The Willow Tree
Examiner of Plays' Summary:
This is a fantastic Japanese comedy, suggesting in its motive and treatment a blend between ‘Pygmalion and Galatea’ and ‘Madam Butterfly. Its hero is a visionary young Englishman who, having agreed with his Devonshire sweetheart that they must part through insufficiency of means, goes out to Japan, partly in the hope of making money, and partly in order to seek forgetfulness of his misfortune. In his lotus-land he decides, much to the surprise of his commercial host, to live the life of a Japanese; and from this motive springs the comedy of the play. The fanciful but very sad sentiment comes in when he buys of an old doctor the life sized image of the princess of the willow-tree, the self-sacrificing heroine of a legend of the love of a tree-spirit for a mortal whom she eventually frees from his bondage (at the cost of her own happiness and life) in order that he may fight for his Mikado. This image the young Englishman brings to life with the result that he is so fascinated by her beauty that he almost forgets his former fiancée - whom she greatly resembles - and is inclined to forget also the patriotic duty thrust upon him by the outbreak of the great European war. But his mystic Japanese’s lady-love behaves exactly as did her legendary prototype refusing to accept the sacrifice of his honour of her sake, and encouraging him to leave her by transmuting her flesh and blood into her original willow-wood and jade. The dainty fantasy has much charm both of meaning and of setting; and if its Wardour Street Japanesery is capably rendered on the stage, it should have a most sympathetic success. Recommended for license. Ernest A. Bendall.
Licensed On: 9 Oct 1917
License Number: 1179
British Library Reference: LCP1917/20
British Library Classmark: Add MS 66175 I
|22 Oct 1917||Globe Theatre, London||Unknown||Licensed Performance|