Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Summer theatricals


For this family, it is the last of the summer theater season tomorrow. My husband and eldest son were in Arthur Miller's The Crucible--nine wonderful performances over the summer, set in the new amphitheater beside the lake, under the changing moon and the stars--GlimmerGlobe Theatre, sponsored by the Fenimore Museum. On the last night, my daughter's silkscreened t-shirts for cast members, adapted from the poster, went to the theater. The two of us sat in the grass by the stone seats, and ducks flew out of the lake and visited us there. One night an eagle sailed over. Flitterings meant bats. Most miraculous, not one Wednesday night show was rained out, though it did sprinkle a bit one evening.

The two family actors were also Box and Cox in the nineteenth-century farce, performed on Sundays at 12:30 on the outdoor stage in front of Bump Tavern in the Farmers Museum. They have their last performance tomorrow. All these theatricals have made the summer even more busy than usual, but I have enjoyed being an audience to my own family.

Edward Saker and Lionel Brough as Box and Cox, 1883.

Wikipedia: Box and Cox is a one act farce by John Maddison Morton. It is based on a French one-act vaudevilleFrisette, which had been produced in Paris in 1846.

Box and Cox was first produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 1 November 1847, billed as a "romance of real life." The play became popular and was revived frequently through the end of the nineteenth century, with occasional productions in the twentieth century. It spawned two sequels by other authors, and was adapted as a one-act comic opera in 1866 by the dramatist F. C. Burnand and the composer Arthur SullivanCox and Box, which also became popular and continues to be performed regularly. 

10 comments:

  1. "more weight" the only line i remember; it is an effective play, but a little dismaying... i had a girl friend that acted in it once... that kind of drama, i guess...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is interesting how people in many different fields and walks of life find it very pertinent to something in their own situations...

      Delete
  2. So that's why you've been relatively unfructifying (unfructose?). Drawn to the boards, forsooth. There must be something about the onset of autumn that makes it ripe for histrionics. I've been at it myself, albeit in a much more modest way.

    Box and Cox did enter the English language as an evocation (I'm guessing) of an administrative snafu and/or undeserved promotion/demotion. Then it dropped out and is rarely used these days. The last person I can remember using it was Lord Snow, former WW2 crystallographer, briefly Minister of Science in the Wilson government, married to the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson, and as a novelist himself (C.P.Snow) author of an excruciatingly dull 12-volume Strangers and Brothers set of novels about the behind-the-scenes machinations involved in running the country and Oxbridge colleges.

    Snow did some good by making the country aware of the Two Cultures which can be summarised thusly: whereas there are more than several scientists who know that Rosalind appears in AYLI, very few lit types understand the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Snow attracted the opprobrium of F. R Leavis. All many years ago and besides the wench is dead.

    I've run on and away from what must have been the exquisite pleasure of your seeing two of your nearest and dearest shed their day-to-day carapaces and appear as "others". My deep felicitations. Once I attended a school concert and unexpectedly watched my elder daughter sing Dream, Dream, Dream in a voice I didn't know she had. Decided I couldn't take any credit. But the role of spectator can be honorable since it marks the spectated achievement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember being made to read his "The Two Cultures" lecture in school. Several times. And perhaps something else shortish by C. P. Snow? But I never have undertaken one of his novels! I guess you're saying that I don't have to do so!

      Summer has been very busy here, and I still need to take my daughter to Atlanta some time... So yes, I have been busy and still am. But I've also felt a little discouraged about marketing and such. I've needed a little time to mull and fester.

      It was interesting to see family in strange roles. Ben has done theater before, not so long ago, but my husband had done nothing of the sort since high school. What did not surprise me in the least was to find that he was entirely willing to jump into somebody else's head without the least sense of inhibition. They both did a great job. It's just the second season of GlimmerGlobe doing theater in connection with the museums, and I think it's already a success.

      Does your daughter still sing solo?

      Delete
  3. 1. Re: Not "Box and Cox," or summer theatricals, but my interview of Marly--. Here's the first of two questions about her novel, "Curse of the Raven Mocker." The novel is built around the idea of Adantis, a secret Scots-Irish-Cherokee land in the Smokies. What gave you the idea for this? At the end of the book, you provide an Adantan Glossary, in which you put not only Adantan words and phrases, but bibliographical references e.g. Mooney's study of the Cherokee. How much of this glossary refers to "real" things that we might be able to Google, and how much was made up? (Give examples, please ma'am.) At what point in the writing did you create the rudiments of this glossary?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hahaha! Are we back to this now? I shall play, but later!

    And that's interesting because I am making a glossary for my current book. And this time I am keeping a record as I go along.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm envious. Summer theatricals (e.g., community theater groups) might not be the roar of the greasepaint and smell of the crowd found on Broadway, but nothing matches them for enthusiasm of performers and audiences. 'Tis a true community experience. I had some good, bad, and ugly experiences in community theaters (actor, designer, and audience), and I some experiences involving paid work in theaters; I nevertheless prefer the memories from summer theatricals. And so I am envious. Perhaps a role for a senile curmudgeon will come along locally. I'll be ready! Finally, I hope all broke legs and had wonderful experiences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was grand--they did a wonderful job. And we have several actors with NYC-experience, so that's helpful. Well led, and with great audiences. I'm off to the cast party!

      Delete
  6. "Box and Cox" seems have served as a catchy way to say "two of a kind" as "Frick and Frack" later did. In J.F. Powers's novel Morte d'Urban, the rector of a cathedral refers to his assistants as "Cox and Box"; and though one or both turn up a number of times off or barely on stage, they are never referred to by other names.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the end of the farce, there's reference to "Knox" as well!

      Oh, I do want to read Morte d'Urban, in that mythical time when I will get to read only what I want to read. It's on The List. That's a funny use of the two--sounds exactly appropriate.

      Delete

Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.