The Theatre: New Play in Munich, Apr. 3, 1944

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In Munich last month the Nazis and Japs were clasped in a tender esthetic embrace. Nazi Playwright Curt Langenbeck had adapted the most famed of Japanese dramas, The 47 Rōnin, which was produced with considerable care and éclat. To the opening of Treue (Loyalty) went Gauleiter Giesler and other Nazi party officials to welcome the representatives of "our great ally," Japanese Ambassador Oshima, Japanese Minister Sakuma.

Treue richly satisfies the Jappetite for bloodshed. It contains 49 successful murders and suicides, a few unsuccessful ones. The story tells how 47 faithful Ronin (knights), led by one of the Rōnin, Yuranosuke, avenge the assassination of feudal War Lord Yenya. Having dispatched the assassin, Prince Moronao, all 47 commit hara-kiri at Yenya 's grave — as a sign that their oath of feudal loyalty holds good even to death.

Earlier, Yenya's disconsolate widow al most wrecks the plot. Becoming suspicious of Yuranosuke's wily pretense of inactivity, she decides to avenge her hus band herself; but her two attempts to kill Moronao fail. According to the Muenchner Neueste Nachrichten, the knowledge that, had she succeeded, 47 lives would have been saved, represents "a peak of tragic irony." The same newspaper found much else to praise. Especially fetching was Playwright Langenbeck's introduction of "humorous contrast" into his tragic scenes. For example: in the scene where Yuranosuke outlines the plan of vengeance to the Ronin, this produced a "great dramatic effect." Better yet, said the Neueste Nachrichten, Treue promotes mutual under standing between Japan and the Third Reich.

Top acting honors went to Paul Wagner, who played Yuranosuke "with exceptional virility."