The Fowler company of sterling players appeared at the new Funke last night in "A Wife's Honor." There is one canon that must always be remembered in considering a repertoire company, and unfortunately it is generally necessary to state it because people are so likely to forget it. It is that high art cannot be purchased for 10 cents. Everything that is said of the Fowler company is said in a strictly relative way comparing it with other companies of its kind. In the first place, though Mr. "Jack" Fowler is billed as the leading man, Mr. Joseph Bennett as George Fane did much better acting last night, but it is understood that Mr. Fowl r has the disadvantage of being very new in his part. Mr. Bennett did some very fair work and his dress suit was in notably better condition than those of most repertoire people. Mr. Hal W. Brown and Miss Cushman captured the gallery by their banjo specialties. There is one thing that Mr. "Jack" Fowler and his players should remember, and that is that the public demands that even repertoire companies know their lines, and last night both Mr. Jack and his players were guilty of sticking in them not once, but many times. There is one good feature about the Fowler company: it has never been here before and most of us, unlike Hamlet , prefer evils that we know not of. Tonight the company appers in a rollicking farce, "Married for Money," in which they will undoubtedly appear to better advantage.
Fowler Company: Joseph Bennett, Hal W. Brown, Mrs. J. H. Casey, Earl Craddock, Margaret Eastman, Maggie Miller, and a Miss Cushman were members of the Fowler Company, headed by actor John C. Fowler, in the mid 1890s.
The Funke: The Funke Opera House was built in 1885 by Fred Funke (d. 1890), a Lincoln wholesale cigar, wine, and liquor dealer, on the southwest corner of 12th and O St. Until the Lansing Theatre was built it was the largest and finest theater in town. The first manager was Ed A. Church (d. 1927), followed by Robert McReynolds; Frank Zehrung managed it briefly, from July 1889 to January 1890, when L. M. Crawford took over. Zehrung resumed management in 1894. The building housed shops on the ground floor and offices in parts of the upper floors, as well as the theater itself.
A Wife's Honor: This play is not listed in the indexes to Odell's Annals of the New York Stage or the New York Times drama reviews.
high art cannot be purchased for 10 cents: Ten cents was charged for admission to the very cheapest shows; twenty, thirty, and forty cents was the standard set of rates at smaller theaters in the 1890s.
Mr. Jack Fowler: American actor John Crawford Fowler, also known as J.C. "Jack" Fowler, John C. Fowler, or simply as John or Jack Fowler (1869-1952), was born in New York City.
He appeared in more than forty movies between 1923 and 1946, though often uncredited; the Internet Movie Database lists him as "man in dance hall" in Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925), for example.
Mr. Joseph Bennett: Actor Joseph Bennett is not listed in the indexes to Odell's Annals of the New York Stage or the New York Times drama reviews.
George Fane: George Fane is a character in the play, A Wife's Honor.
Miss Cushman: The index to Odell's Annals of the New York Stage, v. XV, notes several actresses surnamed Cushman; Adelaide Cushman appeared in an Irish drama in 1893, and may also be the Miss A. Cushman who appeared in another Irish play. Sadie Cushman appeared in several light operas. An Emma Cushman is listed as well.
Hamlet: Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (written 1599-1601), a five act tragedy, is widely considered the greatest play in English. It was apparently based on a 12th century history, or on a preceding play on the same subject, possibly by Thomas Kyd. The play deals with murder, revenge, madness, and man's will. It contains some of the most famous lines in English, especially Hamlet's soliloquy, "To be or not to be" as well as such famous scenes as Ophelia's mad scene, and Hamlet with Yorkick's skull.
prefer evils that we know not of: In Hamlet's famous soliloquy (Hamlet, Act 3, scene 1), as he contemplates the reasons for suicide and why more people do not take that action, he says:
Who would fardels bear,To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.
Married for Money: The only record of this play in the New York Times drama review index is from 1871, when a production starring Charles Mathews was reviewed.