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February 1, 2013

a stereoscopic photograph of Marie Aimée (1857-1887), French actress and singer
(photo: Sarony, New York, early 1880s)

‘DRAMA IN AMERICA. (From our own correspondent.)
‘NEW YORK, December 19, 1884…
AIMEE opened on Monday night [29 December 1884] at the Fifth Avenue in Mam’zelle, and will play a two weeks’ engagement to a good business. Dramatically considered, the piece is a mere trifle, claimed to e from the pens of Messrs [George H.] Jessop and [William B.] Gill, but it bears a strong flavour of La Mariée de la Rue St. Denis, produced at the Déjazet in Paris two years since, and a still stronger resemblance to the German play called Theatre Scandal, which was played at the Stadt Theatre in this city in 1863. Its principal merit consists in the fact that it give Madame Marie Aimée an opportunity to show off her capabilities in the English ”as she is spoke.”
‘AIMEE’S part in that of a little French milliner, who has a craze for the stage. She is promised to have her ambition gratified if she will make love to an old married gentleman, so as to make his indifferent wife sufficiently jealous of him to return his affection. The first act tediously explains these relations, and the stage of the Variety Theatre in which Mdlle. Fleur de Lys makes her first appearance. The jealous wife has been told that she will catch her husband if she goes to a box in the theatre; the little milliner’s lover, whom she has jilted, goes there to create a disturbance, and sits in an orchestra seat. Her long-lost uncle, whom she came to America to discover, has a seat in the balcony. When he arises to make his presence known it is the surprise of the evening, and the most comical incident in the play. The lover then made a row, and was put out by a masher and a policeman – the latter, on the first night, appeared to be actually taken in by the mimic show – and then the jealous wife made quite a scene in the box. At all this, half the audience laughed most heartily, and the other portion appeared to be quite in doubt about it. The songs and dances of Aimée were the principal attractions, and she was as successful as ever. Her English is quite good and distinct. The cast was fair, and the mounting acceptable.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 3 January 1885, p. 9c)

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