Medicine and the Navy provide a considerable share of the entertainment now obtainable on Broadway. Although portrayals of physicians and hospital life have been common both to the stage and motion pictures, “Men in White”, by Sidney Kingsley, despite certain melodramatic incidents which are not easily reconcilable with the personalities of the characters, is a realistic study of the problems which face many a physician.
Although the conflict of the young physician (Alexander Kirkland) who is faced with the problem of developing the “faculty of isolating himself from pursuits and pleasures incident to youth”, furnishes the main action of the play, other vital issues pertinent to the medical profession are also raised. “Men in White” takes up in dramatic fashion such controversial issues of the profession as the socialization of medicine, the dictatorial policy of lay hospital boards, and the financial troubles of those members who seek to abide whole-heartedly by the Hippocratic oath. These issues, although not stressed, form an effective background for the play which seeks to present sincerely the physician as a human being.
In such plays as Eugene O’Neill’s “Strange Interlude”, Philip Barry’s “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” and the Edna Ferber-George S. Kaufman “Dinner at Eight”, dramatists have used physicians as characters, not because they were so interested in them as human beings, but rather because of their belonging to a profession which would allow them access to a lady’s boudoir any time of the day or night without creating any undue suspicion of the lady’s virtue.
The weaknesses in the structure of the play are blotted out at times by the capable acting of Alexander Kirkland as the young interne around whom the story centers, Edward J. Bromberg as the scientist-surgeon and Morris Carnovsky as the physician who has had to suffer for lack of money.
Credit for the outstanding performance in the play goes to Mr. Bromberg whose portrayal of the surgeon whose devotion to his profession stands above everything else in life, is done with rare understanding. The role was one that very easily could have been made ridiculous.
GIRLS, LOOK OUT!
What everybody thinks they know about sailors might very well be the subtitle of “Sailor, Beware”, now amusing audiences at the Lyceum Theatre. The play by Kenyon Nicholson and Charles Robinson makes liberal use of the common adage about the sailor with a girl in every port. It is for the most part a swift bawdy comedy with a racy humor reminiscent of the smoking room. Sailors deprived of feminine company for months at a time on a battleship are not likely to take to reading poetry nor are they allowed the time to go mooning about. Their sole outlet, according to Messrs. Nicholson and Robinson, is in juicy tales of past escapades and in titilating their senses with what is going to happen in the next port of call. It is this supposed fact that the authors play up for all it is worth.
“Dynamite” Jones, (Bruce MacFarlane) known to the navy as a successful collector of women; Billie, the girl who believes in holding out for marriage (Audrey Christie), and a sailor boy (Edward Craven) who bets his grandfather’s watch that “Dynamite” will succeed in breaking down Billie’s resistance, make “Sailor, Beware” gay and lively entertainment.
The first act is far better than the second. Because of the thinness of the plot, the latter half of the play moves less swiftly. On the whole, “Sailor, Beware” adds a bright note to Broadway.
YIDDISH THEATRE NOTES
Bertha Kalich will appear for one performance at the Rolland Theatre in Brooklyn tomorrow evening in a revival of Jacob Gordin’s “The Truth”, one of her greatest successes. Leon Blank will have one of the supporting roles. . . . “Yoshe Kalb”, which has passed its 300th performance, will continue to run indefinitely because of the steady demand for tickets. After October 15 it will alternate with “The Wise Men of Chelem”, a romantic work by Aaron Zeitlin, with music and dancing. This play will be given on week nights during the continued run of “Yoshe Kalb” which will be presented on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. . . . Joseph Rumshinsky’s new Chassidic operetta, “Ich Benk Aheim”, with Ludwig Satz in the starring role, will continue its run for the full season. This decision was made due to the fact that a large number of organizations have booked benefit performances so far in advance and box-office receipts have been more than satisfactory.
Dwight Deere Wiman announces that “Fledermaus”, Johann Strauss’ famous Viennese operetta, which was recently tried out at the Westport Country Playhouse, will open at the Morosco Theatre on October 14.