Touring the Ivies with Iphigenia, 1915.
As Barker told the story, the aetiology of this tour was a visit to Yale during which he was shown the seventy-thousand-seat Yale Bowl. (5) The sight inspired him with the possibility of producing Greek tragedy outdoors by daylight, in spaces and conditions similar to that of the ancient theaters. (6) In an interview with a Yale journalist, he also mentions a visit that he and McCarthy made to the ancient theater of Syracuse as another inspiration. (7) In the end, he organized a tour of the Northeast with just two of Murray's translations: the Trojan Women and the Iphigenia in Tauris. Supported by university fund-raising committees, he toured to Yale, Harvard, Princeton, the City College of New York, and the University of Pennsylvania, primarily utilizing university stadia for productions with a running time of about two hours each. (8)
The choice of plays offers an intriguing pairing. In light of the war in Europe, the selection of Trojan Women seemed obvious then as now. The reaction of the Philadelphia Inquirer's correspondent is representative:
There is something timely in the great open-air performance of "The Trojan Women" before an American audience of many thousand persons at a moment when the eyes of the world are centred on Europe, when the sympathies of neutral nations are concentrated in alleviating the sufferings of war. "The Trojan Women" has been said to be the greatest war play ever written, since it contains a message for peace and plea for consideration for women and children in times of international strife. (9)
Another reviewer aimed for an even more pointed historical analysis, comparing the original Athenian audience, witnessing the play in the aftermath of the Melian massacre, to that in New York watching
a-thrill with recent memories of Louvain and Malines, of Rheims and Ypres,--and of the Lusitania. This fact afforded a double meaning to the lines, which was analogous to that other double meaning which must have swept through the minds of the twenty thousand citizens of Athens who first listened to this tragic drama two thousand three hundred and thirty years before. (10)
Barker himself said that Lillah McCarthy, playing Hecuba, looked "like the Queen of the Belgians." (11) The sufferings of the Belgians were much in the public mind: the Philadelphia Public Ledger's review of the Trojan Women suggested the play was "so modern in its intent that it might be called 'The Belgian Women.'" (12) The play's reception might fairly be called reverent.
Reviews of its companion piece, the Iphigenia in Tauris, varied much more widely. The catalyst for discussion was usually the production design, although some reviewers were more critical of McCarthy's performance as Iphigenia than they were of her Hecuba. (13) Some debated along the familiar lines of archaeological "authenticity," while others questioned the productions affiliation with the work of Max Reinhardt. Criticism of the productions "primitivism" seems to have been aesthetic and quite unaware of the construction of the primitive in the process.
The choice to produce Iphigenia may seem more surprising to us today than it did at the time. Iphigenia in Tauris was the third most often produced play on American college campuses in the decades preceding Barker's tour, (14) and Aristotle's praise of the play's recognition scene (paired with the Oedipus Tyrranus as an example of the "best" kind; Poetics, 1455a) cannot be irrelevant here. In interviews with both commercial and college newspapers, Barker regularly argued that the play was entertainment. He told the Yale Daily News:
I hope that people will not get the idea that this drama is a very serious affair, because that is just what it is not. The Greek drama is very closely related to modern drama, and if the people only go in the spirit that they go to see "Kick In," for instance, I am sure that they will find it fully as entertaining. (15)
Another part of the answer must be star power: Lillah McCarthy had had great success with the role in England in 1912, and she clearly loved the play. In her memoirs, charmingly entitled Myself and My Friends, she calls it a "lovely play, the greatest I think that was ever written," and she continued playing it until 1932. (16) Some of the American public were clearly impressed too. The memoir of an anonymous Princeton undergraduate, telling how he put himself through college and published in 1915 by one of his teachers, includes this vignette at the end of his undergraduate career:
I have just now come back from a trip as advertising agent for the Granville Barker Greek plays at Princeton, and I have earned nearly as much in a week as I did in a term as a freshman. I'm strong for Lillah McCarthy and Iphigenia. (17)
Barker's decision to put Iphigenia regularly first on the schedule for each tour stop testifies to his belief that it was the more likely to draw spectators to the second performance as well.
Yet controversy flowed from the designs of Norman Wilkinson, also designer for the 1912 Iphigenia at the Kingsway Theatre in Britain. Now Barker charged him with designing both set and costumes capable of being "read" in the huge outdoor Yale Bowl and other stadia. Some production photographs are reasonably well known, at least to researchers. One source, however, seems virtually unnoticed in almost a century since its production. The American branch of Oxford University Press issued Murray's translation of Iphigenia in both 1910 and 1915. Some copies of the 1915 printing were used for a limited edition, illustrated by photographs of the Bowl production taken by Donald Cummings Fitts of Yale's Class of 1916. (18) One copy, now in the library of the Getty Research Institute, allows us a more detailed glimpse of that memorable staging, (19) and it is to some of these we now turn to examine the visual impact of the performance.
A quick precis of the play's background is in order: becalmed in the harbor, King Agamemnon lured his daughter Iphigenia to Aulis with the promise of marriage to Achilles, but in fact, yielding to a prophecy, the king planned to sacrifice her to Artemis in order to change the winds and allow the Greek fleet to sail to Troy. In Euripides' version of the myth in Iphigenia in Tauris, however, Artemis rescued her at the last minute, substituting a deer, but made her a priestess in the barbaric land of the Taurians, presiding over a cult of human sacrifice, from which she yearns to escape.
The play itself opens with Iphigenia "in the dress of a Priestess" according to Murray's published stage directions, recounting a dream she fears foretells the death of her brother Orestes. Wilkinson's costumes liberally mixed ancient inspiration with contemporary design, with a strikingly bold use of color. At the Yale production,
Iphigenia was disclosed, costumed in light tints, as one of the pre-Persian statues of the Acropolis, against a wall of red--a charming figure as she came forward and spoke the prologue, a figure hardly improved later by the fantastic headdress assumed when she brought out the figure. (20)
The best-known image of McCarthy as Iphigenia, appearing in a 1916 article in Art and Archaeology and often reproduced thereafter, shows this much-discussed headdress and an elaborately geometric overgarment. (21) Fitts's version of McCarthy in this costume and with the same gesture is the first production photograph bound into the text of the play itself. (22) All the other photos in Fitts's volume seem to be placed near the text of the moments they show, but the presence of the headdress shows this is out of production sequence. (23) The desire to use the most striking image of the actress and title character at the beginning of Fitts's volume may have been a sales tactic or a nod to McCarthy's own preferences; we will accordingly turn to it later.
Iphigenia's robe and hair were "copied from one of the Acropolis maidens, even to the wig with its long, straight locks" while the drapery was "spotted as if with great drops of blood, and the tunic ... striped with waves of red." (24) Despite the unity of time in Euripides' script, Wilkinson sought to illustrate a development in time within the play. He told the New York Times: "Miss McCarthy's first costume is semi-barbaric, and later, when she has been longer under the influence of the Taurians, her dress is almost wholly barbaric." (25) The first impression of Iphigenia would have been as a predominantly white-clad, vulnerable figure, first alone onstage, then returning to meet the chorus and offer libations to her brother's memory. (26)
Before the arrival of the chorus, however, two Greek travelers, Iphigenia's brother Orestes and his comrade Pylades, appear, sent to capture the cult statue of the goddess Artemis from the Taurian shrine and bring it back to Greece. They discuss their mission, then retreat to hide until nightfall. A messenger interrupts Iphigenia's lament with the chorus to report their capture. When the captive Greeks are brought onstage, Iphigenia reappears, surrounded by much taller and more menacing figures of Taurians, the executioners who carry out the work (see fig. 1).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The soaring blood-red caps and costumes of those surrounding Iphigenia clearly demonstrate that she is as much their prisoner and victim as are the luckless travelers to be sacrificed by the cult. The Fitts photograph seems to show their entrance; other sources indicate that these executioners later pull down masks from their headdresses over their faces. A visual allusion to a current image of terror seems very likely. On the same page of Boston Globe advertisements announcing the Harvard Stadium performances of Barker's Greek tour appeared a larger advertisement for a film, "now in its second month": Birth of a Nation. Did Wilkinson conceive of the Taurian executioners as Klansmen? (27)
Under questioning, the captured Orestes and Pylades refuse to give their names but acknowledge they are Greeks. This gives Iphigenia the idea to free one of the captives so that he might carry a letter back to Greece to her brother appealing for rescue. Dismissing her attendants, she goes to fetch the letter. In her absence Orestes and Pylades debate who will sacrifice himself by remaining while the other carries the letter. Orestes prevails. Pylades, however, insists on Iphigenia revealing the contents of the letter, lest he should lose it on the way--and when he learns the letter is to her brother Orestes, he delivers the letter on the spot, bringing about the recognition of brother and long-lost sister (see fig. 2). The moment that Aristotle loved was just as effective at Yale or Penn:
[Miss Lillah McCarthy made a noble figure of the ... exiled and hopelessly homesick priestess. In her red robe, set off by two close braids of hair, she dominated the stage, yet in all of her tragic pose there was an underlying warmth of feeling that made her a very human figure and heightened the poignancy of her situation. It was in the recognition scene with Orestes, however, that her power to convey the richness of the character rose to its fullest expression. (28)
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Had the performance ended here, it might have been as much lauded and perhaps more loved than the accompanying Trojan Women. Reunited, brother and sister then win over the chorus of captive women to their cause and formulate a plan for all to escape by sea (see fig. 3). Euripides engineers the suspense well: when Iphigenia, Orestes, and Pylades retreat into the temple, we in the audience have no idea how they will make their escape. The intervening chorus fantasizes about escape, but gives no details.
[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]
Up until this point, despite a much brighter and bolder color palette, the production had not differed so radically from the contemporary expectations for Greek tragedy. With the sudden arrival of Thoas, king of the Taurians, the atmosphere and the visual impression changed sharply. Thoas was played by Lionel Braham, a six-feet-four actor, not from a subtle school. (29) Reviewers and spectators alike were astounded by
the brawny King of the Tauri, with arms like sawed-off logs, a blood red beard ... and a gilded scepter, shaped roughly like a sapling; and in the curled branches of the scepter-tree roosted green and scarlet birds, cut flat out of wood, like nursery toys. The King wore a tunic of yellow and bluish green and figured green leggings (30) and "a cloak as big as a Baghdad mosque carpet." (31)
At the Yale premiere, Braham apparently forgot his lines on his entrance and could not hear the prompter from behind the massive set. (32) He tried to cover by roaring, but his suit of many colors and his retinue of bodyguards also contributed heavily to a comic reception. The New York Times reviewer of this premiere performance said of Wilkinson's designs:
There is simply no describing those soldiers with their union suits of black and white adorned with whisk-brooms of the hue of tomato bisque. There is no describing Thoas himself with his ornithological scepter, his checkered robe and his scarlet beard. It was a great reception accorded this apparaition [sic]. However Mr. Wilkinson's art may be received in the more precious circles of the metropolis, it was received by the unregenerate undergraduates of New Haven with loud roars of laughter. (33)
The New York Sun blamed the Yale freshmen. (34) The Christian Science Monitor was more impressed, finding Braham "magnificent in the childlike-ness of his animalism" and "a thing of wonder and terror." (35) Thoas has come to find out if the sacrifice has been carried out--and is shocked to discover Iphigenia with the image of Artemis in her hands (see fig. 4).
[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]
Another reviewer suggested the soldiers' costumes "too nearly resemble the latest mode of the Dahomey chieftains to be other than farcical"' (36) Barker himself seems to have been taken aback by the audience response to Thoas and company and in later interviews defended his "primitive" Taurians:
But when, for example, Euripides furnishes me with such characters as the Tauri, people whom every line describes as fierce savages, offering human sacrifice in a grim and austere temple, I see no reason why the doors of that temple should not open upon a blood-red interior. The King of that land must obviously have been the apotheosis of everything they stood for. Why should not I make him so, primitive and rudely gorgeous in dress and weapons? (37)
The power of a line miscue to destroy a tragic mood should not be underestimated. (38) Whether Barker's defense influenced later audience response or not is hard to say. Certainly, by later in the run, a review of the New York performances in the stadium of the City College shows that the audience reaction was under somewhat better control:
Norman Wilkinson's super-fantastic costuming for the luckless Taurian monarch and his attendants was received with hearty laughter at New Haven. The audience at the Stadium yesterday just grinned. (39)
Trojan Women officially inaugurated City College's new stadium, and Barker scheduled three more performances (one of Trojan Women, two of Iphigenia). McCarthy thought they drew thirty thousand spectators in New York altogether, implying capacity audiences. (40) While students were admitted at a subsidized rate, it is unclear whether a plan to require all the graduating students from the city's high schools to attend was put into effect. (41) Conscript audiences might not have been very attentive.
Earlier audiences had been much more interested in the text. Barker saw to it that paperback copies of the plays were available to patrons on the day of the production. Some fifteen hundred copies of the Trojan Women were sold for the Harvard Stadium performance, and combined sales of the two plays in New York reached five thousand copies before they opened. (42)
Whether attendance dropped during the tour is an open question. Certainly no subsequent performance was as large as the opening at Yale, which may have drawn ten thousand spectators, doubtless more than saw all the performances of Iphigenia in two previous productions in England. (43) Inclement weather at Harvard no doubt limited attendance, and the one performance given at a country club on Long Island had been twice postponed by rain. (44) Undoubtedly Barker lost money on the tour, despite calling on his financial backers for their guarantees, and it affected his finances for years thereafter. (45)
Was there a gendered reception of Iphigenia? One reviewer of the Harvard production noted that in the audience of three to four thousand, "more than three-fourths ... were women." (46) If that is anywhere near the truth, most in the audience were not students but from the town. Those "unregenerate undergraduates" who greeted Lionel Braham's appearance as King Thoas with laughter suggest more men in the audience--as do reports of men posted at the top of the Bowl to signal to the audience how Yale fared in the track meet taking place simultaneously on an adjacent field! (47) Barker understood the promotional power of local interest, casting "scores of Yale men" in the minor parts. (48) At the University of Pennsylvania performance in the Botanical Gardens, Mike Dorizas, a popular athlete and "the famous Greek student of the University, who is the strongest man in the collegiate world,' appeared as a herdsman. (49) Was this just more local appeal, or was the use of an athlete an attempt to bolster the "masculine" appeal of the production?
At the end of the tour, Lillah McCarthy returned to Europe alone. Barker had met someone else in New York, Helen Huntington. Although he tried returning to England and even took up a commission in the army, he eventually asked McCarthy for a divorce and married Huntington. He never again directed a major West End production, and he was primarily active as a lecturer and writer. McCarthy continued to act until her marriage to an Oxford professor, whereupon she retired from the stage. (50) Although she did perform as Iphigenia thereafter, the American tour marked the end of her partnership with Barker and the end of a remarkable experiment with Greek tragedy on the scale of ancient performances.
Iphigenia's tour of the Ivies was a sensation in its day and remained alive in the academic memory for some time, but a larger impact in American theater is harder to trace. Changing economics are certainly part of the explanation, and competition from motion pictures another. That advertisement for Birth of a Nation in the Boston Globe promised "18,000 PEOPLE ... 3,000 HORSES." (51) Theater could not compete on such a scale of spectacle. Star culture moved toward motion pictures as well. Lillah McCarthy was clearly a powerful draw for the productions, but once sound came to motion pictures, few stage actresses (or actors) could command the attention their competitors in film did. It is not even clear how successful the volume from which I have drawn the illustrations here was. Donald Cummings Fitts undoubtedly hoped to make a profit from his illustrated edition of the play, built around McCarthy's iconic image (see fig. 5). But its appeal apparently proved rather ephemeral, and Fitts does not seem to have enjoyed a professional career in photography thereafter.
[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]
In many ways the Barker productions of Greek drama in 1915 represent a road not taken. Although his influence on the staging of Shakespeare continued long after he himself ceased to act and direct, his attempt to restore Greek tragedy to its original scale and something like original production conditions did not have a similar effect. (52) Changing public taste, economics, competition from spectacle in movies, and the vagaries of star culture all played a role, as did a very different spirit in the commercial theater both in Britain and America after the Great War. Lillah McCarthy's postwar performances as Iphigenia must already have seemed echoes from another age. Yet they had proven the ability of Euripides' two-millennia-old texts to move a broad public and generate a spirited debate in both press and academic circles, which boded well for American writers' engagement with tragedy in the next generation.
I thank the Getty Research Institute, both for its support of my work as a Villa Visiting Scholar, through which I began the research for this article, and for its gracious permission to reproduce photographs from the key volume in its collection (n. 19, below). I am also most grateful to Nancy Miller of the University of Pennsylvania Archives for generous help with materials there. My student research assistant, Julia Victor, achieved wonders in finding obscure materials for me.
(1) Charles B. Purdom, Harley Granville Barker: Man of the Theatre, Dramatist and Scholar (London: Rockliff, 1955), 170; Dennis Kennedy, Granville Barker and the Dream of Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 179.
(2) Prime Minister Asquith reportedly encouraged McCarthy to go: "Go to America.... We don't want Barker as a soldier" (quoted in Purdom, 170). McCarthy's account is that Asquith encouraged her to go and make money for her postwar career: see Lillah McCarthy, Myself and My Friends (New York: Dutton, 1933), 185.
(3) Letter to Murray, 6 Nov. 1914, in Granville Barker and His Correspondents: A Selection of Letters by Him and to Him, ed. Eric Salmon (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1986), 287: "I do wish we could do the Trojan Women, but perhaps it is an end of the War play, not a middle War"; cf. Kennedy, 180.
(4) Despite Barker's claim to the Yale Daily News ("Greek Drama on Modern Stage" 14 May 1915, 1, 3), his was not the first Iphigenia in Tauris in America, nor were these strictly the first outdoor performances. On eighteen college productions of Iphigenia in Tauris before 1914, see Domis E. Plugge, History of Greek Play Production in American Colleges and Universities from 1881 to 1936 (New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1938), 14-20; for professional productions, see Karelisa Hartigan, Greek Tragedy on the American Stage: Ancient Drama in the Commercial Theater, 1882-1994 (New York: Greenwood, 1995), 21-22, with further references. The British actor-manager Ben Greet (under whom both Barker and Lillah McCarthy performed in the 1890s; see McCarthy, 39-42, and Purdom, 191) produced open-air Shakespeare in America and directed the student company that opened Berkeley's outdoor Hearst Greek Theatre in 1903 with Aristophanes' Birds; see Winifred F. E. C. Isaac, Ben Greet and the Old Vic: A Biography of Sir Philip Ben Greet (London: printed by author, 1964), 115-116, 199.
(5) Harrison Smith, "The Revival of Greek Tragedy in America," Bookman 41 (1915): 409 16 (409).
(6) The New Haven Evening Register ("Greek Play in Bowl Most Novel Production Ever Attempted" 9 May 1915, 2) notes that local promoters "urged" Barker to consider a "spectacular production" in the Bowl. After restaging his 1912 Iphigenia in Bradfield College's open-air, purpose-built theater in Berkshire, England, Barker swore, "Never in a stuffy theatre again" (letter to Murray, quoted in Purdom, 144; cf. Edith Hall and Fiona Macintosh, Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre, 1660-1914 [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005], 543-44), but Americans heard no backstory.
(7) "Greek Drama on Modern Stage," Yale Daily News, 14 May 1915, 1, 3.
(8) Kennedy, 182.
(9) "Gotham Theatre Gossip," Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 May 1915, 10. Barker planned to give receipts above expenses to war relief (Stanley D. Elberson, "The Nature of Harley Granville Barker's Productions in America in 1915" [PhD diss., University of Oregon, 1968], 175), but since he made a considerable loss, it is unclear if any donations were actually made. Maurice Browne's Chicago Little Theatre premiered Murray's translation of Trojan Women in America in 1913, then toured the Midwest, sponsored by the Women's Peace Party, simultaneously with Barker's tour (Kennedy, 181; Hartigan, 17-19).
(10) Clayton Hamilton, "Seen on the Stage," Vogue, 1 July 1915, 82. A few were less reverent even at the time: see M. J. Moses, "The Stadium and the Greek Play," Independent Weekly Magazine, 7 June 1915, 394-98, and the renowned George Jean Nathan's acerbic comments in Another Book on the Theater (New York: Huebsch, 1915), 16, on "Mr. Granville Barker's dramatic Fresh Air Fund."
(11) Letter to Murray, quoted in Kennedy, 181.
(12) "Visual and Poetic Charm of Ancient Greek Drama Presented by Barker's Company before 8000 Persons in Botanic Gardens" Philadelphia Public Ledger, 9 June 1915, 11.
(13) Moses, 396: "We cannot say that Mrs. Barker infused into Iphigenia the warmth or mystery that is in the part; there was a tendency to be dead level. She was decorative, but Euripides requires something more than pose."
(14) Absolute numbers are small, but see Plugge, 15-20.
(15) "Greek Play in Bowl," Yale Daily News, 22 April 1915, 1.
(16) McCarthy, 314.
(17) Christian Gauss, Through College on Nothing a Year: Literally Recorded from a Student's Story (New York: Scribner's, 1915), 156.
(18) Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University, 1916), 748. The Yale Library catalogue records a copy "interleaved with photographs of production in New Haven, 1915, in the Yale Bowl, given under the auspices of the Yale Dramatic Association," which is likely the same edition, but I have not been able to see this copy.
(19) Apparently, this limited edition (unrecorded in the National Union Catalogue) simply used the sheets of the regular edition, with some blank leaves bound in on which the photographs were tipped in. All the information comes from the Getty's copy, which bears this handwritten annotation: "Limited Edition / Illustrated / by / Donald Cummings Fitts / Copy #4 / 1915."
(20) "Iphigenia in Tauris," newspaper clipping with no bibliographical details preserved on page 6 of a scrapbook on the Barker productions, Box 13, Archives of the University of Pennsylvania.
(21) Clarence Stratton, "Greek Influence Upon the Stage" Art and Archaeology 3 (1916): 251-63 (252). Though no source identifies the precise locale of this photograph (by Underwood and Underwood), the grass and melting snow in the background suggest to me that this is a "backstage" photo taken at the Harvard performance, which was cold and wet.
(22) Barker's photograph is actually the first of the volume, opposite p. v.
(23) The New York Times reviewer, critiquing Wilkinson's designs, notes that "Iphigenia in the earlier scenes, before she donned an astonishing headdress, wore a costum [sic] exasperatingly suggestive of highly contemporary dishabille" ("Euripides Played in the Yale Bowl," New York Times, 16 May 1915, sec. 2, 19).
(24) Smith, 412. The review in the Philadelphia Bulletin, "Iphigenia in Tauris: Ancient Glories of Greek Dramas Golden Age" (University of Pennsylvania scrapbook, perhaps 9 June 1915), objected to her "painfully brick red gown" as "an offense to the eye."
(25) "Decorating Iphigenia," New York Times, 23 May 1915.
(26) Fitts's photograph opposite page 11 shows her holding a good imitation of a Geometric krater, preparing to pour a libation in front of the chorus. Her costume is the same as in Figure 1.
(27) One reviewer did see an allusion. Elberson, 189-90 and n. 78, cites an unidentified news clipping (which I have not seen), saying the executioners "looked like some weird Ku Klux Klan, 'born out of their time:"
(28) "Euripides' Play Presented Here," Philadelphia Inquirer, 9 June 1915, 13.
(29) Barker himself said that Braham had a method "like an overgrown good-natured bull" (quoted in Kennedy, 185).
(30) "Wonders of Tauri Shown in Stadium" Boston Journal, 19 May 1915, 5.
(31) "Iphigenia in Tauris: Ancient Glories of Greek Drama's Golden Age."
(32) "Second Thoughts on First Nights," New York Times, 30 May 1915, sec. 7, 8.
(33) "Euripides Played in the Yale Bowl," 19.
(34) The reviewer noted with false sympathy that "the Yale freshmen had never seen the famous Ballet Russe or the productions of Reinhardt and Gordon Craig" ("Irreverent Yale Freshmen Laugh on Seeing King Thoas in Greek Play," New York Sun, 17 May 1915).
(35) "Euripides at Cambridge," Christian Science Monitor, 18 May 1915, 4.
(36) "Iphigenia in Tauris: Ancient Glories of Greek Drama's Golden Age." This is not an allusion to the first African-American Broadway musical, Cook, Dunbar, and Shipp's In Dahomey: A Negro Musical Comedy (London: Keith, Prouse, 1903), though perhaps the "Dahomey Village" of the 1893 Columbian Exposition lies somewhere in the background.
(37) "Granville Barker in Talk on Greek Plays," Daily Princetonian, 5 June 1915, 1.
(38) Classicists will recall how at Athens the actor Hegelochus in Euripides' Orestes, by breathing at the wrong moment, turned the Greek word for calm into the word weasel. The audience did not forgive him for saying, "After the storm, I see the weasel appear."
(39) "Iphigenia in Tauris," New York Times, 1 June 1915, 15.
(40) McCarthy, 310.
(41) Smith, 415, reports the plan.
(42) "Second Thoughts on First Nights," 8. Cf. Elberson, 154. The Princeton Press ("Greek Play Translations" 5 June 1915, 3) announced that copies of Murray's translations were on reserve at the University Library and encouraged potential spectators to "familiarize themselves beforehand."
(43) "Greek Play in Yale Bowl Novel Event," New Haven Evening Register, 15 May 1915, 2, gives the figure often thousand. The later estimate of sixteen thousand at the Yale performance ("Theatre News of New York," Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 May 1915, 15) is surely exaggerated. For England, see Kennedy, 116-22, 207-11.
(44) Elberson, 177-78.
(45) Ibid., 179-80.
(46) "Greek Play in the Harvard Stadium," Boston Daily Globe, 19 May 1915, 8.
(47) "Euripides Played in the Yale Bowl," 19. Elberson, 164, quotes an eyewitness recollection that the laughter came primarily from the students.
(48) New Haven Evening Register, 9 May 1915, 2. Cf. "Iphigenia at 4:30" Yale Daily News, 15 May 1915, 3 (listing less than a score).
(49) "Play by Euripides Seen at University," Philadelphia Record, probably 9 June 1915. Cf. Philadelphia Inquirer, 9 June 1915. Mr. Dorizas had a silent supporting role next to the actor with the speaking part of the Herdsman: a young Claude Rains! Billed as Barker's "chief stage director," the future Invisible Man originally "was perhaps a shade too forceful in his gestures" in the view of J. R. Crawford ("Iphigenia a Success," Yale Daily News, 17 May 1915), while at Harvard the Christian Science Monitor ("The 'Iphigenia in Tauris' at the Harvard Stadium," 19 May 1915, 8) thought he delivered his speech "with a headlong rush that carried his audience with him."
(50) McCarthy's memoirs do not mention Barker's name once--because he would not allow it.
(51) Boston Daily Globe, 2 May 1915, 59. The best seats for Birth were two dollars, the same as the Greek plays, while most other motion pictures topped out at fifty cents. Another ad on the same page announced Wagner's Siegfried for the Harvard Stadium on 4 June.
(52) Thornton Wilder, writing to H. D. in 1935 about recent Greek tragedy productions, asserted, "The public must by now have forgotten Granville Barker's immense stadium productions" (The Selected Letters of Thornton Wilder, ed. Robin G. Wilder and Jackson R. Bryer [New York: HarperCollins, 2008], 301), for which reference I am indebted to Judith Hallett.
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|Title Annotation:||Harley Granville Barker, Lillah McCarthy and Gilbert Murray on the production of classical theater 'Euripides: Iphigenia in Tauris and The Trojan Women' in New York|
|Author:||Slater, Niall W.|
|Date:||Dec 22, 2010|
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