Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas this week staged a pair of student plays in a program the drama department refers to as “the annual spring Acts of Consequence.” The set of one-act dramas played Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and first on the bill was Tarkington’s “Little Theater” piece The Trysting Place. “Directed by SC senior Lenita Krejci, a theater-education major from Enid, Okla., the play is a project for her Directing II class. Southwestern’s theater-education program provides the opportunity for theater-education majors to build their skills in directing by directing a one-act in the second semester.”
After Conquest of Canaan, Tarkington then took a long break from provincial melodramatic novels; but by the time he returned with Ramsey Milholland, The Turmoil, The Midlander, Alice Adams, and The Magnificent Ambersons, his setting was no longer Indiana per se—but, more broadly, Middle America, and an industrialized heartland at that. And the thrust of those novels: not rising, but implosion.
In addition to its share of Tarkington’s voluminous papers (Princeton, among other places boasts the lion’s share), The Indiana Historical Society also has two collections of his second wife’s papers: her letters, and her Papers, 1898-1932. The biographical comments in the full record of “Papers” are illuminating.