The Return

Taken from ‘Great War Theatre’:

Examiner of Plays’ Summary:
This play tells the story of an unhappy marriage and its result. In a struggle with her unworthy and drunken husband and in defence of her baby, the heroine shoots him with his revolver, and although she is legally acquitted, she writes to a friend a letter confessing that in a mad moment she had really meant to kill the brute who was threatening her and her child. This letter gets into the hands of a blackmailer who uses it when, after an interval of 25 years, she has settled down to the blameless life of a widow with a song, a worthy but narrow minded clergyman, whose position is the result of her maternal devotion. Unknown to her a former lover has supplied the means for her labour of love, and it is this man who against befriends her when the blackmailer does his worst, and shames her by telling her son of the blot on her past. The unsympathetic son denounces her, joins the army as chaplain, and cannot bring himself to forgive her until his experiences at the front teach him the duty of forgiveness. This main issue of a striking little drama is complicated with others in which both sentiment and humour play a less tense part. The appeal is throughout to the heart rather than to the head; but it is as sound in taste as in feeling. Recommended for License. Ernest A. Bendall.

Researcher’s Summary:
A short story by this title was written by Odette Tchernine and published in The Sphere on Saturday 8 August 1914. In August 1918 both The Tatler (7 August) and The Sketch (21 August) reported Tchernine’s play ‘The Return’ had been licensed by the Lord Chamberlain. However, no evidence for its performance has been found.