H. Kalmanowitz has written a new drama, of
course, once again about mothers and children, and he has given it a
name, "Foolish Mothers," and his new play is now being directed by
Misha German in Brooklyn's Parkway Theatre.
chosen one corner in life from which he creates all his dramas: this
in the relationship between parents and their children. True,
it is a rich source for dramatic considerations. When two different
generations live under one roof, there must be constant conflicts,
clashes and dramas.
But the dramatic clashes, which
Kalmanowitz portrays in all of his plays, They are already very
similar, as similar as twins. The same mother, the same children,
the same mother and the same house. And even the main philosophy,
even the main thought and close of the drama are also the same.
Also here, in the "Foolish Mothers," she is depicted as a mother
(the "eternal mother," or the "foolish mother"). She sacrificed
herself for the children, and the selfish children repay her with
The most important difference between
Kalmanowitz's new family drama and his predecessor confirms this,
that here the mother, the children and her husband accuse her of
being an old-fashioned woman -- and therein, they say, lies the main
trouble. She herself, it is said, belongs to the new world, and she
-- to the old world. When she leaves, however, in a short time and
they also become a "modern" woman, with a cigarette in their mouth.
They are all flattered, and it turns out that they are not satisfied at
Kalmanowitz is honest as a dramaturg: He does not
exaggerate, he does not seek artificial, false effects, he is honest
to the life he portrays and is universally honest in his philosophy.
But he is, unfortunately, not deep enough and not diverse enough to
turn his family pictures into genuine -- artistic, original dramas.
And his main weakness is what he often repeats.
particular weakness of the new play consists of this, that it is not
dramatic enough. The first act, for example, has in it no sign in
itself, no kernel of any kind of dramatic content. The act consists of
two scenes that consist of only one scene, which only presents a
picture of how people get in and get out of the same apartment, and
that's the whole dramatic action there. The little dramatic stuff is
found in the last two acts, and also could fit in, it seems, into
The director has also inserted a couple of songs
that do not come directly from the course of the play. Both the
foreboding and the fleeting lighting effects do not fit into the
strictly realistic tone and character of the drama. It's all one
thing to wear a tank top for a weekly outfit, but we don't know
about an old style of director ...
The main roles are played
by Misha and Lucy German; she -- the mother, he -- the father.
Lucy German is the eternally kind-hearted, hardened and
forsaken, old-fashioned mother, who has a constant tear in her voice
and who maintains a constant tone of morality in her speeches.
Misha German here is the soft, heartless man and father, who is
already a modern man, but who is planned in today's world much more
than the fathers of the old world.
A tragi-comedy about a
man who falls victim to his "stylish" wife, presents Irving
Jacobson. He shows actorial abilities. he is eloquent and comical in
his transition from an apparently strong character, from a man with
"principles", to a weakling who suffers from his wife and children.
A second comical type
is played by Yudl Dubinsky, who plays the role here first of a man
who is weak and later of a widower, who settles in a strange house
and becomes his own person there. Dubinsky here doesn't have a lot
to do, but he does the best that one can do under the circumstances.
Frances Weintraub plays quite vividly and movingly the role of a
modern dyed woman who smokes cigarettes and is active in "clubs" and
at "bridge parties." She plays here, however, a bit too noisy
and monotonous. One can, it seems to me, show more in such a
Zvi Scooler, Goldie Lubritsky and Anna
Toback are the ungrateful children. They pass on not badly the
character traits that the author gave them. You feel a completely
different world in them, like the world of their offended mother.
In the first act three small children play the same roles: F.
[Frankie] Schechtman, E. [Evelyn] Grill, and S. Langman. They
already feel entirely free and at home on the stage, but as
experienced, grown-up actors.
The audience accepts "Foolish
Mothers" with tearful eyes, sympathetic sighs and from time to time
also with loud laughter.