Posts Tagged ‘George Alexander’


Fay Davis as Monica Blayne in The Tree of Knowledge, St. James’s Theatre, London, 1897

February 1, 2015

Fay Davis (1869-1945), American actress, as Monica Blayne in R.C. Carton’s play, The Tree of Knowledge, produced by and starring George Alexander at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 25 October 1897.
(cabinet photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 23806-1a, which appears to be a cropped version of negative no. 23806-1, which is described in the copyright registration form submitted by Alfred Ellis on 29 April 1897 as ‘Photograph, panel [i.e. 8 ½ x 4 in.] of Miss Fay Davis … Three quarter length standing figure, with hat on, leaning against cabinet.’)

Fay Louise Davis was born in Houlton, Maine, Massachusetts, on 15 December 1869, the youngest child of Asa T. Davis (1830-?), the proprietor of an express line, and his wife, Mary F. (nèe Snell, 1835-?). She visited England for the first time in 1895, arriving at Southampton on board the S.S. Columbia on 16 May. Introduced to London society by Edith Bigelow (first wife of the noted American journalist and author, Poulteney Bigelow), she soon received an offer from Charles Wyndham to join his company at the Criterion Theatre, London. Her first appearance was there as Zoë Nuggetson in The Squire of Dames, a comedy adapted by R.C. Carton from the French, produced on 5 November 1895. Her immediate success brought further offers, including the part of Fay Zuliani (photographed by Alfred Ellis) opposite George Alexander in A.W. Pinero’s comedy, The Princess and the Butterfly; or, The Fantastics, produced at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 29 March 1897.

Miss Davis was married at the home of Mrs Frank M. Linnell, 61 Columbia Road, Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, on 23 May 1906, to the English actor manager, Gerald Lawrence (1873-1957). The latter’s first wife, whom he had married in 1897, was the actress Lilian Braithwaite, who obtained a divorce from him in November 1905.

Fay Davis’s final professional appearance was as Mary Dawson in Vivian Tidmarsh’s ‘unusual comedy,’ Behind the Blinds, produced at the Winter Garden Theatre, London, on 10 October 1938, in which her husband played Richard Dawson.


Pedro de Cordoba as Prince Calaf in the American production of Turandot, Princess of China, 1912

December 6, 2013

Pedro de Cordoba (1881-1950), American stage and film actor, as he appeared in the role of Prince Calaf in the American production of Karl Vollmoeller’s ‘Chinoiserie in Three Acts’ entitled Turandot, Princess of China, which was staged by the Shuberts in December 1912. The play previously had been directed by Max Reinhardt in Berlin in1911 and another version, which ran for 27 performances, was produced by Sir George Alexander at the St. James’s, Theatre, London, early in 1913.
(photo: unknown, probably New York, 1912)


Julie Opp

April 16, 2013

Julie Opp (1871-1921), American actress
(photo: unknown, circa 1900)

OPP, Miss Julie (Mrs. William Faversham):
‘Actress, was born in New York in 1873, and was educated in a convent there. When she was twenty years old she began writing. As a reporter she went to Paris and interviewed [Emma] Calvé and Sarah Bernhardt. Both urged her to adopt the stage as a profession, offering their advice, influence and support. Returning to this country, Miss Opp made her first public appearance in the spring of 1896 at a recital given by Madame D’Hardelot at the Waldorf, New York. She recited “The Birth of the Opal,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. The same year, returning to Paris, she made her first appearance on the legitimate stage, with Madame Bernhardt, in the ballroom scene in Camille. She then [in 1896/97] obtained a year’s engagement in the company of George Alexander at the St. James’s Theatre, London, during which she was understudy to Julia Neilson in The Prisoner of Zenda, and played Hymen in As You Like It. During the illness of Miss Neilson she played Rosalind and made her first big success. She was next seen in The Princess and the Butterfly in London, and in 1898 she appeared in this country in the same play, afterward being seen as Belle in The Tree of Knowledge. She then went back to London and played several leading parts at St. James’s Theatre there, where she created the rôle of Katherine de Vancelle in If I Were King. Returning to this country under engagement with Charles Frohman, Miss Opp played leading parts in the company supporting William Faversham, whose wife she became in 1902. She continued to play leads with her husband until 1905, on October 31 of which year a son was born to them. The Favershams have a farm in England. Their home in this country is at 214 East Seventeenth street, New York.’
(Walter Browne and E. De Roy Koch, editors, Who’s Who on the Stage, B.W. Dodge & Co, New York, 1908, pp.334 and 335)

* * * * * * * *

‘Curtain Falls for Julie Opp.
‘New York, Apr. 8 [1921]. – Mrs. William Faversham, who, while she was on the stage, was known as Julie Opp, died here today at the Post Graduate hospital after an operation.
‘Mrs. Faversham, who was born in New York City, January 25, 1871, was originally a journalist here and contributed articles to a number of magazines. She made her first appearance on the stage in London in 1896 as Hymen in As You Like It. In November, 1897, she came to America and made her debut in this city at the Lyceum theatre as Princess Pannonla in The Princess and the Butterfly.
‘She appeared with her husband in The Squaw Man in 1906. Later she played Portia in The Merchant of Venice and other leading roles.’
(Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, Nevada, Friday, 8 April 1921, p.1b)

‘Julie Opp.
‘The death of this actress is taken account of here, as all news concerning those eminent on the stage is sure to be. All of the greater performers sooner or later appear here, as it is the ultimate western goal of thespians. Julie Opp was recognized as a sterling actress, appearing with her husband, William Faversham, and with him, commanding unusual consideration. Though her great talents and remarkable beauty made an artistic impression in themselves, she may not have been taken to San Francisco’s heart in that intimate way in which some stage favorites have been. It may be that Sanfrancisco’s penchant this way has waned. Very long ago it ceased throwing coins on the stage, as in the case of Lotta. And later it ceased worshipping intensely at individual shrines, as in the case of Mrs. Judah. Perhaps in general it is now inclined to continue its approval of stage folk to unemotional judgment of their histrionic abilities. Mrs. Faversham’s death discloses two facts that may not have been generally known. She had been married before her union with Mr. Faversham. Early in her career she married Robert Loraine, but the union was not prosperous and did not last long. She is the mother of two sons. It is also of interest that she was once a newspaper reporter, and by her general aptitude attracted the attention of such a noted stage celebrity as [Sarah] Bernhardt, in whose company she served her novitiate.’
(The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, 17 April 1921, Magazine Section, ‘The Knave’)

* * * * * * * *

‘Mother-in-Law Sues Faversham for Real Estate
‘Claims Actor Obtained Property from Her Through Misrepresentation.
‘New York, June 1 [1922]. – Court proceedings were begun today in an effort to force William Faversham, the actor, to return to Mrs. Julie Opp, mother of his late wife, Julie Opp Faversham rights to property which Mrs. Opp claims Mr. and Mrs. Faversham obtained through misrepresentation.
‘The petition alleges that besides obtaining the property by misrepresentation, Faversham obtained from her large sums of money which he never repaid.
‘The real estate in question, Mr. Opp alleged, was left her by her husband, John Opp, who died in 1898. Later, she charges, Faversham told her his wife was in need of funds with with which to meet obligations, and asked that Mrs. Opp sign papers for a loan to be secured on this property.
‘These papers, Mrs. Opp claims, were afterward discovered to be quit claim deeds, turning the property over to “Peter S. O’Hara” whom she characterizes as a “dummy.” The consideration was $24,000, but neither she nor any one representing the estate of her husband has received any of this sum, she says.
‘Mrs. Opp now declares herself to be without means of support by reason of her “scant business experience” and Mr. Faversham’s “knowledge of worldly affairs.”’
(The Bridgeport Telegram, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 2 June 1922, p.10c)


Robert Loraine

February 17, 2013

Robert Loraine (1876-1935),
English actor manager and aviator,
as John Tanner in George Bernard Shaw’s play,
Man and Superman,
produced at the Criterion Theatre, London, on 28 September 1911
(photo: Daily Mirror Studios, London, 1911)

Mr. Robert Loraine – Actor and Producer
By John Wightman
‘It was the smoking-room of a country gentleman. The polished oak floor with its warm rugs, the low leather chairs made for comfort rather than show, the good old engravings on the walls, the rifle in the corner, the hunting crop flung carelessly down, all indicated the sportsman. The stage is the last profession you would associate with the owner, yet it is the “den” of Robert Loraine, one of the brainiest of our younger school of actors.
‘A typical Englishman, tall, clean-made, with a fresh complexion and clear eye, Mr. Loraine gives you the impression of a man who spends much of his time in the open, as indeed, he does. In his opinion, if an artiste desires to give the public of his best mentally, he must be at his best physically.
‘“I suppose you know,” he remarked during a recent chat, “that acting is in my blood, for both my parents were connected with the profession. They did not assist me, however, as when only fifteen I ran away to Liverpool. There I joined the stock company at a local theatre. It was real hard work, as we usually did six different plays in a week, with two performances nightly. The proprietor catered for popular audiences, and the prices could hardly be called prohibitive, as they ranged from a penny to threepence, the latter sum securing a private box.
‘“I look back with awe to those days, when I remember my rough attempts at making-up. The third week I had to appear as an old, hoary-headed man in the first piece and a sallow, saturnine villain in the second. Just imagine, my entire make-up consisted of a white wig and beard in one case and a black moustache in the other. Yes, I have studied and learnt a lot since then.
‘“For instance, it took me weeks to perfect my make-up as the Chinaman, Ah Ching, in A Tragedy at Tientsin, which I produced in New York. So complete was the disguise that on the opening night, Miss Grace George, who was in a box with her husband, turned round and said to him, ‘What’s wrong with Mr. Loraine? Why isn’t he playing? Surely he’s not ill?’ ‘Don’t talk like that,’ was the reply; ‘why he’s on the stage.’ ‘Now you’re just saying that to satisfy me,’ answered Miss George; and it was not until I cam forward to take my call that she recognised me. This was one of the greatest compliments I ever received. But I am wandering away from my early days.
‘“After the Liverpool apprenticeship I joined Ben Greet’s Woodland Players and appeared in a large Shakespearean repertoire all over the country, the performances taking place in the open air. Then I remembered a favourite saying of my father’s, that only London counts theatrically, so determined to put my fortune to the test.
‘“Arriving in town, I was engaged by Mr., now Sir, George Alexander, and only left him to go to Drury Lane. A part I enjoyed playing immensely was Dudley Keppel, the young Highland officer, in the old Princess’s [Theatre, Oxford Street] production of One of the Best [revival, 1 June 1899; the part was first played in this production by Harry B. Stanford]. Shortly after I had a taste of the real thing, for when war broke out in South Africa I joined the Yeomanry, and saw a good deal of fighting under General Hunter and Major Baden-Powell. Then followed my first appearance on the American stage. It was in 1901, at the Knickerbocker Theatre, New York, as Ralph Percy in To Have and to Hold. Although a failure, it started my theatrical connection with our cousins across the Atlantic, which culminated in my producing at the Hudson Theatre, in 1905, the play I am now appearing in – viz., Mr. G. Bernard Shaw’s brilliant Man and Superman. Needless to say it proved an instantaneous success, and for the next two years I toured it all over the Eastern States, where every city endorsed the verdict pronounced by New York. What led me to choose Man and Superman for my first managerial venture? Well, as a matter of fact, one day in New York I commenced reading the book. So struck was I with the sparkling dialogue, deep human interest and strong dramatic situations, that I immediately sailed for England, where arrangements were soon completed. The striking feature of Bernard Shaw’s work? Truth! With all its wit, audacity and vivacity, it has no characteristic so striking as truth.”
‘I have purposely avoided touching upon Mr. Loraine’s career as an aviator, and the magnificent work he has done to forward the development of flying in this country. Lest, however, my readers should imagine that his labours at the Criterion may interfere with his flying, let me assure them Mr. Loraine is sending to Paris shortly for his latest machine, a 70 h.p. Nieuport, on which he hopes to make some important flights this winter.’
(The Playgoer and Society Illustrated, ‘Man and Superman’ edition, London, 15 January 1912, p.25)


February 2, 2013

May Leslie Stuart (fl. early 20th Century)
English actress and singer,
as she appeared in A Waltz Dream,
Daly’s Theatre, London, 7 January 1911
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1911)

‘In the course of an interesting chat with an Era representative recently Miss May Leslie Stuart, the charming daughter of Mr. Leslie Stuart, said: –
‘“Following some chorus work at Daly’s in The Count of Luxembourg [20 May 1911] and A Country Girl [probably on tour], Mr. Arthur Collins offered me the part of an Italian girl in The Hope at the [Theatre Royal, Drury] Lane [14 September 1911]. My next engagement was with Mr. Hale Hamilton in Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford at the Queen’s [14 January 1913] – when, you may remember, I played the part of the ingénue, Dorothy. I recall that this was a somewhat strenuous rôle, in that much kissing was a rather prominent feature. The run ended, I paid a most pleasant visit with my husband, Mr. Cecil Cameron, to the United States. Mr. Cameron is, by the way, playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Granville Barker in New York.
‘“I appeared with my husband at the Alhambra in a sketch entitled The Girl Next Door. I am afraid I am guilty of writing the ‘book.’ Edward Royce produced the sketch, and it was so successful that it ran for six weeks at the Alhambra, and then for a good while in the provinces.
‘“As I think you will be aware, it was originally arranged that clever and charming Ada Reeve should take up her old part of Lady Holyrood in Florodora [revival, Lyric, London, 20 February 1915], but for reasons of health this was eventually found to be impossible. And so – here I am! I am quite delighted to have the opportunity of playing the part, also to sing the rather “catchy,” in more senses than one, number ‘Jack and Jill,’ which my father has written for me.’
(The Era, London, Wednesday, 24 March 1915, p.7d)

Florodora revived, Lyric Theatre, London, 20 February 1915
‘Miss Evie Greene, the original Dolores, got a most enthusiastic reception on her first appearance, and her beautiful singing and fine acting enraptured her audience. The years that have elapsed since Miss Greene first played this part seem merely to have strengthened the magnetism of her personality. She has never sung “Queen of the Philippine Islands” better than she did on Saturday night; indeed, her performance has lost none of the sprit and charm of the original impersonation… As Lady Holyrood, Miss Ada Reeve’s original part, Miss May Leslie Stuart displays a fresh sense of humour and gives a very natural performance, clever and full of piquancy. She sings “Tact” excellently, and also a song, “Jack and Jill,” of which the words and music have been specially written by [her father] Leslie Stuart for this revival, and which wins hearty applause … In response to great enthusiasm Miss Evie Greene made a little speech at the end of the evening, acknowledging herself to be an old friend, but trusting that she did not “look the part.”’
(The Era, London, Wednesday, 24 February 1915, p.11b)

May Leslie Stuart, accompanied by her father Leslie Stuart on the piano, made four gramophone recordings in London during 1915 for the HMV label. These were ‘Jack and Jill’ from the 1915 revival of Florodora (03430) and ‘Don’t Blame Eve’ (03431), both re-issued on C590; and ‘Is That You, Mr. O’Reilly?’ and ‘Heligoland’ from the revue, 5064 Gerrard (Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, 19 March 1915. In 1916, Miss Stuart appeared as Lady Orreyd in Sir George Alexander’s film production of The Second Mrs Tanqueray


Lawrance D’Orsay, English actor

February 1, 2013

Lawrance D’Orsay (1853-1931)
English actor
(photo: unknown, circa 1900)

D’ORSAY, Lawrence [sic]:
‘Actor, was born in Peterborough, England. He comes of an old family of lawyers, and was himself educated for the law, but threw up Blackstone for the stage. After considerable experience in stock companies and the provinces with the usual ups and downs, Mr. D’Orsay eventually made a position for himself in London in “swell” parts principally of the military order, until of late years these special parts began to be designated by authors and managers as D’Orsay parts. In 1886 he played a sort of Dundreary character with Minnie Palmer in My Sweetheart at the Strand Theatre, London, and subsequently made his first visit to American with Miss Palmer under the management of John R. Rogers. Then followed a long series of engagements in the principal theatres in London with such well-known stars and managers as John Hare, Edward Terry, Thomas Thorne, George Edwardes, etc. During a three years’ engagement with George Edwardes at Daly’s Theatre, London, he created parts written for him in A Gaiety Girl, An Artist’s Model, and The Geisha. He came to America with An Artist’s Model. Mr. Charles Frohman brought Mr. D’Orsay to America again six years ago to support Annie Russell and to play the King in A Royal Family, and Mr. D’Orsay has stayed here ever since. After two seasons with A Royal Family Mr. Frohman cast him for a part in The Wilderness at the Empire Theatre, New York, and it was his performance in this play that influenced Augustus Thomas to write The Earl of Pawtucket for Mr. D’Orsay, the success of which made him a star. The production was made by the late Kirke La Shelle at the Madison Square Theatre and it ran just a year in New York. Augustus Thomas next wrote The Embassy Ball for Mr. D’Orsay, which Mr. Frohman accepted and produced. The winter of 1907 he co-starred with Cecilia Loftus in The Lancers. Mr. D’Orsay married Miss Marie Dagman, from whom he obtained a divorce. On August 18, 1907, he married Miss Susie Rushholme, an English actress, in England.’
(Who’s Who on the Stage, Walter Browne and E. De Roy Koch, editors, B.W. Dodge & Co, New York, 1908, p.136)

* * * * * * * *

‘It is an old story that those who know stage favourites with the footlights as barrier to a more intimate acquaintance believe the characteristics displayed on the stage are natural in private life. The audience en masse does not stop to analyze the assumption of mannerisms, the transformation of the player into some one else. May Irwin has often bewailed the fact that those she met socially expected to find her constantly saying funny things and singing coon songs. Naturally Miss Irwin possesses a keen sense of humor, but off the stage she tries to get as much rest from hilarity as possible. If an actress depicts characters of gentle disposition, she is immediately supposed to be like them. Annie Russell has always regretted that her managers allowed her to fall into this sort of rut. Because of this peculiar like of roles with which she has so long been associated the public has an idea that Miss Russell is a sad little creature. “Why won’t they let me be merry and vivacious?” she said, in speaking of this to me. Louis James, whom we all know as the greatest living exponent of the old school of heavy tragedy, is welcomed among his friends as a “jolly fellow.” He drops his dignified and somber air and delights in telling funny stories. Even when acting, his love of the ridiculous is so powerful that he with difficulty restrains himself from playing pranks upon his fellow-actors during tragic moments.
‘We have all heard so much about the Englishman, his heaviness, and his failure to understand jokes until some time after they have been told: therefore, when Mr. Lawrance D’Orsay appeared as the Earl of Pawtucket we were delighted to make his acquaintance, because he was exactly as we supposed he would be. Again Mr. D’Dorsay gives us the same type of Englishman in The Embassy Ball, and he plays these rules so naturally that it is to be expected that the public will believe he is treating it to a display of his own private characteristics. In these days when there are so many types it is a genuine relief to find one that is not hackneyed. The Embassy Ball would never take place if Mr. D’Orsay were not among the invited guests. Mr. Augustus Thomas was clever enough to offer us our pet conception of the Englishman, and it is difficult to imagine that he is not real.
‘Mr. D’Orsay off the stage is not what he seems on. He is the same tall, handsome man, for his figure is all his own, whether in the British uniform or in plain clothes. His face bears close inspection, for in meeting him minus the grease paint and powder, one sees how little he employs in his make-up. He walks in much the same manner as he does on the stage, and talks with a delightful accent which is most pronounced, but not exaggerated. Naturally he must lengthen his oral syllables when playing. It makes the character more laughable. Wherein then is the difference?
‘Mr. D’Orsay was a revelation in the cleverness of his conversation. He possesses more wit and appreciation of humor than any American actor of my acquaintance. Nothing escapes him, and this, too, without unusual endeavour, on his part to catch points. He has forever vanquished, in my opinion, the old belief of the dullness of Englishmen. He is as keen as the steel blades of the table knives with which he tells me his countrymen cut their daily meat. We use plated affairs. He laughs heartily and frequently. We all know what a jolly laugh Admiral Schley has. Well, D’Orsay’s is just as jolly, although purely British. His manner is the perfection of good breeding and courtesy. He does not have to be advertised as coming of a good family.
‘“Let us sit ovah heah by the winow,” said Mr. D’Orsay, “wheah at least we can see the aiah, even if we can’t feel it. You Americahns are so dreadfully afraid of the cold, aren’t you? I love it. This is a very strange country, you know. You overhead youahselves so awfully in wintah, and then you swallow large quantites of ice watah in ordah to keep cool. In England we live in cool places, and so we don’t find it necessary to drink ice watah. We nevah drink it in summah weathah, eithah. The watah is cool, certainly, but not iced. Americahns in England must have their iced watah, and so it is that recently, I may say, the restaurants are compelled to keep ice for the Americahns, who become dreadfully angry, really, if they cahn’t get what they want. I have heard youah countrymen make disagreeable remarks when warm beeah was served them. Now, in England, believe me, we nevah drink our beeah any othah way. I think there must be something in the climate which causes this. When I am in England I nevah think of ice, but the moment I return to this country I call for iced drinks.
‘Americahns laugh heartily as us and we laugh heartily at them about toast. You don’t know toast. You haven’t the faintest idea of it. In Americah, you call for toast and they bring you something which is warmed on each side and putty in the middle. Americahns call it hot toast. In England we each ouah dry toast cold and without buttah. Our hot toast is buttahed, but all of it is very crisp through and through. Youah toast and yoah iced watah are the causes, in my opinion, of so much nervous indigestion. Then youah roast beef. It isn’t the same as ouahs. I dare say the meat is originally almost as good as ouahs, but you spoil it in the cooling, reahly. You won’t baste youah roast beef. Why don’t you? Youah roast has no seasoning. You cook all the goodness out of it. It is tasteless. Life is too short in Americah to baste anything, isn’t it? Then, you eat it in such huge slices. I shall nevah become accustomed to youah carving. We cut our beef in slices as thin as wafers. When I first came to this country I used to say, ‘Bring me a very thin slice of beef.’ When what you call a ‘chunk’ was place befoah me I would say, ‘If this is thin, what is a thick one like?’ Hah, hah!
‘“Another thing – why will you eat youah eggs in so sloppy a fashion?”
‘“Oh, do we?” I asked, eager to learn more of ourselves as “othahs” see us.
‘“In what way are they sloppy?”
‘“What you call ‘soft eggs’ are slopped into a glass and they you put in salt and peppah and enjoy then horrible mixture. It takes one’s appetite, reahly.
‘“How should we eat tem?” I asked.
‘“Why, how else but in the shell, of course,” answered Mr. D’Orsay. “You eat them in a glass or a saucah or anything you choose. We eat them in egg cups. They are so much moah appetizing.
‘“Why are Americahns so fond of oystahs?” he inquired. “I cahn’t understand why you take the trouble to eat them, because you consume so much time in eliminating the taste of the oystah with catsup, lemon juice, the mixture you call horseradish, and tabasco. By the time salt and peppah is added, what becomes of the original flavour of the oystah? A beautiful woman does not need to be smothahed in perfume; and an oystah needs nothing but itself to make it delicious. Anothah thing I have noticed is that the men in Americah prefers [sic] damp cigar to dry ones. In England we nevah think of smoking a damp cigar. We hang our boxes up to get the dampness out and you use wet sponges to keep it in. Most curious custom, because a dry cigar is so much easier to smoke than a damp one. It does not requiah as much breath, and there you are!
‘“I enjoy youah American salng. It is most amusing. I roah with laughtah when I heah one fellow say to his friends: ‘Well, old chap, I’m awfully sorry, but I’ll have to go now.’ He doesn’t go, but talks a while longah, and then makes the same remark again. He does this several times, until one of his companions says, ‘Well, deah boy, theahs no string tied to you, you know,’ which I have learned to understand as a polite way of saying, ‘Why the deuce don’t you go?’ It’s awfully funny, you know.”
‘“Do you find that our language differs widely from yours?” I asked.
‘“The difference is in the meaning and pronunciation of words. It is rather troublesome at first for an Englishman to understand a strange use of a familiar word. Youah pronunciation if quite different. Befoah coming to this country I had been told that the Boston people speak more like the English than any othah people in the Sates. How could any one evah believe this? The Boston people are not a bit English. They are not American, either. They are something in between. Their accent is most affected. ‘Why chan’t you be natural?’ I feel like saying to them. When evah I heah an Americahn say ‘fawcey,’ it makes me laugh, because originally he must have said ‘fancy.’ In English we nevah say ‘fawncy.’ We always say ‘fancy.’ We also say ‘dance’ quite as much as we say ‘dahnce.’ ‘Dawnce’ is a favorite with many in this country. This is true of many words which Boston people say with the idea that they are speaking like us.
‘“It was so very silly of the Boston people to throw the tea overboard, wasn’t it? It was such a waste, for now they have tea every aftahnoon. From my observation I would say that the Southern people speak more as we do.
‘“It is remarkable how my friends at home expect to hear me speak with an Americahn accent. I become quite indignant at times, realhy, because there is no reason why a few months heah should cause one to forget his original pronunciation. At a dinner given in London during my last visit home a woman who sat next me remarked, ‘You’ah not an Americahn, are you?’
‘“Rather not,” I answered. How could any one suppose such a thing. It was too absurd.
‘“I’m an Americahn,’ she said.
‘“Oh” said I. Imagine how beastly rude I had been.
‘“I heard that the British military attache was out from the othah evening and was very much amused. I sinceahly hope that he was amused in the propah way.
‘“I believe that The Embassy Ball will be as successful in New York as The Earl of Pawtukat. Gus Thomas and I are very deah friends, and I should like so much to see the deah boy’s play succeed. I had made my reputation in England long before I evah thought of coming to America. I started at the bottom and worked my way up as I think every actah should do. Gradually, the parts I played became known as individual special parts. They were written to suit me. My first engagement heah was in the Edwardes production, The Artist’s Model [sic], in which Marie Studholm [sic] appeared. My role was that of an English offisah. Aftah that I played with Annie Russell in The Royal Family [sic], and look back upon that season as one of the happiest and most delightful of my entiah careeah. Mrs. Gilbert, the deah old lady, played my mothah, and it is a singular thing that her age was the same as that of my mothah. I have played with John Hare, Charles Wyndham, Edwin Terry [i.e. Edward Terry] – in fact, with all of them except Alexander and Irving. Of course, you wouldn’t have expected me to play with [sic] such plays as Hamlet, would you? I never did, because I thought that Hamlet shouldn’t have too many laughs. Forbes Robertson is a deah friend of mine. ‘“I played in the Gaiety Girl, which was my first engagement with Edwardes, and a most amusing thing occurred. There was a charactah in the piece which had been modeled on the chaplain of the Household Brigade Guards. In the play he was a doctah. Now, the real chaplain was a deah friend of the King [then Prince of Wales], who, when he heard about the play, ordered the character changed. In the meantime, the chaplain himself learned about his caricature and came to see himself on the stage. He had not heard about the change, and if you will believe it, came behind the stage and the deah old boy was so disappointed because he could not see himself doing the can-can with his daughtah. In that piece I had to say some curious lines. A young woman asked me ‘Don’t you long for war?’
‘“‘I cahn’t say that I do,’ I replied.
‘“‘How unmartial. Why on earth do people support an army?’ she continued; to which I answeredL ‘I don’t know, unless it is to heah the bands play.’
‘“On heahs so much about the artistic and the commercial struggles. As a mattah of fact, the two are very necessary to each other. It is seldom you find the combination of business manajah and actah. It amuses me most heartily that the box office thinks it draws the money. The press agent goes about telling how he does it all; and the poah actah – wheah does he come in? They think he has nothing to do with it. Let him stay away from the theatah one performance, and the question would be very easily settled, would it not?” asked Mr. D’Orsay, stroking his long mustache thoughtfully.
‘“As an illustration of this belief of managers and press agents, I must tell you about the man I met who had just completed a million dollah theatah. When it was all finished he discovered that there were no dressing-rooms for the actachs. He laughed heartily, for he thought it was a good joke. When I played at his theatah I found the dressing-rooms to consist of a few boahds stuck up between two boilahs. The grease paint on our faces ran down in streams into our boots. This man came to me and boasted of his theatah and told that he had put up those dressing-rooms at twelve houahs’ notice.
‘“I said to him: ‘I deah sir, I am very pleased to meet you, and if you will accept a bit of advice from me, the next time you build a theatah make four walls and see that the decorations are beautiful. Charge two dollahs a seat and you will find that you can do without the actahs and the people will fill youah theatah just the same.’
‘“Do you know he didn’t see the meaning of my remark? It was plain enough, wasn’t it? And the man is an Americahn. Of course, I didn’t take the trouble to explain it.
‘“I like Washington so much. The city is so beautiful. It is more like home than any othah place in yoah country. Then you have such distinguished persons heah. The quiet is delightful aftah the noise and bustle of othah cities. I should nevah suffah from insomnia heah.”
‘Knowing Washington’s reputation as a quiet place, I looked keenly at the Britisher to see if he were poking fun at us. But he was imperturbable.
‘“If The Embassy Ball is as great a success as Pawtucket, I shall play it next season,” said Mr. D’Orsay in conclusion. “A few days ago I received a splendid offah from Mrs. Fiske to appeah with her in a new play which is to be put on in the fall. On account of The Embassy Ball I was obliged to decline the honah of appearing with this actress, whom I admiah. She is a charming woman and a great artist. I had the pleasuah of playing The Earl of Pawtucket for six consecutive months in Harrison Grey Fiske’s theatah, in New York, the Manhattan.”’
(Marie B. Schrader, ‘Stage Favorites,’ The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Sunday, 28 January 1906, Third Part, p.6d-f)

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Lawrance D’Orsay also appeared in a number of films, for which see the Internet Movie Database


January 28, 2013

a scene from A.W. Pinero’s comedy, His House in Order,
produced at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 1 February 1906,
with George Alexander and Irene Vanbrugh
(photo: unknown; printed by J. Miles & Co Ltd,
68 & 70 Wardour Street, London, W, 1906)

This halftone postcard flyer advertises A.W. Pinero’s comedy, His House in Order, produced by George Alexander at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 1 February 1906. The reverse has printed details including prices of admission and directions to the theatre: ‘The St. James’s Theatre is situated in King Street, St. James’s, a few yard from St. James’s Street and Pall Mall. Piccadilly omnibuses pass within 150 yards of the theatre (alight at the top of St. James’s Street); Regent Street omnibuses proceeding South (alight Piccadilly Circus); those going North (alight at Waterloo Place).’ The production included George Alexander and Irene Vanbrugh in the leading roles, supported by Nigel Playfair, Herbert Waring, E. Lyall Swete, Bella Pateman, Beryl Faber, Marcelle Chevalier, Iris Hawkins and others.