“FOUR SAINTS IN THREE ACTS”: words by Gertrude Stein, music by Virgil Thomson. scenario by Maurice Grosser, choreography by Frederick Ashton, settings and costumes by Florine Stettheimer, puroduction by John Houseman. Contuctor, Alexander Smallers. Performed at the 44th Street Theatre.
Last Tuesdat evening your sometimes faithful correspondent was sent over to the Forty-fouth Street Theatre to report on “Four Saints in Three Acts,” a modern opera with words by Gertrude Stein and music by Virgil Thomson. He is Just getting over it.
The regular music critic for the Jewish Daily Bulletin will probably write a more formal piece on the production but the fellow who is setting down these words got the first assignment because he has been constantly subjected to plays and movie dramas and it was thought that nothing could faze him. After all he has been. known to write a piece on the latest sporting event or even tosss off an occasional book review. Evidently his capacity for digesting enterainment was overstimated. At this point he finds himself in a dither.
Being one of those rare fellows who knows a bit about art but doesn’t know what he wants, he can’t make up his mind whether this very modern American made opera is all that it shold be. Whart it is about he has been unable to ascertain, as a matter of fact he firmly believes that it isn’t about anything at all but he does know that the scenic events were the most striking he has ever gazed upon, that music converyed a definite feeling of both humor and pathos, that the lyrics fitted the music and although not always comprehenible managed to convey a depth of feeling; that the voices of the all-Negro cast were full and rich; and that the dancing of the Negro troupe, especially the parody on orthodox ballet dancing, was amusing and extremely well done.
His enthusissm for what went on before his almost unbelieving eyes was shared by the very fastionable audience that had crowded into the theatrre. They were unashamed in voicing a vociferous pleasure in the proceedings and were loathe to leave their seats after the final curtain had come down. This conglomeration of strange prose, syntaxless verss, and unusual music is the most titillating experience a New York audience has undergone since George Antheil’s “Ballet Mecanique,” the difference however is that in the case of Antheil’s work they were anneyed and almost deafenod by the blaring music but this Stein-thomson opera brought both amusement and delight.
DISCUSS MOTION PICTURES
The Film and Photo League will open th first of its series of discussion on th modern motion picture with a symposium on “The Future of the Film,” to be held Sunday night at 12 East 17th street.