Days To Come

PLAY

DRAMA

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ABOUT THE SHOW

Lillian Hellman’s second play, Days to Come, is a family drama set against the backdrop of labor strife in a small Ohio town which threatens to tear apart both town and family. “It’s the story of innocent people on both sides who are drawn into conflict and events far beyond their comprehension,” Hellman said in an interview before Days to Come opened in 1936. “It’s the saga of a man who started something he cannot stop…” Andrew Rodman is running the family business and failing at it. The workers are out on strike and things are getting desperate. “Papa would have known what to do,” his sister Cora nags, “and without wasting time and money.” “The strike, these people here—it’s wrong for you,” his wife Julie advises, “It doesn’t make any difference who wins—” But it’s too late. Rodman is bringing in strikebreakers, naively failing to anticipate the disastrous impact that this will have on his family and their place in the community where they have lived for generations. Audiences had no chance to appreciate Days to Come when it premiered on Broadway in 1936; it closed after a week. Hellman blamed herself for the play’s failure. “I wanted to say too much,” she wrote in a preface to the published play in 1942—while admitting that her director was confused and her cast inadequate. “On the opening night the actors moved as figures in the dream of a frightened child. It was my fault, I suppose, that it happened.” Nevertheless, “I stand firmly on the side of Days to Come.” In 1942, Hellman could afford to take responsibility for the play’s failure; she had enjoyed much success in the days after Days to Come (with both The Little Foxes and Watch on the Rhine.) But Hellman’s play is better than she would admit. Days to Come was revived only once in New York, in 1978, by the WPA Theatre. In reviewing that production for The Nation, Harold Clurman wrote that “our knowledge of what Hellman would subsequently write reveals that Days to Come is not mainly concerned with the industrial warfare which is the ‘stuff’ of her story for the first two acts.” Hellman’s real preoccupation is “the lack of genuine values of mind or spirit” of her principle characters, the factory-owning Rodmans. The Village Voice called the play “very much worth seeing”: “Days to Come appears in retrospect to be a warm-up for her first masterpiece, The Little Foxes…It was also the first place in which her great continuing theme was fully stated: that there is no line between private morality and public policy, that political choices are moral choices. All people, Hellman tells us, have their failings; they are to be understood. But when those failings spill out onto other people, they become something which is no longer private and which cannot be overlooked.” The Village Voice, 1978 More than a neglected curiosity by one of America’s greatest playwrights, Days to Come is subtle, complex and vital drama: “Very much worth seeing,” indeed.

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THINGS TO KNOW

Theatre | Theatre Row
Address | 410 W 42nd Street
Run Time | 2 hr 
Intermission | 10 min
Late Seating | At predetermined intervals and at the discretion of management
Handicap Accessible | Yes

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SCHEDULE

Monday | Dark
Tuesday | 7:30 PM
Wednesday | 7:30 PM
Thursday | 7:30 PM
Friday | 7:30 PM
Saturday | 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Sunday | 2:00 PM

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PHOTOS

Avenue Q

Avenue Q

VIDEO

Photos by: Todd Cerveris