Trelawny of the ‘Wells’

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A: Arthur Wing Pinero Pf: 1898, London Pb: 1899 G: Com. in 4 acts S: London, 1860s C: 11m, 7f, extrasRose Trelawny is taking her leave of the company of the Wells Theatre. She is engaged to be married to Arthur Gower, and his family intend that, before the union is finally agreed, she should give up her career and stay with them in Cavendish Square. One month later, and Rose is utterly bored by the Gowers and their friends. Letting her theatrical friends into the house, they drink and are having noisy fun, when they are confronted by Arthur. Rose admits that she can never marry him or attune to his way of life. Returning to the stage, she is no longer able to act the empty roles of contemporary plays. Encouraging one of the company Tom Wrench to produce one of his own plays entitled Life, fellow actress Avonia Bunn and she even get Arthur's grandfather Sir William to help back the production. Watched by Sir William, the rehearsal of the play begins – with Arthur cast as the leading man. Rose and Arthur will be able to marry after all.

A: Arthur Wing Pinero Pf: 1898, London Pb: 1899 G: Com. in 4 acts S: London, 1860s C: 11m, 7f, extras

The character of Tom Wrench is a tribute to Pinero's predecessor T. W. Robertson, whose plays injected new realism into the theatre of the 1860s. At the same time, Pinero offers a corrective to the somewhat unrealistic aspirations of Caste by recognizing that Rose's transference to high society cannot be accomplished as easily as Esther's in the earlier play. On the other hand, the comic solution of Arthur dropping to Rose's social level and joining her milieu is ultimately as impractical within the Victorian class system as that depicted by Robertson. No matter; the lively depiction of theatrical life, drawn from Pinero's own experience, makes for an entertaining and still popular drama.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

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