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Nebraska State Journal

9 November 1894
page 6


Farce comedy, like the poor, we have always with us.  The latest installment of the same was Charles A. Loder in "O, What a Night," at the Lansing last night.  The cast has been somewhat improved this season.  The specialties will pass and Miss Mattie Lachette as Chick is a clever dancer and has a fair amount of animation of the milder type.  Thin soubrettes always run to milk and water animation, just as heavy ones always go in for fire water of the hottest kind.  Mr. Loder is as repulsive as ever. There is a point where buffoonery ceases to be funny and becomes offensive. Comedy which consists entirely in the unadulterated coarseness of the streets is scarcely indurable.  There is a point at which patience becomes exhausted and at which even Frank DuTiel's red dude would be moved to revolt.


  Like the poor, we have always with us: In the Bible, when Jesus was in Bethany, a woman poured a jar of precious ointment on his head; the disciples objected, saying that the ointment could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus responded, "Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always" (Matthew 26, 10-11; the story, with slightly different versions of the reply, is also told in Mark 14 and John 12).

  Charles A. Loder: American comedian and singer Charles A. Loder made his name first as a German dialect performer; his Charles A. Loder's Such an Appetite Has Got My Caterine Songster was published in 1879. Odell reports him as appearing in variety theaters in New York in the late 1880s, but not in the 1890s.

  Oh, What a Night!: Oh, What a Night!, also known sometimes as What a Night, a farce by George Hoey, opened in New York on December 28, 1885, after touring in rural areas, according to the Times reviewer. This reviewer noted that though the plot was "wildly absurd," it had more "ingeniusness" than many American plays. The original cast starred Gus Williams and Topsy Venn, who toured with it in the late 1880s.

The phrase "O What a Night" may have been taken from Isaac Bickerstaff's comic opera, Lionel and Clarissa; or, The School for Fathers (1768); several characters sing a song with the recurring line, "O what a night is here for love!"

  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.

The Oliver Theater, Lincoln, Nebraska. The theater was originally named The Lansing Theater.

  Miss Mattie Lachette: Mattie Lachette's name does not appear in the New York Times drama review index nor in Odell's Annals of the New York Stage. If Lachette is not a stage name, she may be one of the two grown-up children of Amos and Martha Lachette of New Hampshire, the only occurrence of this name in any US census before 1920.

  Chick: The women characters in Oh, What a Night! as listed in the New York Times review were Celeste Vavasour, a burlesque actress, Angeline, the "perturbed wife," and Betsey, the "pert chambermaid" (29 December 1885). Betsey seems the most likely character to have been renamed "Chick."

  soubrette: The soubrette in a play is the role of a pert, coquettish character, often a maidservant or the comic friend of the heroine; the name was often given to actresses who played such roles.

  Frank DuTiel: Lincoln businessman Frank B DuTiel was born in Indiana in 1870, the son of Claude (sometimes given as Claudius) and Anne DuTiel. The family, including his sisters Bertha and Mary, moved to Lincoln in the early 1880s, where, after her husband's death, Anne DuTiel ran a boarding house in the family's home at 1641 P Street. By 1892 Frank DuTiel set up a cigar and tobacco business at 1020 O Street. Shortly after the turn of the century he began to publish picture postcards of Lincoln buildings and attractions. In 1911 he was president of the Acme Amusement company in Lincoln.

  Frank DuTiel's red dude: Presumably the "red dude" is the wooden "red Indian" which often stood outside cigar stores such as that owned by Frank DuTiel of Lincoln.