The unquestionable success of the dramatization of Mark Twain's story, "Pudd'nhead Wilson," by Mr. Frank Mayo, may be credited very largely to the individual work as an actor of Mr. Mayo himself. That fact should not diminish in any way the full meed of praise due him for his work as a dramatist as well, for out of a book full of epigrams but meagre and diffuse in plot he has constructed a play of coherent dramatic interest.
He has turned conversation into action--not accomplished as great a transformation as might be desired, perhaps, but still done wonders. It is safe to say that everybody who has witnessed the performance at the Herald Square Theatre during the past week has been agreeably surprised.
Mr. Mayo plays the part of Pudd'n'head, a role that dominates the whole story. Mr. Mayo is an old actor, with many successes to point back at, from "Davy Crockett" on, but in none of them have his artistic abilities shown more brightly than they do in the impersonation of the long suffering, clear headed, sunny tempered and witty "Pudd'n'head Wilson." There is a certain slow smoothness and dry humor about his work that is delightful. Even that well worn story of wishing to own half of an obnoxious dog, so that he could kill his half, sounds fresh and new again as he tells it.
Even the ladies in the audience laughed when he said:--"Circumstantial evidence is generally wrong. You see a woman sharpen a pencil. You know she did it with a knife. If you didn't see her you would be willing to swear she did it with her teeth."
The play is a novelty in that it depicts life in the Southwest at an era never before utilized by dramatists. The art of the actors and the cleverness of the costumers have done much toward making this a strong feature. The evils and characteristics of slavery days were perhaps never more honestly and justly set forth.