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New Plays in Boston

Blanche Bates in "Nobody's Widow".

By K. M.

It is a very long while since Blanche Bates has appeared here in a play that remotely approached comedy. But last night found her at the Hollis in a part that is all comedy and of a very light and pleasant sort. Avery Hopwood wrote "Nobody's Widow" and David Belasco put it on the stage. Consequently it is very difficult to say who is the more responsible for the grace and brightness of dialogue and atmosphere that almost make the play seem high comedy instead of very superior farce. It has little body, to be sure, but it has a light touch in the writing and many amusing turns of situation. Miss Bates plays the part of an American who marries the Duke of Moreland while on a trip to England. As the duke, most excellently played by Bruce McRae, has been of a lively temperament, there is a pretty little French girl to bid goodbye to after the ceremony, and his new wife catches him in the process of giving her a farewell kiss. Her husband's explanation that he is only closing a chapter of his history does no good. Off she bolts to her home at Palm Beach, takes the duke's family name of Clayton and announces that her husband died shortly after the marriage. The duke persues her, tries to put matters right, and has just succeeded in doing so when he is again discovered "closing another chapter". And so it goes until ultimately he wins back his "widow". Miss Bates played delightfully. Some may have thought her a little heavy of tone and presence for such work; but with the singular technique that years of training under America's best coach have given her and the amusing comedy that Mr. Hopwood has written, she made last night at the Hollis a delight.

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