The Theatre Guild On The Air
ABC - Sunday, October 07, 1945
Adapted: Arthur Arent Director: Homer Fickett
Eugene O'Neill, Jr.
Nat Miller - Walter Huston Tommy - Teddy Rose Essie Miller - Katherine Raht Mildred - Judy Parrish Arthur - Richard Widmark Aunt Lily - Eda Heinemann Sid Davis - Walter Kinsella
Richard - Jack
Kelk Mr. Macomber
- Will Geer Wint - Tony Barrett Belle - Dennie Moore Bartender - Frank Lovejoy Muriel - Susan Douglas Salesman - Russell Collins
What makes it a pleasure to adapt to
radio any play by Eugene O'Neill is the fact that every scene in it is
sure to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is more
extraordinary than it sounds, since many plays (some successful ones
included) are so woodenly contrived that any effort to break them down for
purposes of radio adaptation results in chaos and the subsequent building
of a brand new structure. All O'Neill's scenes, however, build to
their curtains with an awesome inevitability heart-warming to the adapter.
The dominant motif of "Ah,
Wilderness!" being nostalgia, it was necessary to create this mood at the
outset. thus the Narrator speaks of "blacksmiths and Merry Widow
hats and zithers and black lisle stockings with lace openwork."
His speeches are musically underscored with "Bedelia," a song of the
period. He then introduces the Miller family one by one, as they
come into the parlor after lunch, thus evoking the easy informality of the
period, and, more particularly, this household.
Since the play was written in four
acts, a certain shifting of scenes was inevitable, the new act curtains
giving them a slightly different emphasis. But with the exception of
Dick's scene with his sister Mildred, which I arbitrarily set in his
bedroom for purposes of variety, no relocation of scene was necessary.
By and large, so solid and
inevitable was the line of this play that it required less juggling and
rearranging than any I have ever adapted. As Proof of this, the only
changes made in rehearsal were a minute and a half cut from the running
time and the insertion, at Lawrence Langner's suggestion, of the bluefish
episode. -- Arthur Arent
Guild on the Air, H. William Fitelson (ed), 1947