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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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The Prize Winner, Hart House Theatre

Theatre critic Fred Jacob reviews an all-Canadian bill of one-acts at Hart House Theatre for the April Canadian Forum and criticizes Mazo de la Roche's The Return of the Immigrant, set in Ireland, for its artificial language, setting and characterization. He suggests the author "handicapped herself hopelessly by deciding to use a derived atmosphere…Why Canadians insist upon writing of things about which they have no first hand knowledge, I cannot understand." By contrast, Jacob found that Merrill Denison's The Prize Winner "rang true" because he "has seen such people and has made a portrait of them…Merrill Denison furnishes an object lesson for all the would-be dramatists. He is putting Canada into his plays. Hence that quality of freshness which makes his work stand out so prominently in the limited field of our native drama."

Theatre critic Lawrence Mason, in his November 24 Toronto Globe column, calls for the creation of a provincial drama league. "The time is ripe for an important step forward in the Canadian theatre. In every city, town or even village and rural district, there are people of culture, talent and standing who are eager to better the almost intolerable existing conditions in theatrical matters by forming a Little Theatre group or Drama League and presenting worthwhile plays in an artistic and interesting way."