Despite having a successful career as a playwright before he became a children’s author, A.A. Milne was remembered primarily as the creator of Winnie the Pooh until the Mint’s incandescent revivals of MR. PIM PASSES BY and THE TRUTH ABOUT BLAYDS.  The occasion marked their first New York productions in over 70 years.

With one cast performing both plays in rotating repertory, the Mint presented the neglected pieces under the banner MILNE AT THE MINT.  Two endearing and surprisingly profound comedies about families whose charmed lives are threatened by dark secrets, the plays delighted theatergoers with their whimsy and moved them with their sincerity.

“Before there was Winnie-the-Pooh… there were Carraway Pim and Oliver Blayds,” observed Wilborn Hampton in the New York Times. “Seeing MR. PIM and BLAYDS in repertory reveals Milne as an able craftsman with a droll sense of humor whose work maintains a valid theatrical vitality…These are the sort of plays by which Londoners tried to forget the horrors of World War I. In the Mint’s smooth productions they can offer New Yorkers a couple of hours’ diversion from today’s headlines.”1

A.A. Milne  (Playwright 1882-1956)  published his first verses in Punch in 1904 at the age of 22.  Before long he was a regular contributor to the famous English humor magazine and in 1906 he became the assistant editor, a position he held until 1918.  During World War I Milne served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a signals officer. He was posted to France briefly in 1916 and wrote propaganda for the Intelligence service.  During his training period, he wrote his first play, Wurzel-Flummery, which was produced in London in 1917.  With the encouragement of his friend James Barrie, Milne then applied himself to playwriting.  His first real hit was Mr. Pim Passes By which premiered in London in 1920, around the same time of the birth of his son, Christopher Robin.  All of the Winnie-the-Pooh verses were written during a four-year stretch that began in 1924.  After that, to Milne’s great dismay, he would never again achieve any lasting success as either playwright or novelist.  He once wrote of the lovable menagerie that gave him his lasting fame, “I wanted to escape from them as I once wanted to escape from Punch as I have always wanted to escape. In vain…” Milne wrote numerous essays, novels, and even a successful detective story: The Red House Mystery.  But for Milne, writing plays was, “the most exciting form of writing….” The Dover Road, The Truth about Blayds, The Great Broxopp, Success, The Fourth Wall — or The Perfect Alibi, Michael and Mary, Portrait of a Gentleman in Slippers and Other People’s Lives are among the more than 25 plays he penned.

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CAST

THE TRUTH ABOUT BLAYDS

  • Isobel Lisa Bostnar
  • William Jack Davidson
  • Marion Kristin Griffith
  • Oliver James Knight
  • Parsons Katie Lowes
  • Septima Victoria Mack
  • Blayds Jack Ryland
  • Royce Stephen Schnetzer

 

MR. PIM PASSES BY

  • Oliva Lisa Bostnar
  • Mr. Pim Jack Davidson
  • Lady Marden Kristin Griffith
  • Brian James Knight
  • Anne Katie Lowes
  • Dinah Victoria Mack
  • George Stephen Schnetzer

CREATIVES

  • Set Design Sarah Lambert
  • Lighting Design Mark T. Simpson
  • Costume Design Tracy Christensen
  • Assistant Costume Design Naama Greenfield
  • Sound Design Jared Coseglia
  • Properties Designer Judi Guralnick
  • Dialects Amy Stoller
  • Casting Sharron Bower
  • Production Stage Manager Samone B. Weissman
  • Assistant Stage Manager Eleanor Boockmeier
  • Press Representative David Gersten & Associates
  • Graphics Hey Jude Design, Inc.

PATRICIA DENISON: MILNE AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES

A post-performance discussion with scholar Patricia Denison, a professor of dramatic literature in the departments of English and Theatre at Barnard College. Denison has published articles on Victorian, modern British, and American drama as well as a book on Arthur Wing Pinero.

CARY M. MAZER: MILNE AND THE EDWARDIAN THEATER

Cary M. Mazer discusses pre and post-World War I drama. Mazer is Chair of the Theater Arts Program at The University of Pennsylvania and Assoc. Professor in English.

DR. GERHARD JOSEPH & DR. ANNE HUMPHERYS: VICTORIAN POETS AND POETRY

Dr. Gerhard Joseph & Dr. Anne Humpherys from Lehman College are scholars and authors with teaching experience in areas such as Victorian poetry; these two have a lot to say when they learn the truth about Mr. Blayds: “The Last of the Victorians.”

Program

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