"The Harvard Dramatic Society had some very fine days eight or nine years ago; I haven't heard of it at all lately," said Thornton Wilder, during a recess from the rehearsal and revision of his newest play, "A Merchant of Yonkers," which is finishing a tryout run in Boston this week.
"Then it had the verve to produce certain dramas that Broadway wouldn't dare touch," the Pulitzer Prize playwright continued. Wilder pointed out that Oxford and Cambridge Universities invite English actors and actresses to take part in distinguished plays unsuited for commercial production. "Why the Yale Dramatic Club has been doing it," he declared, smiling.
Merit Mothera Cooperation
Wilder discarded the possibility of a lack of interest in, or support of, the drama, as a plausible excuse for the decline of the theatre in Cambridge. "The mother of cooperation is merit," he said.
Wilder has been noted for his experimentation with techniques of expression; his prize winning play, "Our Town," was produced without scenery. Wilder explained this unusual approach as an attempt to re-enlist the imaginative collaboration of the audience by reducing the scenery to mere symbol, and a frank underscoring of the theatre as an illusion and a make believe.