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Mint Theater Company's Production of "Hindle Wakes" by Stanley Houghton, Directed by Gus Kaikkonen..
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.
Health care reform of a darkly comic kind drives DR. KNOCK, OR THE TRIUMPH OF MEDICINE, Jules Romains’ tart 1923 satire of the medical profession. The play, which Mint Theater revived “with consummate savoir-faire”1 in 2010, proved once again “that one of the best ways to be topical is to look to the past”2
Romains ranked among the most produced playwrights in the world during the 1930’s, alongside Shaw and Pirandello. His most famous work, the 27 volume novel Men of Good Will, is comparable to the works of Zola and Proust in scale and ambition. Romains believed it was the duty of the twentieth century writer “to discover beneath the appearances of the modern world a spiritual reality more profound than he ever before has tried to find.”
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