Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd |
Broadway Theatre Archive
Actors: Emery Battis, Veronica Castang, Frank Converse, Joyce Ebert, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Directors: Arvin Brown, John J. Desmond
Genres: Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
D.H. Lawrence's "The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd" is a naturalistic drama drwn from Lawrence's memories of his parents' turbulent marriage. Set in pre-World War I England, the play centers on the conflict between a coarse, bl... more »
"We're going to see who is the master of this house...and wh
Mary Whipple | New England | 08/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Basing this autobiographical play on the story of his parents' marriage and his own turbulent early years, D. H. Lawrence creates a study of a bad marriage and the rippling effects it has on the entire family. Like Lawrence's father, main character Holroyd (masterfully portrayed by Rex Robbins) is a miner whose constant drinking and carousing with women make him a poor father and worse husband. He is determined to control every aspect of his poor family, however, while they survive in a drafty house in which they must compete with rats for space.
Mrs. Holroyd (Lizzie), played with enormous sensitivity and restraint by Joyce Ebert, is described by her mother-in-law as very "clever," above Holroyd in achievement, and she is resented because of it. Lizzie married Holroyd to escape her own family situation, and though she has worked to be a good wife, she admits she never loved Holroyd. Their two children hate the constant upheavals, with the young son declaring, "I hate him. I wish he'd fall down a pit shaft." The only bright spots in the family's life occur when another miner, Blackmore (Frank Converse), whose attraction to Lizzie Holroyd cannot be kept hidden, occasionally visits, often carrying home the unconscious, drunk Holroyd. His kindness to the children offer them brief glimpses of the kind of attention they might have found with a "real" father.
Lizzie Holroyd's "widowing" has started early in the marriage, as communication has dwindled and Holroyd's exercise of raw power has become more insistent--and dangerous. After his wife declares, privately, that she considers the marriage over, she and Blackmore plan an escape to Spain with the children. Holroyd's death in a mine collapse, however, leaves all of them blaming themselves for their evil thoughts and their belief that they have caused his death.
Geraldine Fitzgerald, as Holroyd's mother, absolutely brilliant in this 1974 production, stands up for her son and attempts to justify his abusive behavior when his dead body is brought back to the house for preparation for burial. Castigating the new widow for not having been a good enough wife, she epitomizes the agony which miners' families must endure as husbands and sons die in the mine. At the same time, she also epitomizes the strengths with which these families endure. Naturalistic in its presentation, the play is also filled with tearful moments of great power. The fine cast and simple set of this Broadway Theatre Archive production emphasize the drama of a marriage that has failed and the horrors of life in the mines. n Mary Whipple