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At Lowell House, April 14 and 15, 9 P.M.

By J. A. B.

In 1926 Eugene O'Neill's "The Great God Brown" was first produced as an experiment. It was an experiment because its abstract theme, as O'Neill says, is hidden "dimly behind and beyond the words and actions of the characters." The play's message is not to be found directly in the dialogue or in the body movements, but "manifests itself as an overtone." This, then, is the problem in expression which the Harvard Dramatic Club undertook last night at Sanders Theatre.

O'Neill has tried to show, through the character of Dion Anthony, man's search for faith in a world where there is nothing in which to believe, where Christianity is dead. Dion, the creative artist, "pleads weakly for intense belief in anything." Billy Brown, on the other hand, is the symbol of what has replaced Christianity: a "visionless demi-god of our new materialistic myth--a Success." It is the mystery in these two "conflicting tides in the soul of man" that O'Neill wants to convey.

Last night's production overemphasized the abstractions of plot and dialogue, thus throwing out of proportion the living drama of the actual characters, Dion, Brown, Margaret and Cybel. The body movements and pitch of voice in the characterizations of Dion Anthony, by Roger Henselman '42, and Billy Brown, by Richard Wiechmann '43, were exaggerated into such abstraction that the play as a whole did not build, throughout the too-long four acts, to any convincing climax.

The "mystical pattern" which O'Neill is striving for, however, was brilliantly achieved by Donna Smith as Margaret, in the pier scene of the Prologue, and again by Margaret Ragan, as the prostitute Cybel, in her first scene with Anthony. The staging of Sanders was ingeniously worked out by John Holabird '41 and Howard Turner '41, in three raised platforms with black curtain backdrops.

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