Jerry Tallmer Blown Away by Robards


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November 14, 1956, Vol. I, No. 50

Quintero’s Journey — And Robards’

By Jerry Tallmer

A little after 11 p.m. at the Helen Hayes Theatre, which is some 3½ hours after you’ve first taken seat there, a young man named Jason Robards Jr., stumbles drunkenly on stage and detonates the long-drawn-out evening into life, horror, beauty, and fiery meaning. He is the same “Obie”-winning young man whom most of you saw down here as Hickey in “The Iceman Cometh,” and there can now be no doubt whatsoever that he is already a great actor, with an unlimited future ahead of him. I do not believe that I have ever before in this newspaper referred to anyone as a great actor. Well, the time has come. Mrs. Eugene O’Neill, Mr. Jose Quintero, and all the rest of us have good reason this week to be deeply grateful for Robards’ presence in the company of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” the endlessly discursive and self-involved O’Neill drama now receiving its American premiere at the hands of the production team from the Circle in the Square — placed in those hands, indeed, by Mrs. O’Neill herself…

Last night after the show I reread the play, particularly the Robards passages, and nothing could today persuade me that the work contains as much creative strength, as many dimensions, as this actor has injected into it.

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