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26 Weeks/26 Plays – Till the Day I Die

Wow, that sounds really intense. I don’t know that I will be reading a play a week until the day I die…. maybe? More like, this play by Clifford Odets is amazing. I say that a lot, don’t I? But the fact is, there is a TON of great literature out there to be read, including great plays. Just because you see the same 10 plays over and over again in your local theatre scene doesn’t mean that’s all that is out there. Let’s be real. I could read a play a week until I die and there would still be more unread great plays out there.

Till the Day I Die, by Clifford Odets

First of all, I am still in love with Odets. The poetry of his language is maddening in its beauty and verve. And have any of you ever looked at the original cast lists for his plays? Zounds! The play I’m reading for this coming week had Sanford Meisner, Stella Adler AND Elia Kazan in the original cast. And Harold Clurman worked on the show. Because it was put on by the Group Theatre. It’s like living in the holy land, people!

That said, this play is a heart-wrenching story about life in Nazi-occupied Germany for the resistance. It follows a select group of people in their underground war against the barbarism and destruction of Hitler’s army. I certainly don’t agree with the politics of either side presented, but the observation of what it means to be human and fight for something comes singing off the pages. There are several great monologues for men presented here, but really none for women. While the single female character, Tilly, is lovely, she has little stage time and is not written into the script at length like some of the male characters.

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