The Crimson Playgoer


Without apparent effort, S. N. Behrman has created the most amusing comedy that has come to Boston in many years. He hasn't satirized the life of an artist, nor has he burlesqued it. Yet without relying on low comedy or the pseudo-intellectual repartee of Noel Coward, which evokes laughter from the "sophisticated,"--an obnoxious word--he has patterned a delightful play around a series of commonplace situations. His trick--I shouldn't use the word, for Mr. Behrman is more experienced than the majority of playwrights whose characters fluctuate according to their whims--more accurately, his method has been to give consistent characterizations of non-neurotic individuals, individuals who might be roaming about New York at this moment.

What little action and plot there is in "Biography" is concentrated on Marion Froude. When we first see her, she is waiting for something to happen; it does. She is asked by her first love, Leander, to paint his portrait; a young editor asks her to write her biography for a sensational weekly, for she is a famous personality whose charm exceeds her ability as an artist,--the public has heard that she is promiscuous. Leander, "Bunny" to Marion, hears that Marion has agreed to write the story of her life, all of it. I say no more of plot, for you will very likely have guessed the logical ending of the first act; it is pleasant to realize that Chekov's type of comedy is still quite popular.

With the exception of Arnold Korff, who has a tendency to throw himself about too much so that the audience is occasionally distracted, and misses the essential action, the acting of the entire cast was flawless. On reflection, it is captious to complain about Mr. Korff; his suppressed guffaws and waving of arms were in keeping with the part of the second-rate good-natured composer. Jay Fassett, Earle Larrimore, and Ina Claire are the principals; be it sufficient to say that they are consummate professionals, that Miss Claire's laugh is infectious, and that a few more actresses of her calibre would help the renaissance of the theatre with the assistance of more Behrmans.