Clipped From The Westminster Budget

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THE WESTMINSTER BUDGET SEPTEMBER 24, 1897 OUR CHESS COLUMN. The centre of interest, from the chess player's point of view, lies at present at Berlin, where the great International Chess Tournament is being played. Lack of space prevents us, unfortunately, from chronicling the victories won, and the defeats endured*, •day by'day; but for the; consolation of those of : our readers who y£arn for detailed accounts of the bloodless battles, we-may say that they are described every;day in the columns of the Westminster Gazette. At the conclusion of the tournament.we hope to give -a. summary of the games. ' •' ... PROBLEM NO. 73. - ^ By K. Fiala. . BLACK. WHITE. White to play and mate in two moves. SOLUTION OF PROBLEM No. 72. 1. Q to B6 } Kt xQ; 2. Kt to Kt5 ch, K to B5 ; 3. P to Kt 3 mates. 1. , R to R5 ; 2. Q to B4 ch, Kt x Q ; 3. Kt to B2 mates. 1 .., Kt x R ; 2. Kt to B2 cb, K to K4 ; 3. Kt to Q3 mates. THE DRIFT OF THE DRAMA. THE PROSPECTS OF THE THEATRICAL^ SEASON. There is no "dead season" at. the theatres. The season may be said to be in a stage, or the stage in a season, of ^suspended animation" during the month of August; but with September comes the revival. Within the last fortnight the number of theatres which offer a choice of entertainment to the playgoer has been increased by the reopening in quick succession of Her Majesty's, the Haymarket, the Shaftesbury, the Globe, the Strand, the Adelphi, The Comedy, Drury Lane, and the Lyceum. The Lyceum without Sir Henry Irving suggests a trite comparison, which it would be particularly ungracious to institute over the production of "Hamlet" with Mr. Forbes-Robertson {facile princeps) as the Prince of Denmark. During the coming season Sir Henry Irving will be conspicuous only in the Ciceronian phrase; his absence from London, however, will be the country playgoer's opportunity. In December we shall have the pleasure of seeing him again at his own theatre in the new historical drama by Mr. Laurence Irving, of which the gossips of the press; mistaking seed-time for harvest-time, are already pror- claiming the manifold attractions. It may be accepted as an indication of a revival of the taste for the poetic drama that Mr. Beerbohm Tree and Mr. George Alexander both contemplate the addition of Shakespearean plays to their repertory. When Mr. Tree returns to Her Majesty's after the intercalary season of opera which has but just begun there, he will appear as Petruchio 'in David Garrick's truncated version of Shakespeare's farce " The Taming of the Shrew," and later he will produce "Julius Caesar," for the first time within the memory of most playgoers. This is encouraging, though our living dramatists may not inexcusably take a different view of the situation. But they will not be left out in the cold. Mr. Pinero stands aside for a while. Like the poet Rogers after being delivered of a couplet, Mr. Pinero, after the production of a play, takes a rest. They used to say that callers were told that "Mr. Rogers and the couplet are doing very well." The friends of Mr. Pinero will regret that our most distinguished dramatist did not do as well as might have been expected with "The Princess and the Butterfly," and they will look forward hopefully to his next, which will be, if we are not misinformed, a comedy in his earlier manner. Mr. Louis N. Parker, a writer whose destiny it seems to be to bring back pure comedy to the stage, will be represented at the. St. James's Theatre by a new piece called " 'Change Alley," in the authorship of which this gracious writer's name is again associated with that of Mr. Murray Carson. "'Change Alley," however, will have to wait its turn, for the first novelty of the season at the St. James's will be Mr. R. C. Carton's new comedy "The Tree of Knowledge." Mr. Alexander is distinguished among the theatrical managers not only by the preference he has given to the plays of English writers. Like a gobd man of business, he has always something in reserve, and is never in the trying position of not knowing where to turn or what to do next. In. addition to the plays already mentioned, he has secured a new piece called 11 The Conquerors, "by the American author of the dramatic version of "Trilby, "and "The Duke's Motto," in which Fechter delighted a bygone generation, has been "entirely rewritten " for Mr. Alexander by Mr. Justin H. McCarthy, the ingenious writer—or rewriter—of " My Friend the Prince." The prolific Mr. Henry A. Jones will provide 1 the entertainment at the Criterion on the return of Mr. Charles Wyndham and Miss Mary Moore. It is not, however, with the half-promised revival of "The Physician " that Mr. Wyndham will begin the season, but with a new comedy by Mr. Jones, to be called " TheTriflers." At the Comedy Theatre a new piece, by Mr. H., V. Esmond, "A Summer's Day," has already been produced with brilliant success. Mr! KyrleBellew and Mrs. Brown Potter, who have not been seen in London for some years, are now to be seen at the Duke of York's Theatre, where they are presenting the first English version of " Francillon," a " problem play "—if ever a piece justified that description. Of translations, adaptations, versions, or perversions of French plays we are not likely to see many during the season. They are, if not yet a thing of the past, not the thing of the future. The comedies of Alexandre Dumas wilL disappear from the stage with the English versions of " Un Mariage sous Louis XV." and '' Mile, de Belle Isle,'' unless Mr. Sydney Grundy (or another) takes the hint from the revival at the Theatre Francais of "La Jeunesse de Louis XIV." to prepare an English version of this diverting comedy of Alexandre Dumas. '' A Marriage of Convenience'' will be presently withdrawn from the Haymarket to make, way for "The Little Minister "by Mr. J. M. Barrie, a piece suggested by the novel of the same name, but not derived to any extent from the book. The management of the Haymarket have also accepted a new play by Dr. ConanDoyle, who has found his plot only in a storyby Mr. James Payn. To restore the fortunes of the Strand Theatre, where Lady Bancroft first established her reputation as an actress by her saucy singing and sprightly dancing in burlesque, another bold attempt is being made by Mr. John T. Day, w r ho will produce plays of his own composition under his own management, following the example of Mr. Henry A. Jones, who was a few years ago his own manager for a season at the Avenue Theatre. At Drury Lane and the Adelphi the drama of pictorial and sensational effects still raises its undiminished head, and "Adelphi drama" and "Drury Lane drama"—almost indistinguishable species of the same genus—engage the talents of an astonishing number of favourite actors and actresses. The natural result of the system of the actor-manager is that our most accomplished actors and actresses gravitate towards those theatres which are not directly controlled by actors, and that accomplished comedians are drawn into that class of entertainment which may be said to stand half-way between the theatre and the music-hall. The news that an American singer, Miss Lillian Russell, is to succeed the Austrian, Madame Ilka von Palmay, at the Savoy Theatre seems to indicate that in comic opera, as in the higher circles of the drama, there is an empty place waiting for the coming actress, whose coming has been so long delayed. At the Savoy Mr. D'Oyly Carte will turn over a new leaf, and Savoy opera, as a generic term, will lose its significance with the production at this theatre of " La Grande Duehesse " of Offenbach, which is old enough to be new to most people. Comic opera, as distinguished from opera comique, as the French understand the term, goes back to its source with Offenbach, who is represented again by one of the best of his works, " La Perichole^" atthe Garrick Theatre. Is it possible that this return to Offenbach portends a revival of comic opera ? Can it be that the end is near of the aimless, formless, witless "musical comedy,'' which seemed atone time to be likely, by process of evolution, to give us a new and rational kind of theatrical entertainment, but is now but too plainly an instance of arrested development ? Taking one thing with another, the present prospect is by no means discouraging to those who are seriously, if not too earnestly, interested in the theatre; but the maxim of the wise king applies to affairs of the stage not "less surely than to other things, and one hesitates to look too far into the future, not knowing " what a day may bring forth." E. A. M.

Clipped from
  1. The Westminster Budget,
  2. 24 Sep 1897, Fri,
  3. Page 30

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