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Vol. V. No. 14.
JUNE 1, 1889.
WHOLE No. 118.
THE THEATRE: An Illustrated Magazine of
DRAMA, Music, ART AND LITERATURE –Published every week from October to May, and as a fortnightly during the summer, at No. 42 West Twenty-third Street, New York. DESHLER WELCH,
The price of yearly subscription to The THEATRE is four dollars in advance. The editor solicits contributions from the readers of THE THEATRE, and suggests that old play-bills, and scraps relating to the stage, notes, news and items pertaining to the different arts, would be acceptable. It is the desire of the editor to establish a widely-circulated magazine, and to further that end every good idea will be acted upon so far as possible. Care is always taken not to needlessly destroy valuable manuscript. All articles appearing in The Theatre are written especially for it unless credited otherwise.
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.
* * *
ENTRE NOUS. MISS 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 sun.
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
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.
* * *
IIS play will probably have a very suc
cessful summer season at the Madison Square Theatre because it is light and, in some respects, funny. It is also acted in that style
which seems to delight the present not very teeth, a new kind of physician, and lots of com. deep-thinking American public. While it con- mon sense instead of the glasses of fluid that veys in a very limited manner the spirit of the are put in such convenient positions around. original French piece, it does not follow that the stage. But most of all she needs a new set the English adaptation cannot be made equally of teeth. Then she would once more look her interesting to us,—but the actors chosen for the old sell, which was specious to a considerable representation are not very well adapted except degree. Then she should have a new play, a in only two or three instances. Mr. Lackaye strong company, and appear with the best kind nakes the greatest success because he under- of surroundings. stands that farcical comedy should be acted with the utmost sincerity and seriousness. He CLARA MORRIS and Minnie Maddern; is the only one in the whole play who does not what are you doing? We have counted appear to be conscious of the fact that he is
on you! The American public has pelted from acting.
these shores your only compeer-Mary AnderIn real life the observer will constantly find
This beautiful women and great actress a very humorous side in the tribulations of has fairly succumbed to the ungallant and inothers, and frequently when one is said to be sulting treatment of a large portion of the “running around like a chicken without a press, and worn out in her endeavor to make head," one's farcical action under the circum- herself beloved as she should be by her own stances is generally extremely amusing to country, she has gone to England, where such others who realize the inconsequence of it. as Gladstone, Tennyson, and the most royal Therefore the suffering one is not at all con- people, receive her with open arms in familiar scious of the ridiculous, and so the actor must embrace. seem to be on the stage. The stairway scene in “Featherbrain" is
ARGUERITE FISH is another sparkling capable of being more interesting than it is. In gem hidden away among the rubbish. London it is set in the centre, instead of at one Do you remember what The THEATRE once side of the stage, and much more of the busi- said of her? Listen : She is a revelation in ness is carried on by means of it.
the soubrette art. She simply requires the It seems to me that the play is built on flimsy proper comedy, and the success of Mr. Dixey material. The fact of the constant escape from in this town will be repeated. In the garb of a a speedy adjustment is not made probable woman she is as petite as a maid of fifteeen. In enough. The characters carry on like a pack knee breeches she is as winning as a child of of precious fools.
And yet she acts with the intelligence of
three decades. Acts? Why, she flutters like a UT MINNIE MADDERN'S peculiar posi
bird. When she sings her notes bubble forth BUT tion this season is no more remarkable
like the glad cry of a canary. And the way she than the latter day career of that wonderful
gets over the stage is as laughably graceful as woman Clara Morris, whose song I shall never
the coquettish bob of a robin over a fresh spring
lawn. tire singing because of sweet memory's sake.
This was two years ago.
What progress has It is not so very long ago when press and public pronounced her equal to Rachel, the great
Marguerite Fish made since then? None. She French actress. Her personal tricks and man.
has simply gone down. Her domestic deport
ment is in bad repute and her dissipations have ners were startlingly effective, and in emotion it was almost beyond human capability to
| destroyed a great deal of her physical charm.
She holds her future at her own will, but she withstand her tears. Some people are laboring over the delusion that this was a long while
must make a quick move or else the bob of the
robin will be gone. ago and that Clara Morris is now an old lady. This is a great mistake. She is still young and
'T is a common proof, ought to be in the zenith of her powers, but she That lowliness is young ambition's ladder, destroys all chances of stirring up the people
Whereto the climber upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round, on the subject of caring whether she is in her He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees zenith or her plinth. She needs a new set of By which he did ascend.
ONDAY night, May 13, Edwin Booth and
Lawrence Barrett dedicated the new and magnificent California Theatre in San Fran. cisco. The receipts were nearly $9,000, and the tragedians were given 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.
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 appear. ing 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.
MINISTER WHITELAW REID will retain the present Legation quarters in Paris,
HAT bright Chicago weekly, America, pubbut has leased the palace of the Comtesse de lished recently a poem aster the style of Grammont at 35 Avenue Hoche as a residence. Hafiz, the most epicurean of the Persian poets, The rent exceeds the Minister's salary, being with the remark that although the Sufi mystics, $20,000 a year, whereas his official pay does not to whom he belonged, attribute ethical sentiamount to more than $17,000. But Mr. Reid, ments to all his poems, yet there can be no will do us proud.
doubt that he meant what he said, and was as
truly devoted to the literal wine that he exREAD with American pride that the French
tolied, as his plain words would indicate. 1
Academy has awarded to Marion Crawford | Upon reading all this I am inspired to write a prize of $200 for his two novels written by
the following: himself in French and entitled, “Zoroastre
Hafiz was a Persian poet and “Le Crucifix de Marzio."
Who loved his ethics and his wine,
Hafiz songs were sad repine. "L'AVENTURIERE,” with Coquelin and
Hafiz heart was always bleeding,
The other half hung on the vines,
While the Sufi's kept on reading night, under the management of Henry Abbey
One Hatiz verses in the lines. and Maurice Grau. This will be the first time
Trophonious. that French plays have been done in England under American management, and I am awfully THE regular season at Niblo's will close on glad to hear of it.
June 8. During the Summer it will be
repainted and redecorated, prior to opening AM very fond of the Boston Transcript and it
August 18, with Bolossy Kiralfy's new specI is one of the first of the exchanges read in
tacle, which is booked for six weeks. Hands THE THEATRE office, but when it writes as
Across the Sea will be presented next for a follows, in speaking of “The Lottery of Love," couple of weeks. On Oct. 7 William Terriss then it seems a little rough and decidedly mis
and Miss Millward, under Augustin Daly's leading :
management will appear in Roger La Honte for Leaving the acting aside, for a moment, and speaking a season of eight weeks. The Exiles will follow only of the play itself, one finds that Mr. Daly lowered for two weeks. For the holidays will be prethe whole atmosphere of it very considerably. The
sented Kajanka for a run of six weeks. After original is not precisely a masterpiece of elegance, but it is certainly inoffensive and free from the taint of com
Kajanka the regular combinations will follow, monness-Gemeinheit. Mr. Daly's play seems to solicit including the Still Alarm, Thomas W. Keene, the suffrages of the "gods," and the gods” only. Little Lord Fauntleroy and Mrs. Porter. Then Take the change made in the ubiquitous mother-in-law !
Wilson Barrett will appear April 28 for two The delicious old ex-danseuse of the original, with her inveterate ballet airs and graces, here becomes an ex
weeks, this engagement closing the latter's seawoman's-rights-spouter in a bloomer.
son in this country.
IN THE LIMELIGHT'S GLARE. I will tell you. During the intense months,
when so many of us are compelled to stay in T is full summer now. The poor English
the city, nothing is so refreshing to the ebul. sparrow that makes clean our streets wings
lient brain as the presentation of the light r homeward at the noon of night to the bride that
pieces: comediettas, ballet and burlesque. awaits him beneath the red eaves of the Casino
“The Brigands" will probably run through the while the strain of a Hungarian rhapsodie floats
summer, as also “Clover,” “The Oolah" and on the tideless breeze, and the wretched mot
“Featherbrain"; but we should like above all a tled cur slinks away to the hill far from the
genuine burlesque. London supports two of lasso of a cruel hand. Even that albescent sage
three every hot season. In Madrid, “El redoma of Madison Square is conscious of the throb of
encontada"; in St. Petersburg, “Munchausen"; June and of the touch of ancient people—for
in Paris, "Riquet à la houppe"; and in London, are not our children the ancient people? There
the best, “ Lancelot the Lovely." A burlesque is not one of us that would refuse to cast a
in New York during the summer would exceed groat to the magician that could limn the fal
in profitableness any of the operas that are low-form of our capricious Mary running on
destined to remain with us. I can not vouch the sands of English Brighton, once again the
for the success of a company such as the London naïve Perdita dancing like a mote in a sunbeam.
Gaiety, for I am told that Mr. Edwardes' salarga
list is as long as the bill handed you on awakenTHE THE seasons of the drama are unlike those of in the Lion d'or; but there are Mr. Rosenquest
the earth. In the autumn let us mark, of the Bijou and Mr. Duff of the Standard. when on the upland the reapers are a-stir among When we say burlesque we do not demand a the golden grain, how like a siege of harlequins prima donna with an Eiffel-tower G so long as upon the temples of Melpomene and Thalia the ballet and the ballad's are in any way seems the desire for fame in the playwrights of decent. callow banter and in the players of rapid politesse. Naught but babble and confusion: Fail.
IT is quite evident, after all, that England is ure and success. Here an inanity nourished to
the home of burlesque. Here are no salirthe end; and there a moral damned by verbiage. ists to hold the shuttle of wit and the skeins of He must be a Bassanio that would choose a
fancy. Subjects certainly lie untouched, but, as criticism. Man should perfect with the seasons, a nuvelist once remarked to me over a cracker: but he does not: for him every act must needs “There is one thing that prevents my becoming be a fruit before a blossom.
a genius, and what it is I can not for the life of
me discover." The few burlesques that we HE summer is the half-rest of man's hymn have seen so repeated seem to have no succes.
of gratitude. It is the time for re-assimi- sors at their decline. We have borne with lation, a period of experiment. Let the play- | “Evangeline” until we would cast the subwright look at Nature and her modes. The stance and the cooks into a gelatinous pudding. essential moment of her usefulness is come When I write satire” it does not mean a only when the winds and the rain have snapped berry-box of nutshells such as Mr. Rosenfeld the scandalizing scions of her stock; that in the would have us mistake for assorted kernels. mellow stage of her gravidity she may come The modern librettist will do well in serving with offerings of fruit and wine. Let the play- us with a few truffles and fewer sillabubs. Unwright copy Nature in this regard : that he able he is not to flee from the diatribes which blows not his sonorous fanfare, nor exhibits of late he has imposed on The comic his wares, before he has repruned what he pre- laureate that will keep us on a par with the conceives a song and what others a sermon. English stage at least is a man whose name Let also the player stand on a knoll and run shall not be “writ in water." Our humorists the gamut of his expression ; he may, by way are of undoubted superiority to the explicit of education, read somewhat about the art of jesters of Punch and provincial weeklies. Did which just now he knows sufficient to evade the inexhaustible Punchinelloes of Puck and drudgery.
Fudge devote their talents to the comic stage, " But what are we to do?" cry the managers. we would ouido in raillery is not in number,