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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. V, No. 3
Winter, 1981


(IN THIS ISSUE)

THE EUGENE O'NEILL SOCIETY SECTION

1. O'NEILL SESSION AT MLA '81. "O'Neill and His Theatrical Children" is the topic for a Special Session, organized and directed by Vera Jiji of Brooklyn College, CUNY, at the Modern Language Association Convention in New York City after Christmas. It will take place from noon to 1:15 p.m. on Monday, December 28, in Nassau A, a room on the second floor of the New York Hilton. (The session is item 166 in the convention program published in the November issue of PMLA.) Academic papers will be presented by Professors Albert Wertheim (on the split character) and Michael Hinden (on the extended monologue in O'Neill and in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus). Theatrical respondents will be playwright Romulus Linney, who has used both devices in his work; and actor Nicholas Kepros, who is presently playing the Emperor Joseph in Amadeus on Broadway. Professor Virginia Floyd, whose Eugene O'Neill at Work is the most exciting O'Neill book of the year, will serve as scholarly discussant. 'Tis an event that no O'Neill enthusiast will want to miss!

2. ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SOCIETY. The Eugene O'Neill Society's 1981 business meeting will take place on the same day (Monday, December 28), from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Museum of Broadcasting, 1 East 53rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues and very near the Hilton. Unless there is prior balloting by mail, elections will be held for the Officers (President and Vice President) and Board members whose terms of office conclude at the end of 1981. (See slate in item 3.)

In addition to the business meeting, which Acting President Winifred Frazer says will be brief, members and their guests will learn about a number of exciting events at O'Neill centers across the country, and will have a chance to learn about the Museum's extensive videotape collection of O'Neill performances, including last summer's production of Welded and the Robards performances in A Touch of the Poet, The Iceman Cometh and Hughie. (It was not certain at press time whether time will permit us to view some clips from the collection that evening, but members will be able to learn of the Museum's holdings and arrange for longer viewing sessions on subsequent days.) The Society is extremely grateful to Professor Vera Jiji for arranging for the Museum to open its doors especially for our visit: a splendid opportunity to investigate a valuable archival resource.

Secretary Jordan Miller mentions that memberships, both new and renewal, will be accepted at both the noon MLA session and the 5:30 meeting, so no one need miss either of these exciting events. And the early meeting hour will give all participants time to take in some theatre as well, should they so choose.

3. SLATE OF NOMINEES FOR DECEMBER 28 ELECTION. Since the Society's Board of Directors has not met since the last annual meeting, President Frazer canvassed its members for nominees and will present the following slate at the 5:30 p.m. meeting at the Museum of Broadcasting on December 28. The President and Vice President will serve for two years; the Board members, of whom six will be elected, will have four-year terms.

President Albert Wertheim, Indiana University
Vice President Frederick Wilkins, Suffolk University
Board of Directors Travis Bogard, University of California, Berkeley
Eugene Hanson, College of the Desert
Adele Heller, Provincetown Playhouse
Michael Hinden, University of Wisconsin
Esther Jackson, University of Wisconsin
Vera Jiji, Brooklyn College of CUNY
Tom Olsson, Stockholm, Sweden

4. O'NEILL ELSEWHERE AT MLA '81. Professor Michael Manheim of the University of Toledo will be delivering a paper on Chekhov and O'Neill at MLA Session 389 ("Chekhov and Twentieth-Century Drama Outside Russia") at 10:15-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 29. Members won't want to miss this O'Neillian "extra," which will take place in Room 529 of the New York Hilton.

5. PRESIDENTIAL REPORT FOR 1981.

After a preliminary meeting at the New York Hilton in December, 1978, the Society was launched at Tao House, O'Neill's mountain home outside San Francisco, in December, 1979. Internationally known O'Neill scholar Horst Frenz was elected President along with an enthusiastic slate of other Officers and Board of Directors. Sadly, while Horst was in New York a few months later, arranging final revisions with his publisher for his book on O'Neill's international reputation, he suffered an incapacitating stroke. The Society has therefore lacked his valuable leadership during the past two years, but with the cooperation of Vice President Winifred Frazer, Secretary Jordan Miller, Treasurer Virginia Floyd, and the Board of Directors and International Secretary Timo Tiusanen, the Society has made progress in its aim of promoting interest in Eugene O'Neill's life and works.

Special mention must be made of Travis Bogard in leading the Society during its formation and in the presentation of the by-laws which were adopted at Tao House in 1979. Jordan Miller has spent innumerable hours getting out mailings to the member-ship, as has Virginia Floyd in receiving dues and keeping the books. Both have also put in Herculean efforts in getting the Society incorporated as a non-profit organization through the Secretary of State of Rhode Island.

One of the happy relationships within the Society has been that between the scholarly community and those in charge of the O'Neill centers in Provincetown, New London, and San Francisco. Undoubtedly the most important event of the year was making a subscription to The Eugene O'Neill Newsletter automatic with the payment of a year's dues to the Society--thus incorporating Fred Wilkins' excellent publication more closely into the Society. Timo Tiusanen and Tom Olsson have kept us in touch with the international progress of O'Neill studies and productions, and many other members have worked on committees and made valuable suggestions for the improvement of the Society.

One of the aims of the Society has been to increase its visibility and its membership. Jordan Miller has now created a very attractive flier which members may hand to anyone interested, and which is being sent to the mailing list of the American Society for Theatre Research, as well as to others who have indicated an interest in the Society or the Newsletter. Since MLA is continuing its ban on recognition of new organizations, we cannot obtain a room or receive notice on the MLA program of the Society meeting. With this avenue closed, individual members should do as much as possible to encourage interested people at MLA to attend the meeting at the Museum of Broadcasting near the Hilton. [See announcement on previous page, item 2. --Ed.] In future years the Society may meet at the time of the American Theatre Association's annual convention or at one of the O'Neill centers at some other time of year.

Society members will be planning through the next years for the commemoration of the centennial year of O'Neill's birth in 1988. Travis Bogard has approached Random House (which has allowed the three volume O'Neill to go out of print) and Yale University Press about a centennial edition of the plays, to which they agree if money is available. Al Wertheim has plans for a centennial collection of essays on O'Neill to be co-edited by Professor Hedwig Bock of the Universitat Hamburg, published by Max Heuber in Europe, and distributed by Adler Foreign Books in New York. The essays in English may be dedicated to Horst Frenz, who, like Al, was a professor at Indiana University. Other projects which may be incorporated under the aegis of the Society will be welcome.

Due to considerable restriction of travel money last year, the meeting of the Society during the MLA convention in Houston in December, 1980, was not very well attended, but functioned admirably with the aid of J. Dennis Rich and Paul Voelker. Held following the O'Neill session on "O'Neill and Music" planned by Thomas Marshall, it included discussions of a number of the already mentioned concerns, as well as plans for the 1981 MLA session and Annual Meeting in New York.

As Acting President, I can testify to the vigor of our growing Society due to the active, united support of numerous groups of O'Neillians who thoroughly believe that the life and works of Eugene O'Neill are worth promoting.

--Winifred Frazer

6. NOW IS THE HOUR -- when we must say "renew"! Why wait until the last minute and have to stand in line on December 28 to renew your Society membership for 1982? Or, if you're windowshopping at present, when better to take the felicitous plunge into fellowship with the many other admirers of America's foremost dramatist! Send in the following form now, with a check for the appropriate sum, and on December 28th you can saunter leisurely into the Annual Meeting, casting an indulgent smile on the line of beleaguered O'Neillians who lacked your canny foresight. (If you wish to keep your copy of the Newsletter intact, send in a xerox copy of the form, or provide the requested information in a note to Secretary Miller.) Remember that a year of the Newsletter is yours for the joining!

(IN THIS ISSUE)

 

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