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Hobson's Choice   By: (1882-1958)

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A Lancashire Comedy in Four Acts



Hobson's Choice was originally produced in America. Its first English production took place on June 22, 1916, at the Apollo Theatre, London, with the following cast:

ALICE HOBSON . . . . . . . . Miss Lydia Bilbrooke . MAGGIE HOBSON . . . . . . . . Miss Edyth Goodall . VICKEY HOBSON . . . . . . . . Miss Hilda Davies . ALBERT PROSSER . . . . . . . . Mr. Reginald Fry . HENRY HORATIO HOBSON . . . . . . Mr. Norman McKinnel . MRS. HEPWORTH . . . . . . . . Miss Dora Gregory . TIMOTHY WADLOW (TUBBY). . . . . . Mr. Sydney Paxton . WILLIAM MOSSOP . . . . . . . . Mr. Joe Nightingale . JIM HEELER . . . . . . . . . Mr. J. Cooke Beresford . ADA FIGGINS . . . . . . . . . Miss Mary Byron . FRED BEENSTOCK . . . . . . . . Mr. Jefferson Gore . DR. MACFARLANE . . . . . . . . Mr. J. Fisher White .

The play produced by MR. NORMAN McKINNEL.

The SCENE is Salford, Lancashire, and the period is 1880 .

ACT I. Interior of HOBSON'S Shop in Chapel Street .

ACT II. The same scene .


ACT IV. Living room of HOBSON'S Shop .


Acknowledgements are made to Mr. William Armstrong, Director of the Liverpool Repertory Company, for allowing his prompt copy to be used in preparing this acting edition.

[Illustration] Red Walls, Brown oaken dado. T. gas bracket over counter. Turkey red curtains half up window. No carpet. Small rug at door R. Shoes on counter and showcases. Hanging laces. Advertisements. Boot polishes. Brushes. Brown paper on counter. Clogs in rows under shelves R. C. Black cane furniture and rush bottomed. Heavy leather armchair. Piece of rough leather on shelves.

The trap is eminently desirable. However, should the stage used have no trap, the work room may be supposed to be off stage, with a door up Right.



The SCENE represents the interior of HOBSON'S Boot Shop in Chapel Street, Bedford. The shop windows and entrance from street occupy the left side. Facing the audience is the counter, with exhibits of boots and slippers, behind which the wall is fitted with racks containing boot boxes. Cane chairs in front of counter. There is a desk down L. with a chair. A door R. leads up to the house. In the centre of the stage is a trap leading to the cellar where work is done. There are no elaborate fittings. Gas brackets in the windows and walls. The business is prosperous, but to prosper in Salford in 1880 you did not require the elaborate accessories of a later day. A very important customer goes for fitting into HOBSON'S sitting room. The rank and file use the cane chairs in the shop, which is dingy but business like. The windows exhibit little stock, and amongst what there is clogs figure prominently. Through the windows comes the bright light of noon.

Sitting behind the counter are HOBSON'S two younger daughters, ALICE, R., who is twenty three, and VICTORIA, L., who is twenty one, and very pretty . ALICE is knitting and VICTORIA is reading. They are in black, with neat black aprons. The door R. opens, and MAGGIE enters. She is HOBSON'S eldest daughter, thirty .

ALICE. Oh, it's you. I hoped it was father going out.

MAGGIE. It isn't. ( She crosses and takes her place at desk L.)

ALICE. He is late this morning.

MAGGIE. He got up late. ( She busies herself with an account book .)

VICKEY. ( reading ). Has he had breakfast yet, Maggie?

MAGGIE. Breakfast! With a Masons' meeting last night!

VICKEY. He'll need reviving.

ALICE. Then I wish he'd go and do it.

VICKEY. Are you expecting anyone, Alice?

ALICE. Yes, I am, and you know I am, and I'll thank you both to go when he comes.

VICKEY. Well, I'll oblige you, Alice, if father's gone out first, only you know I can't leave the counter till he goes.

(ALBERT PROSSER enters from the street. He is twenty six, nicely dressed, as the son of an established solicitor would be... Continue reading book >>

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