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THIS play first saw the floodlight as the 1925 Spring production of the University Dramatic Club under the somewhat more exotic name of "The Moon is a Gong." Even though the character of the Girl in the Red Hat did not appeal to some of the patronesses, the University in general received it with enthusiasm. The New York production, under the same director, closed after a short run. It caused much comment, but the box-office, one hears, failed to do its part.
"The Garbage Man" is a delirious and effective scramble of American life, dealing with parades on Fifth Avenue, funerals, the Secret Service, he--and she--intellectuals, train-wrecks and night amusements on Union Square. Its satirical content is immense. Poking the ribs of inexplicable stupidities, making the mourners jig at the funeral, causing the garbage man to soliloquize horribly over the victims of the wreck, Mr. dos Passos' play makes the skeleton laugh while its bones rattle accompaniment. The hero's windy diatribes in re the moon and the "voice of the machine" are not successful to the same degree.
The method is haphazard and strangely rhythmic, and the result is very fair theatre without being at all stagey. Bound between covers, it runs thin in the reading; but it is so evidently made for seeing and not for reading that this criticism cannot touch the author's craft.
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