The Theater: New Play in Manhattan, Feb. 16, 1959

The Rivalry (by Norman Corwin) recreates the fateful Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. Douglas won the contest, in that he was re-elected Senator from Illinois, but the debates helped send Lincoln on to the presidency. In the main, Lincoln and Douglas argued three issues: 1) the extension of slavery, 2) the status of the Negro, 3) the right of the states to regulate the Negro's status. Basically, the debate of states' rights v. human rights is still passionately going on.

The difficulty with ex-Radio Writer Corwin's play is that the drama is in the issues and only fitfully on the stage. While the...

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