Overview

Paul Kauvar

(1887)


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Steele MacKaye (1842—1894)

Wilton Lackaye (1862—1932)

George C. D Odell (1866—1949)

 

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AT: Anarchy A: Steele MacKaye Pf: 1887, New York Pb: Not known G: Melodrama in 5 acts S: Paris, 1794 C: 8m, 2f, extras Paul Kauvar, a leader of the French Revolution, is so dismayed by the Reign of Terror initiated by Robespierre that he offers refuge to worthy aristocrats. He provides asylum, under false names, for the Duc de Beaumont and his daughter Diane, whom he secretly marries. When the villainous Gouroc, formerly the Marquis de Vaux, discovers Paul's secret, he denounces the Duc and blames Paul for the betrayal. In order to demonstrate his innocence, Paul is prepared to take the Duc's place at the guillotine, but they both manage to escape. Ironically, Paul is now captured by royalist forces. When threatened by Revolutionaries, Paul assumes the identity of the royalist general and allows him to escape. Once gain, Paul faces death at the guillotine. He is just bidding a last farewell to his young wife Diane, when news comes that Robespierre has fallen prey to his own Terror and that Paul is able to go free.

AT: Anarchy A: Steele MacKaye Pf: 1887, New York Pb: Not known G: Melodrama in 5 acts S: Paris, 1794 C: 8m, 2f, extras

Steele MacKaye was an extraordinary individual, justly famed for his many innovations in American theatre: he founded the first American school of acting, and introduced overhead lighting and movable stages that allowed fast scene changes. Despite acknowledging the naturalistic influence of François Delsarte, whom he encountered in Paris, MacKaye's plays did not succeed in breaking free from 19th-century melodrama, still favouring unsubtle characterization, exciting incident, and a happy ending. Paul Kauvar, however, by placing humanity above political loyalty, provided a potent comment on the execution of the Chicago anarchists in 1887 and contained some exciting crowd scenes.

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


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