Editor's Note: We just couldn't get the bally old feature page out for just lots of
reasons, and so we're printing a few notes in this column on the drama in Chicago, by
Tiger Van Deusen and Miss Iris Goodman.
By Tiger Van Deusen
I went to the Cube the other night.
I went with the intention of killing an otherwise dull evening.
I saw an actor.
The tale is therefore told. Further elaboration would be absurd -- but -- after all, there's a devil of a lot of space yet to fill.
There is a negro, Charles Gilpin by name, who has given to the American stage some of the greatest presentations of the playwright's art ever seen. Gilpin, as O'Neil's "Emperor Jones" was unforgetable. There were gaucheries of course, Clark has not yet had the experience to present the finished, polished work of Gilpin or Robeson. Isaac Clark of the University college is an actor, in time he will be a great actor. Kismet.
The Cube is esconced neatly if not comfortably in a small store building at 1538 East 57th Street. The Cube I gather is an embryonic art center. If so, it conceals it well. The walls are a trifle flaky and the entire mess is covered with a splotchy job of black paint. Pictures are hung all over. I suppose some of them are good. Various people went out of their way to assure me that such was the case. I am no critic Coles Philips being the zenith of my artistic yearnings but some of the display was admired volubly by myself. The main attraction of the Cube before the plays open is a huge phonograph. A lovely phonograph. A passionate phonograph. A phonograph among phonographs. It chortles the St. Louis Blues. I like the St. Louis Blues.
There were three other plays besides "The Dreamy Kid." They were good in their way, the Little Theatre way, but they paled into insignificance beside the bit of O'Neillism that Clark made almost a masterpiece. The supporting cast was excellent the best portrayal being that of a lady of light morals whose name escapes me. She swept on the stage like a lambent dame and, in the vernacular, he hogged it until Clark's cue stopped the show. A play by a negro cast is always pure emotion but beautifully expressed. I would give a lot to see Isaac Clark work on a properly equipped stage. Someday I will and until then I shall carry this clipping and exalt him to every other theatre hound I meet. I don't like to wax eulogistic but damnit, the boy's good!
Copyright © 2001, Mary S. Van Deusen