FEBRUARY 28, 1955
WASHINGTON—The other night I went to the opening of Christopher Fry's play, "The Dark Is Light Enough," starring Katharine Cornell. I have read most of the criticisms since, and I am glad to see that one and all paid homage to a remarkable piece of acting. I don't think I have seen Miss Cornell do anything so satisfactory in a long time. She has a deep understanding of the character she is portraying and does it exquisitely.
I have often before felt that Christopher Fry could write beautiful lines, but sometimes I have been baffled to know what he really meant to say. I laid this, of course, to my own stupidity. But little by little I found there were others who suffered as I did, and perhaps a writer should be a little easier to understand. In this case, I think he has written a real play, with beautiful and amusing lines. There are still places where I found myself obliged to interpret what he said in order to derive a meaning for me, although I am not at all sure it is the meaning the author intended.
It seemed to me that Tyrone Power did an excellent piece of acting in his portrayal of a rather unpleasant character. He made a scoundrel as attractive as only he could make him. Nevertheless the character remained a scoundrel, and you could not help wondering why others so readily gave him what he felt he needed. Perhaps the trouble with what Mr. Fry tries to do lies in the difficulty of interpreting the human heart correctly. The heart is an unpredictable thing and totally unreasonable. If Mr. Fry is not always successful in making it possible for others to understand it, perhaps it is because he himself cannot quite understand. Perhaps he does not even expect or want us to understand.
All the actors in the play are excellent, the stage settings are beautiful, and altogether it was a satisfying evening of theatre. But I thought Katharine Cornell's performance the outstanding feature. She played the Countess Rosmarin Ostenburg with great naturalness. She had the years of breeding behind her that make one so sure and unafraid in any situation. Realizing that life in itself is not everything, she could sacrifice someone who would understand and be equal to the sacrifice, while pitying the one who could not be. She could say with conviction: "I have no right to give you a life. No one has a right to give away somebody else's life."
Despite its obscure passages, Mr. Fry's play leaves one with plenty to think about. I hope everyone will go and enjoy the play as much as I did.