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mates breaking age with the vigor of intense nervous energy, and the threat of the curse of Rome leaps from the Cardinal's lips like lightning from the cloud. That great scene supplies one more illustration of the paradox of acting. The emotion involved is tremendous, and the conditions rapidly change. The actor is at full tension, yet he must take precisely the right amount of time, must make every movement with precision, must place aright every inflection of tone and every shadin of verbal accent, and, while his passion must be tumultuous and terrible, he must hold both himself and his audience with a grip of iron. Mr. Sothern, apparently, had not absorbed the full meaning of the fact that Richelieu, when defied as the Minister of State, asserts himself as the accredited Minister of God. Voice and vigor imperatively require to be reinforced by the towering conviction of ecclesiastical supremacy.
“THE FOOL HATH SAID, “THERE IS NO GOD.'”
In the character of Rodion Rasnikoff, in “The Fool Hath Said, “There Is No God,'” which Mr. Sothern assumed for the first time in New York at the Lyric Theatre on March 9, 1908, he afforded a thoughtful study of morbid mentality and gave a clear, consistent, rounded, and finished representation of a half-crazed enthusiast. The play, written by Laurence Irving, is a theatrical synopsis of a Russian novel, by Fedor Dostoievski, called “Crime and Punishment.” The sub
ject was originally brought upon our Stage by Richard Mansfield, who enacted Rodion, in a play made for his use by Mr. Charles Henry Meltzer and entitled “Rodion the Student,” but Mansfield's performance did not much interest his public, and the part of Rodion was, practically, discarded by him. Mr. Sothern's presentment of the Russian zealot, while it illustrated his ability and heightened his reputation as an actor, did not meet with any more substantial approval than Mansfield's did. It was a curiosity, and valuable only as such. There is a taint of disease in the character, and there is a hectic atmosphere throughout the play, unrelieved by either superiority of intellect, poetic emotion, or imaginative treatment.
The action, which is slow, proceeds on a low level, and the theme is confined within the limits of prosaic fact. Rodion, infuriated by the prospect of social corruption all around him, in Russia, resentful of social inequalities, crazed by brooding over continual acts of injustice and tyranny, at last murders a brutal man in order to save the honor and chastity of a good girl whom the brute has pursued with hideous lust. The usual police effort ensues to detect and apprehend the murderer. Suspicion falls on Rodion, who, for a time, believes himself to have done a righteous and justifiable act, and who, though haunted and perplexed by consciousness of homicide, maintains himself in fancied security. An astute, insistent, indefatigable officer of the
law, however, resorts to the expedient-a very old one in fiction of causing the murder to be rehearsed in Rodion's presence, and by that means so works upon his sensibilities that he is made almost frantic and very nearly driven to an agonized confession. The foreground of the play is occupied with an exposition of Rodion's peculiar mental state, his domestic circumstances, and his vacillation of purpose. The centre of it exhibits his anguish and, practically, his collapse and surrender, under the strain of inquisitorial torture. The close presents him as a convert from his early theories. His release has been effected through the action of one of two artisans, both accused of Rodin's crime, who, in an effort to save his comrade, bears false witness against himself; and then his mind is restored to comparative equilibrium by the pious counsel and admonition of Sonia Martinora, the girl for whose sake he did the murder; and whereas, at first, he was strong in the opinion that there is no God and that every man is entitled to take into his own hands the execution of justice, he is at last persuaded that God reigns and that vengeance is a province of Divine Power.
The worth of the fabric, such as it is, is resident in its detective quality. As a play it appertains to the category of such melodramas as “Rose Michel,” and such novels as “A Wife's Evidence” and “Uncle Silas." In the time of the old Union Square Theatre the public was favored with many works of that order. They are
well enough, in their way, but their way does not amount to much. This one is seriously marred by the complete incredibility of many of its incidents. It did, however, provide Mr. Sothern with one opportunity, in the Inquisitorial Scene, to exhibit a considerable range of emotion and a facile method in the display and use of it. In point of sustained identity with assumed personality it was an excellent performance.
Julia Marlowe is the stage name of Sarah Frances Frost, who was born at Caldbeck, a village in Cumberland, England, August 17, 1867. Her progenitors were natives of the English Lake District, but though by birth an Englishwoman, her theatrical career has been, from the first, pursued in America, and she is essentially an American actress. Her parents immigrated to the United States when she was about five years old, and settled in Kansas, subsequently removing to Ohio. In childhood she attended school, at first in Kansas City, later in Cincinnati. Her first appearance on the stage was made in the latter city, when she was in her twelfth year, as a chorus girl, in a performance of “Pinafore,” given under the management of Robert E. J. Miles, a well known manager at that time and later (he died March 13, 1894), who, in forming his company, had hit on the ingenious expedient of including, in his supernumerary force, a few bright
pupils from the public schools. The girl made a favorable impression and thereupon was duly advanced. She appeared as Suzanne, in “The Chimes of Normandy,” and as a Page, in “The Little Duke," and she was commended for her pretty demeanor, animated countenance, and sweet voice.
From opera the youthful aspirant went to drama, and, performing under the name of Fanny Brough, appeared as the boy Heindrich, in a version of “Rip Van Winkle,” produced with Robert McWade, one of the many imitators of Joseph Jefferson, as Rip. She also attempted Maria, in “Twelfth Night,” and went on as Balthasar, in “Romeo and Juliet”; Stephen, in “The Hunchback,” and Myrene, in “Pygmalion and Galatea.” In her sixteenth year she left the stage, and during about three years devoted herself to study of plays, acting, and music, under the direction, chiefly, of Miss Ada Dow. In 1887, having adopted the name of Julia Marlowe, she appeared as an actress, assuming the part of Parthenia, in “Ingomar.” Her first appearance on the New York Stage was effected, in that part, on the afternoon of October 20, 1887, at the Bijou Theatre. In December, 1888, she again appeared in the metropolis, acting, at the Star Theatre, Parthenia, Viola, and Juliet. Within the next six years she added to her repertory the characters of Julia, in “The Hunchback”; Pauline, in “The Lady of Lyons”; Rosalind, in “As You Like It”; Galatea, in “Pygmalion and Gala