Great War Theatre

Examiner of Plays' Summary:

This little play is both affecting and humorous, of quite exceptional quality for a music hall. The scene is in a French town on Christmas Eve, 1916. There is a statue of Joan of Arc. A flower girl (strangely like Joan in face) talks with a French soldier (one who comes from domremi, Jeanne’s birthplace) about the legend that the statue may speak at midnight. An English lieutenant comes and places a wreath. An English private comes and fraternizes with the poilu, and they go to sleep at the foot of the statue. At midnight Jeanne comes to life. She is going to tear up the English wreath, but Fred, the English soldier, stops her. She is annoyed to find the English and French soldiers friends, and they explain things to her, Fred in a pleasant cockney way. The scene is changed for an incident, presumably in dumb show, illustrating how the English succoured the French; it is not described. Then Jeanne understands and puts the English wreath on her head. The soldiers go to sleep and are roused by the flower girl whom first they take for Jeanne. She tells them they have been dreaming but the English wreath is still on Jeanne’s head. The girl gives Fred her last lily and he and the Frenchman go off together it is a beautiful idea and a real contribution to the entente, in its way. Recommended for licensee. G. S. Street

Researcher's Summary:

No author was listed on the play when it was submitted for licence, however research has identified that Harold Brighouse was the author.

Licensed On: 13 Jul 1917

License Number: 1054

British Library Reference: LCP1917/15

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66170 E

Performances

DateTheatreType
16 Jul 1917 Metropolitan Music Hall, LondonProfessional Licensed Performance
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Performed by Miss Scialtiel (Joan of Arc), Norman Page (British Tommy), A Harding Steerman (French soldier), Henry Baynton (officer). A review in The Stage commented that the play was 'excellent work [and] staged in a striking manner' (19 July 1917).
24 Dec 1917 Coliseum, LondonProfessional
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Performed by Marguerite Scialtiel alongside variety acts. The Stage commented that 'a possible fault upon the author's part is when he makes Joan of Arc rail over much against the English in her opening speech' (3 January 1918).
7 Jan 1918 Victoria Palace, LondonProfessional
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Performed by Marguerite Scialtiel.
10 Dec 1920 Bijou Theatre, LondonOther
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Performed by the Ben Greet Academy of Acting alongside other one-act plays.
21 Jan 1921 Village Hall, YoulgreaveAmateur
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Performed by the Youlgreave Amateur Dramatic Society.