Plays & Players; Essays on the Theatre

By Bernard Shaw | Go to book overview

and reminds one pleasantly of the days before Shakespear was let loose on Sir Henry Irving's talent.

Mr Comyns Carr's translation is much too literary. Catherine does not speak like a woman of the people except when she is helping herself out with ready- made locutions in the manner of Sancho Panza. After a long speech consisting of a bundle of such locutions padded with forced mistakes in grammar, she will say, 'That was my object,' or some similarly impossible piece of Ciceronian eloquence. It is a pity; for there never was a play more in need of an unerring sense of the vernacular and plenty of humorous adroitness in its use.


John Gabriel Borkman

JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN. A play in four acts. By Henrik Ibsen . English version by William Archer. Opening performance by the New Century Theatre at the Strand Theatre, 3 May 1897.

[ 8 May 1897]

THE first performance of John Gabriel Borkman, the latest masterpiece of the acknowledged chief of European dramatic art, has taken place in London under the usual shabby circumstances. For the first scene in the gloomy Borkman house, a faded, soiled, dusty wreck of some gay French salon, originally designed, perhaps, for Offenbach's Favart, was fitted with an incongruous Norwegian stove, a painted staircase, and a couple of chairs which were no doubt white and gold when they first figured in Tom Taylor 's Plot and Passion or some other relic of the days before Mr Bancroft revolutionized stage furni-

-221-

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Plays & Players; Essays on the Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Two New Plays 1
  • Poor Shakespear! 9
  • An Old New Play and a New Old One 17
  • Mr Pinero's New Play 25
  • Duse and Bernhardt 33
  • Romeo and Juliet 41
  • The Old Acting and the New 50
  • Plays of the Week 58
  • Michael and Lost Angel 66
  • Michael and Lost Angel 75
  • Henry IV 85
  • The Second Dating of Sheridan 95
  • 'the Spacious Times' 105
  • Blaming the Bard 114
  • Blaming the Bard 124
  • Ibsen Without Tears 134
  • Richard Himself Again 142
  • Better Than Shakespear 152
  • Satan Saved at Last 161
  • The New Ibsen Play 170
  • Olivia 178
  • Olivia 187
  • Meredith on Comedy 196
  • Mr Pinero on Turning Forty 204
  • Mr Pinero on Turning Forty 214
  • Mr Pinero on Turning Forty 221
  • Ibsen Triumphant 231
  • Mainly About Shakespear 241
  • Mainly About Shakespear 250
  • Ghosts at the Jubilee 257
  • Shakespear and Mr Barrie 275
  • Hamlet Revisited 285
  • Hamlet Revisited 290
  • Hamlet Revisited 299
  • Hamlet Revisited 307
  • Kate Terry 328
  • G. B. S. Vivisected 334
  • G. B. S. Vivisected 339
  • Index 343
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