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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.

A Picture of Autumn

“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.

So Help Me God!

In 2009, the Mint headed downtown to the Lucille Lortel Theater for a production of the wickedly witty backstage comedy, SO HELP ME GOD! by Maurine Dallas Watkins. The production starred two-time Emmy Award-winner Kristen Johnston as the temperamental star who tramples everyone who stands in her way.

Maurine Dallas Watkins (1896-1969) wrote the 1926 play CHICAGO, upon which the musical is based.  Winner of six Tonys and a Best Picture Oscar for 2002 film, the musical CHICAGO would seem a “sure thing” from the start. But its beginnings were very much in doubt. Had Watkins got her way, CHICAGO the musical would not exist at all.

The Madras House

In 2007 THE MADRAS HOUSE was seen by New York audiences for the first time since 1921. The production continued Mint’s work in championing Harley Granville Barker’s neglected drama in the U.S., after producing the American Premiere of THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE, in 1999

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.

The Voysey Inheritance

“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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