Making Your Own Theatre

Uta and Herbert were always looking for work. Not in the sense of waiting for the phone to ring, but in the sense of finding new projects they wanted to work on and actually working on them. This led them separately or together to places as diverse as Vancouver, Princeton, Dennis(Mass.), and Milwaukee. It was in the summer of 1955 that Uta wrote to her friend Jane Eakin:

Herbi and I went out to Milwaukee to play an adaptation made for us of Sardou’s old play Divorçons. We worked like old trained beavers about 16 hours a day and came up with something that was enthusiastically received in the sticks and I think with lots more hard work will be well received by the New Yorkers. It was a wonderful chance to test the material. The content is slight and frothy but there's still a lot of warmth in it and an enormous universality in its identification.

It's about marriage, so natch it's universal. Actually the theme is how to save a marriage.It deals with a young, pampered, over-protected wife and her older roué husband. The wife is bookishly romantic and gives up all possibilities of making a go with the old boy because he has settled down. She takes herself a young lover for the adventure and the old boy goes insanely jealous. Finally he wins her back by saying that he will divorce herand let her marry the lover. The lover in the meanwhile becomes possessive, dull, proper and husband-like while the husband becomes forbidden fruit and tantalizing and they find their way back to love in a wild hidden rendezvous in a chambre separé.

It is so much fun to play you can't even imagine it. We play it in 1886 and I even got Cecil Beaton's fabulous costumes from Jennifer Jones’s last flop. It’s real old-fashioned“glamour” theatre and reminds me of gilt, plush, perfume, and the theater of my childhood. In the meanwhile the play was bought for us by [Alexander H.] Cohen myMagic and the Loss producer. He has promised to book it for us 10 weeks on the summer stock circuit and bring it to Broadway in the fall. We'll see. We're very glad and happy.

sardou, jenniferjones, stock, #unfinished
Uta Hagen

Born in Germany, Uta Hagen moved to Madison, Wisconsin, at the age of six. With the exception of several interruptions for study in Europe, Ms. Hagen received most of her schooling in Madison, her home until age sixteen. After training briefly at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, she made her professional debut in 1937 in Dennis, Massachusetts, as “Ophelia” in Eva Le Gallienne’s production of Hamlet.

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