The walls of the Lansing were not strained last night. A very small audience and a very quiet one came to see the same plays that drew together such a crowd a week ago. But, whether they had seen the first program or not, those who went last night received their reward. In the first place the glee club sang and sang several new songs—among them their very effective version of "Mary's Lamb," and "Romeo and Juliet," which the Michigan glee club sang last year; but then they did not have so tiny a Romeo and their Juliet was by no means so gigantic. The university may well be proud of its glee club. That a university—and a university town—should so long be without one is a wonder, but it will be a greater wonder if, now that one has come, the people ever allow themselves to rest content without one. Quartets are all very fine, but there is something about the music of a good glee club that nothing else quite gives, and the state university glee club is one of the good ones.
The mandolin club played well, too, and received an encore, and then the curtain rose on the first scene of the Latin play, "The Captivi." It is to be wished that the street in which the scene is laid were not so painfully modern. Costumes and scenery were wonderfully incongruous. Still, as soon as the play began, one forgot all about that. Indeed Mr. Tucker and Mr. Abbott could have made one forget more. Besides, when one heard them a second time their language grew more comprehensible. In spite of the small audience, the acting really seemed much better than a week ago, freer and more natural in every way.
To one who did not understand Greek, spoken or chanted, the real beauty of the Greek play lay in two things; the music one heard and the colors one saw. The music was twofold, first the rich harmony of Menelssohn , second, but none the less beautiful, the speech itself, the "vowelled Greek." One often hears it said that Greek is more musical than Latin, but to realize this properly one must hear, as he might last night, Greek following Latin, like music following speech. Then the costumes, of course these have been criticised. The people who think they know all about it say that the Greek wore nothing but white. But the Greeks were not so colorless a people as some think. They liked bright color, they even painted the columns of their temples, and the women wore robes of any color they fancied.
Certainly the effect last night was beautiful. All the tints were soft with a few exceptions. The purple of Kreon's robe, the black of Antigone's gown, the brazen armor of the rather boyish warrior, the gorgeous red and gold of the Koryphaios , all these stood out strong from the softer framing of delicate yellow, pale green and golden brown. The whole was a picture, a living picture and one to remember.
The actors all did better than they did a week ago. Antigone was more defiant, Ismene gentler, and the guard a little less irreverently colloquial. Kreon, too, seemed to have gained in voice what he had lost in beard, and put more life into his acting. One really felt that the play was a tragedy, and sat duly awed when the curtain at last fell before the kneeling Ismene.
A pleasing performance is assured at the Lansing theatre tonight to the lovers of burlesque such as the Nibbe French burlesque company is prepared to put up. Their olio is resplendent with rich, rare and racy vaudeville gems and the burletta of "His Nibs and His Nobs" is really captivating, replete with pretty girls, excruciatingly funny comedians, exquisite costumes and entrancing music.
Miss Marlowe's repertoire has this year been enlarged by a brilliant revival of Sheridan Knowles' sterling old comedy, "The Love Chase." In the character of its heroine, Constance, the artist is afforded a fine opportunity for the display of her graces and talents. Miss Marlowe presents this delightful comedy at the Lansing theatre Wednesday, February 28.
Lansing Theatre: The Lansing Theater, on the southwest corner of 13th and P Streets, was built in 1891, displacing the Funke Opera House as the largest and finest theater in Lincoln. The owners were J.F. Lansing (b. 1842), a Lincoln real estate man, and his brother-in-law Henry Oliver (b. 1857); Edward A. Church was the manager. According to the program of the opening week (November 23-28, 1891) the auditorium consisted of the orchestra and parquet seating on the main level, with dress circle at the rear and sides; three tiers of five boxes each and six loges were at the sides. Above were the balcony and the gallery. With standing room, about 2500 people could be present.
The building also housed offices, including that of Cather's friend and fellow reviewer, Dr. Julius H. Tyndale. It was renamed the Oliver Theater in 1898.
"Mary's Lamb,": Although Victor Herbert wrote a song of this name in 1898, with words by Edward E. Kidder, a satirical take off of Sarah Josepha Hale's "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was in circulation among glee clubs in the early 1890s.
Romeo and Juliet: WorldCat does not list a song of this name; it seems likely that that the glee club used a song from one of the operas based on Shakespeare's play; the Waltz song from Charles Gounod's opera is one of the most famous.
Michigan glee club: The University of Michigan's Men's Glee Club was founded in 1859, and is one of the oldest in the U.S. In 1892-93 it was directed by voice professor Silas R. Mills; from 1893 to 1908, the directors were students elected by their fellow glee club members. The glee club was joined by a banjo club in 1890 and a mandolin club in 1897.
Mandolin club: The University of Nebraska Mandolin club was formed c. 1893: there is no mention of it in the 1892 yearbook, The Sombrero. The mandolins were supplemented by guitars and banjos, rather than alto and tenor mandolins proper.The members of the 1893-94 Mandolin club were mandolins E. C. Ames, George Cullen, E. C. Hardy, Clare Young, Arda Chapman, H. F. Helms, and P. C. Montgomery; guitars H. P. Dowling, Will Raymond, Clare Hebard, J. B. Beecher, and A. C. Carpenter; banjos L. C. Packard and Robert Manley; and cello Will Westermann.
Picture on p. 216 of 1894-95 Sombrero
Captivi: The Captives, a comedy by Plautus, concerns the efforts of Hegio to trade his Elean slaves for his son, captured in war by the Eleans.
Mr. Carlisle F. Tucker: Carlisle F. Tucker was born in Massachusetts about 1875, the son of Francis C. and Emily Tucker. The family, which included a sister, Louise, and three other brothers, William, Francis F., and Henry, moved to Lincoln in the early 1890s, and lived at 1720 M St. The elder Francis and his son William were engineers for the Burlington Railroad. Carlisle and Francis ('94) attended the University of Nebraska, although Carlisle (also known as Carl) did not graduate. The 1896 Lincoln city directory lists Carlisle as a music teacher; the family left Lincoln soon thereafter.
Ned. C. Abbott: Edward (Ned) C. Abbott, University of Nebraska '96, also took a law degree in 1900 and his M.A. in 1918. While at the University of Nebraska he was active in the English club and the Nebraska Literary Magazine, which published some of Cather's early stories. He was superintendent of the Nebraska School for the Blind from 1913-1947. He maintained some contact with Cather: at one time he contemplated writing a biography of her, and sent her a questionnaire, which she answered, though warily. His papers are in the Nebraska State Historical Society.
Mendelssohn: Composer Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847) was born in Hamburg, Germany, the grandson of a famous Jewish philosopher, Moses Mendelssohn. He was a child prodigy who gave his first public performance at the age of nine, and had a piano quartet published at the age of thirteen. He wrote his first twelve symphonies between the ages of twelve and fourteen. Such works as the overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream (1826) showed the fulfillment of his early promise. In 1829 Mendelssohn visited England for the first time; on subsequent visits he became a favorite of Queen Victoria. His oratorio, Elijah, premiered in Birmingham in 1846. Others of his most famous compositions include the Italian symphony (1833); the violin concerto in E minor, op. 64 (1844); and his most popular and famous solo piano compositions, the Songs Without Words.
Mendelssohn's reputation declined in the latter half of the nineteenth century, perhaps in part because of his Jewish origins—although the family was baptized in 1816. Richard Wagner showed his scorn in a veiled way in an 1850 pamphlet on the Jewish influence on music.
"vowelled Greek.": The phrase, "vowelled Greek" was apparently first used by Keats and was picked up by later writers such as Walter Pater.
King Kreon: Kreon (or Creon) is the brother of Jocasta, queen of Thebes and mother/wife of Oedipus. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus accuses Kreon of conspiring to overthrow him. In Antigone, Kreon precipitates the action of the play when he forbids Oedipus' daughter, Antigone, to bury the body of her brother, the rebel Polyneices. The blind prophet Tiresias forces Kreon to see his errors, but before he can undo them, Antigone, Haemon (his son and Antigone's fiancé), and Eurydice (Kreon's wife) have all taken their lives.
Antigone: Antigone, a tragedy by Sophocles, was written first of the Theban trilogy, in 442 B.C., though chronologically it comes last. As the play opens, Oedipus' two sons are dead, killed by each other in fighting for the throne. Their uncle, Creon, now king of Thebes, decrees that Polynices, the rebel, should not be buried. Antigone, sister of the two brothers, believes that it is her duty to the gods and her brother to bury him; her sister Ismene agrees, but is afraid to take part. Creon leaves Antigone to starve to death in a cave, but the blind prophet Tiresias eventually convinces Creon that he was wrong. He goes to the cave to release Antigone, but she has hanged heself (as did her mother Jocasta). At this discovery, Creon's son, Antigone's fiancé, takes his own life, as does his mother, Creon's wife Eurydice.
Koryphios: In Greek plays, the Koryphaios was the leader of the chorus; he or she usually stood in the center, and sometimes engaged in dialogue with the actors.
Ismene: Ismene is the sister of Antigone, in Sophocles' tragedy. She agrees that the body of their brother, the rebel Polynices, should be buried in defiance of the decree of their uncle, King Creon, but lacks the courage to carry out the plan. When Creon condemns Antigone to be buried alive, Ismene demands to share her sister's fate, but Antigone hangs herself before the sentence is carried out.
Nibbe's French burlesque company: Odell's Annals of the New York Stage notes that Nibbe's Burlesque Company opened at the Olympic Theatre in Harlem in May 1893 with an opening piece, The Sunday Club Reception and a closing piece, His Nibs and His Nobs. Odell lists the members of the company as Mabel Andrews, McGrew and Armold, John Siddons, Boyle and Graham, Morton and Eckhoff (XV 435).
olio: The "olio" was a variety show of songs, instrumental music (usually violin, banjo, tambourines and other rhythm instruments, such as the bones), dancing, and jokes, ending with a comic skit.
"His Nibs and His Nobs": Odell's Annals of the New York Stage refers to His Nibs and His Nobs (1893) as a closing piece for Nibbe's Burlesque Company (XV 435); the piece was not reviewed by the New York Times."His nibs" and "his nobs" are both slang terms referring to self-important men.
Julia Marlowe: Marlowe (born Sarah Frost in England in 1866) made her stage debut in 1878 and first appeared in New York in 1887. Her beauty and refinement made her immensely popular with audiences, and she toured frequently with her own company, with both her first husband, Robert Taber (married 1894, divorced 1900), and her second, the almost equally well-known actor, E. H. Sothern (married 1911). She was considered a romantic rather than an emotional actress, especially famous in Shakespearean roles. She retired in 1924 and died in 1950.
Sheridan Knowles: James Sheridan Knowles (1784-1862), a cousin of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, was born in Ireland and came to London as a boy. His literary talents were recognized early, but after a brief military career he became a physician before going on the stage. His first play appeared in 1810; Virginius, one of his longest-lasting plays, premiered in 1820 with the famed Edmund Kean; William Tell, in 1825, starred another famous actor, Macready. Other favorite plays were The Hunchback (1832), The Wife (1833), and The Love Chase (1837). Knowles later became a Baptist minister.
The Love Chase: The Love Chase, a play in five acts by James Sheridan Knowles (1784 -1862), which premiered in 1837. Vain Sir William Fondlove wants to marry the Widow Green, who wants to marry young Waller, who loves her maid Lydia, though he fears their social stations are too different for them to marry. Waller's friend Wildrake, a country sportsman, learns to love his neighbor Constance, Sir William's daughter, who teases and torments him, when another friend, Trueworth, pretends to love her. The play ends with a triple wedding when it is revealed that Lydia is Trueworth's lost sister.
Cather reviewed Marlowe in this play on 1 March 1894. Electronic text: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=3539