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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. VI, No. 1
Spring, 1982



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Playwright David Wheeler, photographed in his most O'Neillian mien by The (Provincetown) Advocate, at the time of his premiere performance of "Here Before You...Eugene O'Neill," which is printed in this issue.

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Greetings! Actually the first two "new's" need little comment. That the News-letter herewith enters its second half-decade is gratifying--and more than a little surprising. When I first envisioned it, back in '76, I had no idea that it would catch on (and go on) to the extent that it has. Nor that it would grow to be so time-consuming a venture. But your compliments and suggestions are so heartening that the Newsletter has no intention of flagging or folding, even if its editor and staff periodically display symptoms of both! Do keep those cards and letters coming, folks, as Bob (or was it Ray?) used to say. Modesty prevents my quoting from those letters, except in advertising, but believe me, they mean a lot.

As for the second "new," it is obvious at first glance that the Newsletter is flirting yet again with a new format. But such flirting is expensive; and, as I try to please both those who are happy with what has been and its attractive price, and those who urge that the Newsletter be "upgraded" to the rank of review, quarterly or journal less "ephemeral" in appearance, the cost may become prohibitive. (This is not a plea for extra financial contributions. But it is true that it may be necessary ere long to return to the corner-stapled, loose-leaf past; and if every old subscriber were to recruit one new one, the problem would vanish.) Since sufficient numbers of you have expressed approval of the current price--and title--I have no plan for changing either in the near future. But I can predict with fiscal certainty that the next two issues will not be as plump as this one.

As for the new play which opens Volume Six, I already mentioned it in the last issue, and playwright David Wheeler is introduced in the "Persons Represented" section at the end of this issue. Here Before You...Eugene O'Neill was premiered, appropriately, at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum on May 23, 1981, to the delight of many, and to the consternation of others who prefer a less irreverent treatment of America's greatest playwright. Mr. Wheeler admits that the play is "part parody of the man," but notes that it is "a loving parody, a respectful one, and ... an attempt to parody the myth-making process." (The Advocate, Provincetown, June 25, 1981, "Summer Guide," p. 15.) As Catherine Gammon noted, shortly after the premiere (The Advocate, May 28, 1981, p. 19), the play is "a risky undertaking that gains or loses strength with the receptivity of the audience." Knowing the generous receptivity of the Newsletter audience, I think the risk is small. The fact that the play has since been performed at the Helen Shlien Gallery in Boston and, this spring, at the Theatre Marigny in New Orleans, strengthens my faith in its value. I precede it with the cover and program note that Mr. Wheeler provided for its Provincetown premiere.

The Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, Vol. VI, No. 1. Copyright (c) 1982 by the Eugene O'Neill Newsletter. Copyright 2011 by Harley J. Hammerman. Editor: Frederick C. Wilkins. Assoc. Editor: Marshall Brooks. Subscriptions: $6/year for individuals in U.S. & Canada, $10/year for libraries, institutions and all overseas subscribers. Only one-year subscriptions are accepted. Members of the Eugene O'Neill Society receive subscriptions as part of their annual dues. Back issues available @ $3 each. Address: The Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, Department of English, Suffolk University, Boston, MA 02108 U.S.A.


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