THE SCARLET THREAD: A Group of One-Act Plays for Young People by Mary Hays Weik

THE SCARLET THREAD: A Group of One-Act Plays for Young People

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Four broad comedies and one ambitious but pompous presentation. Set in five different countries at precise points in history, they deal with professional entertainers, which makes them at least one step removed from less self-conscious drama. ""Moonlight"" juggles with affection and custom in 390 B.C. Greece as a young girl, whose mother ran off with a juggler, runs off with another one, dropping these mocking words for her twice betrayed father: ""Tell him I've gone to find my mother."" ""The Bridge,"" set in 1450 Western Europe, features a toll-less troupe's antics to cross without paying. Italy in 1580 is the place for actors from the commedia dell'arte to stage ""The Rehearsal"" which ends when the performance is to begin. And Louis XIV appears ludicrously disguised as a playshepherd intrigued by the new short skirt of a ballerina. The last in 1860 U.S.A. is ostensibly a minstrel show performance with slaves working on the levee behind and Lincoln and some planters in the audience. When Tambo and Bones (blackfaced in illustration although the text specifies they shouldn't be) work with a ""mulatto"" girl (so specified in the text), the Southerners rise in protest and Old Abc rises to silence and reseat them, an action greeted first by snickers, then by increasing laughter. This last won't get the last laugh now; the others are just as loose with history if less likely to offend.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1968
Publisher: Atheneum