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CHRONICLE AND COMMENT OF THE IjAGEM
Veiling the Iron Hand A New Technical Device Given Gratis for the Profit of the Discerning Dramatist By J. Alexander Pierce SUPPRESSED personages in the drama who never appear on the stage sometimes take a strong hold on the imagination. They are like lost souls that cannot gain entrance to heaven or like the haunting demon Maupassant called "La Horla," which sought admission unceasingly to the presence of its victim. But for the most part they are innocuous sonls, having little will for good or evil, the mere homunculi of n creative brain that has no concern for them the moment after they serve their purpose. In "Why Marry" there is the wife out. at. Reno, getting a divorce from the Uncle Everett portrayed by Nat Goodwin. He talks of her so con? stantly that one half expects to see her before the end of the play. "On With the Dance" possessed a nebulous lounge lizard with whom the flirta? tious young wife made appointments by telephone. The device made her teem what she was not, while leaving her finally what she was. Clare Kummer planted no less than three such dramatis non personas in "The Rescuing Angel," and defended the provocative habit as necessary to create background. Playwrights usually prefer to con--' centrate on making the audience grasp a few essentials regarding the charac? ters who do appear. They are wnry of contusing with too much detail and of arousing expectancy that will be dis? appointed. Plays almost never deal with an important character who re? mains always behind the scenes. The mysterious stranger in "The Lady From the f?ca" would be such a char? acter if he never came for his love. Persons in plays who aro much talked of but never appear are usually like persons referred to in graft in? quiries as capable of furnishing the evidence required?either dead or im? aginary. Otherwise "La Horla" would burst on the scene. In "Treasure Isl? and" Captain Flint was dead ns a door? nail. In "The Importance of Being Earnest" both Ernest and Mr. Bunbury existed only in the fancy of Jack Worthing. THERE is an opportunity for some imaginative dramatist to create a strong and novel effect by means of a suppressed leading character. The hint is free. Let him who can draw the sword out of the stone. A great effect has sometimes been obtained by re? tarding the entrance of a singlo lead? ing figure for a whole act, or even two, while he has been so constantly talked about as to beget in the audi? ence a vivid desire to mako his ac? quaintance. Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman is not seen until the second act, though his wife has heard him pacing us and down his room like a wolf in his cage Jloli?re's Tartufe does not come on the stage until the third act. For this de? vice to be successful it is essential that only one leading character shall remair unBeen, on whom the attention of tin audience may by that very fact b< riveted. But why not go a step fur ther and retard his entrance beyoni the last curtain? The suppressed leading charaetei should exert a determining influenct upon the action, cither malevolent o: benign, with the aloofness of a demor o'r a god. It i.; an accepted principli of playwriting that characters can ex ist only with reference to the actiot and that character can be brought ou in no other way than by throwing peo pie into given relations; but such ? proposition does not require the pr?s ence of any particular character upoi the stage. His influence on the actiot and the significance of his relation I with the others may be no less ef fectively manifested because of hi , "splendid isolation." There is a close analogy between th existence off stage of an importan character and the plot element of en veloping action, or a sort of frame i: which the play is set. Enveloping ac tion in its simplest form is seen in story which connects private person ages with public history. Fiction gain reality from a frame of fact. Envelop ing action occurs in almost all th Waverley Novels, and it is a favorit element in Shakespeare's plots, notabl the Wars of the Hoses in "Richard III, the supernatural in "Macbeth," th Roman populace in "Julius Cwsar," th French war in "King Lear" and th enchantment in "The Tempest." Thes examples indicate how princes, soldier and others may in themselves and thei deeds supply an enveloping action. QTEVENSON might easily hav O availed himself in "Treasure Is and" of the sovereign device of a overshadowing character by not insist? ing upon the demise of Captain Flint. Yet in spite of his authoritative asser? tion, certain readers will always per? sist in expecting the old buccaneer with a blue mug to heave to in the i offing. And there was the parapher i nalia of foreshadowing all ready to ; hand. Squire Trelawney declared in ' an early chapter that he had seen ? Flint's topsails off Trinidad, and when ; Jim Hawkins found Ben Gunn on the ' island there came suddenly a lowering 1 shadow over the face of the old sailor I man as he asked if that was Flint's 1 ship in the roadstead. "Great guns! messmates," exclaimed John Silver, "but if Flint was living I this would be a hot spot for you and me. Six they were, and six aro we; I and bones is what they are now." "I saw him dead with these here , deadlights," said Morgan. "Billy took us in. There he laid, with penny pieces on his eyes." In the prologue of Echegaray's "The ' Great Galeoto," Ernest, a playwright, i asks a friend to imagine the principal ; personage of his play, one who crc ' ates the drama and develops it, who : gives it life and provokes the catas ! trophe, who, broadly, fills and pos? sesses it, and who yet cannot make , his way to the stage. There is no ma 1 tcrial room for him in the scenario. j He is a Titan, but in the modern sense ! of the word. That is to say, this pcr <? son is everybody. Everybody might be . condensed in a few types, but that would distort the idea. The only way tins Titan call bo represented is by his words, gossip, the breath of scan : dal. A perfect illustration of enveloping action embodied in an unseen character ! is found in Maeterlinck's "The Death i of Tintagiles." The character is the 1 old queen in her castle in the depth 1 of the valley. No one knows what the queen docs. She never shows herself. . She lives there, all alone in her tower, ! and they that serve her do not go out ? by day. Sho is very old; she is the mother of Tintagiles's mother; and she ; would reign alone. The queen is jealous and suspicious, i some say mad, and fears lest some one j rise in her place. Her orders are car ; ried out no one knows how. She never ] comes down, and all the doors of the tower are closed night and day. Even | the sisters of Tintagiles have never ; caught a glimpse of her; but others i had seen her, in the past, when she | was young. The sense of the old queen's sinister power is all pervading. At last, in the night, the child is wrest i ed from the arms of his sisters and ! taken to his death. m-. Houdini Has New Elephant Trick To-morrow at the Hippodrome one ; may sec a full sized, real, live elephant disappear in full view of the audience on a brilliantly lighted stage, before one's very eyes. This vanishing ele? phant illusion is an experiment con? ceived and perfected by Houdini, world renowned expert in extracation, whom Charles Dillingham has selected as ?i feature extraordinary of "Cheer Up!" Tiie engagement of Houdini is I it. keeping with Mr. Dillingham's policy , o? introducing important new features ; ?n his big Hippodrome spectacles after ' the holidays. The disappearing elephant feat is i ono which Houdini began cxpcriment ! ing upon during his visit to India four years ago, for it has long been the dream'of the Indian fakirs to realize I the reputation given to Chaucer hun? dreds of years ago, when he wrote that ; he had seen "an elephant crumble to 1 the earth in piecemeal and then reas i semble itself and walk away." Hou | dini's illusion, which can no doubt be . , classified as the "biggest" ever at ] tempted on any stage, while it does not crumble the huge beast weighing , over G.uOO pounds, it does actually van? ish the elephant on the stage in full glare of the light, without the use of trapa, as the tank of water under the Hippodrome r.pron prevents any such ' camouflage. Houdini has constructed a ; gigantic cylinder shaped container of ? such dimensions that the largest cle | phant obtainable can enter with ease. It walks through this tube and van? ishes.'. A second new experiment which Mr. . i Dillingham will introduce next Mon- j | day will be in the final scene of ' i "Cheer Up!" in the aquatic spectacle, where Houdini will present his Sub- i ? mcrsible Mystery. In this daring ex j hibitioji he is manacled and leg-tied i and imprisoned in a heavily weighted ! iron bound box, which is lowered into j I the tank of water. While submerged : ' Houdini accomplishes his escape and j j comes to the surface unfettered. L Now, to pro-re that he is actually j inside the box when it is thrown over ; board and that he really takes a risk ! and dare3 death in the problem of I escaping he will invite members of j the audience to nail up the box at I j every performance. Ho has further ' ' obligated himself to the management ? to forfeit the sum of $1,000 to any, j one-who can prove he is assisted to ? escape or that it is possible to breathe , j or that he obtains air when he is '. i once submerged. The submerged box,' i being filled with holes, is completely | filled with water, the audience seeing I it all the time, no curtain to obscure j the sinking or hide it from view. ? .. ? Henry Miller's Theatre New York is no longer surprised at j the opening of a new theatre, and none j will interest the theatregoer more than ?Henry Miller's Theatre in West Forty-1 j third Street. The actor manager's : i prominence in his profession holds out ? the promise that his theatre, which has . been constructed under his direction ? I and embodies many of his ideas, will ?be something rather out of the ordi- ' i nary. ?' - ? ?-. ? ' - In Vaudeville j PALACE.- Julian Elltinge, Elizabeth I M. Murray, Robert Bosworth in "The I ; Sea Wolf," Jack Clifford, Le Roy, Tal- I j ma and Bosco, Robert Emmet Keane ! ; and Harry Tighe. ALHAMBRA.?Maud Lambert and i Ernest R. Ball, Fanny and Kitty Wat- | j son, Emmet Devoy, Felix Adler, Bonita i and Lew Hearn, Corporal Fields and ? ? Private Flatow, Lunatic Bakers, Mau- | i rico Burkhart, "Fantasia" and Three ' Escardos. i COLONIAL.?Louis Mann; Mme. | Doree's Celebrities. Roy Cummings and '? Ruth Mitchell, Orth and Kennedy. I Frances Kennedy, Stanley and Birnes i and the Flemings, RIVERSIDE. ? Mme. Sarah Bern? hardt, Little Billy, Jimmy Husscy and company, Ed. Flanagan and Neely Ed- ? , wards, Maryon Vadie and Ota Gygi, I ' Eddie Borden and James A. Dwyer, I i Horace Wright and Rene Dietrich, [ ! Darras Brothers and "Color Gems." i ROYAL--Gus Edwards'Annual Song! Review, Olga Cook, Mario Vallan!,! Helen Coyne and Gloria Foy, Herman Timberg, Kiraberly and Arnold, Weston ; and Wheeler, Howard and White, Par- ' ish and Peru and Galando. LOEW'S AMERICAN.- Charles and ' ; Sadie McDonald and company, Nippon : Duo, Frank Mullanc, Six Musical Spil lers, Jeanette Childs, Murray and Love ! and Rawson and June. In Brooklyn BUSHWICK.?- Bessie Clayton, Her | mine Shone, F?rber Girls, Emmet J. : Welsh, McMahon and Chappell, Dave j Roth, the Breen Family, Adeline Fran ; eis and the Eddy Duo. ORPHEUM.?Harry Fox, James J. Morton, Wilfred Clarke, Jimmy Duffy - and Jack Inglis, Rob Matthews and company, the De Wolf Girls, Lester, George Bancroft and Octavia Broske, . Nat Nazarro and company, Andy Fran ' eis and John Ross, the Vivians and the Four Indanias, Reggy Learns How It's Done Scene from "Parlor, Bedroom and : Bath," which takes place in an apart? ment of a seaside hotel somewhere on Long Isiand. Polly Hathaway (Flor ence Moore; teaches Reginald Irving (John Cumberland) how tn make love. It Is her intention to have the love scene in shape before Reginald's wife, : Angelica, appears. Reggy?My name is Reginald. Polly?It would be. Don't lose your nerve now. I've got your number. I'm not going to kidnap you, or give you the needle. You're just as safe as you would be in jail. Jeff said Reggy?Oh, you come from Jeff- - Polly--Yes; Jeff sent me. When Jeff warned me about you I didn't be? lieve it. could be true, but he was right, lie was right. Who did you think I was? The maid? Nursery governess come to sing you bye-bye? Come to! Wake up! Now, listen! Oh, pardon me! Jeff explained everything to me. I declared myself in. It's go? ing to set you back a few chips, but I'm in, and this has got to be put over. Now, I'm poing to coach you. Reggy?Coach me? Polly?We're going to call a rehear? sal. Oh, it's no use. I'd better let nature take its course. Try and get this. When your wife blows in this party has got to look real sassy. Reggy Saucy? Oh, yes; I under? stand. You mean we will practise to deceive Angelica, Polly? You're on. A little slow, but you're on. Now, lot's btart something. Reggy?-Start something? Polly He's knitting, ye gods: he's knitting! Your wife i-t- just outside the door. RegKy -Angelica! Polly Stop treating her like a meal ticket. Remember you're a home wrecker and villain is your middle name. She's only supposed to be there. You "nave to make love to me. Reprgy - When do I bepin ? Polly Oh, just after I try to kick a plohe off the chandelier. Reggy Kick a globe off , Polly?-That will bo your cue; up to there I'll play it alone. Then you seize me, one arm around the neck. Well, what's tho matter? Are you anchored? Reggy - I don't want to hurt you. Polly -Hurt me? Hurt? Your rough work is funny. Reggy - Darling, I love you madly. I can't live without you. You must never leave me. Polly?You have all the passion of an infuriated clam. What do you think you're doing? Asking the con? ductor for a transfer? Pricing neck Olive Tell in "General Post" ties? Put a little pep in it. Try it again. Polly?Now, kiss me. Reggy?K?k?kiss you? (Stutter? ing in his speech, so it sounds like kick.) Polly?not kick me ?kiss me. I think this is going to be an operation ?havo to get him a ladder. And you are married. Spare* my blushes. ? I wonder what your home life is like. I am not supposed to* bo your maiden aunt. I'm the party of the second part in a regular orgy. Reggy - I rather fancy I shall grow to like this in time. Polly?Nov.-, once more. Stiaight through this time. Reggy?Darling, I love you madly. I cannot live without you. You must never leave me. Rcgcrs (the bellboy)?I beg your pardon. Reggy?Go away! I'm buey. Polly?That's better, Reggie. Reggy?Do you think I ought to try again? Polly?Yes; but you don't need me. I've got to go. She'll be here before long. Reggy- Will you be here? Polly?Why, you poor nut, of course I'll be here. Reggy?Then you can tell me if I Jo it right. Polly?If you don't you'll just be shy one wife. I'll be hero with bells on. Wait till you see. Now, when your wife discovers you, act all over the place. Pretend you're caught. Ad? mit your guilt. You've got to do a stunt that would handicap David War field. "The Land of Joy" The third edition of Valverde's Span? ish review, "The Land of Joy," will be seen at the Park Theatre to-morrow evening, with the original cast of Span? ish singers and dancers, but with the major portion of the American libretto eliminated. In its latest form "Tht Land of Joy" wil have Maria Marco, the prima donna; Amparo Saus, Luisita Puchol, Manuel Villa and Jesim Navar? ro in their original songs, and Dolo retes, Bilbao, Mazantinita and Violeta in the same novel Spanish dances which created such a furore here this winter. Only Julius Tannen and John Daly Murphy remain in the cast of Ameri? can players, to interpret in short pro? logues scenes indicating the nature of the Spanish scenes to American thea? tre-goer--. Now on the Boards Astor ."Why Marry?" Belasco."Polly With a Past" Bijou."Odds and Ends of 1917" Booth ."The Masquerader" Broadhurst."Lord and Lady Algy" Casino ."Oh Boy!" Cocoanut Grove."A Night in Spain" Cohan ."The King" Cort ."Flo-Flo" Cohan & Harris.."A Tailor-Made Man" Comedy. ... Washington Square Players Criterion . "Happiness" Eltinge.Business Before Pleasure" Empire.. ."The Lady of the Camellias" 44th Street Roof."Over the Top" 4Sth Street."Yes or No" Fulton_."Words and Music" Harris."The Naughty Wife" Hippodrome."Cheer Up" Hudson."The Pipes of Pan" Gaiety ."General Post" Globe."Jack o' Lantern" j Greenwich Village Tiieatre. . ."Karen" Knickerbocker."Madame Sand" Liberty ."Going Up" , Longacre."Leave It to Jane"! Lyceum ."Tiger Rose" Manhattan Opera House, "Chu Chin Chow" Maxine Elliott. . . ."The Eyes of Youth" Morosco."Lombardi, Ltd." New Amsterdam."Cohan Revue of 1918" New Amsterdam Roof,"Midnight Frolic" Park."The Land of Joy" Playhouse ."Billeted" Plymouth ."The Gipsy Trail" Princes3."The Grass Widow" Renublic. ."Parlor, Bedroom and Bath" Shubcrt."Maytime" 39th Street."Blind Youth" Winter Garden."Doing Our Bit" -?-_ Around New York COLUMBIA."The Love Arbor" LEXINGTON, "A Little Girl in a Big City" i LOEW'S 7T1I AVENUE. "De Luxe Annie" MAJESTIC.."Very Good Eddie" MONTAUK."Fair and Warmer" STANDARD."The Man From Wicklow" ' YORKVILLE."The Blue Danube" "fm-No? - vBadWomanP By Salita Solano Before Ibsen and Snaw introduced ? woman's soul to the drama audiences used to leave the theatre without knowing if the heroine liked noodle soup, twilight sleep, one blanket or i two, fftrindberg, Hawaiian records, : singlo tax, the Federal amendment or suisesses. Nothing moro intimate was shown about a woman in those days ! than the wav sh" did her hair and '. vith whom she mated. The playwright patterned evei>tn.iig eise about her I on his concent of what women were? or shouldn't be. Thus, instead of a first act climax : being built about the heroine's per ! sonal application of the doctrine of Kant's moral imperative after the ad ? mired manner of G. B. S., the curtain Id fall just after she had met the : man among ail men and was sighing L?urette TayFbr shyly, "I wonder." That luxury of un? certainty was given to her aione. The .enee never had a chance for a doubt. This coii.i.i uted the charac cr development in Act I, and no vari? ation was permitted if the heroine were All a Woman Should Be. But if she weren't, there were three or four things she could say in place of "1 wonder" to establish her charac? ter with the audience?as a type, be it understood, never as an individual. If a fille de joie, "Ah, he alone can save me from the abyss that yawns before me!" If a woman whose past has re? mained hidden: "He is tine and brave and generous. If he discovers he will forgive me when I tell him ALL." If misunderstood: "Stand back! i will confess all. There stands the father of my child!" (This one was an espe? cial favorite in the provinces where the illegitimate child did for long its unwavering duty to the drayma.) The "I'm-not-a-bad-woman-I-was - so - piti? fully-young" speech has been, of course, the model since Mrs. Dane's celebrated cross-examination. These wall-paper pattern speeches ran for many years through the line of mind? less plays based on sex and whether the woman did or did not, or, if so, was she ju-tiiied? But since Nora slammed the door behind her and said she didn't want her doll's house any more, women o? the drama have been 'apt to decide there is something more in life than sex and that jobs at their worst are more certain than husbands. Play- | wrights, too, realize that interest no longer lies in whom a woman marries, but why. They also know hiw amus? ing it would sound in 1918 to hear a woman cry: "Dear Gawd, let me drfe! There's no wedding ring upon my fin- i ger! " So now, in illustration, one arrives t Laurett? Taylor and her new play, "Happiness." by J. Hartley Manner?!, ' who, although he put a wedding ring en Miss Taylor's finger, and is an Eng? lishman, tioes not hold anti-feminist views, either privately or in his clev? erly contrived plays. "Happiness" gives Miss Taylor a real woman to play?the new type of ambitious, ener- I getic, intelligent womanhood, devoted ? , to tho interests of those she lores i and able to make capital out of her 'talents. Sex is kept in its proper pre 1 portion and the playwright treats of i work, aims, ideals. He ever., tr. : rabile dictu, allows his heroine a bit of cere? bration! The playwright-husband and actress i wife are unalterably happy together and have found a philosophy that works. The basis of this success, says Miss Taylor, is that each is apprecia? tive of the other's viewpoint. She has enough masculine perception ? to see through his eyes, and he is able to an ; derstand ho\T and why a woman's standpoint is different. Their ideas, therefore, may collide, cut they never refuse to blend. "I believe in marriage, ?cx soli? darity among women and, to a certain degree, in feminism, although I arr. sometimes not given credit for the I latter," asserted Miss Taylor. "You see, I sometimes get irritated with bellicose defenders of my sex. One day, for example, an upstanding, '. husky woman of my acquaintance came to see me. 'Do you believe in woman's rights, Miss Taylor?' she in? quired. 'Indeed, yes,' I replied. 'And ; don't you believe that the female sex I is the better, the stronger?" 'Well, ! don't know as 1 will go a<t far a* that.' I said, thinking of Hartley. She pounded tho table with her fist. 'The . male sex can be disposed of entirely!' .she shouted. 'They are entirely un? necessary creatures, and we can live much better without them.' So you , can understand why that woman and I don't get on," "You mentioned sex solidarity. Was : it your idea to have the little errand girl come on in the last act that you might see 2/ourseif as you had been 1 and help the child as you bad been helped?" "No; that was Hartley's thought, bnt 1 love it. I think it is wonderful how women help one another. And what extraordinary friends they car: be!" Whereupon Miss Taylor assumed a cherubic look, and we fell to edmirinf her earnest brow, high-mir.ced pro? file and eyes that seemed to see some thing above and beyond. In a hushed . voice we inquired what she most want? ed in tho world. Did she answer, "A noble life and an inspiring death," as indicated by her expression? She did not. Instead, she enickered. "I want to play a queen and have ' a square meal," was the answer. "I'm dying f*4r a part where I may have a dignified yet gracious bearing. And : as for food?well, if Hartley doesn't j write me something besides these young parts I will surely succumb to temptation and subseque:.:: portli I ness." The Taylor-Manners household has never known a squabble, according to Miss Taylor. In case of a difference of opinion each says to the other. "Well, I think so-and-so, but, darling, you may be right." Isn't that too adorable?if true? ? "Karen" New Bill at Greenwich Theatre The Greenwich Village Theatre will give for its second bill, commencing Monday night, January 7, "Karen," a four-act drama by Hjalmar Bergstrom, translated from the Danish by Edwin Bjorkman. This will run for only four weeks. Fania Marinof? will he seen :'.' the title r?le, supported by Frank Con? roy, Grace Henderson, Harold Meitzer, Helen ^Robbins, Mary Pyne, Joseph Macaulay, Edwin Strawbridge, Mar? garet Fareleigh and Louis Earle. Burton Holmes To-night To-night and to-morrow afternoon at Carnegie Hall Burton Holmes be? gin ; hi?* twentieth season of Sunday evening and Monday afternoon trave? logues in New York City. This ye?f his subjects are all new, the results of over 35,000 miles of travel during th* last summer months. To-night's sab ject will be "Australia," her principa'. cities, commercial enterprises, enor? mous industries and her wild, far flung open spaces. His colored views and motion pictures v.-ill brine to his audiences the scenic beauties, native Bports, daily life in the cities and at the cattle "stations"; the motion P?c:' ure of kangaroo hunting from motor cars is typical of the unique qualiti? of his travelogue.