The Corn is Green

Definition

Theater

  • A play by Emlyn Williams, first performed in Londonin 1938 at the Duchess Theatre. Williams himself directed and playedthe young Morgan Evans to Sybil Thorndike's Miss Moffat, his indomitableschoolteacher. It opened two years later in New York with Ethel Barrymore(see the Barrymores) as the teacher.

    The London producer Binkie Beaumont, Williams's friend andfellow Welshman, turned down the play, on the grounds that "Nobodywants to go to the theater to see plays about people going to school."In fact, the drama proved a great success, transferring to the PiccadillyTheatre and completing a run of almost two years. The story was basedon Williams's close relationship with Miss Cooke, the teacher whohad discovered and nourished his writing ability. For the first productionWilliams, then 35, dyed his hair black to play the 18-year-old schoolboy.The play provoked Kenneth Tynan to write, "The most startlingfeature of the current theater is plays by Emlyn Williams,for Emlyn Williams, and about Emlyn Williams."

    The story shows Miss Moffat setting up a school in the Welshvillage of Glansarno. She is impressed with Morgan Evans's abilityto write about life in the mining community and insists that he attenduniversity. Morgan, however, becomes involved with a young girl, whoannounces that she is pregnant by him as he awaits the results ofhis Oxford entrance examination. Although Morgan decides to do thehonourable thing by the girl, Miss Moffat frees him to take up hisOxford place by adopting the child.

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