Today in our second On the Square essay , Deirdre Lawler gives a review of the Washington Stage Guild’s production of Magic by G.K. Chesterton. After reading Lawler’s review it’s easy to see why Ingmar Bergman counted Magic among his favorites and Alfred Hitchcock hoped to adapt it into a film:
The Stage Guilds production has played up Chestertons fairly minimal stage directions to emphasize the potential gravity of the show. But it has also maintained Chestertons signature lightheartedness, never committing entirely even to the plays darkest moments. Certain elements in the piece, notably, the character of the conflicted Conjurer, hint at Chestertons personal experience of falling away from skepticism and into religion. Magic is a jaunty excuse to pose a question to the modern world: Does it never strike you that doubt can be a madness, as well as faith?