OCTOBER 12, 1954
NEW YORK, Monday—Last Wednesday evening I went to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Everyone in New York will probably want to see the Old Vic company of London in this musical presentation of Shakespeare's play. My feeling was that it was a very enjoyable evening but that the Metropolitan Opera House was too big for the presentation. I was fairly close, in the six or seventh row, and I could hardly hear some of the familiar and charming light lines that cannot be said except in moderate tones. Now you may say that I am partly deaf but there were people listening, with both their ears in good order, who also found difficulty. This is a play, I think, that needs a smaller setting.
I did not find as much variety and fire in the ballet as one would hope for in such a good company but perhaps I am not a good judge of ballet. On the whole, I felt that the company at the City Center, which I had seen perform a short time ago, danced with more fire and that their ballet as a whole had more imagination. The evening was a pleasant one, however, and I am very glad I had the opportunity to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream" so charmingly staged and acted.
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I have just spent nearly an hour of my precious daytime hours crawling around New York City streets in my little car. What can be done about the traffic? If you shut off a street, as is the case on Madison Avenue in the fifties at present, it simply means one wastes hours of time. I don't know the answer but I do know that unless something is done about it shortly, I would not blame anyone for saying they would never come to New York again.
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I cannot remember if I mentioned to you before a book entitled "A Guide to Politics," published by Dial Press and edited by Quincy Howe and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. The contributors, except for myself, are all men who should know something about what they write, and when you see what goes on in our present campaigns you will feel that all of us need a little instruction.
We have to practically beg the voters, in this city at least, to go and register in order that they may vote, and you read daily that everyone is worried throughout the country at the apathy being shown by the average citizen in this campaign. What has happened? This is a time when everywhere there are questions of interest in the lives of people to be solved and the election of the representatives who handle these questions is of prime importance to every citizen in the country. One longs to cry from the housetops "Wake up, you good people, this is your government!"