JUNE 6, 1957
NEW YORK—I went to the reading of a play Monday night. These readings give a young playwright an opportunity to see his or her play read or acted and criticized so that any changes can be made.
The New Dramatists Committee, under whose sponsorship this is done, is a workshop supported by funds in memory of Elinor Morgenthau, whose life-long interest in the theatre made her husband and children feel that this type of thing would give her pleasure.
The play we heard and saw, produced without scenery and by people who were reading their parts, was called "Taffy" and dealt with a rather sordid side of rural life in the South. In parts, it had the quality of a Greek tragedy. You felt inevitably that you were marching toward a tragic end that could not be averted.
The third act did not seem to me to be conclusive or to finish as it should, but nevertheless this young writer, Anne Barlo, has great talent, I think. I hope she will be successful, for we need good plays, and I always remember that John Golden said that to support the theatre, good plays were the first necessity.
I was called for by C.R. Smith early Tuesday and we went up together to West Point, N.Y., for the United States Military Academy graduation exercises. What a beautiful drive it is on the west side of the Hudson! We enjoyed it all and came back over the new Tarrytown bridge, finding it very quick going. In fact, the return trip took us only about an hour and ten minutes.
I saw many old friends at West Point and was glad to see the two boys, whom I have been seeing through the past few years, become lieutenants. They are Lieutenants A.N. Bone and Jack McDaniel and I also met Lieutenant Murphy, who is to go with them on their 60-day leave, during which they plan practically to cover the world.
One boy received great applause as he was given his diploma, and it was explained to us that there had been a family tragedy in which his close family had been wiped out in a motor car accident on their way to see him graduate. He had gone to the funeral and returned to receive his diploma. The boys had only their applause by which to express their sympathy and they did it resoundingly.
Of course, the last man to be graduated also received great applause, partly because it was the end of the ceremony and partly because they knew how glad he was that he squeezed through!
Major General and Mrs. Garrison H. Davidson, the superintendent and his wife, were more than kind, and I felt again how beautiful the setting is for the Army Academy. General Maxwell D. Taylor, Army Chief of Staff, gave what I thought was a most practical and useful address, covering the necessary points very well for the young graduates.