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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. VIII, No. 1
Spring, 1984


(IN THIS ISSUE)

THE EUGENE O'NEILL SOCIETY SECTION

I. MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS' MEETING, December 28, 1983.

The Officers and Board of Directors of The Eugene O'Neill Society met in the Indiana suite of the Warwick Hotel, New York, December 28, 1983, at noon. Michael Hinden, Chairman of the Board, presided. Present were Officers: Albert Wertheim, Pres., Frederick Wilkins, Vice-Pres., Jordan Miller, Sec.; Board Members: Michael Hinden, Eugene Hanson, Vera Jiji, and Tom Olsson.

Discussion was held concerning the method of selecting the slate of candidates for the election to follow at the Annual Meeting. All present officers and board members were contacted to determine if they would again stand for election; all replied in the affirmative. Ballot has been prepared with room for nominations from the floor for all positions.

Because of confusion concerning the status of the International Secretary, question was raised as to the possibility of having two who could share overseas responsibilities. Because the by-laws provide for only one, it was moved, seconded, and voted that a proposal to amend the by-laws to include the possibility of more than one International Secretary be presented to the membership. If approved in principle, the change will be voted on as a permanent amendment to the by-laws at the 1984 Annual Meeting. Meanwhile, Tom Olsson has volunteered to stand for the position and to serve as the single International Secretary during 1983.

Fred Wilkins asked if the policy of publishing Society minutes in the Newsletter should continue. Positive consensus; the Secretary will prepare and submit them to the editor for inclusion in the next issue.

The matter of Honorary Directors, provided for in the by-laws, was then discussed. So far the only person so named was Sophus Winther, now deceased. It was decided to present the names of Oona O'Neill Chaplin, Jose Quintero, Colleen Dewhurst, Jason Robards, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Arvin Brown to the membership.

Tom Olsson announced plans for a symposium on Strindberg and O'Neill to be held in Stockholm in May of 1988. It will include two scholars, two directors, and two actors. Proposed are Virginia Floyd and Travis Bogard, scholars; Jason Robards and Geraldine Fitzgerald, actors; and Jose Quintero and Arvin Brown, directors. Plans are to present at least two plays each by Strindberg and O'Neill.

The next point raised was the Society's relationship to the Theatre Committee for Eugene O'Neill, headed by Barbara Gelb and George White. When the Swedish actors came to this country last year they did not even know that the Society existed. It was felt a link should be established between the two groups; Al Wertheim will initiate contact with the Committee.

At the Fourth Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in December 1982 the principle of joint membership with the O'Neill Foundation Tao House was approved. The following will be presented to the membership for final approval and incorporation into the by-laws under the following conditions: approval by Tao House, and effective with 1985 Society membership; and limited to regular Society memberships only.

Section III.5: Joint Membership with the Eugene O'Neill Foundation Tao House.

For an additional ten dollars ($10.00) per year above the regular membership fee assessed by each organization, a member of the Eugene O'Neill Society or a member of the Eugene O'Neill Foundation Tao House will receive membership in the other organization. The additional fee and joint membership will be optional. (NOTE: Amendment as voted by membership is worded somewhat differently. See minutes of Annual Meeting.)

Fred Wilkins distributed the tentative schedule for the conference on O'Neill's early years to be held at Suffolk University in March 1984. He stated that he would welcome any support which the Society could offer, particularly in view of costs in bringing certain overseas scholars to the United States who have indicated their willingness but who need support. It was generally agreed that some kind of support should be offered. It was moved, seconded, and voted that the Society contribute $1,000 to the conference. Al Wertheim expressed his hopes that any future meetings or conferences of this sort would include the Society in the planning process from the beginning. For this contribution, acknowledgement will be given in all publicity and programs henceforth connected with the Suffolk conference as "in association with the Eugene O'Neill Society."

The Society is now officially recognized by MLA and we will be able to offer a special O'Neill session as part of the regular program and we will be able to have the Annual Meeting included in the program and scheduled in a regular convention room. Automatically included, then, are (1) a special session, (2) annual meeting, and (3) privilege of requesting a third session, all under the MLA purview.

The matter of planning the O'Neill session for the 1984 Washington meeting was then discussed. It was felt that we ought to make the whole thing more open and draw from as large a number of interested individuals as possible. A variety of methods of securing topics were discussed, but the consensus was clearly that because of the imminent deadline (April of 1984) for inclusion in the program, the Board should act at once and thereafter solicit suggestions for subsequent years. It was then decided that Al Wertheim will be the coordinator for 1984, using the general topic "The Possessors Dispossessed." He will announce this fact at the Annual Meeting and will solicit papers with a February 15 deadline. He will be charged with reading and selecting the papers for the session and choosing the leader. For 1985 Michael Manheim will be asked to undertake the responsibilities of organizing the session at the Chicago meeting.

Al Wertheim reported that William Reardon of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has secured support from ATA and NEH to organize a centennial observance for the Education Subcommittee of the ATA, to be coordinated at the highschool, community college and university level, in the form of a collection of scholarly, critical, theatrical and perhaps pedagogical essays on O'Neill. Sponsorship for the project is planned from the Society, the O'Neill Foundation Tao House, the ASTR, and perhaps the Monte Cristo Cottage, Theatre Journal, Comparative Drama and others. Total funding is still a problem, and Reardon would like a meeting somewhere in the US to plan for this project. It was felt that the Society should certainly get involved. Since Reardon is not a Society member, he will be forwarded a membership application.

It was suggested that a medal be struck honoring the O'Neill Centennial. Al Wertheim will contact President Reagan concerning the matter.

Meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

--Jordan Y. Miller, Secretary.

II. Minutes of the Fifth Annual Meeting, December 28, 1983.

The Fifth Annual Meeting of The Eugene O'Neill Society was held on December 28,1983, at 5:30 p.m. in the Museum of Broadcasting, 1 East 53rd Street, New York. Albert Wertheim, President, presided.

President Wertheim thanked Vera Jiji for securing the meeting room. He described the general confusion in the Society's application for recognition as an allied organization of MLA over the past year, but was happy to announce that all is now straightened out and the Society is officially recognized, thus permitting the allocation of rooms for an O'Neill session plus Annual Meeting, with possibility of one other session at the 1984 meeting in Washington and all subsequent meetings, with publication in the official MLA program.

The minutes of the Fourth Annual Meeting were distributed and accepted.

The Secretary's and Treasurer's reports (appended) were presented.

Al Wertheim presented the problem of the International Secretary, limited by the by-laws to one. He presented a motion from the Board of Directors that the by-laws be amended to permit the election of more than one International Secretary. Jordan Miller read the section from the by-laws concerning the office. Because we want to cover several areas of the world, it was reported that the Board felt there should be the option of multiple International Secretaries at the option of the Board. The proposal was moved, seconded, and accepted by the membership in principle, with the change to be voted on at the 1984 meeting as a permanent amendment to the by-laws.

Election of officers was then held. The Secretary had contacted all current Officers and Board Members whose terms expire in 1983 to determine if they wished to stand for reelection. All replied in the affirmative. This, then, was the slate presented by the Board, with option for nominations from the floor. Michael Manheim was nominated for the Board. Election was held by secret ballot. There were no other nominations for Officers, and the top five nominees for the Board were named to serve. Michael Manheim was elected, together with Michael Hinden, Vera Jiji, Sally Pavetti, and John Henry Raleigh.

Al Wertheim announced that, because of the speed necessary in determining the topic and panelists for the O'Neill Session at the 1984 Washington MLA Convention, the Board had directed that he serve as the coordinator to receive and judge papers. The general subject will be "The Possessors Dispossessed," which will thus place emphasis on the cycle plays. The topic was chosen because the early plays will be included in the Suffolk University conference in Boston in March 1984. While it was acknowledged that the topic is restricted, it was felt that we should avoid more discussions on Iceman and Journey and look to the cycle and possibly include Hughie. The deadline for paper submissions was February 15, 1984.

The membership was informed that the Board of Directors has decided to invite Oona O'Neill Chaplin, Jose Quintero, Colleen Dewhurst, Jason Robards, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Arvin Brown to be Honorary Directors under the provisions of the by-laws.

President Wertheim discussed the amendment, approved in principle at the Fourth Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in December 1982, permitting joint membership between the Society and the Eugene O'Neill Foundation Tao House. It was felt that such an arrangement would permit wider membership and increased interest in the Society. The following amendment to the Society by-laws was then presented to the membership, with the stipulation that it be placed in the by-laws only if approved by the Tao House Foundation:

Section III.5: Optional Joint Membership - Eugene O'Neill Society and Eugene O'Neill Foundation Tao House.

For an optional additional $10 per year above the fee of $20, a regular member of the Eugene O'Neill Society shall be granted simultaneous member-ship in the Eugene O'Neill Foundation Tao House.

Amendment was unanimously approved.

Centennial Matters.

Tom Olsson announced the planned symposium in Stockholm for May 1988, sponsored by the Swedish Institute and the Royal Dramatic Theatre, honoring Strindberg and O'Neill. Plans include the production of at least two plays by each playwright, and participation is planned for two scholars, two actors, and two directors, all from the US, although plans are not yet completed. Virginia Floyd of the Society has been working with Olsson in preparing the program and will continue to assist While there will be activities involving radio, TV, and theatre, emphasis will be on Strindberg and O'Neill on the stage. It will not be just a scholarly approach but will encompass a wide variety of interests. Any wishing to participate are welcome and should contact Virginia or Tom.

Fred Wilkins distributed material concerning the Suffolk conference on the early plays in Boston in March 1984. It was announced that the Board had allocated $1000 to the conference, which will now be held "in association with" the Society.

Question was raised from the floor concerning the possibility of entering into a republication of the Wilderness Edition of O'Neill's plays, valuable for their many notes and long out of print. Because there is to be an eventual full edition of all plays, planned by Travis Bogard, Al Wertheim will alert him to the matter of the Wilderness material.

Matter of the possibility of an O'Neill award in conjunction with the Tony Awards was discussed, something to reward a new American playwright. Al Wertheim said he would look into this again, but pointed out that our immediate concern is to establish a link with the Theatre Committee for Eugene O'Neill headed by Barbara Gelb and George White, president of the O'Neill Theatre Center. Every year since 1978-79 this Committee has held an O'Neill birthday party and awarded recognition to people who have furthered O'Neill's work. This year it was given to Jason Robards. President Wertheim will get in touch with Barbara Gelb to try to establish closer links.

It was also announced that Al Wertheim will contact President Reagan concerning the possibility of issuing an official O'Neill Centennial Medal.

Another centennial undertaking announced was that of William Reardon of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has secured ATA and NEH grants to plan the publication of a series of essays by the Greenwood Press. Plans will be coordinated at high school, community college, and university levels. Groups such as the ATA, O'Neill Foundation Tao House, Monte Cristo Cottage, ASTR, and publications such as Comparative Drama and Theatre Journal will assist in sponsorship. Articles are planned to be scholarly, critical, theatrical, pedagogical, and historical. The Society plans to work closely with Reardon as the project continues.

Tom Olsson announced the success of the new Swedish playwright Lars Noren whose play "The Night is the Mother of Day" was successfully done in Sweden and at Waterford last summer.

There was no further new business. The meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

--Jordan Y. Miller, Secretary.

III. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SECRETARY - 1983 ANNUAL MEETING - NEW YORK - DECEMBER 28, 1983.

Society membership as of the first of December 1983 stood at 110. This represents an increase of 34% over our initial membership of 82 in 1980, and an increase of 17% over the 1982 final figure of 94 members.

While this is, of course, encouraging, it represents a very slow growth and certainly does not reflect the great number of people out there who are, I am sure, interested enough in O'Neill to support us. Furthermore, during the first year of our existence we lost 17 of our charter members, and over the entire four years we have lost a net total double that amount--35. We have held our own through direct solicitation, such as contacting non-member subscribers to the Newsletter or non-member contributors to the Newsletter, a source now fairly well exhausted; through word-of-mouth, and through a disappointing mass mailing, from which we gained 13 new members, just about enough to cover the cost of the mailing. Unfortunately, it took us so long to gain the necessary post office approval after the mailing had been prepared that some of the material was outdated and no doubt confusing to the recipients--for which the Secretary must be held responsible.

However, now that we have the permit, a good mass-mailing solicitation from an appropriate mailing list might bring us substantially higher new memberships. Any recommendations as to what to do to increase membership are most welcome.

Our membership is divided as follows: Regular, 85; Student, 11; Emeritus, 5; Family, 3 units or 6 members; Sponsors, 2; Institutional, 1. We are represented by membership in 8 foreign countries: Australia, 1; Canada, 1; France, 1; Hungary, 1; India, 2; Japan, 4; Jordan, 1; Sweden, 1. We have apparently lost touch with our Finish contact, Timo Tiusanen.

As of this meeting a total of 41 members have paid 1984 dues. 29 of these are renewals and 12 are new members.*

Respectfully submitted,
Jordan Y. Miller, Secretary

IV. EUGENE O'NEILL SOCIETY: FINANCIAL REPORT, 1/1/83-12/31/83.

DEBIT

$ 660.00 Publication E. O. Newsletter
400.00 Secretary for expenses
80.00 Rental-hall, 1983 meeting
2.29 Fee to cash Canadian check

$1,142.29

3,001.15 Balance Savings 12/31/83
304.81 Balance Checking 12/31/83

$4,448.25

CREDIT

Balance Savings 1/1/83 $1,987.76
Balance Checking 1/1/83 95.10
Membership Fees 2,242.00
Interest-Savings 123.39

$4,448.25

Bank: R.I. Hospital Trust National

Checking Account: #001-003201
Savings Account: #100-1244308

--Submitted by Virginia Floyd, Treasurer.

V ADDITIONAL NEWS.

A. The Society-sponsored special session on Eugene O'Neill at the 1983 MLA convention (see details in last issue) was extremely well attended. Chaired by Michael Hinden, it included papers by Paul D. Voelker (included in this issue of the Newsletter), Michael Manheim (to be published elsewhere), and Fred Wilkins (whose 1980-83 O'Neill bibliography will appear in the next issue).

B. At a special luncheon meeting during the Boston O'Neill conference on Friday, March 23, the Board of Directors elected Perry Miller Adato to fill the remaining term on the Board of Tom Olsson, who has moved to the position of International secretary.

VI. COMPLETE LIST OF OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

OFFICERS

President (two-year term, 1984-1985)

Albert Wertheim
Dept. of English
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47401

Vice-President (two-year term, 1984-1985)

Frederick C. Wilkins
Dept. of English
Suffolk University
Boston, MA 02114

Secretary (four-year term, 1984-1987)

Jordan Y. Miller
Dept. of English
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI 02881

(This is the Society's official business and mailing address)

Treasurer (four-year term, 1984-1987)

Virginia Floyd
Department of English
Bryant College
Smithfield, RI 02917

International Secretary (four-year term, 1984-1987)

Tom J. A. Olsson
Royal Dramatic Theatre
Stockholm, Sweden

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Four-year term, 1982-1985

Travis Bogard
Dept. of Dramatic Art
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720

Eugene K. Hanson
College of the Desert
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Adele R. Heller
Provincetown Playhouse
Box 477
Provincetown, MA 02657

Esther M. Jackson
Dept. of Theatre & Drama
Univ. of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

Perry Miller Adato
356 West 58th Street
New York, NY 10019

(elected 3/23/84 to complete
Tom Olsson's term)

Four-year term, 1984-1987

Michael Hinden
Dept. of English
Univ. of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

Vera Jiji
126 East 92nd Street
New York, NY 10028

John Henry Raleigh
Dept. of English
Univ. of California
Berkeley, CA 94720

Michael Manheim
Dept. of English
Univ. of Toledo
Toledo, OH 43606

Sally Thomas Pavetti
Monte Cristo Cottage
325 Pequot Avenue
New London, CT 06320

*As of June 6, 1984, thanks partly to the Boston conference, the membership stands at 134.

(IN THIS ISSUE)

 

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