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Dear Brutus Relié – 1933

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.8 étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 In Our Stars 25 février 2008
Par Lee Armstrong - Publié sur
Format: Broché
J.M. Barrie's play opened on Broadway at the Empire Theatre in December 1918. It ran for 184 performances through June 1919 with Helen Hayes in the role of Margaret. It is an ensemble piece with all of the characters contributing equally to the show and various plot lines. The play falls somewhere between a comedy of manners and a spooky tale. The play's title is a direct quote from Shakespeare's "Julius Ceasar." Barrie appears to also borrow from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" the idea of an enchanted wood where mysterious things can happen.

In "Dear Brutus" we encounter a strange little man who is the host. Lob is perhaps misshapen who behaves in a childish manner. He has invited several couples for "Midsummer Eve." The event is purported to have a legend where a mysterious wood suddenly appears and then disappears the next day, often taking those trapped in the wood with it, never to be seen again. Not only that, but the wood appears in different locations, tonight at the back of the garden just outside the house. Lob's butler is Matey, who is not the most honest of fellows. There are several nice scenes in the first act. One is with Mr. Dearth and his wife Alice. There is tension between the couple. She, in modern terms, is a high society party girl. The absence of children seems to be Mr. Dearth's great regret. Mr. and Mrs. Coade are an older couple for whom the romance has escaped, leaving a marriage that is more of a social construct than a fulfilling relationship. Mr. Purdie comes with his wife Mabel. However, Purdie is a womanizer who appears to be having an affair with Joanna Trout. Lady Caroline Laney has high society breeding that makes her pronounce her "r's" as if they were "w's," which apparently is the fashion rather than a speech impediment. Despite dire warnings from the butler Matey, all except Mrs. Coade are drawn into the wood, including Matey who Lob pushes.

The second act takes place in the wood where each's memory seems to be suspended. They now are able to have taken advantage of second chances. Mr. Dearth now has a daughter Margaret whose mother died many years ago. Alice arrives as a penniless waif begging food from the couple. Purdie and Joanna are together. High society Lady Caroline transforms into Caroliny, the wife of Matey, now a finance tycoon rather than a butler.

The third act brings us back in the house. Barrie leaves Lob asleep on a chair, having all sorts of interesting expressions, leaving the impression that he is dreaming all that is happening in the wood. By ones and twos they return. Each is totally unfamiliar with the room they just left in the first act and are attached to the relationships they developed in the wood. However, something seems to hit their head which begins to restore their memory and slowly the events of act two begin to fade. Perhaps the most touching is when Coade returns not knowing his wife Mabel. He has been a bachelor who has imagined her as his ideal woman. The romance between the older couple seems to rekindle. Lady Caroline is brought low when she realizes she thought she was the wife of a lowly butler. The relationships of the other couples also heals or continues. Lob disappears.

"Dear Brutus" was an interesting, imaginative play. It combines elements of the supernatural and spins around Cassius' line, "The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings." I think this show could well be revived 90 years later. It is an interesting provocative play. Enjoy!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderful story 22 octobre 2013
Par The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson - Publié sur
Format: Broché
J.M. Barrie, the author of the wonderful Peter Pan stories, wrote this play in 1917, and it clearly shows a much freer tone than those plays that I have read that were written during the previous Victorian era. In this play, a group of people, strangers for the most part, are invited to an unusual midsummer stay. Each person present has a secret regret, a path that they wished that they had taken. When, on Midsummer’s Eve, a magical forest appears, each enters and get a chance to see the people they might have been had they taken that other path.

This “tragicomedy” is quite a wonderful story. I first picked it up with some trepidation, as some plays are rather too bare boned. However, Mr. Barrie included many notes and sidebars that make this play read just as easily as any prose story. It has quite an interesting lesson, and yet is very entertaining. I hope that I am able to find this play being performed somewhere, as I certainly enjoyed reading it. I think that you will enjoy reading it, too.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Modernized version of Shakespeare's Midsummer 2 novembre 2013
Par Cameron Bartlett - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
Though Midsummer is classified as a Comedy, it more aptly shares the characteristics of Shakespeare's Romances. From Wikipedia here is the common description of a Shakespeare Romance:
"A redemptive plotline with a happy ending involving the re-uniting of long-separated family members;
Magic and other fantastical elements;
The presence of pre-Christian, masque-like figures, like Jupiter in Cymbeline" and in this case characters from Greek legend.
Another important quality is that the setting of the play is not set in the real world, but in the realm of the imagination, FAIRYLAND.

I believe that Barrie was trying to not make comedy or tragicomedy, but was in fact trying to recreate the genre of a Shakespearian Romance and was trying apply that genre to Modern theater. If that is indeed the case, then "Dear Brutus" can be seen as a modernized retelling/adaption of Shakespeare's Midsummer.

This is exactly the interpration of the production a few years back at the Nottingham Play House where the play house produced both shows in the same night. Not only that, but the same company used the same actors for both productions.
Among the cast were
Gareth Thomas: Theseus of Athens, King Oberon, and Mr Dearth from Dear Brutus.
Sandra Duncan : Hippolyta, Titania, and Alice Dearth.
Martin Herdman: Buttom, Matie the butler.
Veronica Leer: Puck, Dearth's daughter Margaret
Justine Mitchell: Hellena, Joanna
Sarah Hadland: Hermia, Lady Caroline

When one looks at the roles associated with characters from both Midsummer and Brutus, one begins to see that perhaps this was Barrie's original intention all along.

First off there is the obvious crossover with Barrie making his character Lob in fact Puck from Midsummer. In both stories it is Puck's actions, or mis-actions, that create the plot that characters are thrown into.

There is the similarities of the characters of Mr. Dearth and Alice Dearth with Oberon and Titania. In both marriages there exist a fight. Both fights involve a child of sorts. Alice (also name of the main character in Barrie's Alice sit by the Fire) is the representation of the modernized woman and socialite. Mr. Dearth is the picture of the failing artist who's one regret is that he has never had a child.

Both stories involve mix ups and mismatches between lovers. This is seen in Purdie, Joanna, and Mabel.

In the second Act Mr. Coade paints Mrs. Coade as the ideal and perfect love and woman. Similar to how Hippolyata would be viewed as the perfect woman by Theseus. Also in Shakespeare's story the two oldest characters, in antiquity terms, would be the characters of Theseus and Hip. Is it conciedense then that the Coade's are the oldest couple in the play?

Last there is character of Bottom and Mattie. Bottom in Shakespeare's play would be classified as the low character and the fool. Mattie is butler in the play and is socially the lowest member of class in the cast of characters. There is also a lot of attention paid to him just like there is in the character of Bottom. Mattie can be seen as the fool in the story by the remarks that he has made that if he were born in higher class he would not be a theif. Bottom in Shakespeare goes through two transformations, he get's turned into an "Ass" in the woods and then he transforms, with makeup, into the character of Pyramus. The whole point of Mattie's transformation from low class to high class is that no matter which class he is born under he still is who is, and is a "fool" in thinking otherwise.

I think it is important to read the work by Barrie in this light. And hopefully the play can be revived as more awareness is made between it's connection with Shakespeare's work. Comparing the two plays together and the themes inside of the plays would make a perfect class assignment.
4 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Reading. 20 décembre 2005
Par Book Lover - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Sir James Matthew Barrie, Bt., OM (May 9, 1860 - June 19, 1937), more commonly known as J. M. Barrie, was a Scottish novelist and dramatist. He is best known for creating the character Peter Pan, whom he based on his friends, the Llewelyn-Davies boys.

Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, Angus, the second youngest of ten children, and was educated at Dumfries Academy and Edinburgh University. He became a journalist at Nottingham, then London, and became a novelist. His first novels were set in Kirriemuir, disguised as "Thrums" (his father was a weaver). Barrie often wrote dialogue in Scots. He then wrote for the theater, including Quality Street, What Every Woman Knows, and The Admirable Crichton.

His 'Thrums' novels were hugely successful when they were published, starting with Auld Licht Idylls (1888). Next came A Window in Thrums (1889) and The Little Minister (1891). His two 'Tommy' novels, Sentimental Tommy and Tommy and Grizel came in 1896 and 1902 and dealt with themes much more explicitly related to what would become Peter Pan. The first appearance of Pan came in The Little White Bird (1901).

This book is also a very enjoyable read.
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