Hush, 1917

Hush, a comedy in three parts by Violet Pearn

Court Theatre, London
May 7, 1917

CAST OF CHARACTERS

James Greville  James Harcourt
Mrs. Greville  Inés Cameron
Jim Greville  F. Pennington-Gush 
 Hall Porter  Leslie Howard
 Julia Laxton  Mary Clare
 Huntley Brabazon  Arthur Phillips
 Miss Cording  Dora Gregory
 Mrs Allison  Gertrude Sterroll
 Miss Allison  Elspeth Dudgeon
 Lizzie  Margaret Yarde
 Rev. James Allison   Compton Rickett
 Keith Allison  Kenneth Kent
 Lucilla  Mary Jerrold
 Mrs. Stevens  Aileen Wyse
 Mrs. Shipley  Norah Balfour 
 Mrs. Flummock  Helen Langton
 Mrs. Warwick  Elinor Foster
 Mrs. Blatherwick  Rose Yule

(Stage Year Book, 1918, p. 109)

 

SYNOPSIS

” Hush ” is a play within a play, its purpose being to ridicule pruder . Julie Laxton, calling herself ” a daughter, of revelation,” considers it her duty to shock conservatives, even to the extent of vyearing breeches instead of skirts for a few hours every day.
Part one, called before the play,” shows Julia’s unsuccessful efforts to startle the supposedly conservative parents of her favored admirer.
The play attended by the youth’s parents, is staged at an English rectory to which the son of the rector brings a radiantly happy and frank young bride, who talks unreservedly of her joy in anticipating motherhood. She cannot understand why children are not to be mentioned until after they are born, therefore the inmates of the rectory hold up their hands in horror. In the next act, after the birth of the child, the mother experiences the reticence that the members of the Mother’s Union expected at an earlier date. She hides the baby from curious eyes and her secretiveness. termed unnatural, leads to gossip about the real identity of the father. In a scene that gives the play its nearest approach to true comedy, the mother quiets the tongues of the gossips by disclosing a mole on the infant’s body, unmistakably inherited from the father, whose shirt
is thrown open in full view of the members of the Mother’s Union.
In part three, ” After the play,” ” the daughter of revelation ” surrenders to the man she loves like any normal girl.
(from a review of the American production by Winthrop Ames at the Little Theatre, October 3, 1916; New York Dramatic Mirror, Oct. 7, 1916)

“The writer of “A Woman’s Letter” comments upon her visit to tho Court Theatre, London, to see Violet Pearn’s satirical drama “Hush,” dealing with the desire of the modern girl to shock her elders. It shows how one of the “Daughters of Regeneration” writes and produces a play, the staging of which, with her betrothed’s parents (an old-fashioned country vicar and his wife) in a stage-box, is shown to the drama. The point of the central situation is that a bride brings home a cradle, and various “baby belongings,” and parades them before the prospective grand-parents- who are shocked, as she intended they should be. All this, and variations on it, sound particularly feeble, but the author must be clever, as our correspondent remarks: “It was killingly funny, and one laughed as one has not laughed at a play for years. I expect it will run some time, though as a piece of dramatic art it wants a good many cuts and trimmings up, for it seems hastily put together. “The flats do not always join” to speak in theatrical slang. Given some pruning and condensation I think there is no chance of “Hush” being “hushed up” for some time.”
(The Sydney Morning Herald, August 4, 1917)

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