Broadway Takes Refuge in Childhood:
No Adult Drama in Sight
We are on the threshold of a new Broadway season, but there seems little reason to expect that it will depart in any fundamental way from the pattern of the past season: a pattern of wholesale flight from the reality of our lives. Several times during the past season it was possible to look at the full list of current plays and observe that not one of them pretended to give any kind of recognizable portrait of American life. To make this observation is not necessarily to enthrone the realistic or naturalistic plays that excel in reproducing the surfaces of contemporary life; but the absence of such plays, which have for decades been the staple of our dramatic fare, is unquestionably a curious phenomenon.
And even more curious is the rigid consistency of the themes of most of last season’s play. Almost without exception, they have shown the necessity of escaping from stultifying, imprisoning circumstances by some bold, if unlikely, act. Usually there is one central character who is capable of sincere feeling, or of emotional depths that no one around him can appreciate. He is chained to a psychic incompleteness, to childishness, by circumstances or by the apathy of those around him. And he cannot solve his problems; he can only go away or commit suicide or commit murder or retreat into dreams or memories of the past.
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