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After our acclaimed production of A PICTURE OF AUTUMN, Mint revisited the work of playwright N.C. Hunter with A DAY BY THE SEA. A warm, human, and often humorous depiction of the ‘crisis’ of middle age, the play tells the story of Julian Anson, a once-promising Foreign Service employee, who confronts professional disappointment and personal failure while picnicking along the English seaside.
N.C. Hunter (1908-1971) was one of the leading English dramatists of the 1950s and early 1960s. As theatrical revolution—spearheaded by John Osborne and his school of “angry young men”—exploded around him, Hunter kept his head down and provided moving portraits of a people questioning their own purpose in chaotic post-war England.
In DONOGOO by Jules Romains, ambition and imagination collude to create fact out of fraud. The play tells the story of Lamendin, a desperate man, and Le Trouhadec, a professor of geography who longs for election to the Academy of Sciences. Together they unwittingly set in motion a stock market swindle of global proportions. Investors, pioneers and prospectors alike are driven to seek their fortune in Donogoo—a place that doesn’t exist.
Romains was born Louis-Henri-Jean Farigoule on August 26, 1885 in the village of Saint-Julien Chapteuil. He spent most of his childhood in Paris, where his father was a teacher. In 1902, he also published his first poem, “Le Chef-d’oeuvre” (“The Masterpiece”) in La Revue jeune. He published under the pen name he would use the rest of his life—Jules Romains—so chosen because it was easy to pronounce, memorable, and expressed his love of Rome.
“N.C. Hunter’s beautiful, shamefully neglected comedy was performed only once in London in 1951, and receives its American premiere here,” wrote The New Yorker of Mint Theater’s A PICTURE OF AUTUMN. “It’s about an aging, once prosperous family living in an aging, once grand manor, and the echoes of Chekhov are unmistakable, if subdued and Anglicized. It’s a big, generous play, exquisitely written, both funny and touching.” 1
N.C. HUNTER (1908-1971) was one of the leading English dramatists of the 1950s and early 1960s. As theatrical revolution—spearheaded by John Osborne and his school of “angry young men”—exploded around him, Hunter kept his head down and provided moving portraits of a people questioning their own purpose in chaotic post-war England.
Mint Theater first introduced New York theatergoers to the neglected talents of Arthur Schnitzler with an acclaimed and long-running production of FAR AND WIDE in 2003. Three years later with THE LONELY WAY, Mint continued “doing its utmost to restore Schnitzler to where he rightfully belongs, alongside such dramatists of middle-class life as Chekhov and Ibsen.”1
Arthur Schnitzler (Playwright, 1862-1931) was one of the most famous of all of the great personalities in Vienna at the turn of the last century. A prolific author, Schnitzler wrote more than twenty prose works including stories, novellas and novels in addition to over twenty-five plays. From before 1900 until 1925, Schnitzler was more talked about, and his plays were more performed on the stages of Germany and Austria than any other writer. Schnitzler was both a Jew and a critic of the Austrian Monarchy, contributing to the censorship of his work in his lifetime, and by the Nazi’s after his death. His work ultimately suffered the same fate as the Viennese culture that he was describing and vanished into obscurity after Word War I. His best-known play today is Reigen a.k.a. La Ronde. This work was the basis for The Blue Room by David Hare, as well as the recently released film Love in the Time of Money. Audiences may also be familiar with Anatol, an early work (1893) consisting of seven scenes variously controversial, censored or banned for immorality. Neither of these plays accurately represents the breadth or depth of Schnitzler’s genius; what Benedict Nightingale describes as his “inquisitive, complex, formidably moral intelligence.”
Having struck theatrical gold with THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE in 1999, Mint Theater revisited Harley Granville-Barker with a world premiere of his 1916 one-act comedy, A FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE. “Although it’s taken 84 years to mount this subtle work, the Mint has made it worth the wait” wrote Jason Zinoman in Time Out New York. Critics and audiences were enchanted by the play, which, as per Zinoman’s elegant summation, tells “an intimate and emotionally nuanced story about the unrequited love between a fading grande dame and her sad-eyed lawyer.”1
It would be hard to exaggerate the seminal role played by the actor, director, playwright and polemicist Harley Granville-Barker (1877-1946) in the development of 20th-century British theatre.
“Some playwrights are overlooked in their lifetimes, others unjustly forgotten after their deaths. A few are both. One of these is the English playwright Harley Granville-Barker, a contemporary and friend of Bernard Shaw who was also an actor, director and Shakespearean scholar. And he’s left three or four plays that are among the masterpieces of early 20th-century drama. Don’t believe me? Go to the Mint Theater which this week re-opened a perfectly splendid production of one of Granville-Barker’s finest plays, THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE,”1 wrote Clive Barnes of the New York Post.
Harley Granville-Barker (Playwright) was born in London in 1877. He began his stage career on tour, performing with Mrs. Patrick Campbell, before he made his first London appearance in 1892. He was only twenty-three when George Bernard Shaw in 1900 cast him as Eugene Marchbanks in CANDIDA, from which there grew a fifteen-year professional and personal relationship so binding that many came to believe Barker was Shaw’s illegitimate son. He joined forces with the manager John E. Vedrenne to found the Court Theatre, London, in 1904 which was to become the first modern repertory theatre in the English-speaking world.
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