Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

An apologue of the war. The ‘scientist’ proudly introduces to ‘the emperor’ his latest triumph, a cripple transformed into a super-soldier, half-man and half-machine, with mechanical limbs replacing lost ones, and with blinded eye and deaf ear, so mended that they serve the purposes of telescope and telephone. This means ‘the elimination of waste’, the possibility of recruiting from the hospital, and the restoration of five army corps, now immobilized by wounds. For this birthday-present, known only as no.241, the emperor is extravagantly grateful, putting his machine-made recruit through various ingenious tests of ‘efficiency’ with extreme satisfaction. It now turns out however, that this satisfaction is far from being shared by no.241 himself, who merely seems himself condemned to a second experience of the ‘shambles of the trenches’ for the preservation of ‘the dynasty’. Left alone - in one of the tests - with the All-Highest in the dark, he falls upon him and [...] kills him, explaining to the scientists on his return that this is his proof of ‘efficiency’. A grim, dramatic parable, which if well-handled on the stage should prove very effective in its attack upon cold-blooded militarism. Recommended for license. Ernest A. Bendall

Researcher's Summary:

There is no evidence that this play was performed in Britain, although it was licensed to be staged at the Adelphi, London. It was performed at the Greenwich Village Theatre, New York in January 1918. It was published in America in 'McClure's Magazine' in August 1917 and under the title 'Blood and Iron' in the 'Strand' Magazine, in October 1917.

Licensed On: 2 Jul 1917

License Number: 1032

British Library Reference: LCP1917/14

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66169 E


N/A Adelphi, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance