We are delighted to end our 15th season with a seldom - seen British classic from the pen of Mr. Thomas Taylor.
"Our American Cousin" was one of 100 plays that Taylor wrote in a long career that began as a player with the Cambridge University drama society and continued as editor of the famous satirical magazine, Punch.
The theme of “Cousin” is a classic “fish out of water” story, the “rube” in a “cultured” land – Candide, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Alice in Wonderland - and continuing right up to today's “Downton Abbey” where the young Canadian comes to inherit the English estate and disrupt tradition, much to the shock of the Old Guard.
I feel a personal affinity to the play because of its famous historical affiliation. Our Davis family lore claims that a great – great uncle named Delaney engineered the audience train shuttle from Baltimore to Washington on the night of April 14, and was playing cards in the Ford Theater “Green Room” when the infamous Booth ran through.
And while the theater tradition maintains that Booth, an actor, knew that the loudest, shot-muffling laugh would come on the line "You sockdologizing old mantrap", I have to say I suspect the line "Better than sweet cider right out of the bung hole!" was the dialogue of infamy.
Of course it was a tragic night that will forever be marked in American history. But while taking nothing away from its importance I’d also like to give a tip of the hat to a wonderful playwright who wrote a lovely comedy that deserves to be seen.
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Our American Cousin
89 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105
"Pay What You Will" ($20 suggested)
Running time: 75 minutes plus intermission
Saturday Evenings at 7, April 4, 11, 18
Sunday Matinees at 3, April 5, 12 and 19
By Lance Davis