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The Crimson Playgoer

Blanche Yurka's Production of "The Wild Duck" at the Plymouth Shows How Ibsen Can be Made Palatable

By J. H. S.

There can be no question as to the merit of Blanche Yurka's production of "The Wild Duck". From start to finish it is admirably set forth. Well cast, well staged, and with somewhat more of real life instilled into it through fine directing than is the lot of most Ibsen plays, it deserves the praise which all those who have seen it have showered upon it.

But there can be considerable question as to whether one likes the play or not. Such sombre stuff as this is does not appeal to many even when as perfectly presented as in the present case. A play in which misfortune strikes as severely and as often as in "The Wild Duck", is removed from that anaesthetic type of entertainment which so many seek when at the theatre.

Of all Ibsen's plays this seemed to us to run the most smoothly, to give the most semblance of a real slice of life; sordid, yes, but still smacking more of some possible truth than most of the products of this despondent Norseman. Other Ibsen dramas have always left the impression of extreme morbidity, with a moral to be learned, but shown in a most unconvincing tale. This tale stands cross examination better. All this is due, no doubt, to Miss Yurka's presentation. In less skilled hands. "The Wild Duck" could easily be produced as no more than another Ibsen dud.

Laurels for acting must be distributed to all hands. But particularly to Miss Yurka as Gina, Mr. Anderson as the younger Ekdal, Mr. Clovelly as Gregers Werle, and to Miss Davis in the exceedingly trying role of Hedvig. These four, carrying the brunt of the acting, make the play an intensely human thing. They demonstrate beyond a possible doubt that regardless of what may be said as to Ibsen or his plays, in talented hands the two can be put across.

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