The Contrast - Royall Tyler - Страница 1 из 82

The Contrast
Royall Tyler
A Comedy
THE 'Contrast' was the first American play ever performed in public by
a company of professional actors. Several plays by native authors had
been previously published, the more noteworthy being the 'Prince of
Parthia,' a tragedy by Thomas Godfrey of Philadelphia, which was
probably written, and was offered to Hallam's company in 1759 (but not
produced), and was printed in 1765, two years after the author's
A comedy called the 'Mercenary Match,' by one Barnabas Bidwell, is said
to have been performed by the students at Yale College, under the
auspices of the Rev. Dr. Ezra Styles, President of the College. Dunlap
speaks of having heard it read, but does not mention whether it was
from a manuscript or printed copy. It was printed at New Haven in
1785. The 'Contrast,' however, was the first to meet successfully the
critical judgment and approval of a professional manager. This fact
alone should redeem it from the neglect and inattention it has
heretofore met with. Besides, it possesses considerable intrinsic
merit, and as an acting play will compare favorably with many of the
English comedies of the period; and though, perhaps, meager in plot and
incident, it is bright, humorous, and natural; the dialogue is
sparkling with genuine wit; and its satire aimed at the evils and
follies of the time is keen and incisive. The contrast between the
plain and simple honesty of purpose and breeding of our American home

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