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ISS MINNIE MADDERN is now very much like a violet in a tulip bed. THE THEATRE has frequently pointed out the fact that of all the young women on the stage to-day this little body with her head of light auburn hair, deep pathetic eyes, and odd, slim figure has that peculiar magnetism which makes Clara Morrises and Sarah Bernhardts. In "Caprice" she showed what she was capable of doing with singular success. No one had seen anything exactly like her before; she seemed to be a creature of lights and shadows that played with each other as we know misery has a habit of doing with joy. When she cried her tears seemed to come from greater depths in the heart than we had seen struck on the stage for a long time, and when she laughed it was like a whole field of daisies smiling on the morning
But Minnie Maddern was not appreciated. It was hardly to be expected she would be by the people who think Minnie Palmer a wonderful actress, and somehow or other the right sort of people never got in the way of hearing much about Minnie Maddern except from the desultory and perfunctory criticisms in the daily papers. Her managers did not have the right kind of success in " 'working her up" before the public. She had no diamonds or John
WHOLE NO. 118.
Rogerses to be talked about with a reporter's volatile imagination, and she had no money to spend in posters to be pasted all over town to say she never used them. Finally she went West, where she lost ambition, hope, and energy. Why, her trip was like the harnessing of a canary bird at the end of a horse halter! Then she came back again.
Then the little matter of earning her daily bread became a necessary factor of her exist
There was nothing here for her to do but to hire out and act anything.
"Featherbrain" was announced for future production at the Madison Square Theatre, and Minnie Maddern accepted an offer to play a part in that. She knew as much about the comedy as the management understood its extraction.
That was nothing.
THIS young woman has now done herself
much injury by her performance of Featherbrain. People who have seen her in this and never saw her before were at a loss to know why she should be particularly mentioned in the advertisements. She in no way realizes the possibilities of the part, and she has developed some positively bad eccentricities. I became restless with her constant closing of her eyes, by which she lost all expression, and her hitchy walk and elbowing is both ludicrous and absurd. There are a dozen idle women in New York this week who could play Featherbrain better than Miss Maddern is doing it now. There is no unkindness intended by this. She knows what she can do, and so does her management. She can instantly change her style and make a certain hit in the part even if it is greatly beneath her capacities.
which seems to delight the present not very deep-thinking American public. While it conveys in a very limited manner the spirit of the original French piece, it does not follow that the English adaptation cannot be made equally interesting to us,-but the actors chosen for the representation are not very well adapted except in only two or three instances. Mr. Lackaye makes the greatest success because he understands that farcical comedy should be acted with the utmost sincerity and seriousness. He is the only one in the whole play who does not appear to be conscious of the fact that he is acting.
In real life the observer will constantly find a very humorous side in the tribulations of others, and frequently when one is said to be "running around like a chicken without a head," one's farcical action under the circumstances is generally extremely amusing to others who realize the inconsequence of it. Therefore the suffering one is not at all conscious of the ridiculous, and so the actor must seem to be on the stage.
The stairway scene in "Featherbrain" is capable of being more interesting than it is. In London it is set in the centre, instead of at one side of the stage, and much more of the business is carried on by means of it.
It seems to me that the play is built on flimsy material. The fact of the constant escape from a speedy adjustment is not made probable enough. The characters carry on like a pack of precious fools.
UT MINNIE MADDERN'S peculiar position this season is no more remarkable than the latter day career of that wonderful woman Clara Morris, whose song I shall never tire singing because of sweet memory's sake. It is not so very long ago when press and public pronounced her equal to Rachel, the great French actress. Her personal tricks and manners were startlingly effective, and in emotion it was almost beyond human capability to withstand her tears. Some people are laboring over the delusion that this was a long while ago and that Clara Morris is now an old lady. This is a great mistake. She is still young and ought to be in the zenith of her powers, but she destroys all chances of stirring up the people on the subject of caring whether she is in her zenith or her plinth. She needs a new set of
ARGUERITE FISH is another sparkling gem hidden away among the rubbish. Do you remember what THE THEATRE once said of her? Listen: She is a revelation in the soubrette art. She simply requires the proper comedy, and the success of Mr. Dixey in this town will be repeated. In the garb of a woman she is as petite as a maid of fifteeen. In knee breeches she is as winning as a child of ten. And yet she acts with the intelligence of three decades. Acts? Why, she flutters like a bird. When she sings her notes bubble forth like the glad cry of a canary. And the way she gets over the stage is as laughably graceful as the coquettish bob of a robin over a fresh spring lawn.
This was two years ago. What progress has Marguerite Fish made since then? None. She has simply gone down. Her domestic deportment is in bad repute and her dissipations have destroyed a great deal of her physical charm. She holds her future at her own will, but she must make a quick move or else the bob of the robin will be gone.
'T is a common proof, That lowliness is young ambition's ladder, Whereto the climber upward turns his face; But when he once attains the upmost round, He then unto the ladder turns his back, Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees By which he did ascend. [Shakespeare.
night, May 13, Edwin Booth and
Lawrence Barrett dedicated the new and magnificent California Theatre in San Francisco. The receipts were nearly $9,000, and the tragedians were given an enthusiastic reception, the calls before the curtain being frequent during the performance. The Booth and Barrett season in San Francisco promises to excel in financial results the first engagement of these two actors in that city. On June 10 Messrs. Booth and Barrett begin an engagement of one week at Los Angeles, reaching Portland, Ore., June 24.
MINISTER WHITELAW REID will retain
the present Legation quarters in Paris, but has leased the palace of the Comtesse de Grammont at 35 Avenue Hoche as a residence. The rent exceeds the Minister's salary, being $20,000 a year, whereas his official pay does not amount to more than $17,000. But Mr. Reid will do us proud.
READ with American pride that the French Academy has awarded to Marion Crawford a prize of $200 for his two novels written by himself in French and entitled, "Zoroastre and "Le Crucifix de Marzio."
L'AVENTURIERE," with Coquelin and
Jane Hading, opened the season of French plays at the Gaiety Theatre last Monday night, under the management of Henry Abbey and Maurice Grau. This will be the first time that French plays have been done in England under American management, and I am awfully glad to hear of it.
AM very fond of the Boston Transcript and it is one of the first of the exchanges read in THE THEATRE office, but when it writes as follows, in speaking of "The Lottery of Love," then it seems a little rough and decidedly misleading :
Leaving the acting aside, for a moment, and speaking only of the play itself, one finds that Mr. Daly lowered the whole atmosphere of it very considerably. The original is not precisely a masterpiece of elegance, but it is certainly inoffensive and free from the taint of commonness-Gemeinheit. Mr. Daly's play seems to solicit the suffrages of the "gods," and the "gods" only. Take the change made in the ubiquitous mother-in-law ! The delicious old ex-danseuse of the original, with her inveterate ballet airs and graces, here becomes an exwoman's-rights-spouter in a bloomer.
I saw both performances. The English adaptation was very successful here, but it naturally lost much of its vulgar French piquancy. I think Mr. Daly's patrons would have strongly objected to Mrs. Gilbert's appearing in a ballet dress and thought nothing "lowering" in the bloomer. One thing at least Mr. Daly did not allow in his play, and that was the incident where the husband strikes the wife full in the face as Mr. Coquelin did it in the original "Les Surprises de Divorce." This was in the manner of Zola's nasty reality and not refined comedy.
HAT bright Chicago weekly, America, published recently a poem after the style of Hafiz, the most epicurean of the Persian poets, with the remark that although the Sufi mystics, to whom he belonged, attribute ethical sentiments to all his poems, yet there can be no doubt that he meant what he said, and was as truly devoted to the literal wine that he extolled, as his plain words would indicate. Upon reading all this I am inspired to write the following:
Hafiz was a Persian poet
Who loved his ethics and his wine, And although he could but know it Hafiz songs were sad repine.
Hafiz heart was always bleeding, The other half hung on the vines, While the Sufi's kept on reading One Hafiz verses in the lines.
THE regular season at Niblo's will close on
June 8. During the Summer it will be repainted and redecorated, prior to opening August 18, with Bolossy Kiralfy's new spectacle, which is booked for six weeks. Hands Across the Sea will be presented next for a couple of weeks. On Oct. 7 William Terriss and Miss Millward, under Augustin Daly's management will appear in Roger La Honte for a season of eight weeks. The Exiles will follow for two weeks. For the holidays will be presented Kajanka for a run of six weeks. After Kajanka the regular combinations will follow, including the Still Alarm, Thomas W. Keene, Little Lord Fauntleroy and Mrs. Potter. Then Wilson Barrett will appear April 28 for two weeks, this engagement closing the latter's season in this country.
IN THE LIMELIGHT'S GLARE.
T is full summer now. The poor English sparrow that makes clean our streets wings homeward at the noon of night to the bride that awaits him beneath the red eaves of the Casino while the strain of a Hungarian rhapsodie floats on the tideless breeze, and the wretched mottled cur slinks away to the hill far from the lasso of a cruel hand. Even that albescent sage of Madison Square is conscious of the throb of June and of the touch of ancient people-for are not our children the ancient people? There is not one of us that would refuse to cast a groat to the magician that could limn the fallow-form of our capricious Mary running on the sands of English Brighton, once again the naïve Perdita dancing like a mote in a sunbeam,
HE seasons of the drama are unlike those of the earth. In the autumn let us mark, when on the upland the reapers are a-stir among the golden grain, how like a siege of harlequins upon the temples of Melpomene and Thalia seems the desire for fame in the playwrights of callow banter and in the players of rapid politesse. Naught but babble and confusion: Failure and success. Here an inanity nourished to the end; and there a moral damned by verbiage. He must be a Bassanio that would choose a criticism. Man should perfect with the seasons, but he does not for him every act must needs be a fruit before a blossom.
THE 'HE summer is the half-rest of man's hymn of gratitude. It is the time for re-assimilation, a period of experiment. Let the playwright look at Nature and her modes. The essential moment of her usefulness is come only when the winds and the rain have snapped the scandalizing scions of her stock; that in the mellow stage of her gravidity she may come with offerings of fruit and wine. Let the playwright copy Nature in this regard: that he blows not his sonorous fanfare, nor exhibits his wares, before he has repruned what he preconceives a song and what others a sermon. Let also the player stand on a knoll and run the gamut of his expression; he may, by way of education, read somewhat about the art of which just now he knows sufficient to evade drudgery.
"But what are we to do?" cry the managers.
I will tell you. During the intense months. when so many of us are compelled to stay in the city, nothing is so refreshing to the ebul lient brain as the presentation of the light r pieces comediettas, ballet and burlesque. "The Brigands" will probably run through the summer, as also "Clover," "The Oolah" and 'Featherbrain"; but we should like above all a genuine burlesque. London supports two of three every hot season. In Madrid, "El redoma encontada"; in St. Petersburg, “Munchausen"; in Paris, "Riquet à la houppe"; and in London, the best," Lancelot the Lovely." A burlesque in New York during the summer would exceed in profitableness any of the operas that are destined to remain with us. I can not vouch for the success of a company such as the London Gaiety, for I am told that Mr. Edwardes' salarylist is as long as the bill handed you on awakenin the Lion d'or; but there are Mr. Rosenquest of the Bijou and Mr. Duff of the Standard. When we say burlesque we do not demand a prima donna with an Eiffel-tower G so long as the ballet and the ballads are in any way decent.
T is quite evident, after all, that England is
the home of burlesque. Here are no satirists to hold the shuttle of wit and the skeins of fancy. Subjects certainly lie untouched, but, as a novelist once remarked to me over a cracker: "There is one thing that prevents my becoming a genius, and what it is I can not for the life of me discover." The few burlesques that we have seen so repeated seem to have no successors at their decline. We have borne with "Evangeline" until we would cast the substance and the cooks into a gelatinous pudding. When I write "satire" it does not mean a berry-box of nutshells such as Mr. Rosenfeld would have us mistake for assorted kernels. The modern librettist will do well in serving us with a few truffles and fewer sillabubs. Unable he is not to flee from the diatribes which of late he has imposed on us. The comic laureate that will keep us on a par with the English stage at least is a man whose name shall not be "writ in water." Our humorists are of undoubted superiority to the explicit jesters of Punch and provincial weeklies. Did the inexhaustible Punchinelloes of Puck and Judge devote their talents to the comic stage, we would outdo in raillery if not in number.