Mint Theater Presents DAYS TO COME By Lillian Hellman.
Mint Theater presents a rare revival of Days to Come by Lillian Hellman, "one of the most important playwrights of the American theater" (New York Times). Performances will begin August 2nd and continue through September 30th at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street). Opening Night is set for August 26th.
Mint Theater continues its commitment to present undiscovered gems from women playwrights. Nearly a third of the plays produced by Mint have been by women, from Pulitzer-Prize winning plays by Zona Gale and Susan Glaspell, to work by Cicely Hamilton, Githa Sowerby, Hazel Ellis, Maurine Dallas Watkins, Rose Franken and Dawn Powell. In 2006, New York audiences were re-introduced to Rachel Crothers - once the toast of Broadway - with the highly praised production of Susan and God, followed by an equally acclaimed production of Crothers's A Little Journey in 2011. Teresa Deevy had all but slipped from memory, even in her native Ireland - until the Mint came to her rescue with a four-production, two-publication effort to resurrect her work and reputation, starting with Wife to James Whelan in 2010, continuing with Temporal Powers in 2011, Katie Roche in 2012 and The Suitcase Under the Bed in 2018. Now, add Lillian Hellman to that roster!
Hellman's second play, Days to Come, is a family drama set against the backdrop of labor strife in a small Ohio town which threatens to tear apart both town and family. "It's the story of innocent people on both sides who are drawn into conflict and events far beyond their comprehension," Hellman said in an interview before Days to Come opened in 1936. "It's the saga of a man who started something he cannot stop..."
Audiences had no chance to appreciate Days to Come when it premiered on Broadway in 1936; it closed after only a week. Hellman blamed herself for the play's failure. "I wanted to say too much," she wrote in a preface to the published play in 1942-while admitting that her director was confused and her cast inadequate. "On the opening night the actors moved as figures in the dream of a frightened child. It was my fault, I suppose, that it happened." Nevertheless, "I stand firmly on the side of Days to Come." In 1942, Hellman could afford to take responsibility for the play's failure; she had enjoyed much success in the days after Days to Come (with both The Little Foxes and Watch on the Rhine). But Hellman's play is better than she would admit.Days to Come was revived only once in New York, in 1978, by The WPA Theatre. In reviewing that production for The Nation, Harold Clurman wrote that that "our knowledge of what Hellman would subsequently write reveals that Days to Come is not mainly concerned with the industrial warfare which is the 'stuff' of her story for the first two acts. Hellman's real preoccupation is "the lack of genuine values of mind or spirit" of her principle characters, the factory-owning Rodmans.
The Village Voice called the play "very much worth seeing:" "Days to Come appears in retrospect to be a warm-up for her first masterpiece, The Little Foxes... It was also the first place in which her great continuing theme was fully stated: that there is no line between private morality and public policy, that political choices are moral choices. All people, Hellman tells us, have their failings; they are to be understood. But when those failings spill out onto other people, they become something which is no longer private and which cannot be overlooked."
More than a neglected curiosity by one of America's greatest playwrights, Days to Come is subtle, complex and vital drama: "Very much worth seeing," indeed.
J.R. Sullivan directs a cast that features Mary Bacon, Janie Brookshire, Larry Bull, Chris Henry Coffey, Dan Daily, Ted Deasy, Roderick Hill, Betsy Hogg, Kim Martin-Cotten, Geoffrey Allen Murphy, and Evan Zes.