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Marriage is Good. Really.

May 28, 2011

Original Broadway production art (from TonyAwards.com)

Jan de Hartog’s The Fourposter was a welcome change from the heaviness of The Rose Tattoo, but in it’s lightness, it missed out on depth. It’s the story of a marriage told vignette style from wedding night through patches rough and smooth until the couple, tagged Him and Her, come full circle and give up their home to another newly wed couple.

The good? The play considers marriage a good thing. Despite various fights, His adultery, and Her desire to leave—or perhaps because of these things—their commitment to their marriage vows enables them to overcome difficulty and learn to love each other even more. The bad? The dialogue is somewhat stilted. Though we do discover their names, it’s obvious that the playwright is attempting to make them an Everyman and Everywoman by tagging them Him and Her in the script. The overemphasis on the universal nature of marriage may be the cause of de Hartog’s ordinary dialogue. The playwright bought himself a second obstacle when he decided to try his hand at the vignette style, which tends to lack depth except at the hands of uncommonly good writer.

Though I find The Fourposter somewhat lacking as a script, given a good director and thinking actors, I don’t doubt it could be brought to full life on the stage. And I would be very interested in seeing its musical counterpart,  I Do! I Do! someday.

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