Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

The purpose of this play, as we are informed in a preface, is to illustrate the effect of the heartless discipline of the German army, as expressed in the Kaiser’s famous speech to the recruits at Potsdam, on even decent German officer. The scene is a chateau in Belgium occupied by the enemy. The owner, a lieutenant in the Belgian army, Vitar Bambotte, is captured. The password through the Belgian lines, which are close at hand, is demanded, and of course he refuses to give it. Then a German captain threatens in turn to shoot his soldier servant, his wife and his mother unless he gives the password: the first two plead with him but the old lady is heroically firm. The captain sends of the authorisation of these murders to his General, and in so to leaves only himself and one other German to guard the chateau. Victor asks to be allowed to confess before being shot, and while pretending to confess, instructs the priest to ring a bell which will bring upon the scene the king of the Belgians and his guard, who are no further off than the lodge of the chateau. This is done and the situation is saved. Mr Hall Caine's point is, I suppose, that the German captain's atrocious conduct was reluctant and due to orders, but anyhow it is a dramatic little play. King Albert only appears for a moment at the end and does not say anything. I cannot see any reason for not allowing this: no Belgians could possibly object and no doubt Mr Hall Caine would make a great fuss in the newspapers if the king were left out - not of course that that would signify. It is merely like showing King Albert in a tableau, as of course has often been done. There is nothing else, I think that can possibly matter. Any priest, I presume, would act as this Belgian priest, to save innocent lives. Recommended for license. G. S. Street.

Researcher's Summary:

The play was published in the newspapers prior to production. It was then performed for three weeks at the Coliseum and then at the Glasgow Pavilion for one week. No further performances have been identified.

Licensed On: 3 Feb 1916

License Number: 40



British Library Reference: LCP1916/2

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66123 L


14 Feb 1916 Coliseum, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance
21 Feb 1916 Coliseum, LondonProfessional
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Performed for three weeks at the Coliseum by Arthur Wontner, Mary Rorke, Sidney Valentine, Fisher White, George Tully and Netta Westacott.
27 Mar 1916 Pavilion, GlasgowProfessional
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This was the London production on tour.