More One-Act Plays by Modern Authors

More One-Act Plays by Modern Authors

More One-Act Plays by Modern Authors

More One-Act Plays by Modern Authors

Excerpt

The Night of "Mr. H." is a play about Charles Lamb. It tells the story of his gallant conduct under fire, when a round of hisses saluted his own two-act afterpiece, Mr. H., on the occasion of its first and only performance in London at Drury Lane Theatre, on December 10, 1806. The dialogue is a tissue of allusions to the autobiographical data presented in The Essays of Elia and in the letters of Charles Lamb. The circumstances and characters of Mr. Brighouse's dramatic "pastiche" are also authentic. It is quite easy to say: "All, all are here, the old familiar faces." Harold Brighouse has materialized in his play the appealing charm, a blend of humor and wistfulness, that was the essence of Lamb's personality. Charles Lamb is introduced at the instant of one of his saddest moments of disillusion, the moment when he faces the undisguised fact of the failure of his play, Mr. H.

Besides Mr. H., Lamb indulged in four other dramatic experiments: The Witch, a tragic fragment; The Wife's Trial, or The Intruding Widow, a drama; The Pawnbroker's Daughter, a farce; and John Woodvil, an attempt to perpetuate the conventions of seventeenth-century poetic tragedy. Mr. H. is the only one that ever saw the flickering light of the oil lamps that illuminated stage productions in the early nineteenth century. Its failure with the audience was complete and devastating. It was . . .

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