Saturday, Nov. 23 ….A red-letter day. I witnessed what I consider one of the great plays of our time - "There Shall Be No Night," taken from the Book of Revelations, 21:25,"... for there shall be no night there." At the beginning of this year, so filled with bloodshed overseas, and the defeat of one brave country after another - at the beginning of the year. I say, when Finland was putting up such a magnificent fight, I thought, "Oh, if I could only write a play about Finland." What inspiring material! I even considered, in my fervor, writing a little drama about it for Easter. But I soon realized that the subject was too big for me. Now Robert E. Sherwood has written that play. And what a play! It leaves you with the feeling that nothing matters in this world except that we live up to our principles of right, and that we be willing to fight to the death for those principles. Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne lent their great artistry to this play, and that made it quite perfect. So real was the whole thing that, at the point where news of a tragedy came to us, there was a sympathetic gasp from the audience. Robert Sherwood wove his story around the lives of one Finnish family: Dr. Valkonen, a scientist, winner of the Nobel prize for his contribution to science; Miranda, his gay and charming American wife; Erik, their only child, barely grown up; his sweetheart, Kaatri; dear old Uncle Waldemar, a dour but sterling character, who expressed his love for his native land by playing, at frequent intervals, the beautiful music of Jean Sibelius.
When war comes to Finland, Erik is ready and eager to go; and, with the supreme confidence of youth, believes his country will win. In the face of certain defeat, and over the protest of his fellow-countrymen, who consider his life especially valuable, Dr. Falkonen goes forth also, to fight for his country. The frivolous wife and mother learns how to cook and do all her own work. Her husband tries to send her to the safety of her own people in America; but she remains, steadfast in the heart of danger. You can just see that family and the brave little sweetheart grow in moral and spiritual stature. Uncle Waldemar, a man of few words, finally pays glowing tribute to his nephew's wife, whom he thought so frivolous, who now proves herself a worthy descendant of those Americans who fought and died for their freedom. Finally, there are only Miranda (the wife) and Uncle Waldemar left. As the bombing comes nearer and nearer, Miranda sits on the sofa, listening to Uncle Waldemar's music, her face illumined by the glory of her sacrifice. She has given her all. And, somehow, in this tale of Finland, we are reminded of the words of Jesus, who said, "For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it." ***
There is much more I would like to write about. But, unfortunately, a whole week has crept around - and now I must catch that last mail. With Mr. Walker's permission, I will send you another letter next week. And, in contrast, it shall be light and gay.
Florence B. Taylor
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