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Mr. Scott and his wife, son and daughter have long hoped to sell the declining family business so they can pursue dreams now out of reach. When a buyer finally appears and makes a rich offer—Scott hesitates—he doesn’t approve of his buyers plans for the building.
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.
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.”
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.
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