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The Playgoer

By S. M. B.

Currently appearing before apathetic and disinterested audiences in New York, "Temper the Wind" is a searching treatment of the lax and ineffective American occupation of Germany. It is a play with moral implications that should be of vital interest to the post-war world, yet it is received with nothing more than boredom and half-hearted approval. Written during the war years by two men speculating on the character of our German occupation in the event of an Allied victory, "Temper the Wind" is a somber prediction that has unfortunately come true. Accused of writing their play from today's headlines, authors Leonard Mins and Edward Mabley unknowingly cut to the core of our occupational troubles in their 1944 gamble, a premonition that has given them a play and the world a headache. Their guesswork has turned out a shockingly accurate and courageous play that reaches the stage as the theatre's first belated attempt to bring the post-war problems close to an escapist audience.

By following the difficulties encountered by the American Military government in its program of denazification, "Temper the Wind" seeks to uncover the selfish and villaninous forces at work in Germany. These groups play on the political ignorance and homesickness of the American troops to the obvious detriment of the peace. World-wide cartels operated by blind Americans and undercover Nazis destroy the work of the AMG and are only defeated by their ruthlessness that incites a murderous riot. Anti-nazi Germans are killed before they can re-educate their people, stiff-necked Nazis, recently shorn of their Charlie Chaplin mustaches, slither around the stage, eager to rehoist the banner of fascism, and badly oriented American troops sell nylons and democracy for nightly fraternization. These are all familiar themes, stories that fill the columns of our daily papers. But the effect of the news releases cannot approach the impact achieved by portraying the scenes on the stage.

Although the play is well written and bristles with important ideas, it falls short of the mark in its production. Missed cues and German accents heavy to the point of double talk give the play a certain ineptitude that has alienated critics and audiences alike, but does not detract from the great moral issues portrayed. Despite the lack of technique on the part of the cast, "Temper the Wind" brings the significant problems of today to the American stage for the first time since the end of the war. The authors have something important to say, something that greatly concerns Americans and deserves their attention beyond a nearly empty house. If a play dealing with our ability to rebuild a peaceful world folds quietly in a society ready to forget the lessons taught by the last war, then there seems to be little hope for peace.

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