New Plays in Boston
Last winter Miss Maude Adams and sundry collaborators made a mosaic of various passages -- now coherent and now disjointed--from Rostand's celebrated play, "Chantecler", and set them on the stage as a pretty, if somewhat tenuous and tedious fantasia. She is now bearing this amiable little entertainment up and down the country and last evening it was to be seen on the stage of the Hollis Street Theatre.
Miss Adams keeps the title of the original piece and the first appeal of her "Chantecler", as indeed it was of Rostand's, is to the eye and to the sense of the fantastic, the unusual, the surprising, behind it. The little yellow chicks are amusing to see; so is the hen putting her head out of the basket to utter wise saws; while the retriever snuffing over the wall and the mongrel dog pawing and growling in his straw are sure to please as quickly and generally as they did last evening. So, too, with the rabbits in the woods, the parade of cocks at the guinea hen's reception, the conference of the toads and the conspiracy of the owls. All these figures of birds and animals were diverting or fanciful to see--for a little while. The settings, too, caught the eye and pleased the waiting imagination, while in the play of the lights was sensitive feeling, accomplishing its design. The magnified poultry yard had its humors, and the waxing of the dawn until the full sunlight brightened the whole countryside was full of pictorial charm.
While the eye was pleased and the fancy charmed with all this, the ear heard many words and perhaps missed more. Those that it heard most readily were the speeches of Miss Adams as Chantecler and of Miss Victor as the Golden Pheasant, both speaking in a curiously labored and mannered diction. Others of the birds and animals were occasionally comprehensible; and the Blackbird, through the mouth of Mr. Leuers and the Dog through that of Mr. Trader, actually gave character and tang to their speeches. Sometimes there was wit but very seldom poetry in what they said. Rostand and his changing speeches, his teeming wit, his birds as wise or as foolish, as generous or as selfish as humans, were far away--fully the three thousand miles that separate Boston from Paris. Of course, there was Miss Adams instead. What more was there to ask? Fertunate Rostand, fortunate "Chantecler" to serve her pretty, passing whim