Sing Me No Lullaby (1954)

Sing Me No Lullaby (1954)

Ardrey wrote Sing Me No Lullaby in 1941 while living for a year in San Antonio with his wife Helen. It wasn’t produced until 1954, and in the meantime Ardrey had written two plays (Jeb and God and Texas), two film scripts (A Lady Takes a Chance and The Green Years) and a novel (Worlds Beginning), and he’d joined the Office of War Information to write propaganda materials. By the time it was finally produced, Ardrey had lost enthusiasm for the script.

Sing Me No Lullaby centers around four former college friends who come together for a countryside reunion at Christmas time. Though they had been, in college, idealistic, their idealism has been broken since the Stalin-Hitler pact. One of them, due to his college political faith in Soviet Russia, has found himself unemployable, socially ostracized, and unable to rent an apartment.

Despite Ardrey’s waning enthusiasm for the play, Sing Me No Lullaby garnered very positive reviews. Brooks Atkinson, writing for The New York Times, said of it that “The third act of Sing Me No Lullaby constitutes the most forceful statement anyone has made in the theatre for ages,” and went on to write that Ardrey “has performed the function of a writer. He has found the words to describe something that is vague and elusive but ominous. And he has got far enough away from political recriminations to state it in terms of character and the life of the spirit.”

"After the triviality of a theatre that normally aims low and is satisfied with technical competence, it is heartening to see a play that is as adult, if not more adult, than the world outside the theatre."

Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times