(Chris Jones’s article appeared 7/18 in the Chicago Tribune.)
Ena Lemont Stewart's "Men Should Weep," the warm-hearted but unstinting story of a Scottish family enduing grinding Glaswegian poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s, is one of those plays that few people on this side of the Atlantic have seen. Even dedicated theatergoers. A closely observed play about women desperately trying to hold their families together, "Men Should Weep" has been overlooked and marginalized.
Is this due to the gender of its playwright? Likely so. A consequence of the limited appetite for social realism in the post-war era, when people needed cheering up and preferred the likes of "Brigadoon"? For sure. And, to be fair, Stewart did not exactly come up with a smash-hit title for her play back in 1947. One can imagine the conversation — or what potential producers across the years have imagined the conversation to be. "Let's go see this play called 'Men Should Weep' tonight, darling." "Let's not."