The Evanston (Illinois) Index
1885: January 17
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[The ad at left ran for several days in advance of the lecture. The publicity squibs immediately below were interspersed in a long column of local
interest announcements on page 3 of the paper. To see an image of the whole column,
Also on January 17, the Index printed a long transcript of what MT said to the New York audience that attended the premiere of Ah Sin, the play he and Bret Harte had collaborated on. Since the play had opened and quickly folded in the summer of 1877, the story was hardly news. Its appearance in the local weekly paper was obviously another form of stirring up local interest in the forthcoming performance (see below).]
TWAIN AND CABLE on Monday evening.
If you miss of hearing Twain and Cable you will always regret it.
A COMBINATION of genius and versatility that appeals freshly to the intelligent public--Twain and Cable.
THE pathetically discouraged look of Twain's face is said to alone inspire laughter; but his jokes mean paroxysms and his pathos means tears.
RESERVED seats at Muir's for the Twain--Cable entertainment. Price of tickets only two-thirds what is charged for this combination elsewhere.
SEW a double row of buttons on your vest, bring out the old bandana, and thus be fully prepared alike for wit or pathos, at the Twain--Cable readings.
ARE we awake to the fact that Mark Twain, the inimitable, the first of humorists, will actually read from his own writings, on Monday evening, in Evanston?
THE great American humorist--Mark Twain. Mark Twain's wit and Cable's humor and pathos combined, to make the most popular combination of the season.
NO DISAPPOINTMENT as to Twain and Cable's readings, because they will positively spend Monday in Chicago, and therefore cannot be kept away from Evanston by anything less than a miracle.
TEN years ago Twain bade farewell to the platform and began his unprecedented success as an author. At the solicitation of the public Twain returns to the platform for one more season and finds the universal public more anxious than ever to sit under his fascination.
On the production at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York, of "Ah Sin, the Heathen Chinee," the joint production of Bret Harte and Mark Twain, the latter gentleman, upon being called before the curtain, made the following speech:--
"This," said he, "is a very remarkable play. I don't know as you noticed it as it went along, but it is. The construction of this play and the development of the story are the result of great research, and erudition, and genius, and invention--and plagiarism. When the authors wrote it, they thought they would put in a great lot of catastrophes and murders, and such things, because they always enliven an evening so; but we wanted to have some disaster that wasn't hackneyed, and, after a good deal of thought, we hit upon the breaking-down of a stage-coach.
"The worst thing of getting a good original idea like that is the temptation to overdo it; and in fact, when the play was all done, we found that we had got that stage-coach breaking down seven times in the first act. It was to come right along here every seven minutes or so, and spill all its passengers over on the musicians. Well, you see, that wouldn't do; it made it monotonous for the musicians, and it was too stagey; and we had to modify it; and there isn't anything left of the original plan now except one break-down of the coach, and one carriage break-down, and one pair of runaway horses. Maybe we might have spared even some of these; but you see we had the horses, and we didn't like to waste them. I wish to say also that this play is didactic rather than anything else. It is intended rather for instruction than amusement.
"The Chinaman is getting to be a pretty frequent figure in the United States, and is going to be a great political problem; and we thought it well for you to see him on the stage before you had to deal with that problem. Then, for the instruction of the young, we have introduced a game of poker. There are a few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class no very little about it. Now and then you find ambassadors who have a sort of general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the people at large is fearful. Why, I have known clergy-men, good men, kind-hearted, liberal and all that, who did not know the meaning of a 'flush.' It is enough to make one ashamed of one's species.
"When our play was finished, we found it was so long, and so broad, and so deep--in places--that it would have taken a week to play it. I thought it was all right; we could put 'To be continued' on the curtain and run it straight along. But the manager said 'No'; it would get us into trouble with the general public, and into trouble with the general Government, because the Constitution forbids the infliction of cruel or unusual punishment. So he cut out, and cut out, and the more he cut out the better the play got. I never saw a play that was so much improved by being cut down; and I believe it would have been one of the very best plays in the world if his strength had held out so that he could have cut out the whole of it."