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** THE MOUNTAINEERS” is from the prolific pen of the youn. ger Colman. It was produced in 1791, at his own theatre, the 193 Haymarket, London, with triumphant success; and it siii continues its place upon the stage, as a popular acting piece.
This drama is among the first of those hybrid productions of the stage, which, combining tragedy and comedy, with operatic embellishments, still retain their hold upon modern audiences, with undiminished attraction, notwithstanding the mutations that time and taste have produced in other branches of dramatic composition
These productions first made their appearance on the English stage, when the drama had sunk into an apathetic insipidity, that required some peculiar galvanic process to revive it. Tragedy had become almost extinct, and comedy, dressed in sentimental weeds, was lachrymose and mawkish.
Colman stands first among the dramatic writers of the period who may be said to have resuscitated the English drama, at this particular crisis. Having early in life become the manager of his father's theatre in the Haymarket, he threw himself into the duties of his vocation, with all the ardor of youth, and the fer-. vor of a highly cultivated and poetical imagination ; and it may with justice be said, that " no modern dramatist has added so many stock-pieces to the theaire as Colman, or imparted so much genuine mirth and humour to all play-goers." The muse of Colman was essentially comic, even to exaggeration ; but ha combined with the flights of his comic fancy powers of a more serious cast, which he knew how to blend together with great efi et; and possessing as he did, an intimate knowledge of the stage, the characters, incidents, and dramatic action of his pieces, presented together an irrisistible charm, that made them the favourites of his own time, and have secured for them a permanent place in the modern acting drama.
Colman has been charged with drawing the subjects (f his plots from coteinporary authors. In the “ Mountaineers” he is indebted to Cervantes for the chief character in his piece ; Octavian being but an adaptation of Cardenio in “Don Quixote." It must be confessed, however, that if Colma:i adopted this practice of stealing his plots, or characters, (a practice common with most of our leading dramatists,) yet he uses both the incidents and the characters he purloins, with such consummate skill in the transformation, and invests them so completely with the native genius of his own fertile imagination, that they stand out as almost new creations, under the touch of his magic and transforming pencil. Octavian, too, in all the higher attributes of his character, and even in his physical conformation, is supposed to have owed much of its merit from being a faithful likeness of John Kemble. The following passage, in which Floranthe describes Octavian, is supposed to have been intended by the author for a portrait of the great actor :
Lovely as day he was—but envious clouds
And tame a hungry lion.” The play owed much of its original success to the exquisite performance of Kemble in Octavian. He completely realized the poet's conception, and was, indeed, all the author has embodied in the description we have quoted.
We saw this great actor only in the wane of his powers, but we can readily imagine the effect he must have produced in the part. We have heard his acting of the scene with Floranthe, in the third act, described to us, as being one of the most powerful efforts of his mighty genius. Elliston, in the meridian of his fame, succeeded Kemble in the character, and drew crowded and admiring audiences. Kean, also, acquired some degree of celebrity in Octavian, but it was too melo-dramatic in its style. Booth still plays it occasionally, with even less effect than Kean; indeed, we are almost inclined to believe, with Mrs. Inchbald, that the character of Octavian almost lived and died with Kemble.
The comic portions of this drama are effective on the stage, although they are not strikingly marked by any literary merit, or originality in the conception. The introduction of an Irishman in this piece, has been well remarked by Mrs. Inchbald, as striking an auditor as “neither to accord in tone or manner with the dialogue or scene of the play,”—but Irish Johnstone was an eminent actor of the time—a member of the Haymarket company, and the acute manager knew that he must avail himself of the services of a favourite actor. Killmallock may be said to owe his birth to Johnstone, as Octavian did to Kemble.
Bowery 1847. Octavian..
Mr. W. Marshall Virolet
J. Greene Roque...
« Tilton Lope Tocho
“ Bellamy Perequillo...
Wewitzer Ali Beg
W. Gjaldson Selim.
Miss Fanny Gordon Floranthe
Mrs. Wilkinson Agnes
Mrs. Booth Moorish Guards, Pastoral Characters, &c. Scene.-Spain, partly in the town and kingdom of Granada, partly in Andalusia.
COSTUMES OCTAVIAN.–Fleshings, arms, and legs, torn and tattered Spanish doublet, trunk
and cloak, long hair and beard, goat-skin shoes, tied on with a bit of rope, &c. VIROLET.-White trousers and body, red fly, turban, russet boots. KILMALLOCK.-Ditto, ditto. ROQUE., Brown Spanish doublet, trunks, and cloak, hat, sword and belt, red hose
russet boots, collar. LOPE TOCHO.--Dark green doublet, trunks, and cloak, trimmed with red and
blue hinding, red hose, russet shoes, Spanish collar. PEREQUILLO.-Leathern doublet, brown trunks, blue hose, russet shoes. MULETEERS.-Dark green doublets and trunks, large Spanish cloaks and hats,
black belts and brass buckles, blue hose, russet boots. GOATHERDS. -Gray doublets, trunks, and hose, cloaks and caps, russet shoes. BULCAZIN MULEY-White satin trowsers, yellow morocco hoots, light blue sa.
tin tunic, trimmed with gold, purple velvet cloak and ermine, turban, cimetar, and
chain. GANEM.-White trowsers and vest, crimson fly, red boots, turban, sword, and chain. PACHA.--Ditto, blue fiy. ALI BEG.--Ditto, ditto. SADJ.--Ditto, the same as Ganem's. YUSEF & SELIM-Ditto, blue flys. ZORAYDA.-White satin trowsers, light blue tunic, trimmed with silver, turban,
and bird of paradise feather, white silk stockings, white satin shoes, white veil. FLORANTHĖ.Black velvet tunic and cloak, hat and feathers, black silk stock.
ings, black lace-up boots, AGNES.-White muslin trowsers, light gray tunic, trimmed with black riblon and
bell buttous, red shoes, white silk stockings, turban, white slip, &c.
Passages marked with Inverted Commas are usually omitted in the
Scene I.-A Moorish Garden in the town of Granada ;
at one side the Castle of Bulcazin Muley.- A window in one of its towers overlooking the Garden.- A Draw
bridge, leading to the Castle Gate. VIROLET and KILMALLOCK, habited as slaves, discovered at
work. Kilm. Count ! Viro. How now, noble Captain Kilmallock ?
Kilm. I wonder if the ingenious gentleman that first hit upon digging, tried it with as pleasant a broiling sun over his head as we have ? By my shoul, if he went to work with his jacket on, it would have warned it pretty dacently.
Viro. We are slaves, Kilmallock, and must submit. But we are soldiers of Spain-Christian soldiers—both our faith and our profession, when Providence inflicts calamity, preach patience to us. Murmurs are fruitless, brother soldier. The fickle goddess, Fortune, hears not the complainings of the grief-worn captive.
Kilm. Truly, now, Count Virolet, I always understood the good lady was blind, but I was never before told she was deaf. Faith, and that I take to be the reason she has never been good-natured enough to listen, when I have reminded her what a dirty devil she has been to me. First, I was tossed out of Tipperary into Spain—where I have fought these seven years under Ferdinand the Fifth, King of Castile and Arragon-till the thuips bestowed upon me by his catholic majesty's enemies, and be hanged to 'em, have belaboured me up to the rank of a captain