|Will Mackenzie, Will Geer, Patrick Magee.|
|Will Geer, Patrick Magee.|
MacLeish used as his inspiration the famous Benet story (required reading when I was in grade school) in which Webster (Patrick Magee) acts as a defense lawyer for the farmer Jabez Stone (Will Mackenzie) when the devil, called Scratch (Will Geer), comes to claim the man’s soul in return for having made his farm prosperous. The jury, selected by Scratch, is an assortment of the ghosts of notorious villains and rogues. In the MacLeish telling, Webster himself becomes the victim, rather than Stone. (Stone? Hmm. How curious.)
|Roy Poole, Patrick Magee.|
Cast members included Roy Poole, Rex Robbins, Joanne Nail, and Thomas Barbour.
Martin Gottfried said it was “empty and archaic,” excessively high flown, and “a disaster, boring beyond belief.” Jack Kroll condemned it as “an inflated and disastrously abstract play ,“ while Clive Barnes discarded it as “a ponderous piece . . . pedestrianly written . . . raising pseudo-moral issues that it answers with a kind of chop-logic.”
On second thought, perhaps it would be better to ponder an updating than to try actually doing one.