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Strange Interlude


Like More Stately Mansions, Strange Interlude concentrates on inner voices and psychosexual dilemmas. It has no touch of the romanticism that defines much of the tone of Mourning Be-comes Electra and no lyricism is felt in its characters. Conse­quently, it is a play without music except for a tune heard dur­ing the boat race, in act 8: "We'll row, row, row,..." sung by a drunken Charlie Marsden as he interrupts Nina's attempt to tell her husband of the illegitimacy of their son. In his drunken­ness, quite in character, he appears to mix several matters. He seems to think the song is a college song appropriate to the boat race, when it is in fact a song from the Ziegfeld Follies of 1912. He then confuses it with the nursery tune "Row, row, row your boat." "'And we'll row, row, row,"' he sings. "Remember that old tune when you were a little girl, Nina?"

Marsden — I've forgotten sorrow! There's nothing in life worth grieving about, I assure you, Nina! And I've gotten interested in this race now. (He sings raucously) "Oh we'll row, row, row, right down the river! And we'll row, row, row" — Remember that old tune — when you were a little girl, Nina! [II, 794]

Row, Row, Row - words by William Jerome, music by Jimmie V. Monaco, published 1912


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