previous next

[228] over one hundred consecutive nights in London. The comedy, which was accompanied by songs, is an interesting one, the action is quick and the conversation clever. In 1829 J. H. Hackett transformed the character of Solomon Gundy in Colman's Who wants a Guinea? into Solomon Swop and, rechristening the play Jonathan in England, made a great success in it. Other well-known Yankee parts were Lot Sap Sago in Yankee land (1834) and Deuteronomy Dutiful in The Vermont wool Dealer (1839), both written by C. A. Logan, Jedediah Homebred in The Green Mountain boy (1833) and Solon Shingle in The people's lawyer (1839), both by Joseph S. Jones, and Sy Saco in John A. Stone's prize play of The Knight of the golden Fleece (1834). These plays are usually of the same type, a comedy or melodrama into which a Yankee comic character has been inserted. He bears little relation to the play, but it is this very detachment that makes him important, for he is the one spot of reality among a number of stage conventions, and it is no doubt this flavour of earth that secured the warm reception which these plays received. Read now, they seem hardly to justify it, but they point forward at least to a time when in the hands of an artist like James A. Herne this same material received a more significant treatment.

Another interesting development is represented in the local drama representing actual conditions, frequently of lower life, in the larger cities. The date of the first production of such a play would be hard to determine. Dunlap1 speaks of a Life in New York, or the fireman on duty, before 1832. As early as 1829 Hackett appeared in a play called The times or life in New York, in which he acted a Yankee character. From the cast, however, as given in Ireland2 it seems hardly likely that there was much realism in this play, however interesting it is as a point of connection with the species just described. More promising is the description of The New York merchant and his Clerks, performed in 1843, with scenery “representing the Battery, Wall St., Chatham Square and the Lunatic Asylum.” These plays, however, have not survived, but there can be little doubt that when F. J. Chanfrau made his great success in A Glance at New York in 1848, the public had been prepared to

1 Dunlap, History of the American Theatre, London, 1833, vol. II, p. 381.

2 Ireland, vol. I, p. 624.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Scotia (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1839 AD (2)
1834 AD (2)
1833 AD (2)
1829 AD (2)
1848 AD (1)
1843 AD (1)
1832 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: