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City


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Walter Hampden (1879—1955)

Clyde Fitch (1865—1909)

Salvation Nell

 

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A: Clyde Fitch Pf: 1909, New York Pb: 1915 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Middlebury, NY, and New York City, early 20th c. C: 7m, 5fWithout knowing it, George Frederick Hannock is the illegitimate son of a respected small-town businessman, George D. Rand. When he blackmails Rand with the threat of exposing some shady business deals, Rand dies of a stroke. The Rand family use this opportunity to move to New York. After some years, the eldest son George D. Rand Junior is immensely successful, about to be married to a rich heiress, Eleanor Vorhees, and standing for governor. He is anxious to promote an image of integrity, although, like his father, he has engaged in illicit activities. When he discovers that his sister Cicely has secretly married Hannock, he reveals to Hannock the truth of his parentage and demands that he annul the marriage. Distraught at finding he is married to his half-sister, Hannock shoots her and attempts suicide. Shocked into self-recognition, George confesses his misdemeanours, even though this will prevent his becoming governor and will jeopardize his impending marriage. However, his fiancée, impressed with his new-found honesty, stands by him.

A: Clyde Fitch Pf: 1909, New York Pb: 1915 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Middlebury, NY, and New York City, early 20th c. C: 7m, 5f

Fitch was the first American playwright to develop an international reputation, and his many plays, several of them adaptations, were staged across Europe. Despite their melodramatic elements, plays like The City, Fitch's last and arguably best play, and Sheldon's Salvation Nell were attempts to deal with current social problems, using the theatre for serious discussion rather than mere escapism and using realistic dialogue spoken by recognizably contemporary characters.

Subjects: Theatre — Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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