Haddon Hall
Derbyshire, England

Trying A Dramatist by W. S. Gilbert

TRYING A DRAMATIST was named by W. S. Gilbert as "An Original Sketch in One Act." Gilbert's last dramatic efforts, THE HOOLIGAN and TRYING A DRAMATIST were included in the 1911 first edition Original Plays, Fourth Series. They were withdrawn and then reinserted in the 1920 and following editions. These two efforts have since been on the list of Gilbert authored plays.

They were made available by Lucy Gilbert after his death on May 29, 1911 to The Century Magazine, an American publication; TRYING A DRAMATIST was apparently edited so that original English spelling, such as "theatre" and "labour" became "theater" and "labor". This editor has concluded that Lucy Gilbert sent one of her husband's personal copies to The Century Magazine. A different copy was used by publisher Chatto & Windus for inclusion in Original Plays, Fourth Series. This editor cannot determine the order of these items, nor what Gilbert's final intent had been.

The following play uses the Original Plays spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. The wordings of the two versions are very close. Where there is a difference the Original Plays version is in bold and the Century Magazine version is crossed out. The reading copy is therefore intended to follow that of the Original Plays as this has the most common circulation. There are two major difference between the versions.

First: There is a sentence present in Century Magazine which is not in Original Plays.
Second: The Dramatis Personae shows that the Judge for Century Magazine is named "Justice Rhadamanthus," while for Original Plays he is "The Learned Judge". It is noted that Rhadamanthus, in Greek mythology, was a wise king, the son of Zeus and Europa. What is unusual is that the Original Plays version uses both "The Learned Judge" and "Justice R." in the play, but never is a mention made of "Rhadamanthus".

TRYING A DRAMATIST is a recycled and reformatted version of the 1880 Gilbert tale, ACTORS, AUTHORS, AND AUDIENCES. This story is presented in its entirety, so that the reader may make the comparison. ACTORS, AUTHORS, AND AUDIENCES is the more detailed of the two; most of the additional material is devoted to an extended dialogue by the playwright, presumably speaking Gilbert's opinions on the subject. TRYING A DRAMATIST excepts on an almost word-for-word basis to provide the later play.

Trying A Dramatist has been included in the book Five W. S. Gilbert Plays. A printed copy of the book may be purchased at www.LULU.com/shop
Enter TRUTT in the Search Books box.

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