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De Flers and Caillavet are two men who know all the secret receipts of their art and show an unusual skill in handling them. These three acts are written in a graceful poetic "honnete" and sentimental style that made it a success at the "Comedie Francaise" in 1911. It was a sort of reply to the excesses of the brutal and rough France much favored by some playwrights of the same date; the "theatre rose" after the "theatre rosse." "Primerose" pleased and still pleases the audience by an irony without bitterness, a satire without anger, and an "indulgence" in which witticism and emotion are skillfully combined. It pleases more than all by its "esprit"-a light and brilliant sort of "esprit," crackling and sparkling which finds the right "mot" at the very second the spectator is waiting for a reason to accept it.
W. P. Scott is excellent as the Cardinal, in whom he mixes with a real mastery, dignity and easy humor; he shows a fine sense of measure and a keen idea of all the shades of feeling and expression. Edgar Scott has the alluring and energetic appearance that Pierre de Lancrey demands. The charming grayhaired godmother that Madame de Sermaize is for Primerose and for all the "amoreux" in general is delightfully impersonated by Miss Harriett Amory. But we must give a special mention to her who leads in success, as her part is the leading part in the play-to Miss Helenka Adamowski. The calm resolution of the girl who knows her own heart and has chosen her way in life, the innocent and youthful merriness of the little nun, then the seriousness and strength she finds in obedience and poverty, her will to be dead to the world after the closing of the convent, finally the appeal of life, the obscure working in her subconscious soul, of love waking up again, and, at the end, love's victory in a double cry of sorrow and happiness-all that, so carefully and artistically mixed by the authors in their characters, Miss Adamowski has expressed with an exquisite art and charm.
The best compliment I can pay to the Cercle Francaise is this: I saw "Primerose" several times, in Paris at the Comedie Francaise, and my recollection of those evenings never prevented me in the least from thoroughly enjoying the excellent acting, the fine sense of detail, the keen comprehension, of all the "esprit" and intentions displayed at the Copley Theatre. It is a great success for the cast, for the Cercle Francaise-for all those who have co-operated in the preparation, staging or performing of this charming play.
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