ?. Shout Walter WildsI
S. Cadwell Swanson Harold Warren
Charles Askren

Ben Manson
Ross Gustin
Dorothy Magee
Paul Showers
Deirdre McMullan

Ldru Davis
Margaret Harris
William Mahey
Marguerite Henry
Rhea Goudy

Telephone 21214
Assistant Business Manager............Vernor Davis
Publications Manager...........Egbert Davis
Circulation Manager...........Jeanette Dale
Accounts Manager.........................Noah Bryant
Night Editor - Lawrence R. Klein
Labor is having its difficulties in
the Carolinas, if all reports from
that section are true. Apparently
the federation and the unions are
seriously misunderstood- nothing
but Reds say the populace.
The mill workers went on strike
at Ware Shoals, S. C., some time
ago. In the resultant strife the
state militia was called out to sub-
due the strikers, and speakers on
the side of labor were driven out of
town by street mobs. President Mc-
Mahon of the United Textile Work-
ers objected to Governor Richards
of South Carolina, and the latter
replied, "Your impertinent, threat-
ening telegram has been received.
. . . . I wish to assure you that
your communication will receive
only such consideration as com-
munications of its character de-
serve." It would seem that Gov-
ernor Richards has mistaken the
function of the state militia to be
the suppression of strikers and the
protection of armed mobs attack-
ing the proponents of the workers'
But South Carolina has not been
alone in its antagonism to organ-
ized labor; its sister state, North
Carolina, is also allowing itself to
be swayed by prejudice and unrea-
son against strikers of the Loray
mill at Gastonia. In the disturb-
ances created in that strike Chief
of Police O. F. Aderholt was killed,+
and 16 members of the Workers'
Textile Union have been arrested
and charged with the murder. Now;
Judge H. V. Barnhill sitting in the
special term called to investigate
the killing has stated that it is im-I
possible to give the arrested strik-
ers a fair trial becaue of te prej-
udice and antagonism of the people
of the county.
This is a grave moral charge to
lay against any community, but it
seems especially serious in view of
the fact that most of the prejudice
can be traced directly to a lack of1
understanding of the purpose and7
work of labor unions.
There is a promise of a great deal1
more trouble in the South as long
as this attitude of misunderstand-
ing and prejudice continues. Cer-
tainly enough of advantage has1
been derived from labor organiza-1
tions to entitle them to more con-s
sideration than they have been re-
ceiving. Very possibly Presidentt
McMahon's letter was verging on1
impertinence, but impertinence and
prejudice will never settle the dif-
ferences between the workers, their
employers, and the state. The tex-
tile industry is in serious condition

at present; sincerity and coopera-
tion might be used as a foundationr
on which to rebuild it and at thes
sam timA tn Insue thA Annnmic

Much has been written lament-
ing the premature disappearance
of Mr. Askren from the critical
rostrum of the Michigan Daily. The
truth and justification for these
lamentations cannot be doubted,
and the writer felt in his own
mind that there was no need for
further comment. But with the
appearance in this morning's Daily
a letter purporting to speak for the
plaintiffs, as it were, it seemed
,high time to add a word or two.
Two things must be considered in
answering this indignant missile:
Does Play Production stand for
what "A Student" declares it to
stand for, or is the letter simply
I the wrathful vaporings of one who
could not stand by and see the or-
ganization in. question trampled in
the critical quagmire? In one case
this reply is directed at Play Pro-
duction, in the other simply at A
I Student.
This morning's letter stated ex-
plicitly that "what adverse criti-
cism the Daily has published this
summer can be attributed to this
same ignorance"; "that the writer
is insufficiently informed on the
theater"; that the criticism "has
been "sophomoric". Reducing these
implications to something more
concrete we arrive at one of the
following conclusions: that Play
Production is infallable-is not
within the reach of criticism, either
constructive or any other kind;
that only the adverse criticisms of
Mr Askren displayed his woeful
ignorance; or that criticisms of an
adverse nature, no matter how
helpful or constructive they may
be, have no excuse for existence.
This may be an unjust interpreta-
tion, but the writer is answering
only what A Student saw fit to in-
elude. As a result we discovered
some previously unused cannons
of dramatic criticism. As to "soph-
omoric" criticism, it seems that A
Student is somewhat confused.
Even if Prof. Rowe had not
seen fit to declare the qualifi-
cations of Mr. Askren, (letter of
July 27) it seems hardly possible
that one could have mistaken the
background of the critic. Without
wishing to indulge in personalities
to a greater degree than that to
which this morning's writer has
seen fit, it seems safe to say that if
he is as well informed on the thea-
ter and theatrical criticism as Mr.
Askren, he would certainly not for
the world have him forsake the
theories of men of unquestioned
wisdom who have set age-old
standards for the meaningless ver-
bosity of praise-monging dilettan-
tes. And yet,.no one seems to have
complained that Mr. Askren as a
sound critic was encountering the
wrath of sadly misunderstood thea-
trical people: it cannot be a case
of a misunderstanding conservative
criticising radical experimentation,
for there has been none. Rather,
he has been attacked because his
accusers have read and admitted
the truth of his criticism, but de-
nied the soundness of his judg-
That the directors of Play Pro-
duction should endeavour to in-
struct students in dramatic tech-
nique is taken for granted. But if
they aim to take the place of a
stock company Play Productionj

has been guilty of misrepresenta-
tion. Stock companies may spread
the theater, but they seldom bet-
ter it. And if Play Production at-
tempting to fill the shoes of the ex-
tremely mediocre Ann Arbor stock
companies of the past few seasons,
fails to reach even their standard,
then we must admit that after this
bally-hooing among our friends for
an increased interest in the work
of Play Production we will bow with
shame and humbly apologize on
the grounds that we have been mis-
led. The Henderson companies,
although we are not taking the
stump on their defense, at least
aimed high on occasions, and if
they failed, the try was worth the
effort. We had Shakespeare, Ibsen,
Shaw, and Anatole France, not to
mention numerous others, and in
spite of their stock company weak-
nesses of n rondutin f+T +h *I a

Does A Student mean to say that
technique cannot be improved as
much by effort expended on these
better dramatists as compared with
the also-rans? It certainly "is
necessary to understand that tech-
nique is a broad term, embodying
many types of acting." And it is
also well to remember, that the
American stage, if it is going to
contribute its share to the dramatic
literatures of the world, must teach
beginners that here is somehing
more worth while than the compla-
cent self-sufficiency so heartily en-
joyed by those who do nothing and
succeed very well. To say that the
better dramas are not beneficial to
the amateur technician because
they are too difficult is falacious if
we but look at the only worth while
attempt of the year, "Escape." A
good play as well done as that one
was, merits more attempts by di-
rectors and actors. Any dire-tor
that preferred experimental drama:
to the more standard variety might
well be excused. He might end in
doing something that could become
a real contribution to the theater.
But producing a play for the sake
of saying, "Yes, we produced so and
so this week, and' such and such
the next," merely for the sake of
quantity, seems to be quite beside
the purpose of a Play Production
Repertory company.
That "the directors are not con-
sidered in a course in the apprecia-
tion of world literature" seems
superfluous. In view of the sum-
mer's achievements to date, no one
will deny this. But if the drama
has ceased to be a part of liter-
ature, then every thinking critic
from Plato to J. Brooks Atkinson
is wrong. If the drama is literature f

its own back, that the" summer
amusements in Ann Arbor are both
scarce and extremely dull. There
will come a day when Play Produc-
tion will find its usefulness out-
lived. It has changed ideals-the
ideals that brought it support. It
has throttled criticism, not realiz-
ing that the past year was the first
that found any critic willing to for-
sake the beaten path to take up
the cudgel for it. It will find out
that three' plays produced in 1927-
1928 by Play Production, on a par
with anything that was done in
1928-1929, failed financially because
the campus lacked sound and un-
derstanding criticism.
The writer is sorry that the or-
ganization cannot tolerate sugges-
tive criticism. He has seen Play
Production grow from a name in
a catalogue to a reality on the
campus. He has talked of its
wor kto every one he met because
he believed it had ideals. But A
Student, who speaks the sentiments
of at least some of the group, de-
nies these ideals which causes one
to ask, with Mr. Askren, "which
way, Play Production?"
Jerome F. McCarthy.
The great Chicago warfare seemsI
to have taken on magnitude. The
latest is an attempt to blow up the
loop. No wonder Americans lose
interest in the Asian conflict.
America slob peanut, gum, and
cigarttte machines have been plac-
ed on the streets of Paris for the
benefit of tourists. Just another
little touch, we suppose.


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and A Student denies that Play Something new in ear and eye
Production has anything to do with entertainment may soon be of-
an appreciation of . literature, it fered. The Farm Journal says
seems that the education that some scientists are trying to cross the
of us have been receiving has been watermelon with the grapefruit.
miirrol dn t1an nlnl T

mis airecied iand ungrounded. If
Play Production can teach acting
without appreciation we can partlyj
account for the self imposed limita-
tions of Play Production. A Stu-
dent's concluding eulogy seems
slightly exaggerated since, as he
says, Play Production aspires to be
a stock company, it has no- claim
to praise for accomplishing great
things in limited time. Producing
a play every week, and frequently
more, is simply the everyday life
of the stock actor.
The real difficulty seems to arise
from the fact that Play Production
is suffering from a slightly swelled
head. Young people, and those
achieving sudden success, are fre-
quently afflicted in this manner.
Play Production has risen from al-
most absolute obscurity, due in part
to the personnel, and in parr to
biased and partial criticism, to a
place in the limelight: and more
due partly to- the personnel, partly
to unbiased and impartial criticism,
and to literally thousands of inches
of free publicity from the pen of a
critic who believed in it. But when
the critic reminded the group that
it was forgetting its ideals-the
ideals he had been given to un-
derstand it stood for-the group
was too proud to take counsel.
Any artist that could not profit
by criticism would, indeed, be a
rare character. It has been shown
that practically all the world's
great poets were critics themselves.
If their reputations did not depend
upon an analysis of the works of
others, they listened to what others
said, and became critics of them-
selves. Even a romanticist like
Wordsworth was exertemely sen-
sitive to criticism, and though he
could not accept all, he profited
An organization that refuses to
accept criticism, unless it is afraid
to stand on its own merits, must
be perfect. Does Play Production
claim to be perfect? It may be
argued that too much adverse criti-
cism discourages beginners. After
all, though A Student would have us
believe that Play Production has
taken the place of a professional
stock company, we must remember
that this group consists of students
doing work for University credit,
and that the transition from a free
show to seventy-five cents a seat
does not necessarily place the per-
formance beyond the reach of
critical judgment. There is really
no professional pride to be hurt norC
job to be lost by criticism.
Play Production should take an
inventory. It has enjoyed finan-
rial V1i ePn e fnr +h c mmm,'Mi+f

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