This concerns the mystery of Dr. Praetorius, a subversive doctor who dies in a car accident along with his pregnant wife. Sherlock Holmes and Watson preside over the case. But the main pith of the story takes place in-between the detective’s conjectures. It concerns Praetorius who has been taken before a tribunal accused of malpractice as he has posed as a quack because he has noticed that the results of his treatments are better if his patients believe him to be a quack rather than a real doctor.
Fraught with comedy and revealing human foibles to a depth usually not usually found in comedy. This is a strong play that is reminisent of Woody Allens earlier works.
The story behind the title is where the play ends, Shunderson reveals that Dr. Praetorius drove into a tree in a fit of laughter. The doctor asked the question “why can’t I find the grain of human stupidity” and his wife’s reply had him in hysterics, so much so that he drove into a tree. (SPOILER ALERT: “because, darling” his wife replied “you’re too stupid for that.”
The play is translated by Philippe Rixhon.
It was adapted by MGM in 1951 as the film PEOPLE WILL TALK starring Cary Grant.
© Photograph Deutscher Theatreverlag