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Mons. Marius as he appeared in H.B. Farnie’s English version of Offenbach’s Madame Favart, Strand Theatre, London, 12 April 1879

January 9, 2013

Claude Marius (1850-1896),
French actor, singer and stage manager,
affectionately known by English audiences as Mons. Marius as he appeared in H.B. Farnie’s English version of
Offenbach’s Madame Favart, Strand Theatre, London, 12 April 1879
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1879)

MARIUS, CLAUDE (a nom de théâtre; CLAUDE MARIUS DUPLANY), born February 18, 1850, Paris. He entered the dramatic profession in 1865 as an auxiliary at the Folies Dramatiques, playing parts in most of the popular pieces presented there for a brief period. In 1869 he came to London, and appeared at the Lyceum Theatre in the characters of Landry in Chilperic, and of Siebel in Little Faust. M. Duplany joined the French Army during the Franco-Prussian war; but in 1872 returned to London, and, at the Philharmonic Theatre, appeared as Charles Martel and Drogan in Généviève de Brabant. Subsequently “M. Marius” joined the company of the Strand Theatre, where he has played and “created” many parts, among them the following: viz. Major Roland de Roncevaux in Nemesis, Rimbobo in Loo, Baron Victor de Karadec in Family Ties, Orloff in Dora and Diplunacy, and Dubisson in Our Club. On Saturday, April 12, 1879, first performance at the Strand of an English version of Offenbach’s Madame Favart, he sustained the rôle of M. Favart.’
(Charles E. Pascoe, editor, The Dramatic List, David Bogue, London, 1880, p.256)

‘Marius, Claude. (C.M. Duplany.) – The clever actor and stage manager whose nom-de-théâtre heads this paragraph is by nationality a Frenchman, and was born at Paris in 1850. He was intended for a commercial life, and entered a silk and velvet warehouse in that city, but his natural proclivities soon led him to mingle in stage circles, and he used to gratify his passion for the drama by working as a super at the Folies Dramatiques, where he presently obtained an appointment in the chorus, and from that rose to small parts. In 1868 he forsook the warehouse, and became a regular member of the dramatic profession. Mr. [Richard] Mansell, while on a visit to Paris in 1869, saw him act, and at once offered him a London engagement, which he accepted, and appeared in Chilperic and Little Doctor Faust. His career was cut short by the breaking out of the Franco-Prussian war, and he was recalled to France and drafted into the 7th Chasseurs-à-Pièd. He fought in three engagements, of which the most important was Champigney. His regiment was then ordered to Marseilles, and subsequently to Corsica, to quell the Communal riots. In the autumn of 1872 Mons. Marius returned to London, and appeared at the Philharmonic in Généviève de Brabant, and afterwards in Nemesis at the Strand. Sine then he has played in almost every theatre in the metropolis, creating many clever and original parts, amongst them being that of M. Favart in Offenbach’s opera of Madame Favart when first played in English at the Strand Theatre in 1879, and later as General Bombalo in Mynheer Jan at the Comedy, and Paul Dromiroff in As in a Looking Glass. But he probably achieved his greatest success as Jacques Legros in The Skeleton at the Vaudeville in 1887. In the autumn of 1890 he appeared in The Sixth Commandment at the Shaftesbury, and in the following year in both editions of Joan of Arc. Mons. Marius excels as a stage manager, and under his able direction Nadgy was produced at the Avenue, and The Panel Picture at the Opera Comique in 1888. He was also responsible for the staging of The Brigands, chiefly memorable by reason of the Gilbert and Boosey quarrel. But his most brilliant success in this line was the triple production of The Field of the Cloth of Gold, preceded in the programme by In the Express and La Rose d’Auvergne, at the Avenue in 1889, and more recently was responsible for the mounting of Miss Decima at the Criterion (1891). Mons. Marius is the husband of Miss Florence St. John, the bewitching prima donna of the Gaiety Company.’
(Erskine Reid and Herbert Compton, The Dramatic Peerage, Raithby, Lawrence & Co Ltd, London, 1892, pp.145 and 146)

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