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Yeah yeah. Thank. You. 1787 and Yankee Doodle runs the land the old English song dressed in brand new American lyrics reflecting the self-conscious patriotism of the new things. Americans are beginning to look twice at themselves and what they see they sometimes are proud of and sometimes most. Of them will go to New York's one to have fun both together or here in April 1787 produced America's first comedy here on the stage of the cultural tie was broken by laughter is said to the spirit of Yankee Doodle. Program one of America on stage the character of a
nature as seen through its theater. America on stage is produced by the Wisconsin state broadcasting service under a grant from the Educational Television Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters consulting for the series is Jonathan W. curve and professor of speech at the University of Wisconsin and a specialist in the American theater. Here to introduce the program Professor Kurgan on this the first of the series of programs America onstage. We have 10 the opening night performance of the contrast by royal Tyler stage history tells us that the contrast with the first American played a boast a truly original native character a Yankee. And we discover that in time the Yankee stage Yankee that is came to symbolize the number of qualities that audiences in the newly independent nation most admired. As we will hear during programs to come the American Theater be got other symbols too.
We could say I suppose that the theater is at root a place of symbols. It has a capacity to highlight the dominant sentiments of the people who make up its audience is America on the stage then will show how the theater most democratic of the arts and all was responsive to changing currents of popular thought and emotions. There's been a kind of mirror countries manners fancies and prejudices. We should be ranging from the American theatres first timid start at the close of the revolution. There was eventual maturity at the dawn of the 20th century and we still seek out behind the plays in productions various images of our national life. We might call it a search for symbols. If we can detect the symbols we may appreciate the place of America onstage and Nol for the contrast the familiar green curtain of the candle of John Street stages parted and the company's leading comedian Mr. Thomas week now
steps forward to deliver the pro-law. Face Gox. This night a show which we. Call our own. The proud title so my goal. This time played 1780 softball the jhana Street Theater in New York City seated across the microphone from us here is Mr. Thomas with no. Currently the darling of New York theater Gores for his role of Jonathan in the play The contrast in the background you hear a recording of the prologue of the play which was also spoken by Thomas wick No no Mr. WOOD No. This prologue we're listening to this is the way you spoke at an opening night. Yeah one thing that impressed me Mr. Big now was when you were coming your way through it at the first performance that you didn't sound particularly sincere or in some respects I was part of the prologue to the end of it was an apology.
So what you say may be true since it was at the end of the prologue that you used the vibrato ring in your voice that perhaps running out too much. Yes I rather like that rang out I remember myself as rather a bad Bell appealing for attention. Just listen to these these alkali last slide show the rigid critics the reprobate top at least the patriotic caught will say Oh she didn't know the code at 10. The audience seemed to pick up your feeling about the prologue didn't think that's very definite perhaps another thing that enters into this is the behavior of audiences just after the curtain goes up. Sometimes it takes a while for the audience to settle down. Unfortunate that's true as all of the intro probably always have been. Theatre is a social affair and royal Tyler was so impressed with that tact that he wrote a satire of it into the play. Well that's where
Charlotte was describing the theatre to her brother yes yes and in act two. Actually she was describing her own audience. It is constructed. To be. Running the company and shen. Was. There yes. And choir is up three times. And we all saw. That. Day. And it. Ended just a little bit. Keep the. Cake up for. Us. And they see. That the cut. That
conversation. And that serves as our introduction to the charming lady who speaks those lines in the contrast. Mrs. Morris how do you do Mrs. Morris. You play the Charlotte and she is the woman she's this is to the good Colonel Manley who served under the mighty General Washington in the heroic revolution has always been heroic is Colonel manly and is exciting as a block of wood. Is this the hop. A lot of an Englishman I smell him is modest. It is that Mr. Wagner and you away as a loyal Englishman should emulate my example especially when in the colonnades colony might I suggest a realistic point of view as I am as English as you get I must provide you the we. All of us in this cost the guess the people who are now making their own way. Oh no really if people who know no one in legions to His Majesty King sir
I would remind you that these Mrs. March's these barbarities most of them are as if the point I wanted to make was that until Colonel Manley took the stage there was very little audience response even to you. Well the one thing. I did when I got put into the law and what isn't there often is not diminishing your Histrionic accomplishments my idea is simply I wasn't meaning to simply getting at the patriotism the audience exactly in the play every night since you up and it's been Manley's indirect appeal to patriotism that prompts the first real audience responses even as Vitruvian This is Mars is where you say I know what I say I say. But Brother I can't introduce you in these clothes why your coat looked as if it. Was you know. Looks as if it won't help you let it. Keep. The. Yes man.
Richard mentioned the coach you know. The public. Street. I mean it used to be the buckle of the sword in support of that government. I was up to establish. The system. But there was a time when this coach was respectable that some people. Even thought that those men who had enjoyed so many winter campaigns in the service of their country. Without. Clothing that at least is. That the. Short Knox theory. Was. The public tumults referred to by Colonel Manley are of course those of the Shay's Rebellion Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts was how shall we describe it an armed rebellion led by farmers farmers who accuse the government of failing to alleviate a depression or depression that brought on
numerous foreclosures and sent many farmers to prison for their death fighting fighting against tyranny. First the tyranny of England and then before the soldiers outgrow their uniforms the tyranny of their own sad plight it is far better they'd kept the English here convenient for Haiti. Those are certainly not the words of the character you portray in the play. No indeed. But those words Henry who plays the part of Colonel Manley in the contrast here we have a gentleman from Ireland playing a Yankee and the gentleman from England playing a Yankee who as you put so well Mr. Henry is here then you it with all due respect to Mr. Wade No. Don't you think Mr. Henry that the author has given him a somewhat better or somewhat somewhat of an understatement my good fellow indeed you do pull back with all your might his role of Jonathan is magnificent at least for the barbarian audiences one finds here can you not hear to even now the applause so coldly exuberant.
For that of course I saw. That monstrosity the frog pond full of bombing me for. That. And that. And that we could go. On I said. Oh. Yes. That's. That. Thank. You don't always like others to. Want. You. It. Could. Take. Us. Back. Then. Was. We've already had an opinion on this song from Mr Henry Funimation I wonder of you Mrs. Maurice what do you think of Yankee Doodle. You know I don't like it. Well and is it good theater or more specifically is a good
theater in terms of getting people to come to the theater. Well yes I suppose you do your missus never I mean of course it is good theater. My friends let a veteran tell you about good theater. Oh and on the edge of this very city in the Bowery 771 a French horn solo was played by a man standing upright on the back of a galloping horse. Yeah I mean that's very easy to do in this movie theater not three years earlier. A tribe of Indians entertained with a war dance and now Yankee Doodle are Shroff a mystic shot read grounds here for my friends grand for a barbarian who wants to fill the theater with barbarians. Mr. Will No Mr. McNeill what have you to say to that I wonder how the Constitutional Convention is getting out until I watch the Constitution up and you know that's not too far from the point I was getting at because I think we have in this play something the people were ready for. Whether they realized it or not. We're looking to ourselves for many things and Mr. Tyler's play reflects this. He was an officer in the revolution
and that of course we can put down as part of the reason behind his desire to write a play about Americans and then more recently there was Shay's Rebellion referred to at least twice in the play. Mr. Wade No you're a personal friend of Tylers. Could you. Yes well the rebellion was his reason for coming to New York. It was thought that Shays escaped to New York and the governor of Massachusetts sent Tyler down here to arrange for the return of Tyler native of puritanical New England came to New York saw his first play and within a month had written one of his own. I suppose you could say we have something of a revolution in the play and something of Shay's Rebellion and then something of a Yankee seeing his first play was. I hear you. Play. Cards and dice the devil's device and the play offs the shot with the devil I think Doctor that it is the conduct of temptation. You know you won't catch me at the playoffs. Mr. Jonathan.
Will you. US city I have some reasons for believing you. How do you know. Where were you about six o'clock. Why I went to see the magician the hocus pocus man they said as how he could eat a case knife. Well then. How did you find the place. As I was going about here and there and to again to find that I saw a great crowd of folks go out into a long entry that had letters over the door. So I asked the man whether that was not the place where they played hocus pocus. He was a very high man. He did speak like the Haitians. He lifted up his eyes and said they play hocus pocus tricks enough God knows mind. So I went right in and they showed me awake leading up to the garret just like meeting house gallery. And saw I saw the power of topping folks all sitting around in little
cabins just like father's corn crib. Did you see the man with his tracks. As I as I was looking out for him they lifted up put a green cloth and let us look right into the next neighbor's house. That. Made the family. Yes but on a seat the family and how did you know. That. What they were pretty much like other families knew it was a. Guy. Who was a good natured person the husband and a sad reminder pole of a life. Well Mr. Jonathan you were at the Playhouse at the Playhouse. Why didn't I see the players there by the people you saw. The players first see on my soul. Did I see the wicked play from you. Which I confess is
very accurate. You must've been at the play. Was. I began to smell a rat who you know I came away. I went to the man for my money again. You want your money says he. Yes says I I want says he one suicide. No man so jockey me out of my money. I paid I paid my money to see sights. And jumps up river side to my seat unless you call listening to people it's private business a sight law was a. Says he It is the school for scandalize Asia Holtz's on. No wonder you folks are so cute that. When you go to school to look out at LA. Weren't you the only member of the company willing to look at a play by a neophyte like Tyler or for
that matter any American that was essentially true. Indeed but then of course you are the comedian. Yeah I knew my job tongue. Well I know you don't want to know what I was getting at. No. Do you think Tyler foresaw the popularity of the role of Jonathan. No. How could he had no theatrical experience. Besides there's never been a role like Job of him. Now he made a try to portray his New England countryman honest devout direct. But. Polished and educated untravelled ever so unafraid of anything including making an ass of himself. In playing Jonathan said I know I cut why she shouldn't like that scene with Jasmine and that's the key to the popularity of the contrast here and you hope to get a laugh. You've simply got to make an ass of somebody preferably of yourself and that
is why we keep you here. Quite so but when I make an ass of myself I do it intentionally. The contrast is supposed to be a play in which we see a contrast between the manners of Americans and British with Americans coming off somewhat the better. Yet in making asses of people we have restricted this discussion to a scene in which the American does the honors to himself. How about a scene in which in English all that would be the laughing less nice Passover scene with just after you've had your somewhat unhappy experience with Jenny. Exactly. And just including his name is a sort of caricature wouldn't you say. He has his very focused fellow servant. You might say a gentleman's gentleman who's trying to out gentleman the gentleman Mr. Jordan.
What success. With the family in my section town crossed like you never saw you could have guessed she lived upon crab apples or vinegar for a fortnight. Whatever makes you so tarnation glum I was thinking Mr. Johnson what could be the reason of killing. A lady a call and why bother she was high out angry maybe it was because I passed her. First job. Mostly some other coals. I never yet knew would lead to. Anger. Being pierced. Well it is not the young woman's bashfulness I found I can can see why she shouldn't like me maybe. You have not the gray shoes Mr. Thomasson ace. Why does a young woman expect I must be converted the more i course Hal. I mean. Graces of person students mold says that we
must cut off our finger. At the top in Smolin sake. But. You won't understand that model of those who say look straight your mate to your wall make the CS it don't turn out not true. That's the Betty Ford Johnson. Besides. You. Do miss plane you see it. By a friend of mine. The true loft out tried to play the other night when you all told me drive the come up. What does one go see fun for if they come up. Love must love. My ruler all the time. I sure do like that old Mr. Johnson the lady. And all of our true emotions are by all
polka composed an immensely pretty gamut by which any lady or gentleman with a few. Kids should love as gracefully as you say I am a soul just like the. God of the. Well can't you let me see that again it is. Up for you. You. Must know this is a piece written by which I have said to my mom that if the place is well you must smile. Look grave. All off. There was a certain man.
Now you must. Read again I mind our mind my I. Was done. Well how do I not know you must love tarnation that's know nothing magic was done. She lay dying. And you know you must not snigger when a good woman said Diana. Yes Mr. Jonathan the notes say you must and she also husband to make a will. No you must begin to look and your husband said I like your husband say something. That was the endorsement said.
You don't have a heart to own your own life time. I'm don't want to have it off till you are dead to the eye. Than they are. That was even aware that there he was up to it. Was it that he is an excellent scene is an illustration of the character roles in the contrast. But it hasn't occurred to any of you that someone sitting in with us who has not read nor seen the play would know nothing of the plot. The lady speaks with a tongue of good sense I agree indeed we do injustice to our author. But thanks to both of you it Mrs. Morris and Mr. Henry both of you emphasized earlier this emphasize the importance of the lines and the rules so I disagree with you. Yes I probably don't like to bet that this play is divided roughly speaking into a character scenes and listening to our
conversation would fail to give that impression of Michael as a TRUE. Yeah Henry and yells This is not so much your concern for the plot as to the fact that your roles are limited mostly to the plot and I think as the play did not come off well you know so well I hope to remove all scenes from the play of a man's applause my idea. Applause. Oh you glowed with success like a peacock like a picture of a peacock and the frame he needs to struck me I want to get a time Plautus merely would look which Hugh and already all the stuffed Mike I mean to know your layout upcoming without no need for a frame the picture has never preceded the Nevermore a rank without such as you have shown of late will make you a peddler. And you are my foremost was. It. You're listening to the first program in the series America onstage the
temper of the nation as seen through the most social of artistic institutions. The theater here again is the consultant for the series. Professor Jonathan curve and the actors wrangling voices fade away but the voice of the Yankee had only just begun to be heard here in this era repressive a comic figure who spoke his mind directly and with a New England accent. The American stage had created a symbol native audiences claimed as their own this personification of the national spirit. The amateur playwright royal Tyler certainly started something when he let Jonathan loose among the polite characters of his comedy of manners. In fact he opened the stage doors to a whole line of Yankee characters. They would hold sway and dozens of popular dramas. By the time of the Civil War the Yankee had been acted more frequently than any other role. Several actors among them James Henry Hackett and George H Hill one famous specialist in pre-training Yankee playwrights gave him outlandish
names like welcome Sobersides for instance and Jonathan Doolittle horse speeding hemlock Calvin cart wheel Deuteronomy due to full Hector ears splitter and Zachariah digger well at times he appeared to be only a clown but nearly always he managed to keep some traces of the real article the Downeast rustic. Audiences took the stage Yankee to their hearts they relished his common sense his sincerity his independence all were traits they felt were especially American. So by applauding the Yankee They were in a way congratulating themselves. Cocky and exuberant possessor of all the sturdy virtues. This true blue son of Liberty who balanced through so many scenes represented for generations a symbol of Mister America. He was the direct ancestor of Uncle
saying. The next program for America on the stage will introduce Mr. William Dunlap. He was been called the father of the American theater. Dunlap's plays entitle Andrei that brings to the stage two celebrities of the American Revolution. General George Washington. And that most traumatic and enduring of military spies. Major John Andrei. To a. Program one of America on stay produced and recorded by the Wisconsin state broadcasting service under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center.
The programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters consultant for the series is Jonathan W. curve and professor of speech at the University of Wisconsin heard in the cast were cliff Roberts Jerry Bartell Marge Schaeffer Tom to teen and she look ace music composed and conducted by Don vaguely. Production by Carl Schmidt. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
America on stage
"The Contrast" by Royall Tyler
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents a radio play of The Contrast by Royall Tyler (1787).
Series Description
Selected American plays written prior to 1900. Each is an expression of contemporary popular sentiments. Radio adaptations of theatre performances, using selected excerpts.
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Actor: Roberts, Cliff
Actor: Bartel, Jerry
Actor: Case, Sheila
Host: Kerwin, Jonathan W.
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Tyler, Royall, 1757-1826
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-6-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:31
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Chicago: “America on stage; "The Contrast" by Royall Tyler,” 1963-09-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “America on stage; "The Contrast" by Royall Tyler.” 1963-09-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: America on stage; "The Contrast" by Royall Tyler. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from