Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Community Players Goes WWII

Community Players has announced a special extra presentation to explain and expand upon their current production of Norman Krasna's "John Loves Mary." Krasna's play, a romantic comedy written in 1947, involves a soldier back in the United States after his service in World War II and how he deals with the sticky problem of an English woman who thinks he still wants to marry her when he's already married someone else. To clarify the play's milieu, Community Players has invited ISU English professors Sally Parry and Robert McLaughlin to discuss "The Returning Veteran in World War II Popular Culture" at the theater at 1 pm on January 22nd.

Parry and McLaughlin are the authors of a book called "We’ll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema during World War II," which looks at more than 600 American movies made between 1937 and 1946, from "Casablanca" to "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo."

In their presentation for Community Players, Parry and McLaughlin will discuss "the ways mid-1940s fiction, drama, and film presented the homecoming serviceman" as well as how those fictional representations "reflected social anxieties about how these men might be changed by their wartime experiences and about how these men might change the society they were returning to." Fascinating stuff, to be sure.

This discussion of World War II and its place in art is free, open to the public, and scheduled for Saturday, January 22nd, at 1 pm at Community Players Theater, 201 Robinhood Lane, in Bloomington. CP notes that Parry's and McLaughlin's remarks will be followed by an informal reception with refreshments that also reflect the World War II era.


  1. This has always been one of those great mystery titles to me (no connection with the Mia Farrow movie of the same name, plus I always get it mixed up with an earlier stage comedy by the Spewacks called Boy Meets Girl). It's really not remembered, yet it used to come up in discussions of the genre in the books I was reading. The annals are full of such once-popular titles, and it's wonderful that your theater is giving you a chance to see it. (Now, I wonder if anyone still does Mary, Mary, which was HUGE in the 60s...)

  2. I haven't heard of "John Loves Mary" before, although I do have some sort of recollection of the Ronald Reagan movie. When I first saw the title, I was thinking of "David and Lisa," which has nothing to do with anything. The fact that a Mia Farrow movie called "John and Mary" exists makes me that was probably where my head was going.

    Anyway, this post-war romantic comedy thing does come up every so often. U of I did "Dear Ruth" a few years ago. It's also Norman Krasna, also post-war, also sweet and cute and all about misunderstandings and mix-ups. Instead of a woman from abroad who is an extra bride for the groom, "Dear Ruth" has the younger sister writing to a soldier, being all lovey dovey as she pretends to be her older sister. That was fun and very well done.

  3. Yes, I read about "Dear Ruth" in the Moss Hart biographies (he directed it). And in memory I get it mixed up with another once-popular comedy he directed earlier in the 40s, "Junior Miss" -- similar to My Sister Eileen, it was a play by Jerome Chorodov and Joseph Fields based on a series of stories in The New Yorker. And it has a character named Fuffy, which makes me insanely curious.