With a setting that would please Gordon Craig and a rigor and a moral lesson that would have interested as audience of the fourteenth century, the Irish Players last evening acted a "Morality" of one act that peculiarly appealed to persons from Cambridge, that pleased a large audience and perhaps, in some measure, afforded them a lesson. It is called "The Hour Glass," by Mr. Yeats.
The curtain rose on a setting of essentially nothing but two side pieces and a circular dropped curtain of dark green, bent into a half circle somewhat after the fashion that the apparatus of screen advocated by Mr. Craig might be. At the left stood a study chair and a desk of some period difficult to conjecture; in the chair sat the "Wise Man" philosophizing aloud, and near him, on a pedestal, an hour glass. The "Wise Man" was a teacher and he philosophized in language that betokened him an atheist. A "Fool" enters. He admits he is a fool but he tells not his beliefs about some things lest they be stolen from him. The "Fool" leaves and the philosopher continues his speculations. He is about to call his students when he sees standing in the aperture to his study an angel, and anatomical anger, of course, one really anatomically possible since it had no wings. This creature points significantly to the hour glass and warns the teacher, at the moment he would ring for his students, that he has but one hour to live; that his ultimate salvation, after penance in another world, is contingent upon his finding in that last hour and in that town, one believer in all things traditional and holy. The teacher seeks for such a believer. His students laugh him into anger, his wife goes disgruntled to her baking, her child follows her, and all the town makes merry, except one poor individual--the "Fool."
Shaw's "The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet" played a few evening ago, was a modern morality. It was thoroughly convincing. "The Hour Glass" is, in feeling, setting, and lesson a morality of a half dozen centuries ago. Mr. Sinclair, the "Wise Man," overcame his slight accent; there was no disharmonizing detail in setting or in technique, and assuredly no actress could play the part of an angel more impressively and more movingly than did that remarkable actress, Miss Allgood; yet wihtal, though for the moment the play was suggestive, appealing and forceful, back of any appreciation of it was the indomitable doubt as to the place of an angel,--a messenger from the clouds,--upon the stage. What was not mystical was very real; there was too little consonance between the mystic and plain hard articles and the real red-blooded students there at once on the stage.
"Falsely, True," is a glimpse into an Irish household during the rebellion of 1798. In it brother love and mother love, whetted by the sharp incidents and sacrifices during a rebellion, are confronted by love of country; there is a period of suspense that touches the most disinterested heart, the mother swoons, and the son, the less patriotic, goes forth from his home into the night. The play works in and out from itself, upon itself, suggesting sequence, heightening suspense, the fulfilling anticipations in a scene that must linger long in the memory of every observer.
With incidents quite as frequent and action and action quite as rapid came Lady Gregory's play, "The Jackdaw." A jackdaw, it should be premised, is a bird. Michael Cooney, out of goodness of heart, would rescue Mrs. Broderick, his old time friend, from the throes of debt. He tries to do so discreetly by entrusting for her ten pounds with Joseph Nestor, who cannot resist, when he sees Mrs. Broderick return from the court, giving the money got her. She explains to the magistrate that she has acquired the money by selling her jackdaw. Michael Cooney discovers a whole brood of jackdaws, and brings these to Joseph Nestor. There then arises a scene with a pungency and vigorous working of humor that would affect the most somber man in Ireland. The last play of the evening, Lady Gregory's "Workhouse Ward," in which two grizzled and old invalids side by side on hospital cots, cajole themselves into anger and the audience into laughter by their antics and zeal in remaining with one another when Mrs. Donohue, who comes to get one of them, refuses to take both of them in substitution for one complete man
The last play of the evening, Lady Gregory's "Workhouse Ward," in which two grizzled and old invalids side by side on hospital cots, cajole themselves into anger and the audience into laughter by their antics and zeal in remaining with one another when Mrs. Donohue, who comes to get one of them, refuses to take both of them in substitution for one complete man