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The Big Drum A Comedy in Four Acts   By: (1855-1934)

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The Big Drum

THE PLAYS OF ARTHUR W. PINERO

Paper cover, 1s. 6d.; cloth, 2s. 6d. each

THE TIMES THE PROFLIGATE THE CABINET MINISTER THE HOBBY HORSE [1] LADY BOUNTIFUL THE MAGISTRATE DANDY DICK SWEET LAVENDER THE SCHOOLMISTRESS THE WEAKER SEX THE AMAZONS [1] THE SECOND MRS. TANQUERAY [1] THE NOTORIOUS MRS. EBBSMITH THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT [1] THE PRINCESS AND THE BUTTERFLY TRELAWNY OF THE "WELLS" THE GAY LORD QUEX [2] IRIS LETTY A WIFE WITHOUT A SMILE HIS HOUSE IN ORDER [1] THE THUNDERBOLT MID CHANNEL THE "MIND THE PAINT" GIRL

THE PINERO BIRTHDAY BOOK

SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY MYRA HAMILTON With a Portrait, cloth extra, price 2s. 6d.

LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN

[1] This Play can be had in library form, 4to, cloth, with a portrait, 5s.

[2] A Limited Edition of this play on hand made paper, with a new portrait, 10s, net.

The Big Drum

A COMEDY

In Four Acts

By

ARTHUR PINERO

"The desire of fame betrays an ambitious man into indecencies that lessen his reputation; he is still afraid lest any of his actions should be thrown away in private."

ADDISON

LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN MCMXV

Copyright 1915, by Arthur Pinero

This play was Produced in London, at the St. James's Theatre, on Wednesday, September 1, 1915

PREFACE

The Big Drum is published exactly as it was written, and as it was originally performed. At its first representation, however, the audience was reported to have been saddened by its "unhappy ending." Pressure was forthwith put upon me to reconcile Philip and Ottoline at the finish, and at the third performance of the play the curtain fell upon the picture, violently and crudely brought about, of Ottoline in Philip's arms.

I made the alteration against my principles and against my conscience, and yet not altogether unwillingly. For we live in depressing times; and perhaps in such times it is the first duty of a writer for the stage to make concessions to his audiences and, above everything, to try to afford them a complete, if brief, distraction from the gloom which awaits them outside the theatre.

My excuse for having at the start provided an "unhappy" ending is that I was blind enough not to regard the ultimate break between Philip and Ottoline as really unhappy for either party. On the contrary, I looked upon the separation of these two people as a fortunate occurrence for both; and I conceived it as a piece of ironic comedy which might not prove unentertaining that the falling away of Philip from his high resolves was checked by the woman he had once despised and who had at last grown to know and to despise herself.

But comedy of this order has a knack of cutting rather deeply, of ceasing, in some minds, to be comedy at all; and it may be said that this is what has happened in the present instance. Luckily it is equally true that certain matters are less painful, because less actual, in print than upon the stage. The "wicked publisher," therefore, even when bombs are dropping round him, can afford to be more independent than the theatrical manager; and for this reason I have not hesitated to ask my friend Mr. Heinemann to publish THE BIG DRUM in its original form.

ARTHUR PINERO

LONDON, September 1915

THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY

PHILIP MACKWORTH SIR RANDLE FILSON, KNT. BERTRAM FILSON ( his son ) SIR TIMOTHY BARRADELL, BART. ROBERT ROOPE COLLINGHAM GREEN LEONARD WESTRIP ( Sir Randle's secretary ) ALFRED DUNNING ( of Sillitoe and Dunning's Private Detective Agency ) NOYES ( Mr. Roope's servant ) UNDERWOOD ( servant at Sir Randle's ) JOHN ( Mr. Mackworth's servant ) A WAITER

OTTOLINE DE CHAUMIÉ, COMTESSE DE CHAUMIÉ, née FILSON LADY FILSON HON. MRS. GODFREY ANSLOW MRS. WALTER QUEBEC MISS TRACER ( Lady Filson's secretary )

PERIOD 1913

ACT I... Continue reading book >>




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