Rip Van Winkle Goes to the Play: And Other Essays on Plays and Players

Rip Van Winkle Goes to the Play: And Other Essays on Plays and Players

Rip Van Winkle Goes to the Play: And Other Essays on Plays and Players

Rip Van Winkle Goes to the Play: And Other Essays on Plays and Players

Excerpt

In the summer of 1866 we went to Europe, to London -- where I was captivated by an ethereal ballet at the Alhambra, and to Paris, where I paid my first visit to the Théâtre Français, which I was to know intimately ten and twenty years later. At this first visit to that venerable temple of the drama -- venerable always yet endowed with the gift of eternal youth -- the program included Musset's 'Il ne faut pas badiner avec l'amour'; and after nearly sixty years I can still hear Favart's despairing cry as she bade farewell to Delaunay -- "Adieu, Perdican! Elle est mortel!" A few months later came the Exposition of 1867; and we went to two comedy-dramas of the triumphantly successful Sardou, then in the first flush of his long continued productivity and popularity. Much as I was pleased by the dramaturgic dexterity and the journalistic wit of the ' Famille Benoiton' and of ' Nos Bons Villageois' -- a dexterity and a wit that I was too young to appreciate but not too young to relish -- I think that I found a more obvious pleasure in two superb spectacles, ' Cendrillon' at the Châtelet and the ' Biche aux Bois' at the Porte Saint Martin. Not until long after I had been charmed by the dazzling splendors of the ' Biche aux Bois'' did I discover
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