Tag Archives: Lillie Langtry

No Screen for Rehearsal, 1903

This originally appeared in The Providence Journal and was published in The New York Times, April 26, 1903.

Lillie Langtry on stage, 1899
Lillie Langtry on stage, 1899

It was last Tuesday when the first rehearsal was on for the third act of “Mrs. Dering’s Divorce.” In this act a screen plays an important part, and it was impossible to have a satisfactory rehearsal without it. A screen had been sent for, but it had not arrived at the theatre. The rehearsal had begun and the company’s stage manager begun to perspire in anticipation of the frigid rebuke that he could see in store.

At last the fatal moment arrived, and Mrs. Langtry discovered that there was no screen for the rehearsal. The proceedings ceased to proceed and the dignified star, after listening to a word of explanation, started up the street. Behind her followed at respectful intervals the stage manager, the assistant stage manager, and the property man, a regular procession.

Where they went was not learned, but evidently not all to the same place. In a little while the Lily returned, soon followed by the stage manager. A few minutes later a screen arrived at the box office and was sent back on the stage. The rehearsal was resumed. In another minute or two the assistant stage manager returned. He brought a screen with him, but it was not really needed. A few minutes later the property man came back breathless. He also had a screen. Within five minutes a messenger arrived in hot haste. He had a screen neatly done up in brown paper. This made four screens for a scene that a short time before had been absolutely screenless. There were a few quiet smiles, but no outbreak of laughter, for that would hardly be advisable when the joke was on Mrs. Langtry.

Written by Adolph Klauber. Originally appeared in The New York Times, April 26, 1903.