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Our Society

Odell reports that the last offering of the regular [1885-1886] season was Our Society, adapted by Clinton Stuart and Mrs. Verplanck from Le monde ou l'on s'ennuie. "The cast of April 19th was delightful. The season was so far advanced that Palmer could keep this bright play but two weeks on his stage; it closed, perforce on May 1st, after having established once more the exquisite girlish charm of Annie Russell and the brilliant comedy talent of Maud Harrison." 

New York, Apr. 2, 1886  Had a reading of a new play [Our Society] at 2 PM and did not get home until after 5 PM, feeling very tired.  To-day we rehearsed the 1st Act which occupied about 3 hours.  My part is good but the play is weak and therefore a good part will not amount to much -- have to get one very handsome dress. 

New York, Apr. 9, 1886 We produce the new play [Our Society] a week from Monday next.  

Our Society  opened on April 19th, 1886 (with EJ Phillips as Mrs. Spencer) but "closed on May 1st as the theatre was committed to Richard Mansfield in Prince Karl. Clinton Stuart's play, adapted from Le monde ou l'on s'ennuie closed the 1885-1886 Madison Square season, sustaining a profit in a two week engagement." Odell

The NY Times review (Apr 22 1886) noted that the original French play had been brought out at the Comedie Francaise five years before and that "Annie Russell as Sylvia Spencer, and the exertions of Messrs. [Herbert]  Kelcey, Walden Ramsey, LeMoyne, Davidge and Mrs. EJ Phillips are all to be spoken of with praise" and "Miss [Maud] Harrison's delineation of the artful wife elicited a great deal of merriment, but its merit would have been enhanced by a little more repose and refinement on the part of the actress.

An incomplete, undated newspaper clipping criticizes the very slight plot, and the play's Anglomania, but says  "Everybody has fallen in love with Mrs. Phillips.  Her playing of the old lady [Mrs. Katharine Spencer] is the most charming thing our theatre-goers have seen for years and it is astonishing how warmly everyone in the audience feels toward the fairy godmother.  It is a little bit of inspiration."

Mr. LeMoyne,  Miss Brookyn, Mr. Ramsey ("greatly improved.  He has gained control over himself, carries himself easily, and in the last act of the play shares the honors of one of the best comedy scenes on the stage") Maud Harrison ("beyond all dispute, the best comedienne we have ever seen here...There is nothing hackneyed about her Mrs. Tupper; but there never will be anything hackneyed about her") and Annie Russell ("Mr. Palmer gave us a surprise in Annie Russell") were in the cast.  Characters included a Congressman, a Senator, a poet, an office-seeker, a scientist, an old woman and two lovers.

After Jim the Penman closed on April 30, 1886, Our Society was revived on May 2nd for a four week run. [Odell]

New York, May 2, 1886 Open tomorrow night in [Boston in] Engaged.  It will be easy work for me and I am glad of it.  My part in Our Society is a hard working part.

Boston, May 8, 1886 Monday night Our Society goes on to try its luck with a Boston Audience.  I hope it will do as well as it did in New York.

Boston, May 11, 1886 Our Society made a hit last night, good notices this morning.  I will enclose you one from the Post.

Boston, May 13, 1886 One good thing.  I have a good part in Our Society and have made a hit in it and that advances my interest with A.M. P[almer].  Yesterday I received a box full of beautiful Red & pink roses and lilies of the valley from a Dr Harris and a very complimentary note.  

New York, May 15th 1887  Mr. AMP was in town yesterday but I did not see him. He sat through the performance of 'Our Society' just as much pleased as if he had paid a $1.50 for his seat. I heard he was very much pleased.

Chicago, June 7, 1886 We open tonight with  Our Society.  They say the "take" is not large, which looks like a bad beginning.  Hope we shall come out all right. 

Chicago, June 13, 1886 I rec'd a splendid reception last Monday night -- and splendid notices in all the papers.  I mention this as it is stock in trade for us. Our Society has done more for me than any part I have had for the past three seasons -- so that I feel lighter hearted professionally, than I have done for the same length of time.

Chicago, July 9, 1886 Mrs. Kelcey telegraphed Palmer that Sealed Instructions must be withdrawn from next week's programme or she would resign!  Well it is withdrawn and Our Society takes its place.  Business has not been great and times are very dull in San F'co, and altogether things looked very shaky for a day or two. 

San Francisco, Aug. 1, 1886 We open tomorrow night in Our Society - next week Jim the Penman, 3rd week Saints and Sinners - 4th week Love's Martyr.  Whether we play here or not on the 5th week is not certain - but we go to Los Angeles on closing here.

THE STAGE, Immense Success of Palmer's Excellent Company
 Few French comedies have been more universally enjoyed than Le monde ou l'on s'ennuie and few have been so admirably translated into pointed idiomatic American.  clipping from San Francisco newspaper Aug. 1886

Our Society review San Francisco 1888

 Denver, Sept. 21, 1886 Play S[aints] & S[inners} this Eve., then I do not play until that on Sat and Sat. Evening. Open with Our Society in NY on the 11th. D.[eo] V.[olente] 

New York, Feb. 28, 1887 No further news about "bus[iness]".  The latest was that we go to  London to play Our Society & Margery's Lovers in August. 

New York, April 7, 1887 Rumour says that I remain in NY during May instead of going to Boston.  I to play in Our Society, Maud [Harrison] and [Walden] Ramsey will also remain here.  Mrs. Booth's husband is my authority, Palmer having asked him to oblige him by letting us remain, and he has consented, but it may all be changed when I hear again.

Jim the Penman closed on April 30th 1886 and Our Society was revived on May 2nd [1887] for a four week run. [Odell?]

Chicago, July 4, 1887  We are to remain here [Chicago] eight weeks including the present one - so that we shall not close here until the 27th of August.  Leave 28th for New York, arrive there the 29th & at end of week leave for Boston to open at Park Theatre on the 5th of Sept.  Not much of a vacation, is it? 

It will not be as hard for me as for some of the others, as I shall have only one new part to study.  This week Margery's Lovers, next Foregone Conclusion, week after Our Society.  To be followed by Elaine in which there is no part for me.  I shall have that week to rest, or get ready for a part in a new comedy [?]. 

New York, Mar. 11, 1888  yesterday at Matinee, new parts were given out in a play by Robert Buchanan, the Poet and Novelist, called Partners.  It is now playing in London with great success. I have a good "part" - somewhat on the same order as Mrs. Spencer in Our Society.  We are to rehearse it tomorrow at 11.  I hope the play is as good as my part. [It wasn't.]

Philadelphia, July 4, 1888 [William Palmer] said he wouldn't go to California  without me. He also told me that Miss [Annie] Russell was going and possibly Maud [Harrison]. That Our Society is to be done & many things that make the Company much better than it was, as it was arranged, when I left Boston. 

Chicago, Oct. 18, 1888 I have been so busy have not had time to write, for performances are so late, and on Wed Mat[inee] sprung on us that I do not find time to eat.  We are also rehearsing Our Society and I have to get my dress ready for it, and have been working at it all afternoon.  It is nearly six o'clock and not having eaten anything since breakfast must go to dinner. 

Last revised Jan. 31, 2004

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