Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries

By A. C. Ward | Go to book overview

'GHOSTS'

Royalty Theatre, 13 March 1891

Ghosts has been talked about; Ghosts has been advertised; Ghosts has been trumpeted into unnecessary and spurious notoriety; and at last Ghosts has been acted. The 'Independent Theatre', as it is called, though it depends for its existence on the guineas of the faithful and the charitable mercy of the Lord Chamberlain, has been duly inaugurated by a special performance. The Ibensites have attended in full force, full of enthusiasm, full of fervour, and tyrannical enough to cough or hush down anyone prepared to laugh at the dramatic importance and ludicrous amateurishness of the 'master'. It was a great night. Here were gathered together the faithful and the sceptical; the cynical and the curious. The audience was mainly composed of the rougher sex, who were supposed to know something of the theme that had been selected for dramatic illustration, and were entitled to discuss the licentiousness of Chamberlain Alving, his curious adventure in the dining-room with the attractive parlour-maid, and the echo of his amorous enterprise as repeated in his 'worm-eaten' son. But, strange to say, women were present in goodly numbers; women of education, women of refinement, no doubt women of curiosity, who will take away to afternoon teas and social gatherings, the news of the sensation play that deals with subjects that hitherto have been to most men horrible and to all pure women loathsome. Possibly, nay probably, they were all disappointed. They expected to find something indescribably shocking, and only met

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