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NOTES BY PASQUIN., Otago Witness, Issue 1880, 2 December 1887
NOTES BY PASQUIN.
Mr Liddy is to be here about Ist December to prepare 1 for the return season of the Majeronis, which will begin on Friday, 9th December, and extend over eight nights. The opening piece is an adaptation of Georges Ohnet's "Le Maitre dcs Forges," to be played under the title of "The Foundry Master." As "The Ironmaster," "Claire," 11 Olaire and the Ironmaster," and a variety of other titles, versions of this piece have been played by quite a number of leading English and American artistes, and some playgoers may remember that it was given for a night or so in Dunedin a year or two back. It is a powerful play, and I daresay it is, as Mr Liddy affirms, the best in the Majeroni's repertoire. Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch audiences appear to have liked it immensely. A peculiarly vigorous and muscular entertainment was given at the Princess on Wednesday and Thursday of last week by some niggers styling themselves the 0.0.0. Minstrels. What this title signified no one could guess, and as the minstrels themselves not a soul knoweth whence they came or whither they go. Their names alone were good, and denoted lineage not to be sneezed at, — Montagu, Melville, Stanley, De Lacy, Lawrence, Hazelwood, and Clifford, all these have the flavour of a fine old crusted aristocracy. But the bearers of these famous cognomens did not add much to the lustre of their family escutcheons. As niggers they were a failure most rank, and the miserable handful of people in the auditorium on Thursday night so far forgot themselves in consequence as to groan and curse audibly. A select coterie in the circle were particularly forcible in their remarks, and this the Montagues, Stanleys, and Cliffords, &c, resented. They therefore rang down the curtain during the progress of a farce, and repaired to the dress circle, where they used their knuckles with far more adroitness than they displayed in handling the bones and tambourine. The audience responded with gusto, and in the exhilarating combat that followed claret flowed freely, and joy was unconfined, After that unrehearsed denouement the 0 C.O's., I see, ceased their season, Signor and Signora Majeroni played three nights in Gisborne, opening in " Fedora " to a £100 house— not bad for so small a place, On Monday, the 21st ult., they commenced a seven nights' season at the Auckland Opera House with " The Foundry Master," and it was on the cards that they might afterwards try the West Coast. At any rate they open here on the 9th December, playing ' afterwards at Oamaru two nights, Timaru two, Ashburton one, and starting a season of 10 nights in Christchurch on Boxing Night. Should the small-pox scare have vanished, they will next leave for Hobart, playing at Jnvercargill e?i route, and after Tasmania proceed to Queensland. The Perman family have been doing a very good business at the Agricultural Hall, Auckland, at 2s, Is, and 6d ; but Miss Georgie Smithson, who was trying her luck at the Opera House, had to close abruptly. She played at the same prices, trying in turn the bgitimate drama, comedy, burlesque, minstrel business, and pantomime, but got only one respectable house the whole time. Mr George Leitch and his " Harbour Lights" company open in Auckland on sth December. They have had no reason to •oomplain of the business in New Zealand so far. Mr Bland Holt is just finishing his successful season in Christchurch with " The World." He is due in Auckland for Christmas, and is certain to drive a merry trade there. All negotiations between Mr Hughes and Miss Carrie Swain, whom he was to have brought over here for Xmas, are "off." That lady, however, may very likely visit this colony, all the same. It is still on the cards that Messrs Williamson, Garner, and Musgrove may send mother opera company over here, the firm having a lively remen> brance of the success of " The Mikado " combination, There is an amateur epidemic again amongst us. Singularly 1 enough, both Auckland and Wellington are simultaneously threatened by amateurs with the same piece, <• Rob Koy." Is this mere coincidence or the result of conspiracy. Our own operatio amateurs — " The Pirates of Penzanco " lot — re-appeared at the Princes Theatre on Tuesday evening, with Miss Mary Hume (whose singing of Mabel's music is, by the vsay, not amateurish) at their head. Signor Carmini Morley is organising a «<Maritanaj" company in Wellington. He himself will play Don Csesar, and Madame Morley the Gitana. The Bavarian peasants who have been accustomed to give such excellent representations of the Passion Play at Oberammergan seem to have disregarded the good old maxim which admonishes the cobbler to stick, to his last, for they have this year ventured upon the performance of a secular drama, entitled •' Otho the Great and his Court." But notwithstanding the patriotic' character of the piece, it proved a ridiculous fiasco, and the audience, which included the Prince Regent, condemned it by a storm of groans and hisses. The principal theatre in Brussels, La Monnaie, has been provided with a watercurtain, or, in other words, with an ingenious piece of meohanism whereby a shower will J descend, in case of fire, from tbe summit of ] the proscenium, and will constitute a much [ more efficient protection than au iron curtain, which soon becomes red hot snd warps and shrivels. Ten staircases furuish immediate means of egress to the largess audience that can assemble within the walty of the theatre, and there are besides four means of exit for the orchestra, as well as special escape-doors for tne company. Some interesting performances aTe about to be given at the Odeon, the second Theatre Frangais of Paris. They yill take place once' a month, beginning in October and ending n April, and are intended for the special benefit of the students afthe various lyceums and colleges of the city. They are to be called classical matinees, and on each occa-
,_ . „ n . _ . > j* slon, two of the,, masterpieces of French dramatic literature will be presented, preceded by a lecture, to be delivered by some of the best diamatie critics and men of letters in .Paris, including M.M. Sarcey, Vitu, Coppie, Deschanel; and others. Mr Chas. Wyndham is arranging for the production of " David Garrick " at the Re'sidenz Theatre, Berlin. It Will be played in German. Wyndham, who speaks the language fluently himself, sustaining the title role. The Queen has sent a letter of condolence to Mr Wilson Barrett, on the death of his wife, and has asked for her portrait. Her maiden name was Heath, and in her young days, when she played Ophelia to Charle3 Kean's Hamlet, Anne Boleyn to his Wolsey, and Cordelia to his Lear, her beauty was as much admired as her talent. Mrs Barrett filled the position of reader to her Majesty for some years, and was kindly and gratefully remembered by her. One of the novelties of the forthcoming season in Paris will be a spectacular drama founded upon Jules Verne's* "Mathiaa Sandorf ." Among tha most imposing of the scenio incidents will be the launch of a large vessel amidst general festivities, and the eruption of a volcano. The friends of Miss Jefferies Lewis, who was at latest dates playing a season in San Francisco, will regret to learn that her star is not in the ascendant. One 'Frisco critic says :—": — " The personal and professional decadence of this once brilliant and fascinating actress is one of the saddest things in contemporary dramatic history. 1 ' The clever Raynor Brothers, who were here with Harry Rickards, and were a little bit too good for his show, have been woll received on their return to London, and are about to pilot a show of their own through India. Miss Maggie Knight is playing successfully at Holt and Wil mot's Grand Theatre, Islington, in " Held by the Enemy." Every time Sardou writes a new play he is accused of plagiarism, but the charge is usually made after the first performance, when the other playwrights have had a chance to see what the author of " Fedora" has done. This time, however, a cry is raised as soon as the title and scene of his new piece is announced. It has been given forth that the title of the new drama in i which Sara Bernhardt is to make her re- ! appearance at the Porte St. Martin Theatre is "La Tosoa," that the scene is laid in Rome on the morrow of the 1 battle of Marengo, and that its prinoipal heroine is La Tosca, a celebrated Italian singer. No , sooner had these facts been published than Ernest |Daudet (a brother of Alphonse of ' " Sappho " fame) wrote to Sardou telling him that four years ago he had written in company with one Gilbert Augustin Thierry a grand drama which takes place at Paris on the morrow of the battle of Marengo, and which has for heroine an Italian cantatrice named Saint Aubin. Curiously enough, Daudet is said to have read his drama three years ago to Sfra Bernhardt and M. Duquesnel, manager of the Porte Saint Martin. When it comes to a question of obtaining ideas for a piece, Sardou is like Joey Bagstock — "tough, sir, and devilish sly." Charles Dickens, son of the great Charles, is just commencing a lecturing tour in the States. He is to read his father's writings, and travel over the same field where the famous novelist years ago reaped such a j splendid harvest. i Mr Marius, the well-known English actor, has invented a means of rendering the auditorium of a theatre fireproof in three seconds, and states his willingness to prove his claims by remaining in the auditorium of a specially built theatre while the stage is set on fire. Now, this is a practical offer. Who will build a special theatre for this excellent purpose 1 Mark Twain has written a play entitled " The American Claimant," and melancholy to record, it is a lightning failure. One would not have thought that Mark Twain could fail, but it seems he can. Naturally, the smaller literary fry are jubilant and crow very loudly. Says one writer : "He (Clemens to wit) has been figuring successfully j for a long time in literature as a brilliant man, but he couldn't do it on the stage. His attempt to be a playwright reminded me of a comic singer's attempt to play Hamlet, 1 Your mere funny man cannot do all things. He can't conduot a funeral and he oan't make a play. His spots of humour in ' The American Claimant ' was like an unwashed floor with several small rugs askew on it." It will be seen that there is very little of the milk of human kindness wasted upon a successful man caught tripping. Wilson Barrett has found another London house in place of the Princess, viz., The Globe, where he opens in Christmas week in a new melodrama by G. R. Sims. He will have with him his brother, George Barrett, Miss Eastlake, and several others of the old Princess' company. A report was cabled over to America lately that Wilson Barrett had been secretly married to his leading lady, Miss Eastlake, which, seeing that his first wife (Miss Heath) had only been dead eight weeks, was a trifle "steep." Both the lady and gentleman promptly denied the j impeaohment. Amongst the extra precautions that are ! being taken in London theatres against death from fire or panic, Mary Anderson has made arrangements to have the whole of the special exits at the Lyceum Theatre opened for use at every performance, while Beerbohm Tree has secured an extra fireman for the purpose of standing in the flies of the Haymarket Theatre nightly with hose ready for immediate use.
NOTES BY PASQUIN., Otago Witness, Issue 1880, 2 December 1887
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