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JAMES NELSON BARKER (1784-1858) In a letter written to William Dunlap, from Philadelphia, on June 10, 1832, James Nelson Barker very naïvely and very fully outlined his career, inasmuch as he had been informed by Manager Wood that Mr. Dunlap wished such an account for his "History of the American Stage." From this account, we learn that whatever dramatic ability Mr. Barker possessed came from the enthusiasm created within him as a reader... more...

HOW TO BE A GOOD RADIO ACTOR The play in this book has actually been produced on the radio. Possibly you have listened to this one when you tuned in at home. The persons whose voices you heard as you listened, looked just as they did when they left their homes to go to the studio, although they were taking the parts of men and women who lived long ago and who wore costumes very different from the ones we wear today. The persons whose voices you... more...

A PROLOGUE TO BE SPOKEN BY BETSY Our scene is the wind-swept coast of Devon. By day there is a wide stretch of ocean far below, and the abutments of our stage arise from a dizzy cliff. The time is remote, and ships of forgotten build stand out from Bristol in full sail for the mines of India. But we must be loose and free of precise date lest our plot be shamed by broken fact. A thousand years are but as yesterday. We make but a general gesture... more...

TREASON AND DEATH OF BENEDICT ARNOLD ACT I The margin of the Hudson at West Point. Fort Putnam and the Highlands in the distance. A flag is fluttering on the fort. The orchestra represents the level of the river shore, upon which level the Chorus will enter. The characters of the drama appear on a bank or platform, slightly raised above the orchestra and Chorus. At the opening of the play Father Hudson is upon the scene. He reclines in the... more...

Act One Act One: Scene One The kitchen of the Carmody home on the outskirts of a manufacturing town in Connecticut. On the left, forward, the sink. Farther back, two windows looking out on the yard. In the left corner, rear, the icebox. Immediately to the right of it, in the rear wall, a window opening on the side porch. To the right of this, a china cupboard, and a door leading into the hall where the main front entrance to the house and the... more...


ACT I. Outside the Stuart home, May, 1864. The large beautiful lawn of a typical Southern home. On the left and partly at the back stands the house, of colonial build, a wide porch running the entire length of the house, with three broad, low steps leading down to the garden. Many vines, mostly wisteria, in full bloom, cover the walls and some climb around the banisters. The porch has four white pillars reaching to the second story. On the right... more...

THOMAS GODFREY, Jr. (1736-1763) Thomas Godfrey, Jr., was born in Philadelphia, on December 4, 1736, the son of a man who himself won fame as an inventor of the Quadrant. Godfrey, Senior, was a friend of Benjamin Franklin, the two probably having been drawn together by their common interest in science. When Godfrey, Senior, died, December, 1749, it was Franklin who wrote his obituary notice. Young Godfrey was a student at the College or Academy... more...

Very little is known about the author of "The Politician Out-witted," a play which I have selected as representative of the efforts of the American drama, as early as 1789, to reflect the political spirit of the time. Assiduous search on the part of the present editor has failed to bring to light any information from any of the historical societies regarding Mr. Low, except that he was born on December 12, 1765, and that he must have been, in his... more...

THE NATUREWOMAN ACT I [Scene shows a luxuriously furnished drawing-room. Double doors, centre, opening to hall and stairway. Grand piano at right, fireplace next to it, with large easy-chair in front. Centre table; windows left, and chairs.] [At rise: ETHEL standing by table; a beautiful but rather frail girl of sixteen; opening a package containing photograph in frame.] ETHEL. Oceana! Oceana! [She gazes at it in rapture.] Oh, I wonder if... more...

ACT I [JULIA PATTERSON'S apartments in a model tenement on the lower East Side. The scene shows the living-room, furnished very plainly, but in the newest taste; "arts and crafts" furniture, portraits of Morris and Ruskin on the walls; a centre table, a couple of easy-chairs, a divan and many book-shelves. The entrance from the outer hall is at centre; entrance to the other rooms right and left.] [At rise: JULIA has pushed back the lamp from... more...