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May 03, 1914 - Image 3

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1914-05-03

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n

Theatrical

C

GERMAN PLAYERS
TO GIVE COMEDY
Pabst Company from Milwaukee Will
Present "Comtesse auekerlr
at Whitney.
CONRAD BOLTON HEADS CAST.
A comedy that is ever welcome on the
German stage, "Contesse Guckerl," will
be presented at the Whitney theatre May
r6 by the German Players from the Pabst
theatre. ilIwaukee, under the direction
of Mr. Conrad Dolton. The author, Franz
von Schoenthian, whose untimely death re-
c;ntly meant a decided loss to the stage,
offers in "Comtesse Gucker" a romantic
and interesting bit of life. The scenes of-
the play are laid near Carisbad in the year
016, when such names as Napoleon,
Goethe, and Beethoven were most frequent-
ly heard. As "The Countess G ucki," is
had a remarkable run about 17 years ago
under the management of Augustine Daly.
The heroine of "Comtesse Guckerl' is
an attractive Viennese countess who ad-
justs the love atfairs of a pair of bashful
cousins, after putting to rout a dashing
interloper. The latter, to be impersonated
by Mr. Bolton, then proceeds to lay siege
to the hand of the, countess. Miss Lene
Tuerk, a young actress of exceptional
charm, will enact the title role. Other im-
portant parts will be played by Hans
Marlow and Margot Monte.

FURNISHES FOOD
FOR DISCUSSION
Gcneral Lew Wallace's, "Ben-Hur" Is
Inspiration of Many Sermons
and Essays.
D)RAMNA PRODIUCED 14 YEARS AGO.
Learned divines, college, professors and
teachers, have found in "Ben-liur," the
book and the drama, fruitful themes for
sermons, essays and topics for study. And
this is not strange ; for the romance which
has made the name of General Lew Wal-
lace inmortal and has placed him safely
in the niche of glory in American literary
history, is so full of matter, so pregnant
with reverence for holy things, so histori-
cally accurate that it furnishes any mind
w itlt matrial for thought.
For its lbackground the great author
has Rome in her proudest 'days--the Rome
of Caesar A ugustus, conqueror of the
known world. The i mmediate foreground
shows Palestine under Roman dominion,
rich in tropical beauty, filled with schem-
ing politicians and corrupt Roman officials,
teeming with many peoples and expecting
the advent of the Messiah, the deliverer
from the yoke of bondage. Anon the
scene shifts to ancient Egypt, and glimpses
of Antioch are seen in the time of her
grandeur, when races were run and the
supremacy of the Arabian steeds was de-
monstrated against those of Rome.
Hebraic rites are. set against pagan or-
gies; the solemn ritual of the high priests
and the Sanhedrim is contrasted 'with the
sensuousness of the revels of the bacchan-
als in the worship of Apollo. And stand-
ing out from this woof and warp of such
gorgeous coloring is the story of Ben-Hur,
son of the mighty and princely house of
l Iur. The weaving of Hur's history with
that of the gentle Nazarene-the Man of
many sorrows-is so delicately done and
so reverently executed that it has the effect
of making the Christ story a part of the
spectator's life. Both play and book open
with the coming of the glorious star of
Bethlehem and the adoration of the Magi
-those three wise men of the East-of
Egypt, of Greece and of Persia. And
from the rising of the curtain until its
fall when the Ineffable Presence is sug-
gested by a shaft of light, pure, white, su-
preme, the mystic glory. of the Saviour of.
Mankind is felt. Then, too, the moral-
that right conquers in the end and God is
all-seeing and all-knowing,-the moral of
the book and drama is one that attracts
minister and student, teacher and scholar.
These are some of the reasons why hun-
dreds of sermons have been preached about

Virginia Howell as Iras in "Ben-H ur," at the Whitney May 6 and 7.

C

ISPLAY
S DRAMA

iresentations of ft r
mI Play Big Part in
"Ben-lfur".

of

ELABORATE APPLIANCES NEEDED.
"Suddenly in the air before them not
further than a low hill-top, flared a lam-
bent flame. As they looked at it the ap-
parition contracted into a focus of dazzling
lustre. Their hearts beat fast; their souls
thrilled and they shouted as-with one voice:
'The Star:! The Star ! God is with us'."
This is General Lew Wallace's descrip-
tion of the star of Bethlehem, appearing
to the Wise Men of the East in the famous
book, "[yen-IHur."
This is also the way that the miracu-
lous star is shown in Kimw & Erlanger's
production of "Ben-H ur," which comes to
thv Whitney theatre Aliv 6 and ;. Flash-
ing upon a darkel(d % stage, with its back-
round -an Oriental desert, its effect is
,tartling in the extri-mle. I low that star
is produced, firsl, as a soft lambent flame'
hursting with unearthly brilliancy and fin-
ally fading away as ih leads the Wise Men
on to their goal, is an :chievemten worth
knowing something about, .for it is a mas-
terpiece of stage invention and the most
brilliant stage light in the world.
It is made possible only by the kvonder-
fu! development of the electric light and
the electric appliances used on the stage.
if you should go behind the scenes of

the theatre where the play is being enacted,
you would see this magical "Star of Beth-
lehem" only.-as a pole fourteen feet high
w ith cross bar and huge metallic disc at
top sixteen feet across. It bears about the
same resemblance to the splendid spectacle
t ;s to produce as the bare framework, in
the daylight, of a "set piece" of fireworks
does to the brilliant pyrotechnic display
which is made when it is set off at night.
But there is something else besides this
bare pole and disc needed to produce the
wonderful illusion. Fifteen feet back of
the pole is a large searchlight and reflec-
tor turned toward the big disc. Just aside
from these two pieces of apparatus is a
table covered with what looks to the un-
trained eye io be a set of telegraph instru-
ments of various sizes. -But their purpose
is far different. They are electric but-
tons and switches, attached in a bewilder-
ing set of wires that lead to the search-
light, to the electric pole and disc, and to
the big qtires of the powerful currents that
supply the theatre with light and power.
In all this mechanism one fails to observe
at first the star at all. But it is there, or
rather, the thing that makes it. In the
-enter of the big metallic disc, two mam-
noth carbon tins almost an inch thick may
'e s en. The e form an arc light of tre-
nendouis power 'which is to flash forth as
the dzlang "guicling light."
Tlut there- are other effects to be pro-
,lnccd besides .the brilliant white light, in
>rder to present the miracle star as de-
;tribcd in "Ben-llur.'' It first appears
over the desert hills as a "lambent flame."
,lo make a soft glow of this sort requires
an ettirely different arrangement than for
the star proner.
That ishat the big metallic disc is for,
In a succession of circles around its face
-re placed lines of tiny incandescent light:
,f consideraible candle power. Over these
hundreds of little lights and the disc, is
spresd thin canvas. 'making it look from
the front like a great white screen, with
-' a tiny hole in the middle. [There is
t button on the table near by which, when
,r: ssed, w i ' igh t all ' these numberless
itdle electric tights; a switch that will set
the disc in raltil motion. When the stage
-n ' theatre art! darkened there then ap-
,r us the soft opalescent glow, or "lambent
ame," which is to mark the first appear-
': e o the ee'stial light of the star itself.
l'he same ,witch. turned another notch, will
n-akc the star flash forth in iz-:reasing
'Iriii:rcy. S : another switch on the
tabe, whn turned will cause - the star
:nd Idisc to rise from near the floor to the
top of the pole. One more effect remains
to be prodtd. It is the shooting rays
'of a star as seen in the.heavens. This,
too. is provided for in this marvelous
stage contrivance. Another key at the op-
'rr to's table is turned, the searchlight
bursts forth and focuses its dazzling beam
on the fast revolving diSc passing through
bars oi' slits that radiate from the center
outward.

Jerome Patrick as Ben-hur, at the Whit ney May 6 and 7.

"Ben-hur"; why in every school in the
land the story of General Wallace's won-
derful book has been ,told to children,
young and old ; why students in colleges
have poured over the pages of the romance
and have - written their impressions under
the direction of able masters. And schools
and rostrums, pulpits arid stages will con-
tinue to know of this great book and the
still more wotiderful drama evoked from
its pages. Klaw & Erlanger produced
"Pen-hur," 4he drama, fourteen years ago,
with the full consent and help of General
,Wnllace, who himself superintended the
dramatization..and approved the steps tak-
en by the producers.
Keen interest is being manifested in the
forthcoming engagement of "Ben--lur" at
the Whitney Theatre on Wednesday and
Thursday nights and Thursday matinee,
May 6 and 7.

COMING ATTRACTIONS.
Whitney Theatre.
May 4-Charity Vaudeville.
May 6, 7--Ben-Hur.
May 16-German Players.
Majestic Theatre.
Photoplays de Luxe: Complete chang
of program daily.
Until two years ago the name of Jeron
Patrick, who will play the part of Be:
hlur at the Whitney, was practically un
known in theatrical circles. Now Mr. Ps
rick is a prominent figure in New Yor
productions. He created an important ro
in Paul Armstrong's recent flay, "TI
Escape," in which Catherine Calvert w
starred. Later he appeared in Percy Ma
kaye's "A Thousand Years Ago."

Jerome Patr ick as Ben-Il ur.
Makes Name for Self by Pell.
I-arry lames Smith, author of "Mrs.
Bumstead-l1eigh," which \Mrs. Fiske is to
bring to the Whitney theatre at an early
date., has crowded cos derable accomplish.
ment into thirty odd years. He is a grad-
uate of Williams and IHarvard;. at th.
former institution he served as instructor
after his graduation. Having a distinct
bent for literature. however, he soon found
his way into that field, his first important
work having been done as associate editor
of the -/ nrit- lla;n!Id y. Numerous short
stories from his pen have appeared in the
A.ilanii and other Eastern magazines
tories that were not only interesting but
marked by a fresh and original humor
I Ic has written three long novels but "Mrs
Itumstead-Leigh" is his only play.
Literary life has been profitable for Mr
Smith and he now owns a handsome home
"Bobbiebrae," near New Britain, Connec-
ticut, which by the way, is his birth-place.
When Mr Fiske appears at the Whit-
ney theatre later in the month, a prom-
inent member of her cast will be Grace
Griswold, who made a very favorable im-
pression in the original production of "The
Poor-Little-Rich Girl."

I

At the Whitney theatre May 6 and 7,

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