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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 23, 1910)
Sir Charles Wyndham's First Visit to America and His Present Tour
TIIE OMAIIA SUNDAY BEE: JANUARY 23, 1910.
EW YORK. Jim 16.-8ir Charie
N Wyndham, who open his abort
I New York aeason with hi laat
ear s success, 'Tin Mollusc,
with Mlsa Mary Moor aa lead
ing lady, tells among other In
cidents of his New York visits, which ex
tend over a period of thirty odd years, of
a "veteran" dinner he nave In this cltjr to
three former comrades. One of these men
was a Journalist, whose acquaintance with
Sir Charles began Ions; before he ever
dreamed of having- a handle to his name;
another wan a fellow member of the pro
fession, who appeared with him many times
in the 'AOs on the American stage, and the
third was a companion In arms when the
civil war engaged his attention to the ex
clusion of hlstrlonto affairs.
The soldier friend brought as a souvenir
to the dinner a copy of an old photograph
of Charles Wyndham, showing him as a
young man, with shoulder straps and
"dundrearys." Today,. In spit of his 70
years, Sir Charles still has a distinctly
military bearing. He Is above six feet In
height," straight and slim aa a sapling and
lil it complexion la ruddy. He no longer
wears whiskers or moustache and his clear
cut features are topped with Iron gray
hair. In manner he Is cordial and yet a
little reserved. Many of his American ad
mirers have forgotten the fact that he earns
here first to enter the northern army In the
civil war and served as surgeon.
"Every man," says Sir harkis, "has two
reasons for every Important action that he
performs. Oftentimes he deceives himself
In the beginning by assuming that there Is
only one driving force, but later on, after
the deed has been accomplished and he sits
down and thinks things over calmly, he
admits that he second, the hidden reason,
Is perhaps the true one.
"As a yoang man I believed myself to
be the champion of a great cause. Aboli
tion was the banner cry which, I asserted,
brought me serosa seaa and landed me on
the field of battle. Today I realise that.
Irritated by the opposition shown my pre
dilections for tha stage, I came here be
lieving that I would find it easier to see
an opening in the dramatlo profession and
that I could follow the calling without the
social and parental opposition that I had
"to struggle against In my native country.
Going on the stage was synonymous with
going to the dogs then In the eyes of the
majority of people.
"My father, when he discovered my bent,
calmly Informed me that he would, much
rather that I elected to become a tailor,
and It was due to his steady, unwavering
disapproval that I submitted to the extent
of finishing my medical course and taking
think we do It leas
In England and
ehanged to suit the
myTMcal morality of
a possible theater
going people. Truth
la so great that It
eanaot be killed, even
by a fourth act.
"When Mr. Davis
brought me the man
uscript of 'The Mol
lusc,' which haa had
really a phenomenal
success In London as
well as here, I was
captivated by tha
idea, but thought It
altogether too novel
and too good to be
hampered by a lot of
and the Insertion In
the oast of several
characters who, amus
ing as their' parts
were, did not seem lo
have any vital conW
nectlon with the fun
damental idea, so in
ter several d'-scv..
sions everything but
the work of the small
cast who now appear .
was cut out really u
delicate operation l .1
perform. There was
a question then
whether the motive
of the play was Ivg
enough to stand such
a limited number of
players for the great
number of theater
goers who want their
money's worth and to
whom quantity and
quality are synony
mous. "Do I think therj
are many 'Molluscea'
In real life? I cer-'
talnly hope so. Tu.i
remember wliyr Mlsa
Moore says that A
Mollusc must be a
very pleasant person
to have In a house
hold.' I consider hrr
as a charming en
tity; she Is In no
sense an object oil
ridicule, but an object
"By never doing any
thing for herself she
v. v '
'1 H:'iii. iW
1 If', 'w'-v V. r 111
a diploma, so Mint when the dreadful some
filing happened which he constantly fore- keepa other people up to a keen sense
told I would have a real Drofesalon to fall their own' responsibilities. 1 She Is a V
back upon. Thai the something did not consistent character, faithful throughout
happen is merely a matter of biography, t very human poIcy, or Miman eccen-
and naturally success has Us emolument, trlclty, If you prefer. We should not let
among tho rest the change In view of one's the race die out, but preserve it carefully,
former opposers. "To refer again to the subject Of bhang-
"In those rlv dav, T nltvert m-nv tlm. Pla: rfot very lo a a Pywrlght
with Wilkes Booth and other well known
tctora of the time. I had also a strong
brought ine one of his productions and I
HUggvsted to him thai he rewrite the last
friendship and a stage companionship with nct: 11 dld not ae(,m to me to' have that
,T. 8. Clarke, brother-in-law of Booth, who lo'cal endinK tnat th0 8trpnKth of hl
after that went to England, made a groat tnem6 demanded. He refused and the play
auccesa there and took tip a perman-nt wa" brought out as it was. We are not
abode on the other jidf. One of the earlv a" demonstrative in I-ondon aa you are
plays I appeared In was-'Saratoga.' and t here- but on tna occmIo". to my amaae-
had a long repertoire of other popular and ment- thre curtain calls were given after
to'The Lily" leada to a
(lite at inn AnnnArmlnv tYm A mnrlrtnnUatlAn
of important play., and Sir Charles, after Plece wa" klllwl; I.have never f a t1
the first act, five after the second, eight
after the third, and tho fourth was greeted
with a large, unmistakable 'Boo' and the
a moment's hesitation, puts himself on
record as against any radical change from
the playwright's Intention.
"It Is not loyal to him and to the art
whose disciple he Is," he says. "He Is
dealing with a subject and he should Tie
allowed to remain faithful' to his principles.
If the subject . Is Important enough to
-yto cast a play properly,
l u.11 effort that Starts
very ... ,... ., .... ,
Willi MUC MtlU UIVI'II-1II
and ends usually in the
acceptance of anybody
who can read mruuj.i
the lines of the B.nuiKr
parts. Even witl the
principal roles, how often
do you Imagine p.ay
wrlghttf and managfrs
are satisfied with the (
people they are forced to'
select? Not often, 1 as
sure you. Sometimes I
have been sick at heart
at the compromises we
have to make.
"I no:lce one differ
ence In the applicants
we have to choose from
In England and those
the managers here have
at their disposal. I think
you have more feminine
talent and ve more mas
culine. I don't, know why
this is, except, perhaps,
theie are not with us
ao many ambitious young women with tal
ent, or freed, from parental restraint, which
till questions the stage life, as you have.
But it is quite easy to see that the
lar experience, for it has many times hap
pened that three good acts would ' carry
a weak first or fourth.
"But the life of the actor manager Is
one of surprises, and after a bit he is sim
ply surprised If he Is not surprised, that
"In England the next step after .playing
receive dramatic Interpretation it is surely. " "lar ' 10 oecoroe an acior manager,
important enough to be allowed to travel tn natural evolution with us. but it does
to its logical or artlstlo goal, for the two not necessarily follow here, I understand.
worde are synonymous. It seems to me Personally, I think this does away with American youth of education and breed
that It Is much wiser to cut out any play th weakness of tho star system, where in, doeB not ,ee, qulck enough returns
entirely than to change Its original Intent. to oftn everything- la sacrificed to his ia the dramatic profession and prefers com-
'Naturally I do not mean to imply that popularity, and though wo actor managers joerclal life, while our country, lesa fer-
a play should be allowed to stand always . oftn fiercely criticised for not sur- tu iQ opportunity of tffls kind, turns out
as it is received from the playwright, for rounding ourselvea with competent up- every year from colleges and universities
oftentlmea he la unable hhnaelf to follow Port the contrary is the case, tat it la cer- clmu of young gentlemen who are only
his subject logically, and good play la talnly to our own beat interest to ret just too glad to adopt the stage life, and I
oftentimes spoiled for the lack of weeding near perfection aa we can. I judge that think our drama profits by hla audi
and changing, whloh comes within the your own managers aro more and more yours, too, , for many, I might say the
province of those to whom the work Is sub- working along tho same lines and that majority, of "ur actora are Englishmen."
mltted. I am apeaklng of oourae of plays the star system abuses hare practically Referring to the short season BIr Charles
that are artistically correct and are so ceased. is facing now, he saya:
received in one country, say France, for "No one except those of tho profession "Since I was here last I have only played
example, and are brought to America I knows the struggle, the continual struggle, in one charitable production. I only want
'1 L . 1 i
1 ' '
ASftrs csss-rroi n -fscfv V rf
' cr& wirr orrME csssf7 s'rres
.heater and after reserving tli"i sala in
a disappointed tone, 'Oh, but Hint play's
been rfven hole before I want to see
something new. You can recall my order.'
"We uie more faithful to old favorites In
"In 16 I gave the first production of
'David UaiTlck,' and last year I played It
j the largest audience I have ever had
'David' has been put to bed now after a
long and trlmphajit day. I think he
should have a nice, long rest. 'Faithful
Although Sir Charles has been asso
ciated of lato with the drawing room
drama, he says In answer to a question
as to the possible success of great com
mercial and political problems In the form
"The greater the subject, the greater
chance It has to engage the attention of
an audinco. I am sure plays dealing with
themes like that in "The Fourth Estate,'
for example, will always Interest. If they
fail It Is not on account of the theme, but
on account of the construction ( of the
piny. I do not see that there Is any sub
ject which deals with the feelings and
actions of human beings that. If artistically
treated, is not available for this purpose.
"But I think there la only one subject eory to have policemen In plain clothe
lacking which theer could be no perma- in the pit and other precautions taken.
tho right to rest and I am going to enjoy fact, I know of .a case where a woman nent success. , I refer to love. That la tho Don't ever let Uie 'booing' custom get a
telephoned for tickets to a fashionable most Important factor In life and; it is foothold here."
now to keep my Interest alive by 00- "I realise that a -revival la a rattier
casional returns. I think I have earned, hazardous thin to attemnt in America: In
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, T. F. GODFREY,
Passenger and Ticket Agent,
1423 Farn&ui St., Omaha, Neb.
tha most important (actor on the Stat.
Taka it from either and you hare left
but tha sou II en a corps, it is the lovs In
terest that engaged the sympathise ( the
audlenscs and you cannot ignore that help.
"You hava a great way over here, when
machinery is still raw, of discarding It
because something newer and better comes
on the market That la what makes the
life of your trade. That is what makes
you a mora progressive nation than we,
who are still cllnglirg to our old machin
ery and will cling to It even when It
wears out But there Is no new fashion In'
tho machinery of love, which is the motor
of life. Tou can't replace, it by anything
else. Tou cannot discard At and tha stage
which is but an epltomlata picture of IK
cannot Ignore it either."
Sir Charlis was called aa on of the
witnesses In the censorship inquiry last
summer In Iondon. He says:
"My absence from England prevented
my appearance, but I was very much In
terested. The outcome of the Inquiry has
pleased me, because I belle v that the cen
sorship by Mr. I ta J ford does mora good
than harm. It is certainly much better
than the censorship of tlv police, whicli
you have here, la it notT '
"This particular play by Mr. Shaw whlcn
started the disturbance had, as I under
stand, certain irreligious expressions that
could easily have been left out without in
any way hurting the play and it seems
to me that Is ao much simpler a couria
to take than to offend susceptibilities. But
Mr. Shaw Is a very peculiar person.
" li, the Stags society, which produce
ii ,ited plays? , You have never been
tin. .' You should go. I went once and
mi..... n.'vi'i- repeat the experience becaus
I i.H.IJ nevtr du:lk'ati the thrill I r
iiivul. Tho plays were not ho bad, merely
commonplace, but the women and th
inn! Kreaks? is that the word you us
li re? Yes, that ne?ms to me rarely ex
.ii i .-.hive. The men had long hair, and th
ao, in n, Mtipponedly a step beyond the mod
ern, , were attired in towns and effect
that I had supposed went out when th
wave of axtlietli'lNm died down."
Ir Charles has for years tried to sup
pi . the system of "booing," by w hich
1. l.h audiences express disapproval of
"It is brutal and cruel In the extreme.
Vun should be thankful that you have
nulhiiij? of the kind here," he says, "in
n. y own theater It Is practically eliminated,
cut It has taken ycaraand strength and
money to accomplish even what 1 hav
"1 had one frlKhtful experience that I
absolutely shudder to recollect, a panio
ir.milnz due to the contest between two
factions In the pit, and an actual riot took
place. When quiet was restored I came
before the curtain and -ured my au
dience that If it took every dollar I owned
in the world such a . scene should never
be witnessed there again, and it never
has beerf ' x
"Briefly told, I discovered that there ex
isted an organization which had for it
object the killing off of any play that
happened to meet with its disapproval, for
any reason whatsoever. It was an organi
zation of no mean size and attainments,
and when t threatened one of the mem
bers, a young man of good family and
education, with exposure and a police court
appearance, he calmly told me tlfat I
should let him go. for wlile It was tru
that the society had created the riot on th
night In question and practically killed th
play. It was due to them that certain other
plays had succeeded. I remarked casually
that I had no doubt the playwright and
actors would be glad to know why they
were successful, but I hardly thought hi
conclusion warranted their high handed ac
tion in other matters.
"The organisation was finally broken up.
but in order to accomplish it it was neces-
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