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Freshman And pray what is special about an agreement between certain persons to live without using their souls just have to do it as a kid for virtue decorum for purity and manners for morals to effect or shame for the works of their Creator and expend all their wrapped up on the works of their tailors and dressmakers you have the most ideas Mr. Truman quite rustic and deplorably. In. The. Park with her NEW YORK March 26 1845 fashion is they hit Play of the year a bullseye hit on the target of the time. This is America. A rowdy rambunctious newly rich nation swaggering out of the frontier and falling headlong into. Infatuated with faction ruled by special lying passion like a flag
and waving it above the stars and stripes to 0 the year 1845 was full of patriotism to be sure Texas is joining with you and planners are beating the trail to Oregon. But then New York in the fabulous world of finance men make fortunes and their wives bleed from the kitchen and fly into a French accent frills brothers and pueblos flutter and fools and frauds follower of fashion fiddles. This is New York and high society and the Park Theater on the night of March 26 1845. The the. Program six of America on stage. The character of a nation
as seen through its theater America on stage is produced by the Wisconsin state broadcasting service under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters consulting for the series is Jonathan W.. Kervin professor of speech at the University of Wisconsin and a specialist in the American theater. Here to introduce the program Professor Kervin the decade of the 1840s was to see the American middle class flushed with prosperity pushing its way toward the once forbidden preaching to the fashionable Drawing-Room ambitious women led the way. Social climbers all their Bible was a book of etiquette their shield gentility. I felt it the most serious obligation to master the complex rules of good behavior the proprieties what Mrs Sarah Joseph a hail of Goldie's ladies book labeled the little things the graceful finishing touches.
For the ladies and their followers. The climb was one of deadly earnest. But for Anna Coren a Who who's already well-established position in society unable to keep an objective point of view. The methods of the would be fashionables suggested material for comedy. Specifically material for one of the brightest of all American stage comedies of manners fashion or life in New York. People aren't encouraged to wait. No no I think not. Here's your fare. Good night. There ain't no play tonight sir. The theater is dark. Ain't nobody up there sir. Never mind I'll get in somehow. Good night. No like I'm just throwing somebody out the door. Perhaps it's not luck. Good. You understand we're not exactly expected where rather in the nature of eavesdroppers. Confound it. No lights in this lobby. If I had a match I wouldn't if I was you to know no batteries in the theater if you please. I say you'd be
Mr. Blake I believe. The box keeper I Tosa come this way. There's a gas light on the stage. If you could to help you if you take my arm say better much better things. No rehearsals start to go just so mine is not what don't your shins the to the boxes is right over there. Now let's stop here where we can watch and not disturb them. I'm not really here to see the actors not the actors but why come to watch them tomorrow night when the play opens. But right now I want to see Mrs. Mollet I miss my guess the lady who wrote the play. Is she here yet. She is not but I thought the president set foot in the theater since the rehearsals began. But the play opens tomorrow then I bloody well know the pardons. But I never see them like a lady play right. Never not in all my years in the theater no not even in the old days in England. You know what you'd have done to the third third to the third term. Pardon sir. I mean the third row of boxes up there was always been reserved for.
Yes. As amended the worse or you know the custom. The women of the streets would have to speak plain. That's what they say. Yes. It's always been the custom but not for Mrs. mount's play that there's to be none of that sort. Tomorrow night not the one that picked the baby. None of your clips and in the pit get the pit. It was hard. Gentlemen James Watson when Edgar go. James Gordon Bennett. The gentlemen of the press. They are ladies in the picture begging your pardon. It's never happened before Mrs. Mount and her player breaking precedence right and left nothing but the cream of society here tomorrow night sold out as I say and they may be coming to laugh after that talk can be the cruelest of all when they're a mind to it. And she being one of them the finest all time is on her side and her mother's too. Mr. Blake did you hear something today. What is it sir. I think someone's at the door but you see I told her you understand of course my friends it's quite true. Mrs. March flying in the
face of New York society by writing for the theatre and even her father's old friends may cut her dead after tomorrow night. But I understand her husband's illness and state of financial affairs forced him to. And if you watch your step carefully ma'am I tell Mr. Barry your No. No you mustn't. Don't call him on the ACT my wife wishes to observe the rehearsal without disturbing anyone. Please show us to a box. Mr. mobiling Yes I too am an observer and a great admirer of Mrs. moments. I had the pleasure of seeing her recitations in Boston my gratitude madame for a memorable kind of you I'll never forget your reading of Sargent's poem the of the steamer President. Thank you. I feel a little like a shipwreck myself at the moment. Boston was frightening but this is worse much worse. Nonsense my dear you are splendid with your readings of poetry and you shall have another triumph tomorrow as a playwright. Come let's find a box. But James. No. How ghastly the stay inside job. Why don't they turn up the
football. He looks frightfully like like a ghost or I'm one of those people who met him. It seems the actors and Miss Duberry acting. That's him at the table on the left and at the prompters the men sitting under the gas light. But but surely they won't appear in those clothes. A shocking bad hat. It's supposed to be a fashionable drawing room. Oh they'll have costumes and scenery tomorrow night. It'll be ever so bright and gay you'll see. But they're reading their parts. They know their lines. Jane you know I'm not even laughing at all. He's supposed to be a. I did write it but not by this mode of receiving visitors only upon one specified day of the week as a most convenient custom. I flatter myself that I was the first to
introduce us to New York. That is strictly a reason most of the men at that time we hardly say arm chair in front. Of. That. Tie that aren't so gents there are American lives this high guy. Who. Who yes. To live. But I'm black. But to obtain a white American for a domestic is almost impossible. I think the ladies Mrs. Tiffany is not the central figure in your play Mrs. Tiffany is the lady of fashion. Wonderful. I can recognize them.
I hope you don't ring the bell is your name my name is Mary. I consider it to be nice to be in my presence. If you're trying to be is my guest. I was what did you mean you can recognize this company from from white realism. But I had no actual person in mind. I only learned to laugh at some of our men. I didn't stuck to writing a and this is my own great circle of friends or family she's been entertaining. That was only in fun. This is professional theater last night on New York. We'll share our laughter. My dear Mr. Sargent our good friend the editor he really suggested my name. I'm thinking I need something different from the usual place. Something
amusing about New York. It wasn't written for your family then this is oh dear. No my family I mean my father and sisters. They have no connection with the professional theatre to be quite frank. My wife wrote the play for me because we find ourselves in difficult we are interested as a matter of business. My husband has been terribly ill. He was the law last year while we were abroad. Hush the rehearsals beginning again. We'll take the opening of three resistivity of your plays. You enter the parlor left across the center followed by Mr. Cafferty. All right began your extravagance will ruin me Mrs. Devaney. Yes he does hate him. I guess you of the necessity of keeping up a display which every woman and pray who makes a factor about the question all women in
this land are so constituted like you madam and fashion is a good for more serious than charity overcovered. It was a fashion thing that you insisted upon my purchasing this expensive house for fashion sake. You read me and that is everywhere else in the city built a conservatory. Why are more so lovely and American and your grumbling I might do something about nothing. Still I know I'm using it on this date. Is there something on. That. Besides I'm sure I've done all I could to please you. There's that dreadful old man that that true gives me the life times a day. It. Will do as well. Mrs. Tiffany I told you he was a rich old farmer the early friend of my father that I have reason to think he might assist me in my present embarrassments. Yours a villa they was bought and has yet to
be paid for. Mr. Tallman is in some trouble for us. Oh. I can never marry my daughter. Why madam I am told the reason there was a regular matrimonial stock company which fits in the Dandy's for this market is accounted for by some law in Europe. Not the same team. I know what he does. I know you do. What makes the act so we moderate positions for an ounce of lunacy in Berkshire. I'm not sure it makes fools but cannot feed them. All right all right all right people will stop there. Now if you all take a brief rest we'll resume with a college entrance and the love of James Jones and the actors are struggling. Yes. Fighting the lines there. They're out of step dancers who can't quite catch the.
I see nothing of the sort. My dear a sense of balance they're trying to find big speeches where they can take the centre of the stage the way they always do and all the attention to themselves look like you were Shakespeare or something to our great don't know how to behave like. No my dearest Lily you always do. It isn't like any other play that. It's marvelous. Do you really like to read about it. I shall die of shame. Can't you see how miserable they all do. Reading reading the line not having any fun with my dearest girl. Come you make yourself sick Mr. Blake. But a glass of water for my wife. Please her so. A tragedy I tell you after all I should not have come to tell your story so dearly. Oh OK. You know sir my wife wrote this play the whole flybacks in a matter of three weeks. Amazing. He stood only a month ago. It's been very exciting I'm trying conferences business matters rushing it into a meeting simply couldn't believe he would really do it.
I was so happy. And now you must quiet yourself. Rest breathe. Do you know that you are only to say Drink this. You needn't worry so much I do and I'm taking you home no. I'll go see to the carriage and come back for you. Just close your eyes now and rest a moment. I won't be long. Shall I stay with him Mr. March if I can be of service. No thank you sir. I believe my wife prefers to be alone. Blake will stay within call. I pray to God that she is not hurt by this affair. I understood she was quite recovered from really better much better. It was the mesmerism that did it you know. But we did not call it quite a recovery. She's always been delicate her family gave her the name Billy when she was still a child. I beg pardon. Did you say mesmerism is phenomenal simply utterly phenomenal for almost three years. She led a double life three years sometimes for days and weeks at a time she was in a separate state of consciousness. She took on those sweet spiritual charm of a
child. She had great intelligence and perception even wrote exquisite poetry and carried on all her daily household duties in a somnambulant state. Eyes closed. The eyeballs rolled up. She lived as it were by the Spirit but her illness has not disappeared largely largely. She's had much relief from pain but still we must be careful and know if you'll excuse me I hope to find carriage quickly and get her home. May I call tomorrow night after the play. I should like to see her in her moment of triumph. Perhaps next day trial. God grant it is that. Oh yes yes of course. Please join us then. Good night. Good night Mr. March. You know. You. Know.
What's in the newspaper. Faster than a comedy. I'll go but stay. No I won't bother to make you play homemade calicos. I read it but the drama must be stopped. Had the number stamp would do. But then for plays we like the man and the man speaks. One critic was creed fashion what he can never was from a woman's pay. It takes a mind to write a comedy. No. This is the prologue. So it's really quite daring. This is what is standing up to critics from the start. We'll see now a new york society in all its diamonds and furs can see and hear itself satirised and still a plot to
this is only a specified day of the week is a must. I. Was the first to introduce it about you all right. You're quite sure that it's strictly a modem in my arm chair in French. How long. Do. You. Practice. It and learn how to conduct yourself as. You write for all aspects of my money. I am you
go. To. Forward Mr. Cowden for the edification of fashionable society. Confess that you are an impostor impostor. My friend has told us all about it and something may be done for you. Well then I do confess I am no coward. But ladies and gentlemen I myself as the captain I know some of this is not something for this is tremendous. Never seen anything like it. This is what has got to take the clothes. They want to see this amazing woman.
I can hardly make my way down the aisle. I see no signs of the author. She must be backstage already get to. Get to play play play play whereas this is what the house is gone. She fired him she did. You brought light blue sky high and a blast of glory. Take me to that little lady. You don't love her. But where is she. Like doesn't she know. Can't you hear me cry. She just stood in the way. Beastly. Simpson tried to drag it out. He moved swiftly with excitement knowing you've got a big kick in. It was like touching your daughter. You just gave a little cry like. And then her husband came and took her home. Coming. Six years old. I know what. She was married at 15. I attended the first smile when they gave her
honeymoon. Confound it you never did say how Tiffany made his money his wife spend it but how did he make it speculation. Probably real estate sale. You hear about that deal. Some fashionable New York talking about the hit play fashion. House. The next day on March 27. The news is all over town. Thousands couldn't get into the theater are reading what the critics have to say. Sensation unexampled best American comedy inexistence new play written in our own city by one of our own citizens Mrs. Martos capacities to rank among the first to lay. The house is already sold out for the next performance and the actors and the director are holding another rehearsal this
time to cut the play. You can go right into say mind your step. Thank you Blake. Anywhere She's here right up there on the stage where she belong with Gertrude. I want to take just before Mr. Truman comes in and finds Truman take after him harder with that stick. I always love that. All right bigot. Come come Bob. I love you. But you know already before long I shall make something know my wife. And of course. You shall remain in the family my honor you share in of these matters without difficulty. I am an American and my charming little dog. I feel quite tame. Did you ever. No I'm quite safe. I do not know what I should have done without your dog. Never tell a lie girl. Not even for the sake of pleasing an old man.
All women would be safe if they became babae. That's it that's it. All right. Those lines stand. Now we will take a short intermission. And then go on to Act 3. This is my last visit. I believe this is what I'd hope to see you last night but you run away. You must be very happy Mrs. Ma. Yes very happy James. I am grateful to these people. I'm a newcomer to the area but I can see and hear and I can be honest about my play. It's not a literary going out and these people made it a success and now you're not afraid of a theater. Today we find you quite at home on stage no more faint of heart. No more hiding out there in the dark. Even if you have been lied to would today. Gosh I love this stage. Oh god this is my world. I overheard you say oh you can not count. The name is Chris W.H. Chris from Ireland. Of course Mr. Chris forgive me
and I couldn't help thinking as you spoke. You mean that I love this dress and you would love it even more from behind the footlights. Mr. Crisp is right. But my family my friends. Oh no no I couldn't do it. May I quote your own lines. Mrs. Mowatt never tell a lie girl. Not even for the sake of pleasing an old man. That's right. And never believe what you hear about the sins of the state. Remember you wrote in the play all women would be safe if they knew how Bercu became the queen. I cannot permit me misses my dear lady. You are wrong. You must say and when you say yes you will not be wrong for you are the lady of fashion. Right my friends. Am I right.
Here. Again is Professor Jonathan Kurban. Voltaire said the true comedy is the speaking picture of the foibles and follies of a nation. The definition applies to fashion audiences attending its first performances in the 1840s laughed uproariously. In recognition it may be the real Mrs. Tiffany's among their acquaintances. Today if we were to see the play we might think it merely quaint. Time has blunted its satire. It will always however be a place on our stage for comedies like fashion because the nubile rich and the socially ambitious are always with us. Their pretensions still at targets for ridicule. Timeless also as Mrs. Mallet's homely suggestion that manners without sincerity cut a very foolish figure among America's nineteenth century ladies. By the way a few are more attractive and admirable and of course Malate may find something gallant about this slight determined figure after her place success she did in fact
become a professional actress and a good one too. She lost there by several of the more prudish over society friends but she gained some important new admirers. One of them who was quite enraptured wrote her beauty is of the richest and most impressive character. Her countenance is wonderfully expressive. Her self-possession is marvelous. Her step is queenly our general grace of manner has never in our opinion been equalled on the stage. These qualities alone would suffice to assure her a proud triumph. But she possesses a quality beyond all these and Susy has unaffected freshness of heart a capacity not only to think but to feel well any actress would rejoice in such praises this. It appeared in the Broadway Journal on August 2nd 1845 under the byline of the distinguished poet storyteller and notoriously tough critic. Edgar Allan
Paull nineteenth century New York was not exclusively a city of a fashion mad. The next program of America on the stage. We'll focus on another side through the lens of Dion Bosco's famous melodrama the poor of New York. The. Program six of America on stage 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 consulting for the series is Jonathan W. Kervin professor of speech at the University of Wisconsin heard in the cast were cliff Roberts Braider Brown or D.A. Tom to
America on stage
"Fashion" by Anna Cora Mowatt
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 Fashion by Anna Cora Mowatt (1845).
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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: Gruenwald, Tom
Actor: Case, Sheila
Host: Kerwin, Jonathan W.
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Ritchie, Anna Cora Ogden Mowatt, 1819-1870
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-6-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:50
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Chicago: “America on stage; "Fashion" by Anna Cora Mowatt,” 1963-10-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “America on stage; "Fashion" by Anna Cora Mowatt.” 1963-10-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: America on stage; "Fashion" by Anna Cora Mowatt. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from