The first performance of Beaumont and Fletcher's "The Knight of the Burning Pestle" given before graduates, by the Harvard Chapter of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity in Brattle Hall last night, was very successful. Two public performances will be given in Brattle Hall, one tonight and one next Monday at 8 o'clock, and one in Potter Hall, Boston, on Thursday. There will also be a performance in College Street Hall, New Haven, on April 13, and one at the Barn, Wellesley, on April 15. Tickets at $1.50 and $1, may be obtained from F. D. Lowrey '08, 35 Bow street, and at Thurston's or Herrick's.
The play, which was first acted in 1611, is one of the most original of the Elizabethan comedies in wit, plot and character-drawing, and is a burlesque of the ranting plays so much in favor at the time, and of the ignorant London playgoers, who applauded them. It was presented last night as nearly as possible after the manner of its production in Elizabethan days, and was therefore staged very simply, signs being used to indicate the scenes. The music, which as far as possible has been adapted for the production from original melodies, was arranged by A. M. Hurlin 1G., who substituted for many of the songs that were unavailable other popular Elizabethan tunes.
The play opens with a prologue, but the speaker is interrupted by a citizen, who leaps onto the stage and demands that the actors introduce a citizen into the cast. The citizen's wife, who has joined him, suggests that Ralph, the apprentice, take the part. While Ralph is dressing, the first act, including a rather conventional love-story between Jasper Merrythought and Luce Venturewell is acted. In the second act, Ralph appears dressed as the Knight of the Burning Pestle, and, at the frequent interruptions of the citizen, goes through many stirring adventures, in all of which he comes to grief. He interferes in the love-match between Jasper and Luce, but is unsuccessful in this episode, as Jasper succeeds in winning Luce. Thwarted on all sides, he is sent to Moldavia, where the Sultan's daughter, Pompiona, is made to fall in love with him. He escapes from this love-match, however, by means of his guardian angel, whom he calls Susan; but he is finally slain by the orders of the citizen, in order to end the play.
The performance last night went off very smoothly and showed the results of much careful training. O. Lyding '09, as the hero of the play, entered fully into the sprit of the grotesque Knight, adding many clever individual touches to a very difficult part. In the female parts, T. W. Knauth '07 was a charming and attractive girl, although he was somewhat ill at ease, and C. B. Wetherell '08 were excellent hustling citizen's wife. The broadly humorous songs of Merrythought the old man, by W. J. McCormick '07, were exceedingly well received; but the most amusing feature of the performance was the excellent buffoonery of the mine characters, especially of C. W. Burton '08 and F. S. Howe '08, the squires to Ralph.
The cast is as follows: