ABSTRACT

The publication of Ivanhoe and its rapid uptake by the theatres of his day came hard on successful stage adaptations of earlier novels, particularly Guy Mannering and Rob Roy. Amidst the highly structured format of the Georgian theatre industry, divided between the Patent houses, able to perform the spoken word, and the Minor houses, supposedly confined to music, dance, mime and the nebulous burletta, the Scott adaptations were almost uniquely placed to cross class and genre divides as a form of parallel contemporary reception. They were already causing shifts in the theatre industry when Ivanhoe appeared and audiences at a range of venues now had particular expectations of the work of playwrights with this material. This article aims to place adaptations of Ivanhoe within their overall theatrical contexts, to trace their debts one to another, to look at their stage careers beside those of other Scott adaptations and to trace their progress throughout the nineteenth century across different types of venues and genres, from parlour music to hippodrama.

KEYWORDS: dramatization, British Theatre, illegitimate theatre, nineteenth-century hippodrama, working-class audiences, Patent Houses, Jewish characters, Sir Walter Scott, Waverley Novels

I. Introduction

     The performance afterlife of Scott’s novel Ivanhoe is both an example of the way that his works reached across class and national divides and also demonstrates how material was manipulated to speak to specific audiences. It is doubtful whether the first wave of stage dramatizations should properly be thought of as an “afterlife” but rather as a form of parallel contemporary reception that enabled all classes of society to share simultaneously in the worlds that Scott had created.Marian Rothstein utilises the same phrase to describe the structure and purpose of a 1545 translation of Homer. Rothstein, Marian. “Homer for the Court of François I.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 59, no. 3, The U of Chicago P on behalf of the Renaissance Society of America, 2006, pp. 732-67. JSTOR, DOI:10.1353/ren.2008.0427.  In 1844, an anonymous critic for the Glasgow Dramatic Review declared that “no plays are more popular in Scotland: because all have read the originals” (qtd. in Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage 3) and by mid-century, allowing for cheap editions and their appearance in working-class libraries and chapbooks, this could arguably have been the case, but a few weeks after publication as a three-volume set, when theatres across Britain were bringing out their particular versions, virtually no working-class theatregoers would have had access to the original.See Louis James p.88 on working-class access to the novels. James does not take account of chapbooks taken from the adaptations rather than the novels (see Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage 118-25).  They could, however, have shared folk memories of characters such as Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood (Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage 21-22). This paper explores the theatrical culture within which Ivanhoe dramas emerged, assesses the performance of Ivanhoe dramas against works taken from other novels and poems, and notes those instances where Ivanhoe spawned work shaped to its particular appeal. In doing so, it draws on a large-scale digital analysis of the part played by the Scott adaptations in the Georgian repertoire.See Bell “Using Digital Methodologies to Study Nineteenth-century Playbills” 2018. See also the Folger Henderson Collection of Playbills.

     Scott’s Journal for 31 Oct. 1826 described a performance of “Ivanhoe” he had attended at the Odéon theatre in Paris. He had been impressed by the settings and costumes but was less enamoured of the piece as a whole. “It was an opera, and of course the story greatly mangled, and the dialogue in a great part nonsense. Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words which I . . . dictated to William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, [p. 73] and for the amusement of strange people” (289). The performance was of M.R. Lacy’s version of the Rossini pastiche, Maid of Judah, but Scott’s commentary is significant on two counts: firstly, for what it reveals about his working methods, and secondly, for the irony of his words set against the character of the most successful stage dramas. He had been ill whilst creating the novel and would increasingly resort to dictating his work; however, observers of this process described how Scott dictated fluently both narrative and dialogue, becoming the individual characters as he spoke. Since each day’s work was sent for copying immediately, he could not revise anything until the proof stage. This process sometimes resulted in rambling plotlines; however, more importantly the dialogue was immediate, the product of a performer inhabiting his characters and letting them speak aloud. For Scott, the plot and libretto of the Parisian work offered a faint echo of his original, but it would be those adaptations which lifted his dialogue verbatim from the novel which would triumph. It was this invaluable dialogue which meant that the dramatizations of Scott’s work brought about a fundamental change to the theatre in Britain, contributing significantly to the abolition of the restrictive Patent Laws.

 

II. The British Stage: Ripe for Change

     The British stage during Scott’s lifetime was the product of legal statutes resulting in a theatrical industry fractured by law. The Patent Houses, namely the Theatre/s Royal, were the only establishments licensed to play the “legitimate” drama or spoken word, and other places of entertainment, the so-called “illegitimate” Minors, were supposedly confined to mime, music and dance or to forms combining words and music such as “burletta,” with elastic interpretations. The Minor theatres were continually seeking to stretch the meaning of their legal position and if they were playing a circuit of venues a Manager might hold the patent for one location but run a troublesome Minor house in another.See Bell (“The Nineteenth Century” 162-63) for an account of the legal dispute between Corbet Ryder, a Patent holder in the North of Scotland but a Minor Manager in Edinburgh, and the Theatre Royal.  One area notably lacking in legal statute tailored to the theatre was copyright protection. It was weak for playwrights and non- [p. 74] existent for authors of works appropriated for adaptation to the stage.See Deazley, Ronan. “Commentary on Dramatic Literary Property Act 1833.” 23 Nov. 2018, www.copyrighthistory.org/cam/tools/request/showRecord?id=commentary_uk_1833.  Thus Scott, seated in the Odéon, was powerless to prevent this or any other adaptation of his work appearing, and he never received a fee for any of the hundreds of productions taken from his works.

     Expanding urban populations meant that the late eighteenth and the whole of the nineteenth century saw the largest audiences for live performance in Britain to that time; however, theatres regularly ran into financial difficulty and the state of the drama was widely deplored by contemporary critics keen to see substantial new works, but in existing styles and forms. Even as the playhouses themselves were becoming more sophisticated in their structures and technical facilities, there seemed to be a legal stranglehold on the writing of new work which was smothering innovation and failing to attract audiences. One influential Government official was the Examiner of Plays, a functionary of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, whose approval was necessary before a new piece was produced. The metropolitan theatres submitted new works for licensing and announced the fact on their playbills, whereas provincial Minor theatres and strolling companies were less scrupulous. It was assumed that theatre Managers would comply with the cuts and adjustments imposed by the Examiner. Regardless of Government interference, through legal statute or ongoing censorship, Scott’s writing gifted to the whole of the theatre industry a fund of popular, current, source material in which the most valuable element was the dialogue, readily available for re-arrangement to suit the tastes of any particular theatre and its patrons. The energetic Minor theatres grasped at this bounty with alacrity and in the early years of successful adaptations from Guy Mannering onwards, the illegitimate stage offered up to its patrons versions of the most recent popular novel presented with as much faith to the original source material as their resources would allow, and very often ahead of the Theatre/s Royal. The Edinburgh Dramatic Review of 30 March 1825 reviewed a “new” adaptation of Rob Roy at the Caledonian Theatre, Edinburgh. The Theatre Royal had recently obtained an interim interdict in the Court of Session, cutting the Minor theatre off from its lucrative Scott adaptations, particularly Rob Roy. Now the Caledonian was fighting back with a new “Rob Roy” and [p. 75] the reviewer was impressed: “The language is almost Verbatim from the novel and where the incidents require to be filled up, a complete variation may be observed from the text of Mr. Pocock, or from that of the Theatre Royal version” (Bell, “The Nineteenth Century” 163).

     One challenge in looking at the stage careers of Scott’s works is in the definitions the Georgian theatre used to describe the plays as set against our contemporary scholarly vocabulary. Particularly contentious is the designation of “melodrama.” Richard M. Buckley’s inciteful essayBuckley warns against assuming “naively” in the rise of a kind of greater realism; however, it is worth considering the impetus towards “authenticity”—the real Scott experience being offered by managements, which entailed a greater adherence to the reality of the world of the novel. See Bell “. . . arranged in a fanciful manner and in an ancient style.” 2018. on “The Formation of Melodrama” notes Scott’s impact on the shift of metropolitan productions towards presenting characters and situations closer to the audience’s lived experience: “The immense popularity of melodramatic adaptations of Walter Scott’s fiction constitutes a primary thread of this domesticating trend” (470). However, it should be noted that whatever the verdict of later scholars, Georgian theatre professionals and audiences had a different view of the term. The adaptations at the Minor houses were regularly presented on the playbills as being superior to what illegitimate audiences usually saw, often being described as varieties of “drama,” but not melodramas and in truth most did not have continuous musical accompaniments, in locations where they were safe from legal challenge by a Theatre Royal. An analysis of performances taken from Rob Roy saw nine instances of their being described as melodramas out of a thousand nights on stage (Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage, vol. 2). By contrast some of the patent houses differentiated between this type of work and their legitimate repertoire by using descriptions that suggested less elevated antecedents. Managements and audiences conducted an extended dialogue within which both parties understood what cultural weight was signified by the various categories of play, musical chivalric play, historical melodramatic burletta and historical romance, etc. The Reminiscences of Thomas Dibdin includes a list of “Three-act Plays and Operas, misnamed Burlettas, according to Act of Parliament” (356), which cites five Scott adaptations written for the Surrey Theatre.

     By 1819 when Ivanhoe appeared, the first waves of stage adaptations, in particular successful adaptations of Guy Mannering and Rob Roy, meant that managements of both Patent and Minor houses were keen to follow suit with [p. 76] Scott’s latest novel, particularly when it was seen as an innovative foray into English medieval history and legend.Pieces taken from Rob Roy were so reliably successful that the common theatrical saying arose “When in doubt, play Rob Roy.” The production at the Edinburgh Theatre Royal in 1818 was generally thought to have saved it from bankruptcy.  Unlike the works of Charles Dickens, Scott’s novels were published initially without illustrations so that the stage picturizations were readers’ first chance to see and to critique what they had only imagined. The noted diarist Hester Piozzi wrote to Alfred Bunn to beg sight of his dramatization for the Theatre Royal, Birmingham:

Ivanhoe—when read, struck me most in the Dialogue between Rebecca and the Hero—he stretched upon a Couch; She watching the Success of War thro’ an Embrasure. May I beg to read it as Dramatized by Mr. Bunn, and acted by dear Mr. Conway who I think possesses every excellent Quality—except that of a good Correspondent. (459) 

Even those audience members fortunate enough to have read the novel were dependent on the theatres to bring costumes and scenery to life.

     The Waverley Novels generally had a stage career which followed a recognisable pattern. The first wave of adaptations (1817-c.1832) would follow shortly after publication, with the Minor houses competing with the Theatres Royal for the public’s approval. Within Britain the bulk of the new adaptations appeared first in London, were rapidly printed or the prompt copies pirated, and then spread to other establishments as suited them. Subsequent playwrights and Managers might amalgamate parts of different adaptations to create a “new” drama. Alfred Bunn’s drama, which debuted in Birmingham at the end of August 1820, was described in the Preface to the printed playtext as “compiled . . . from the celebrated novel of that name, and from the contemporary plays on the subject . . . with the addition of some speeches and situations, and two songs, that I deemed it advisable to compose, for the purpose of heightening the general effect of the piece.” Similarly, the version of Ivanhoe played at the Edinburgh Theatre Royal in 1823 was described as a “compilation from the various dramas . . . [and] licensed for [p. 77] this theatre.”See Folger Henderson playbill no. W11:100. See also the playbill for Miss Halford’s Benefit, five months earlier using Beazley’s version. digital.nls.uk/playbills/bigpic/?pic=74417714. Consulted on 15 Sep. 2018.  There was also a lively two-way trade in successful adaptations of Scott’s work between Britain and the Continent. If successful in the early years they would be used by Managers or leading actors for benefits. The benefit nights, held once per season, allowed performers to choose the pieces and take any profits after expenses. They were crucial to actors’ livings and the choice of a particular play demonstrated either its popularity in the vicinity or its attraction as a novelty. During the next phase (1833-1860) in Britain the works would, depending on their profiles, become embedded in the overall repertoire, being placed by managements to maximise the return on their performance. They might be played on particular nights of the week or be utilised in combination with other Scott adaptations. It was during this period that the Theatres Act in 1843 finally abolished the restrictive Patent Laws, and Scott was credited by many with hastening the change by gifting to the illegitimate stage the material that enabled it to demonstrate its fitness to be allowed free rein with the spoken word. The reminiscences of the playwright Edward Fitzball (Thirty-Five Years I: iv), called Scott “the mighty luminary which reflected its lustre upon the so-called illegitimate stage,” noting that whilst Scott himself was no dramatist “his works were so dramatic, that, placed on the stage” by competent playwrights such as Thomas Dibdin, “they assumed a new and magnificent feature, which even the theatres royal could not surpass” (Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage 18). Finally, during the latter part of the nineteenth century (1860-1900), as overall use of the dramatisations declined, individual playwrights approached the source material anew. No longer constrained by audience expectations of adherence to the original, they were free to work in new forms, whether that meant the burlesques that were as critical of theatrical conventions as they were of Scott, or serious dramas suited to contemporary audiences.

 

III. Early Dramatic Responses to the Novel

     Commentaries on the adaptations of Ivanhoe regularly mention the cluster of pieces which appeared in London in 1820. There were at one point five different adaptations playing in the capital, and the subtly different slants [p. 78] taken to the materials by the various playwrights and managements illustrate more broadly the approach of the industry to Scott’s novels as they first appeared. Philip Cox’s lively study, Reading Adaptations, contains an informative chapter which contrasts the texts of the Ivanhoe adaptations by Dibdin and Soane (77-120); however, it is also useful to take a broader overview of the novel as it was presented to the various audiences of London. Some of the illegitimate Minor theatres had already developed reputations for successful presentations of the Scott novels and poems, so that if an adaptation was especially fêted, they attracted a breadth of upper-class audience members, whereas others were more homogeneous venues, catering primarily to lower-middle and working-class audiences employed in the locality. In late January, barely a month after the novel appeared, the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand, which drew its audience mainly from the legal district, was playing Ivanhoe or the Saxon Chief by an anonymous playwright, whilst Thomas Dibdin had prepared Ivanhoe; or, The Jew’s Daughter for the Surrey Theatre and W.T. Moncrieff’s Ivanhoe; or, the Jew of York was playing at the Coburg Theatre.The record for a speedy dramatization was held by the Edinburgh Theatre Royal’s production of The Talisman in 1825. The play opened some twelve hours after the novel appeared on sale.  By March the Patent Houses had caught up, with Beazley’s Ivanhoe; or, the Knight Templar occupying the Covent Garden stage, whilst Soane’s ambitious play, The Hebrew had opened at Drury Lane. The Adelphi’s version, Ivanhoe; or the Saxon Chief seems not to have been published, but some details can be gleaned from the playbill.See Folger Henderson bill no. W11:92 and also The Adelphi Theatre Project website listings available at www.umass.edu/AdelphiTheatreCalendar/m19d.htm#Label006.  The bill makes mention of “A Grand Assault on the Castle by the Saxons,” “Broad Sword Combats” and “the Release of Cedric, Rowena.” Isaac of York appears on the cast-list, but neither King Richard nor Rebecca are represented and this removes the necessity for including the events at Ashby or Templestowe.These omissions might have suited the Adelphi’s local audience. It would be 1833 before the first professing Jew was able to become a barrister in English courts.  The list of scenery, ending with several scenes in Torquilstone and climaxing with an “exterior of Torquilstone Castle, towers, battlements” further indicates that this version was focused tightly on the Norman and Saxon conflict (The Adelphi). The majority of theatres concentrated their Ivanhoe adaptations on the three significant spectacles, the Lists of Ashby, the Siege of Torquilstone and the Trial at Templestowe, but placing the siege and [p. 79] destruction of a castle by fire in the middle of a play demanded careful handling of the machinery and effects to allow for subsequent scenes and productions in the same evening. The first piece of scenery listed for the Adelphi play is “A Romantic Defile, with Druidical monuments” which tallies with Scott’s opening to the novel (The Adelphi); however, in the way that the playwrights commonly rearranged the order of Scott’s action to suit, this was not the only way of opening an Ivanhoe. Dibdin, Soane, Moncrieff and Bunn open in Cedric’s Hall, whilst Beazley and W.H. Murray, credited with the Edinburgh “compilation,” begin with a forest scene introducing Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the scheming Normans and a deal of exposition.

     Thomas Dibdin, working for a London Minor house, was a competent and thoughtful adaptor of Scott and the introductory Address to his play was spoken by Miss Copeland, indignant at discovering that there was no part for her, who reminds the audience, twice, of the theatre’s hugely successful adaptation of The Heart of Mid-lothian in which she had played Madge Wildfire. She also wishes to convey the Manager’s acute understanding of the unspoken compact between audience and company in respect of the adaptation of novels. 

Tell ‘em, too, we are fearfully aware
That every Reader, above all the Fair,
Will look for this, or that scene, which our space
Of time, and limit, may not yield a place,
And each will think the subject we neglect,
Unless they see what, they may most affect—(vii-viii)

That this was not as successful as their earlier works, Dibdin later put down to the untimely deaths in succession of the Duke of Kent and King George III, which closed the theatres, and Dibdin recounted how the theatre-going habits of the “fashionable” did not recover throughout that season (The Reminiscences 179). It is Dibdin’s play which takes care to balance the various elements of the original novel in that he includes enough of the character detail and sub-plots surrounding King Richard, Robin Hood and above all, the fates of Gurth and Wamba, as to offer up to the audience a reasonable compression of the novel as a whole, which does not lose central themes amidst the physical action and absorbing tale of Rebecca and Isaac. [p. 80] Dibdin uses a deal of Scott’s own dialogue but, much as with Heart of Mid-lothian, where he was seen to adjust the dialogue of Dumbiedykes, the leading comic character, he alters Wamba’s witticisms to make them play more briskly onstage and before the metropolitan audience. Early in the novel Cedric is anxious to know the names of the knights who have distinguished themselves at the tournament in Palestine and offers the Pilgrim a reward for the tale:

“I would give thee this golden bracelet, Pilgrim,” he said, “couldst thou tell me the names of those knights who upheld so gallantly the renown of merry England.”
“That will I do blithely,” replied the Pilgrim, “and without guerdon; my oath, for a time, prohibits me from touching gold.”
“I will wear the bracelet for you, if you will, friend Palmer,” said Wamba.” (Scott, Ivanhoe, ch. V)

Dibdin makes Wamba’s interjection crisper: “Take it, I’ll wear it for you.” (I, i)

     The Patent Houses were, as was their wont, slow to bring their adaptations to production by a few weeks. It was generally the illegitimate stage which sought to keep as close to Scott’s original vision as their circumstances permitted, gaining status for the authenticity of their pieces, whereas the metropolitan Theatres Royal not only lagged behind but also tended to be more ambitious in their adaptations of the originals and often suffered for it. It was as though a natural disdain for the rude process of novel adaptation which produced something so popular with the gallery audiences demanded that they attempt to turn the same source material into a more elevated form, suitable for presentation on a Theatre Royal stage. It was not enough to cut-and-paste; their versions must be distinctive, and offer substantial roles to their star players. This ambition entailed a more extended production schedule once the novels appeared. Scott’s close friend Daniel Terry had written a highly successful adaptation of Guy Mannering, but his version of The Heart of Mid-Lothian for Covent Garden, having first introduced the characters, then launched off onto an alternative plot-line which failed to satisfy audiences who wanted the real Scott experience. On this occasion, whilst Beazley’s version of Ivanhoe for Covent Garden omitted [p. 81] King Richard, the Lists of Ashby and Templestowe, there is instead a narrower focus on the story of Ulrica, her manipulation of Front de Boeuf, played by Macready, who is seen to be haunted by her from the opening scene, and the piece ends with her awful revenge and a gritty death scene for Front de Boeuf amidst crashing masonry and leaping flames. At Drury Lane, George Soane appealed in the Prologue for a fair hearing, declaring that “he, alas! Unfit/The scenes of “Ivanhoe” to copy here/Hath sought for safety in a humbler sphere/If from compiler’s dull mechanic ways/He fearless turns, will you withhold your praise?” The sense of equivocation evident in the way that the writer places themselves in the supposed hierarchy of novelist, adaptor and original playwright, keen to avoid falling into the category of “dull mechanic”, carries through into the play in which Soane was perhaps not bold enough. He chooses to omit Rowena, have Ivanhoe banished by Cedric for falling in love with Rebecca, and once she is safe and re-united with Ivanhoe, the suffering Isaac dies in her arms. The play was in blank verse and whilst reviewers noted passages of great power and praised the acting of Kean as Isaac, the critic from The European Magazine and London Review thought the “departures from the plot” were “too various” and “very little likely to render the piece attractive or successful” (257). It rapidly disappeared from the repertoire and the principal attraction for Kean’s Benefit on 17 June 1820 was Venice Preserved.

     Murray and Bunn’s efforts demonstrate how later adaptations could select elements from the earlier works or return to the source material. Once again it is instructive to track moments of comedy since these could be thought to be the most likely to be tailored to local tastes and references. As Locksley and his Merry Men prepare to besiege Torquilstone, Wamba is sent into the castle to reconnoitre and to rescue Cedric, or Ivanhoe depending on the adaptation, by changing his friar’s habit with him.In Murray’s version Wamba attempts to free Ivanhoe, who betrays himself to Sir Reginald Front de Boeuf and is re-captured so that he can escape again.  In the novel, Cedric, who cannot speak either Norman French or Latin, asks how he should answer if challenged in his disguise. 

“The spell lies in two words,” replied Wamba —“Pax vobiscum will answer all queries. If you go or come, eat or drink, bless or ban, Pax vobiscum carries you through it all. It is as useful to a [p. 82] friar as a broomstick to a witch, or a wand to a conjurer. Speak it but thus, in a deep grave tone, -Pax vobiscum!—it is irresistible—Watch and ward, knight and squire, foot and horse, it acts as a charm upon them all.” (Scott, Ivanhoe, ch. XXVI) 

Dibdin’s adaptation trims the phrases “Watch and ward, knight and squire, foot and horse” which could be thought to reiterate the breadth of the “go or come, eat or drink, bless or ban” speech pattern and develops Wamba’s advice with a mouthful of cod-Latin.

CEDRIC. But if I am spoken to how shall I answer like a true friar?
WAMBA. Pax vobiscum pantrimina haunchinos venisonibus, old sack, hung beef. In ale cellariminos, such latin is as a good to a friar, as a broomstick to a witch, or a wand to a conjuror. (II, v)

     At Covent Garden, Beazley not only repeats the mock-Latin exercise, but also expands on Scott’s “eat or drink” phrase by introducing “cherry bounce,” an anachronistic, but hugely popular, eighteenth-century drink. 

CEDRIC. But, how shall I bear myself like a reverend brother?
WAMBA. It all lies in two words, “Pax vobiscum”—“Who goes there?” says the Warder, - “Pax vobiscum!” say you, and you pass on—“Come, most holy Friar, and taste my cherry-bounce,” says the housekeeper; “Pax vobiscum!” say you, and you stop—and if you can so far stretch your genius, as to invent a little mock-Latin; such as, somnambutum, forestinas, castellum, battlementus, flagellum—it will help you wonder-fully, since, what people don’t understand, goes a great way with them. (III, iii)

Bunn (II, v) chooses to reproduce Beazley’s “cherry bounce” speech exactly, but when Murray comes to work on the scene, he reverts to an edited version of Scott’s original dialogue, mining the novel for additional colour, such as Wamba’s comical “grave, deep tone”. [p. 83]

IVANHOE. . . . How shall I bear myself as a reverend brother?
WAMBA. The spell lies in two words. Pax vobiscum will answer all queries. If you go or come, eat or drink, bless or ban, Pax vobiscum carries you through all. It is as useful to a friar as a broomstick to a witch, or a wand to a conjuror. Speak it but thus, in a grave, deep tone—Pax vobiscum!it is irresistible. (II, ix)

Murray played Wamba himself. He was a small man with a light voice, so that this would generate a comic moment for the audience, seeing their Manager literally making a fool of himself. Dibdin’s play ends with the Trial at Templestowe, as do the works from Soane, Bunn, Moncrieff and W.H. Murray, whilst the anonymous Adelphi piece and Beazley’s work for Covent Garden end with the burning of Torquilstone.See Folger Henderson bill no. W11:99 Theatre, Sheffield 14 Nov 1820 when the bill tells patrons that the guest tightrope walker will perform earlier than normal because of the smoke from the explosion in the last scene of the play. See also footnote 20.  However, between first and last there are varying adjustments. Some adaptations list Ivanhoe amongst the Normans, Rebecca is pursued by Bois Gilbert or Front de Boeuf, King Richard is absent from several works and in the final scene Dibdin gives Ivanhoe part of Richard’s speech.

“I will resist thy doom,” said the Grand Master.
“Proud Templar,” said the King, “thou canst not—look up, and behold the Royal Standard of England floats over thy towers instead of thy Temple banner!—Be wise, Beaumanoir, and make no bootless opposition—Thy hand is in the lion’s mouth.” (Scott, Ivanhoe, ch. XLIV)

IVANHOE. Proud priest, my king disdains an answer to thee. His royal standard floats above thy temple mummery, nor all thy threats can pull that daring ensign, from where a British hand with justice plants it --- Beware, thou’rt in the lion’s grasp. [p. 84]
RICHARD. Templars, go where ye list, but rule not here. Come, Ivanhoe, thy destin’d Bride, Rowena, and thy father’s favour, await to crown thy gallant loyalty.
ISAAC. And dare such humble subjects, as my dear Rebecca and myself intrude—with heartfelt gratitude to you, and you, and all, we’d say—our minds, our heart, and means shall ever be devoted to our country and the good king we have so long revered. (Dibdin, Ivanhoe, III. vi)

Occasionally this process of repeated revisions can muddy the meaning; in 1823 Murray expands a speech for Ivanhoe to emphasise the patriotic, but in the process seems to blend Richard’s role with that of Ivanhoe. 

IVANHOE. And now, my gallant friends, the rebels are dispersed, and Richard mounts again the throne of England, amidst the general love of his subjects. Henceforth let factions cease. Norman and Saxon blended in one common interest, the study of my future life shall be the happiness of all; - the tie which binds me to our people, the watchword to intimidate their foes—OUR NATIVE LAND; and every loyal heart will join the cry—“Long live King Richard—Long live the Lion-heart.” (III, iv)

The bulk of the Ivanhoe pieces were used for actors’ benefit nights in their first season. Whilst the London theatres toiled, their efforts were more or less pilfered by companies across the country and 1820 saw benefits featuring Ivanhoe adaptations taken in Worcester, Bury, Derby and Salisbury. In Edinburgh the Minor, Pantheon Theatre, played another version for the benefit of its author, Mr. Montague, where it was advertised as “altered from the pieces performing at the Surrey & Coburg theatres in London.”See Folger Henderson Waverley bill no. W11:94, Pantheon Theatre, 4 March 1820.  Rebecca and Isaac were the characters chosen most often by the benefit-takers.The Ivanhoe dramas were rarely used by theatre servants such as the stage Manager who, without personal followings to assure a good house, needed to select cast-iron local favourite pieces that were economical to stage, if there were to be any profits left after expenses.  Rowena and Ivanhoe were selected less often; however, they do appear to have benefitted from a phenomenon seen before in the Scott dramatizations [p. 85] whereby his somewhat colourless lovers grow in importance onstage from their being assigned some of the most popular musical pieces and/or the most dynamic physical action.

 

IV. Music and the Ivanhoe Dramas

     The importance of music to the Scott dramatizations as a whole, both the speech-based pieces and the number of “operas” and grand operas which emanated from his works, was considerable, although the musical components varied again according to the tastes of the Manager and audience and the vocal resources within any season’s company. The impact of Daniel Terry’s 1816 adaptation of Guy Mannering was significant in that several of the songs and duets from that play not only remained in the theatrical repertoire, but were also arranged for amateur performance at home.Numerous public collections have sheet music of the period, featuring the songs, glees and ballads arranged for voice and piano accompaniment e.g., the Library of Congress collection includes several pieces taken from “Guy Mannering” dramas. https://www.loc.gov/item/2014568264/.  In this respect Ivanhoe differs slightly from some other of the Waverley novels, in that it was favoured by librettists and composers of “grand opera” and consequently provided less material for the private sphere, the sombre tone of several plotlines favouring the concert stage rather than the parlour. Whereas playbills for versions of Guy Mannering or Rob Roy would regularly feature the titles of the expected vocal pieces, the majority of the plays from Ivanhoe might not list any music at all. Yet where there were opportunities, the sheet music was promptly made available. On 11 Mar. 1820, the Morning Post advertised “popular Songs and Duets from the Drama of “Ivanhoe; or, the Knight Templar” now performing at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, sung by Miss Stephens and Miss Tree” (1; column 3) including “‘Music o’er the Passion stealing’ price 1s.6d.” published by Goulding and Co.. Theatre composers, alongside settings of the chosen verses or the composition of a suitable overture, often borrowed existing melodies or larger sections of existing theatre scores. Both the Beazley and Murray adaptations open with a scene in the forest, where Robin, Allan and the Miller have a glee and chorus beginning “Tho’ we lay down our bows,” utilising the opening of Stephen Storace’s opera Mahmoud (1796). Alongside technically challenging music, it was clear that including a few musical numbers for which the gallery knew [p. 86] the simple tunes and could join in the chorus was useful, and Scott’s borrowing of a “catch” “Ho! Jolly Jenkin” from Ramsay’s Tea-Table Miscellany (433) for the rollicking drinking scene between the Black Knight and the Friar in Chapter XX was a favourite. Alfred Bunn had mentioned his addition of “two songs, that I deemed it advisable to compose.” This was so that he could exploit the talents and considerable reputation of Madame Vestris who was taking on the expanded role of Elgitha with songs of her own and duets with her lover, Wamba. Bunn was endeavouring to lighten the overall piece with this subplot of love amidst the peasantry. The Scott operas taken from Ivanhoe included M. R. Lacy’s Rossini pastiche seen by Scott in Paris, The Maid of Judah; or, Knights Templars which first appeared in Britain on 7 Mar 1829 at Covent Garden and Wohlbruck’s The Templar & The Jewess which was seen at the Prince’s Theatre, London in 1840 performed by Herr Schumann’s Company of German singers.See Illustrated London News 27 Jan. 1844 for an illustration of the production at the Princess’s Theatre. books.google.co.uk/books?id=PqhPAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA61&lpg=PA61&dq=Madame+Vestris+Ivanhoe&source=bl&ots=7kwNSDT8Uj&sig=ntAhH7IvNUNWgKyghZ_7wxK5mFc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiEj-Xc4-HfAhU0A2MBHcoSCdsQ6AEwDXoECAMQAQ#v=onepage&q=Madame%20Vestris%20Ivanhoe&f=false  Much later in the century W.S. Gilbert’s 1891 opera Ivanhoe would play for 155 consecutive nights and subsequently on tour in a compressed version. Interested readers are directed to the substantial studies of The Walter Scott Operas by Jerome Mitchell (1977), who lists eleven pieces derived from Ivanhoe, and of popular music, through Roger Hansford’s (2017) work on the Figures of the Imagination: Fiction and Song in Britain, 1790-1850 in which he outlines how Scott gave a boost to aspirational middle-class singing by “combined the images of chivalry and musicianship” (17).

 

V. Production Challenges/Opportunities Specific to Ivanhoe: Expense

     Whilst several of the pieces which appeared in the first phase of Waverley adaptations endured in the repertoire, there were aspects to Ivanhoe the novel, structural and thematic, which impacted on its subsequent stage career. An evident constraint was the level of resource needed to produce an adaptation satisfactorily. Alfred Bunn advertised the Birmingham production by announcing that the stage would be used to its full extent for the first time, by raising the proscenium curtain and moving the pilasters, “to the amazing [p. 87] width of FORTY FEET.”See Birmingham Chronicle 31 Aug. 1820 page 3 column 5.  All of the adaptations needed a large cast and the medieval costumes, weapons and armour required would be not only costly, but also difficult to transport for the smallest groups of touring players, working in whatever large rooms or empty barns could be found, so that Ivanhoe rarely appears in their repertoire, whereas Guy Mannering and Rob Roy were seen everywhere. Similarly, not all theatres, for even the so-called Theatres Royal in smaller towns might be simple venues open for a few weeks in the year, would have had the machinery necessary to deal with the burning of Torquilstone.See playbill for the Horncastle Theatre, playing the “Chivalrous Play” of “Ivanhoe; or, The Jew of York” Folger Shakespeare Library, Henderson Collection, W11:110 dated 18 March 1837 the evening under the patronage of the “Chairman & Gentlemen of the Bull Inn Ordinary.” See Folger Henderson Waverley playbill no. W11:99 for the Sheffield Theatre 14 Nov. 1822 presenting the ‘Musical Chivalric Play’ of Ivanhoe or, the Knight Templar. See also footnote 13.  The result was that in England, pieces taken from Ivanhoe amounted to 4% of the total, whilst dramatisations of Rob Roy and Guy Mannering generated the bulk of the performances at 28% apiece.

 

VI. Hippodrama and the Military Connection

     One type of performance which toured works taken from Ivanhoe across the country, enabled all those within a locality who could afford 6d. for the cheapest seat to witness the gorgeous and stirring spectacle of the “hippodrama.” This was a form of entertainment that incorporated horses as props or characters, appearing in a circus ring with the audience around three-quarters of the circle and a stage at one end. The companies occupied existing purpose-built buildings in the larger cities, or toured tented pavilions fitted-up with temporary seating, etc. Some incorporated movable platforms and ramps from the ring to the stage, so that the action could flow from one to another seamlessly. To generations for whom horse-power and horses were ubiquitous, displays of skilled horsemanship were endlessly fascinating. The principal performers were often ex-cavalrymen whose experience gained in the training and management of horses for war enabled them to marshal large casts of performers, equine and human.See, for example, the profile of Philip Astley at www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/the-first-circus/  In the case of Ivanhoe, the pieces taken from the novel were slotting into an existing performance tradition within which the representation of medieval tournaments and tales of “chivalry” were [p. 88] already popular. A.H. Saxon’s study, Enter Horse and Foot, notes a revival of Garrick’s Cymon at Drury Lane (1791) which included a tournament and fight between mounted knights (Bell, “The Performance” 192). Similarly, one of the principal performer/managers of the hippodrama, Philip Astley, had produced W. Barrymore’s The Blood-Red Knight, or the Fatal Bridge (1810) with considerable success in which the climax featured a pitched battle, involving men and horses, over several levels, in and out of water. Whilst it was the 1840s which saw the bulk of the hippodramas taken from Ivanhoe, Kimberley Poppiti reveals that as early as 1824, Mr. Blythe “of Astley’s” was presenting a “Grand Combat of Eight” from Ivanhoe as part of an evening’s entertainment featuring The Blood-Red Knight to audiences in Philadelphia (77).

     Jane Moody’s study of Illegitimate Theatre in London 1770-1840 maps the connections, practical and thematic, between the work of a number of London’s Minor theatres, including Astley’s, and conflict across the world: “Revolution and war now provided the script for an illegitimate theatre of peril, danger, and spectacular illusion. The physical materials as well as the iconography of these martial spectacles originated from contemporary warfare” (28). Moody then goes on to outline how scenery and effects were borrowed from current military practice. Similarly, Barbara Bell identifies the tournament as the key performance structure that ran through “The Performance of Victorian Medievalism” and focuses in particular on the changes to military training and practice brought about by the Government’s conversion of its light dragoon regiments into regiments of lancers around 1816 (“The Performance” 191-216). The new Polish lances were 12 feet long with a sharpened tip rather than the blunt end of the medieval lance, and men and horses trained in the tilt-yard much as their medieval counterparts would have done, with competitive tournaments open to public view. The leading stage rider, Andrew Ducrow, presented a spectacle entitled The Lists of Ashby! Or, The Conquests of Ivanhoe at Astley’s in 1837; however, the later hippodramas which emerged out of Ivanhoe were given a measure of impetus by the celebrated amateur tournament staged by the Earl of Eglinton in 1839 in which theatrical elements reaching back to the medieval tournaments organised by Sir David Lyndsay (c.1490-c.1555), mingled with the amateur performative and sporting elements of the event (Bell, “The Performance” 200-04). Ducrow repeated his production not long after the tournament and [p. 89] the critic of the Morning Post (3 Sep. 1839) was pleased to proclaim “Honour to DUCROW! The real Tournament has failed, but the mimic Tournament, “with real armour,” has succeeded.” The critic goes on to insist that “here, though not at Eglinton, in several instance [sic] “they ran the shock—their coursers fell”—many a lance was broken, and many a hapless knight unhorsed” whereas the Evening Standard (3 Sep. 1839) on the same day described “Tilting with the lance, in which real champions were disarmed or gently unhorsed, and stuffed knights hurled from their steeds with violence.” Bell (“The Performance” 205-08) describes a tournament which took place at the Cremorne Gardens pleasure grounds in London and considers the innate differences between jousting as a sport or an exhibition and the type of performance favoured by the Morning Post’s critic and by many of the spectators at Eglinton, in which there was a pre-determined narrative as in the hippodramas, allowing for planned danger and a guaranteed thrilling spectacle.

     It is possible to track the progress of some of the hippodramas on their tours. The performances were usually concentrated on that one section of the novel and in so doing balanced out an omission from the performance patterns in the text-based theatre. Other Scott adaptations might be compressed “as an afterpiece,” becoming the supporting piece of the evening rather than its principal attraction once their initial wave of popularity had passed. Later favourite pieces might also engender a truncated presentation, when the play could commence at Act 2 or feature Acts 1 and 3. Some adaptations from Ivanhoe did appear compressed but not truncated within a conventional theatre setting and the hippodrama made good the omission. Batty’s circus took The Lists of Ashby for tours of Ireland 1840-1842, returning to the South West of England and London late in 1841 and off to Waterford and Dublin in March 1842. Batty’s production directly referenced the Eglinton Tournament and sought to combine the two in the advertising. Meanwhile Cooke’s Circus was in Leeds in March 1841 and Carlisle, Penrith and Newport, Westmoreland in May-July 1842 with The Tournament or the Lists of Ashby. The playscripts used by these establishments were rarely published, but in 1859 Fox Cooper wrote a three-act adaptation of Ivanhoe for Astley’s. Bell (“The Performance” 198-99) quotes the climax of the piece as an example of how the action could be moulded to enable this particular company to demonstrate its skills to their best advantage. Not content with having Ivanhoe [p. 90] defeat Bois Guilbert in single combat, Astley’s ensure that the finale is as action-packed as their audience could wish to see:

BOIS GUILBERT. Dog of a Saxon, take the death thou hast drawn upon thy head!
IVANHOE. On, then, and heaven defend the right!
HERALD. Sound!
(Music. Trumpet sounds and success varies, and all the spectators are agitated apparently by their hopes and fears. Ivanhoe at length disarms Sir Brian de Bois Guilbert, strikes him down centre, places his foot upon his breast, and his sword at his throat.)
GRAND MASTER. Forbear! Ivanhoe is conqueror! Rebecca is free!
BOIS GUILBERT. Never! I will contest it yet! On Templars! The fiends have juggled with us. Onwards, for our Holy Temple!
ROBIN HOOD. Ha! Breaking Faith! Then my merry men, on for Richard!
(Music.—Hurrahs and general combat between the Knight Templars and the outlaws, in which the Black Knight is mixed up; after a desperate conflick [sic], the Black Knight on horseback, rushes up to the pile with Gurth, and they release Rebecca.—Tableau.)
BLACK KNIGHT. Nay, nay! On your allegiance I charge you hold! Ivanhoe is the conqueror in the fight. The maiden is his prize. He’s won her freedom. He who rebels ‘gainst this, my righteous judgement, his head shall answer for it. (Discovering himself.) This Richard of England awards for doom.!
(Music)
(Richard, c., Royal Guards, R. and L. The Standard of England is unfurled, Grand Master throws down his baton. They all kneel, Rebecca falls at the feet of Ivanhoe, Isaac on the other side. Ivanhoe raise them, they rush into each other’s arms, and the curtain falls amidst general shouts.) (Cooper III, iii) [p. 91]

Over the past decade, a number of scholarly studies have considered the impact of live animals on the performance arena, and certainly Raber & Mattfeld 2017, Mattfeld 2017 and Parker-Starbuck 2015 would recognise the embodied power implicit in the comment of The Globe critic that “the constant appearance of horses on the stage imparted a life-like reality to the scene which could have been attained in no other way.” In a lengthy article, The Globe reviewer (26 April 1859) thought the Astley Ivanhoe compared favourably with Kean’s Henry V, then being played at the Royal Princess’s, in terms of the way that the scenes of ceremonial and battle were managed: very differently but equally effectively in the mind of the critic. In contrast, the critic of the Reading Mercury (30 April 1859) felt that it was “eccentric, and decidedly original, to make such prominent use of [the horses] in the storm of Torquilstone Castle.”

 

VII. The Jew Portrayed: the Fates of Rebecca and Isaac

     A second factor that shaped some of the adaptations and their reception was the question of the fate of Rebecca and the wider Jewish strand to the source material. There have been several studies addressing the attitudes to and depiction of Jews in Romantic-era Britain and nineteenth-century literature over the last few years generating lively debate, notably work by Todd M. Endelman (2009), Sheila A. Spector and Frederick Burwick (2011), Efraim Sicher (2017) and Aaron Kaiserman (2018), whilst Michael Ragussis (2010) sets the experience of Jews before and behind the curtain alongside that of the Scots and Irish, as other ethnic minorities being dramatized during a period of national change when “learning how to be English often meant learning how to exclude Scots, Irish, and Jews” (11). Endelman, focusing on the social and economic structures of English life as they impacted on the toleration and advancement of the Jewish community, acknowledges the industry of earlier writers, particularly those from the Jewish Historical Society of England. Alfred Rubens’ 1970 journal article “Jews and the English Stage, 1667-1850” reveals that in the first decades of the nineteenth century the Royalty and Astley’s theatres were the most popular with Jewish audiences, whilst there were so many Jewish performers working at Astley’s that the company was known familiarly as “Astley’s Jews” (158). Rubens details both the activities of Jewish performers, such as the celebrated tenor [p. 92] John Braham who was a regular performer as Bertram in Guy Mannering, and of Jewish audiences, whether barracking an ill-judged song in Thomas Dibdin’s Family Quarrels (1802) or boycotting the theatres after the revival of The Jew of Malta (1818). He also considers the impact of the employment of Jewish boxers from Astley’s, notably Dutch Sam and Mendoza, by the Covent Garden management in an effort to quell the O.P. Riots at Covent Garden (1809). Sheila A. Spector’s Introduction, “The Convergence of Romanticism and Judaica,” to the volume containing Burwick’s article, emphasises the need to take account of the integral role that the Jews held in the emergence of Romanticism as “a response to the dislocation of old certitudes and an attempt to derive a new ethos . . . which required a reconsideration of the Jew as other” (1). Burwick, outlining the way in which the stage image of the Jew was changing, notes Thomas Dibdin’s bad miscalculation in the character of a false/assumed Jew, calls Soane’s The Hebrew “a clear blunder” (112-13) and quotes Genest’s opinion that it was Moncrieff’s version of Ivanhoe which kept close to the original, which was the most successful, and Soane’s which was least satisfying.Genest, Some Account of the English Stage, page 53 quotes from Moncrieff’s advertisement to the printed text, claiming that his would be found to be the best adaptation because he had not written fifty lines of the play.  Soane would not be the only playwright who sought to respond to the feeling amongst a portion of the readers of Ivanhoe that Rebecca was better matched with Ivanhoe than the less dynamic Rowena. Efraim Sicher’s closely argued study, The Jew’s Daughter: A Cultural History of a Conversion Narrative traces the imagery surrounding Jewish fathers and their daughters within art and literature focusing on the evolution of a powerful cultural paradigm, whilst Kaiserman considers Rebecca’s steadfast refusal to convert as placing Scott’s novel apart from the run of such works, rather attempting to “demonstrate a mutual dependence of Jewishness and Britishness” (178). In this instance, it is perhaps Ragussis who offers the most pertinent comments on the repertoire of the period, suggesting that “the male ethnic stage figure was a way of responding to a kind of ethnic panic” and the novel inverted the paradigm with “cross-ethnic romantic pairings” (163) the popularity of which was in part the result of the “audience’s appetite for ethnic spectacle” (202) which the theatre both offered for consumption and also questioned. Ragussis explains that “the theater [sic], with its mixed multi-ethnic audience, became [p. 93] the central arena in which the important cultural sign systems of ethnic difference were inspected and regulated, popularly and publicly, daily and communally” (44).

 

VIII. The Second Half of the Century: Burlesques, Amateurs and Some New Adaptations

     When the first wave of enthusiasm and reverence for the latest Waverley novel started to subside, it was inevitable that they and their stage adaptations would become the subjects of the light-hearted burlesques that were popular mid-century. The burlesques of this period, also called extravaganzas or travesties, have little connection with twentieth-century burlesque shows, often containing striptease acts within a variety bill, other than an irreverent tone. The nineteenth-century burlesques of Waverley dramatisations aimed to parody both the best-known elements of the original material and the conventions of the stage representations. Victorian burlesques regularly featured cross-dressing, women playing the young heroes, much as in pantomime where the Principal Boy was always played by an actress, whilst some of the female parts were played by men. These were not always the old crone roles but, for example, Effie Deans from The Heart of Mid-lothian.One such piece was W. Brough’s The Great Sensation Trial or Circumstantial Effie Deans which played at St. James’s Theatre in April 1863 and aimed at the current craze for “sensation dramas.” Mr. Rogers played Effie Deans to great applause.  In Ivanhoe burlesques the roles of Ivanhoe and often that of Locksley were played by women, and Rowena seems to have been occasionally played by a man. The elaborate cod-chivalric ceremonies of the Ivanhoe adaptations were fine targets for humour and battles and tourneys were often conducted with hobby-horses. Amidst a host of topical jokes and puns, the musical scores might feature pieces from other adaptations given new lyrics or contain popular songs taken from the singing saloons, the forerunners of the music-halls. There was a balance to be struck however, between the popular and what would play to the widest audience. The Brough Brothers wrote The Last Edition of Ivanhoe; with all the Newest Improvements in 1850 and its appearance at the Haymarket Theatre garnered an extensive review from the critic of The Musical World who, whilst applauding much that was enjoyable, he and “the juvenile part” of the audience particularly enjoyed the tournament [p. 94] scene with its “mock fights on the hobby horses,” took the brothers to task for a repeat offence in including the song “Sam Hall.” This piece, the critic feels, is too “Coal-holeish and Cider-cellarish,” naming two notoriously rowdy singing saloons,This blog includes a useful bibliography. http://radiodaysmusic.com/main/maiden-lane-and-the-cyder-cellars/  and the song is unsuited to burlesque because only a very small section of the audience, “gents, late taverners and lads of the gas,” understand the jokes and respond to them (207). Adaptations from Ivanhoe were also used for amateur performances for charity, when the female roles would be played by professional actresses. Occasionally particularly ambitious amateur groups would tackle a serious adaptation, as in 1854, when The Pianoforte Makers Amateur Dramatic Benevolent Society produced the “Romantic Drama” of Ivanhoe; or, the Knight Templar at the Theatre Royal, St. James’s, London;See Folger Henderson Waverley bill no. W11:119.  however, it was more often the burlesques which attracted the amateurs. Bell (“The Performance” 208-09) has analysed the way in which sections of Victorian society, notably the aristocracy and the military, were able to combine a serious attachment to many of the ideals and skills of the medieval revival, alongside a thoroughly irreverent approach to the clichés of the style. A company, performing in support of the Universal Beneficient Society and featuring the Marquis Townsend (Oswald), Lord Arthur Pelham Clinton (Cedric) and Mr. W.L. Maitland as Rebecca, played the burlesque of Ivanhoe at the Royal St. James’s, Royal Strand and Holborn theatres in 1867 and as late as 1889, the Guards Burlesque Company were at the Chelsea Barracks with Ivanhoe.See Folger Henderson Waverley playbill no. W11:125  Bell (“The Performance” 210) displays an illustration from the Illustrated London News Library showing Kate Vaughan, playing Rebecca, giving some advice to Lt. Compton Roberts, playing Rowena.

     The final shift in the nineteenth-century stage fortunes of Ivanhoe came full circle as a new generation of playwrights shaped adaptations to the tastes of contemporary audiences. A major influence was Andrew Halliday who, before his early death in 1877, created a number of Scott adaptations. A former journalist with a keen eye for the public mood, Halliday was noted for his abilities in various dramatic forms, but was best known for a handful of Scott adaptations, including Ivanhoe adapted as Rebecca (1871) for Drury [p. 95] Lane. Halliday makes his own adjustments to the original material, including creating a scene between Rowena and Rebecca played across Ivanhoe’s unconscious body, in which Rowena begs her not to try to steal her lover. Prince John is shown a silvan masque and the Lists at Ashby are replaced by a Tournament at Templestowe with “real horses,” the horses and stunt-double riders recruited from Astley’s, and three hundred auxiliaries. The audiences were enthusiastic and the critics were divided, the London Evening Standard and The Daily Telegraph and Courier thought it well done and any changes to be minor, whilst in a lengthy review The Morning Advertiser declared it to be an “ill-balanced, inchoate jumble” (25 Sep. 1871). Another successful later adaptation was that by Robert Cowie, lessee of the Theatre Royal Dundee. Once again, the piece is praised for its “fidelity” to the original, the critic in the Dundee Courier (20 Feb. 1875) being duly impressed: “The characters are carefully preserved in all their details, the most striking scenes have been faithfully produced, and the utmost veneration has been shown for Scott’s magnificent dialogue, which has a rich intellectual flavour, too often awanting in the modern drama.”

 

IX. Conclusion

     Down the decades, the fortunes of Ivanhoe onstage had followed the fashions of the time, but had not perhaps surpassed their impact in the first years of its representation. When King Richard, or Ivanhoe, declared that Saxon and Norman should come together for the good of England, it was not insignificant that for the first time in nineteenth-century Britain all the audiences, from Theatres Royal to Minor houses to crowds clustered about the smallest groups of strolling players could, if they chose, hear Scott’s characters speak exactly the same words. None were excluded from the current cultural conversation and Ivanhoe was one Waverley novel that survived as a vehicle for adaptation into the twentieth century, demonstrating the same flexibility whereby chapbooks were replaced with comic-books, and the stage adaptations and novel were further adapted for film and television. [p. 96]

 

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Parker-Starbuck, Jennifer, and Lourdes Orozco, editors. Performing Animality: Animals in Performance Practices. AIAA, 2015.

Piozzi, Hester. The Piozzi Letters/Correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821; (formerly Mrs. Thrale). Vol. 6, edited by Edward A. Bloom and Lillian D. Bloom, U of Delaware P, 2002.

Poppiti, Kimberly. A History of Equestrian Drama in the United States: Hippodrama’s Pure Air and Fire. Routledge, 2018, p. 77.

“Princess’s Theatre.” The Illustrated London News, 1844. The British Newspaper Archive, 5 Dec. 2018, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/titles/illustrated-london-news.

Raber, Karen, and Monica Mattfeld, editors. Performing Animals: History, Agency, Theater. Pennsylvania State UP, 2017.

Ragussis, Michael. Theatrical National: Jews and Other Outlandish Englishmen in Georgian Britain. U of Pennsylvania P, 2010.

Ramsay, Allan. The tea-table miscellany: or, A Collection of Choice Songs. 11th ed., vol. 4, printed for A. Millar, 1750. HathiTrust Digital Library, 2 Nov. 2018, catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008662427.

Rothstein, Marian. “Homer for the Court of François I.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 59, no. 3, 2006, pp. 732-67. The U of Chicago P on behalf of the Renaissance Society of America, 24 Sept. 2018, doi:10.1353/ren.2008.0427.

Rubens, Alfred. “Jews and the English Stage, 1667-1850.” Jewish Historical Society of England Journal, vol. 24, 1970, pp. 151-70.

Scott, Walter, Sir. The Journal of Sir Walter Scott. New ed., Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1891. HathiTrust Digital Library, 10 Sept. 2018, babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b3332252.

———. Walter Scott: Ivanhoe. Waverley Novels. Vol. 16-17, Archibald Constable & Col., 1895. 3 May 2018, www.walterscott.lib.ed.ac.uk/etexts/etexts/ivanhoe_1893.htm.

Sicher, Efraim. The Jew’s Daughter: A Cultural History of a Conversion Narrative. Lexington Books, 2017.

Soane, George. The Hebrew. Printed for John Lowndes, 1820. HathiTrust Digital Library, 11 Sept. 2018, babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.319510020893715;view=1up;seq=5.

Spector, Sheila A. “Introduction: The Convergence of Romanticism and Judaica.” Romanticism/Judaica: A Convergence of Cultures, edited by Sheila A. Spector, Routledge, 2011, pp. 1-12.

“Theatre Royal.” Birmingham Chronicle, 31 Aug. 1820, p. 3. The British Newspaper Archive, 24 Nov. 2018, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/titles/birmingham-chronicle.

 

ABSTRACT

The publication of Ivanhoe and its rapid uptake by the theatres of his day came hard on successful stage adaptations of earlier novels, particularly Guy Mannering and Rob Roy. Amidst the highly structured format of the Georgian theatre industry, divided between the Patent houses, able to perform the spoken word, and the Minor houses, supposedly confined to music, dance, mime and the nebulous burletta, the Scott adaptations were almost uniquely placed to cross class and genre divides as a form of parallel contemporary reception. They were already causing shifts in the theatre industry when Ivanhoe appeared and audiences at a range of venues now had particular expectations of the work of playwrights with this material. This article aims to place adaptations of Ivanhoe within their overall theatrical contexts, to trace their debts one to another, to look at their stage careers beside those of other Scott adaptations and to trace their progress throughout the nineteenth century across different types of venues and genres, from parlour music to hippodrama.

KEYWORDS: dramatization, British Theatre, illegitimate theatre, nineteenth-century hippodrama, working-class audiences, Patent Houses, Jewish characters, Sir Walter Scott, Waverley Novels

I. Introduction

     The performance afterlife of Scott’s novel Ivanhoe is both an example of the way that his works reached across class and national divides and also demonstrates how material was manipulated to speak to specific audiences. It is doubtful whether the first wave of stage dramatizations should properly be thought of as an “afterlife” but rather as a form of parallel contemporary reception that enabled all classes of society to share simultaneously in the worlds that Scott had created.{footnote}Marian Rothstein utilises the same phrase to describe the structure and purpose of a 1545 translation of Homer. Rothstein, Marian. “Homer for the Court of François I.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 59, no. 3, The U of Chicago P on behalf of the Renaissance Society of America, 2006, pp. 732-67. JSTOR, DOI:10.1353/ren.2008.0427.{/footnote}  In 1844, an anonymous critic for the Glasgow Dramatic Review declared that “no plays are more popular in Scotland: because all have read the originals” (qtd. in Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage 3) and by mid-century, allowing for cheap editions and their appearance in working-class libraries and chapbooks, this could arguably have been the case, but a few weeks after publication as a three-volume set, when theatres across Britain were bringing out their particular versions, virtually no working-class theatregoers would have had access to the original.{footnote}See Louis James p.88 on working-class access to the novels. James does not take account of chapbooks taken from the adaptations rather than the novels (see Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage 118-25).{/footnote}  They could, however, have shared folk memories of characters such as Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood (Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage 21-22). This paper explores the theatrical culture within which Ivanhoe dramas emerged, assesses the performance of Ivanhoe dramas against works taken from other novels and poems, and notes those instances where Ivanhoe spawned work shaped to its particular appeal. In doing so, it draws on a large-scale digital analysis of the part played by the Scott adaptations in the Georgian repertoire.{footnote}See Bell “Using Digital Methodologies to Study Nineteenth-century Playbills” 2018. See also the Folger Henderson Collection of Playbills.{/footnote}

     Scott’s Journal for 31 Oct. 1826 described a performance of “Ivanhoe” he had attended at the Odéon theatre in Paris. He had been impressed by the settings and costumes but was less enamoured of the piece as a whole. “It was an opera, and of course the story greatly mangled, and the dialogue in a great part nonsense. Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words which I . . . dictated to William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, [p. 73] and for the amusement of strange people” (289). The performance was of M.R. Lacy’s version of the Rossini pastiche, Maid of Judah, but Scott’s commentary is significant on two counts: firstly, for what it reveals about his working methods, and secondly, for the irony of his words set against the character of the most successful stage dramas. He had been ill whilst creating the novel and would increasingly resort to dictating his work; however, observers of this process described how Scott dictated fluently both narrative and dialogue, becoming the individual characters as he spoke. Since each day’s work was sent for copying immediately, he could not revise anything until the proof stage. This process sometimes resulted in rambling plotlines; however, more importantly the dialogue was immediate, the product of a performer inhabiting his characters and letting them speak aloud. For Scott, the plot and libretto of the Parisian work offered a faint echo of his original, but it would be those adaptations which lifted his dialogue verbatim from the novel which would triumph. It was this invaluable dialogue which meant that the dramatizations of Scott’s work brought about a fundamental change to the theatre in Britain, contributing significantly to the abolition of the restrictive Patent Laws.

 

II. The British Stage: Ripe for Change

     The British stage during Scott’s lifetime was the product of legal statutes resulting in a theatrical industry fractured by law. The Patent Houses, namely the Theatre/s Royal, were the only establishments licensed to play the “legitimate” drama or spoken word, and other places of entertainment, the so-called “illegitimate” Minors, were supposedly confined to mime, music and dance or to forms combining words and music such as “burletta,” with elastic interpretations. The Minor theatres were continually seeking to stretch the meaning of their legal position and if they were playing a circuit of venues a Manager might hold the patent for one location but run a troublesome Minor house in another.{footnote}See Bell (“The Nineteenth Century” 162-63) for an account of the legal dispute between Corbet Ryder, a Patent holder in the North of Scotland but a Minor Manager in Edinburgh, and the Theatre Royal.{/footnote}  One area notably lacking in legal statute tailored to the theatre was copyright protection. It was weak for playwrights and non- [p. 74] existent for authors of works appropriated for adaptation to the stage.{footnote}See Deazley, Ronan. “Commentary on Dramatic Literary Property Act 1833.” 23 Nov. 2018, www.copyrighthistory.org/cam/tools/request/showRecord?id=commentary_uk_1833.{/footnote}  Thus Scott, seated in the Odéon, was powerless to prevent this or any other adaptation of his work appearing, and he never received a fee for any of the hundreds of productions taken from his works.

     Expanding urban populations meant that the late eighteenth and the whole of the nineteenth century saw the largest audiences for live performance in Britain to that time; however, theatres regularly ran into financial difficulty and the state of the drama was widely deplored by contemporary critics keen to see substantial new works, but in existing styles and forms. Even as the playhouses themselves were becoming more sophisticated in their structures and technical facilities, there seemed to be a legal stranglehold on the writing of new work which was smothering innovation and failing to attract audiences. One influential Government official was the Examiner of Plays, a functionary of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, whose approval was necessary before a new piece was produced. The metropolitan theatres submitted new works for licensing and announced the fact on their playbills, whereas provincial Minor theatres and strolling companies were less scrupulous. It was assumed that theatre Managers would comply with the cuts and adjustments imposed by the Examiner. Regardless of Government interference, through legal statute or ongoing censorship, Scott’s writing gifted to the whole of the theatre industry a fund of popular, current, source material in which the most valuable element was the dialogue, readily available for re-arrangement to suit the tastes of any particular theatre and its patrons. The energetic Minor theatres grasped at this bounty with alacrity and in the early years of successful adaptations from Guy Mannering onwards, the illegitimate stage offered up to its patrons versions of the most recent popular novel presented with as much faith to the original source material as their resources would allow, and very often ahead of the Theatre/s Royal. The Edinburgh Dramatic Review of 30 March 1825 reviewed a “new” adaptation of Rob Roy at the Caledonian Theatre, Edinburgh. The Theatre Royal had recently obtained an interim interdict in the Court of Session, cutting the Minor theatre off from its lucrative Scott adaptations, particularly Rob Roy. Now the Caledonian was fighting back with a new “Rob Roy” and [p. 75] the reviewer was impressed: “The language is almost Verbatim from the novel and where the incidents require to be filled up, a complete variation may be observed from the text of Mr. Pocock, or from that of the Theatre Royal version” (Bell, “The Nineteenth Century” 163).

     One challenge in looking at the stage careers of Scott’s works is in the definitions the Georgian theatre used to describe the plays as set against our contemporary scholarly vocabulary. Particularly contentious is the designation of “melodrama.” Richard M. Buckley’s inciteful essay{footnote}Buckley warns against assuming “naively” in the rise of a kind of greater realism; however, it is worth considering the impetus towards “authenticity”—the real Scott experience being offered by managements, which entailed a greater adherence to the reality of the world of the novel. See Bell “. . . arranged in a fanciful manner and in an ancient style.” 2018.{/footnote} on “The Formation of Melodrama” notes Scott’s impact on the shift of metropolitan productions towards presenting characters and situations closer to the audience’s lived experience: “The immense popularity of melodramatic adaptations of Walter Scott’s fiction constitutes a primary thread of this domesticating trend” (470). However, it should be noted that whatever the verdict of later scholars, Georgian theatre professionals and audiences had a different view of the term. The adaptations at the Minor houses were regularly presented on the playbills as being superior to what illegitimate audiences usually saw, often being described as varieties of “drama,” but not melodramas and in truth most did not have continuous musical accompaniments, in locations where they were safe from legal challenge by a Theatre Royal. An analysis of performances taken from Rob Roy saw nine instances of their being described as melodramas out of a thousand nights on stage (Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage, vol. 2). By contrast some of the patent houses differentiated between this type of work and their legitimate repertoire by using descriptions that suggested less elevated antecedents. Managements and audiences conducted an extended dialogue within which both parties understood what cultural weight was signified by the various categories of play, musical chivalric play, historical melodramatic burletta and historical romance, etc. The Reminiscences of Thomas Dibdin includes a list of “Three-act Plays and Operas, misnamed Burlettas, according to Act of Parliament” (356), which cites five Scott adaptations written for the Surrey Theatre.

     By 1819 when Ivanhoe appeared, the first waves of stage adaptations, in particular successful adaptations of Guy Mannering and Rob Roy, meant that managements of both Patent and Minor houses were keen to follow suit with [p. 76] Scott’s latest novel, particularly when it was seen as an innovative foray into English medieval history and legend.{footnote}Pieces taken from Rob Roy were so reliably successful that the common theatrical saying arose “When in doubt, play Rob Roy.” The production at the Edinburgh Theatre Royal in 1818 was generally thought to have saved it from bankruptcy.{/footnote}  Unlike the works of Charles Dickens, Scott’s novels were published initially without illustrations so that the stage picturizations were readers’ first chance to see and to critique what they had only imagined. The noted diarist Hester Piozzi wrote to Alfred Bunn to beg sight of his dramatization for the Theatre Royal, Birmingham:

Ivanhoe—when read, struck me most in the Dialogue between Rebecca and the Hero—he stretched upon a Couch; She watching the Success of War thro’ an Embrasure. May I beg to read it as Dramatized by Mr. Bunn, and acted by dear Mr. Conway who I think possesses every excellent Quality—except that of a good Correspondent. (459) 

Even those audience members fortunate enough to have read the novel were dependent on the theatres to bring costumes and scenery to life.

     The Waverley Novels generally had a stage career which followed a recognisable pattern. The first wave of adaptations (1817-c.1832) would follow shortly after publication, with the Minor houses competing with the Theatres Royal for the public’s approval. Within Britain the bulk of the new adaptations appeared first in London, were rapidly printed or the prompt copies pirated, and then spread to other establishments as suited them. Subsequent playwrights and Managers might amalgamate parts of different adaptations to create a “new” drama. Alfred Bunn’s drama, which debuted in Birmingham at the end of August 1820, was described in the Preface to the printed playtext as “compiled . . . from the celebrated novel of that name, and from the contemporary plays on the subject . . . with the addition of some speeches and situations, and two songs, that I deemed it advisable to compose, for the purpose of heightening the general effect of the piece.” Similarly, the version of Ivanhoe played at the Edinburgh Theatre Royal in 1823 was described as a “compilation from the various dramas . . . [and] licensed for [p. 77] this theatre.”{footnote}See Folger Henderson playbill no. W11:100. See also the playbill for Miss Halford’s Benefit, five months earlier using Beazley’s version. digital.nls.uk/playbills/bigpic/?pic=74417714. Consulted on 15 Sep. 2018.{/footnote}  There was also a lively two-way trade in successful adaptations of Scott’s work between Britain and the Continent. If successful in the early years they would be used by Managers or leading actors for benefits. The benefit nights, held once per season, allowed performers to choose the pieces and take any profits after expenses. They were crucial to actors’ livings and the choice of a particular play demonstrated either its popularity in the vicinity or its attraction as a novelty. During the next phase (1833-1860) in Britain the works would, depending on their profiles, become embedded in the overall repertoire, being placed by managements to maximise the return on their performance. They might be played on particular nights of the week or be utilised in combination with other Scott adaptations. It was during this period that the Theatres Act in 1843 finally abolished the restrictive Patent Laws, and Scott was credited by many with hastening the change by gifting to the illegitimate stage the material that enabled it to demonstrate its fitness to be allowed free rein with the spoken word. The reminiscences of the playwright Edward Fitzball (Thirty-Five Years I: iv), called Scott “the mighty luminary which reflected its lustre upon the so-called illegitimate stage,” noting that whilst Scott himself was no dramatist “his works were so dramatic, that, placed on the stage” by competent playwrights such as Thomas Dibdin, “they assumed a new and magnificent feature, which even the theatres royal could not surpass” (Bell, Nineteenth-Century Stage 18). Finally, during the latter part of the nineteenth century (1860-1900), as overall use of the dramatisations declined, individual playwrights approached the source material anew. No longer constrained by audience expectations of adherence to the original, they were free to work in new forms, whether that meant the burlesques that were as critical of theatrical conventions as they were of Scott, or serious dramas suited to contemporary audiences.

 

III. Early Dramatic Responses to the Novel

     Commentaries on the adaptations of Ivanhoe regularly mention the cluster of pieces which appeared in London in 1820. There were at one point five different adaptations playing in the capital, and the subtly different slants [p. 78] taken to the materials by the various playwrights and managements illustrate more broadly the approach of the industry to Scott’s novels as they first appeared. Philip Cox’s lively study, Reading Adaptations, contains an informative chapter which contrasts the texts of the Ivanhoe adaptations by Dibdin and Soane (77-120); however, it is also useful to take a broader overview of the novel as it was presented to the various audiences of London. Some of the illegitimate Minor theatres had already developed reputations for successful presentations of the Scott novels and poems, so that if an adaptation was especially fêted, they attracted a breadth of upper-class audience members, whereas others were more homogeneous venues, catering primarily to lower-middle and working-class audiences employed in the locality. In late January, barely a month after the novel appeared, the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand, which drew its audience mainly from the legal district, was playing Ivanhoe or the Saxon Chief by an anonymous playwright, whilst Thomas Dibdin had prepared Ivanhoe; or, The Jew’s Daughter for the Surrey Theatre and W.T. Moncrieff’s Ivanhoe; or, the Jew of York was playing at the Coburg Theatre.{footnote}The record for a speedy dramatization was held by the Edinburgh Theatre Royal’s production of The Talisman in 1825. The play opened some twelve hours after the novel appeared on sale.{/footnote}  By March the Patent Houses had caught up, with Beazley’s Ivanhoe; or, the Knight Templar occupying the Covent Garden stage, whilst Soane’s ambitious play, The Hebrew had opened at Drury Lane. The Adelphi’s version, Ivanhoe; or the Saxon Chief seems not to have been published, but some details can be gleaned from the playbill.{footnote}See Folger Henderson bill no. W11:92 and also The Adelphi Theatre Project website listings available at www.umass.edu/AdelphiTheatreCalendar/m19d.htm#Label006.{/footnote}  The bill makes mention of “A Grand Assault on the Castle by the Saxons,” “Broad Sword Combats” and “the Release of Cedric, Rowena.” Isaac of York appears on the cast-list, but neither King Richard nor Rebecca are represented and this removes the necessity for including the events at Ashby or Templestowe.{footnote}These omissions might have suited the Adelphi’s local audience. It would be 1833 before the first professing Jew was able to become a barrister in English courts.{/footnote}  The list of scenery, ending with several scenes in Torquilstone and climaxing with an “exterior of Torquilstone Castle, towers, battlements” further indicates that this version was focused tightly on the Norman and Saxon conflict (The Adelphi). The majority of theatres concentrated their Ivanhoe adaptations on the three significant spectacles, the Lists of Ashby, the Siege of Torquilstone and the Trial at Templestowe, but placing the siege and [p. 79] destruction of a castle by fire in the middle of a play demanded careful handling of the machinery and effects to allow for subsequent scenes and productions in the same evening. The first piece of scenery listed for the Adelphi play is “A Romantic Defile, with Druidical monuments” which tallies with Scott’s opening to the novel (The Adelphi); however, in the way that the playwrights commonly rearranged the order of Scott’s action to suit, this was not the only way of opening an Ivanhoe. Dibdin, Soane, Moncrieff and Bunn open in Cedric’s Hall, whilst Beazley and W.H. Murray, credited with the Edinburgh “compilation,” begin with a forest scene introducing Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the scheming Normans and a deal of exposition.

     Thomas Dibdin, working for a London Minor house, was a competent and thoughtful adaptor of Scott and the introductory Address to his play was spoken by Miss Copeland, indignant at discovering that there was no part for her, who reminds the audience, twice, of the theatre’s hugely successful adaptation of The Heart of Mid-lothian in which she had played Madge Wildfire. She also wishes to convey the Manager’s acute understanding of the unspoken compact between audience and company in respect of the adaptation of novels. 

Tell ‘em, too, we are fearfully aware
That every Reader, above all the Fair,
Will look for this, or that scene, which our space
Of time, and limit, may not yield a place,
And each will think the subject we neglect,
Unless they see what, they may most affect—(vii-viii)

That this was not as successful as their earlier works, Dibdin later put down to the untimely deaths in succession of the Duke of Kent and King George III, which closed the theatres, and Dibdin recounted how the theatre-going habits of the “fashionable” did not recover throughout that season (The Reminiscences 179). It is Dibdin’s play which takes care to balance the various elements of the original novel in that he includes enough of the character detail and sub-plots surrounding King Richard, Robin Hood and above all, the fates of Gurth and Wamba, as to offer up to the audience a reasonable compression of the novel as a whole, which does not lose central themes amidst the physical action and absorbing tale of Rebecca and Isaac. [p. 80] Dibdin uses a deal of Scott’s own dialogue but, much as with Heart of Mid-lothian, where he was seen to adjust the dialogue of Dumbiedykes, the leading comic character, he alters Wamba’s witticisms to make them play more briskly onstage and before the metropolitan audience. Early in the novel Cedric is anxious to know the names of the knights who have distinguished themselves at the tournament in Palestine and offers the Pilgrim a reward for the tale:

“I would give thee this golden bracelet, Pilgrim,” he said, “couldst thou tell me the names of those knights who upheld so gallantly the renown of merry England.”
“That will I do blithely,” replied the Pilgrim, “and without guerdon; my oath, for a time, prohibits me from touching gold.”
“I will wear the bracelet for you, if you will, friend Palmer,” said Wamba.” (Scott, Ivanhoe, ch. V)

Dibdin makes Wamba’s interjection crisper: “Take it, I’ll wear it for you.” (I, i)

     The Patent Houses were, as was their wont, slow to bring their adaptations to production by a few weeks. It was generally the illegitimate stage which sought to keep as close to Scott’s original vision as their circumstances permitted, gaining status for the authenticity of their pieces, whereas the metropolitan Theatres Royal not only lagged behind but also tended to be more ambitious in their adaptations of the originals and often suffered for it. It was as though a natural disdain for the rude process of novel adaptation which produced something so popular with the gallery audiences demanded that they attempt to turn the same source material into a more elevated form, suitable for presentation on a Theatre Royal stage. It was not enough to cut-and-paste; their versions must be distinctive, and offer substantial roles to their star players. This ambition entailed a more extended production schedule once the novels appeared. Scott’s close friend Daniel Terry had written a highly successful adaptation of Guy Mannering, but his version of The Heart of Mid-Lothian for Covent Garden, having first introduced the characters, then launched off onto an alternative plot-line which failed to satisfy audiences who wanted the real Scott experience. On this occasion, whilst Beazley’s version of Ivanhoe for Covent Garden omitted [p. 81] King Richard, the Lists of Ashby and Templestowe, there is instead a narrower focus on the story of Ulrica, her manipulation of Front de Boeuf, played by Macready, who is seen to be haunted by her from the opening scene, and the piece ends with her awful revenge and a gritty death scene for Front de Boeuf amidst crashing masonry and leaping flames. At Drury Lane, George Soane appealed in the Prologue for a fair hearing, declaring that “he, alas! Unfit/The scenes of “Ivanhoe” to copy here/Hath sought for safety in a humbler sphere/If from compiler’s dull mechanic ways/He fearless turns, will you withhold your praise?” The sense of equivocation evident in the way that the writer places themselves in the supposed hierarchy of novelist, adaptor and original playwright, keen to avoid falling into the category of “dull mechanic”, carries through into the play in which Soane was perhaps not bold enough. He chooses to omit Rowena, have Ivanhoe banished by Cedric for falling in love with Rebecca, and once she is safe and re-united with Ivanhoe, the suffering Isaac dies in her arms. The play was in blank verse and whilst reviewers noted passages of great power and praised the acting of Kean as Isaac, the critic from The European Magazine and London Review thought the “departures from the plot” were “too various” and “very little likely to render the piece attractive or successful” (257). It rapidly disappeared from the repertoire and the principal attraction for Kean’s Benefit on 17 June 1820 was Venice Preserved.

     Murray and Bunn’s efforts demonstrate how later adaptations could select elements from the earlier works or return to the source material. Once again it is instructive to track moments of comedy since these could be thought to be the most likely to be tailored to local tastes and references. As Locksley and his Merry Men prepare to besiege Torquilstone, Wamba is sent into the castle to reconnoitre and to rescue Cedric, or Ivanhoe depending on the adaptation, by changing his friar’s habit with him.{footnote}In Murray’s version Wamba attempts to free Ivanhoe, who betrays himself to Sir Reginald Front de Boeuf and is re-captured so that he can escape again.{/footnote}  In the novel, Cedric, who cannot speak either Norman French or Latin, asks how he should answer if challenged in his disguise. 

“The spell lies in two words,” replied Wamba —“Pax vobiscum will answer all queries. If you go or come, eat or drink, bless or ban, Pax vobiscum carries you through it all. It is as useful to a [p. 82] friar as a broomstick to a witch, or a wand to a conjurer. Speak it but thus, in a deep grave tone, -Pax vobiscum!—it is irresistible—Watch and ward, knight and squire, foot and horse, it acts as a charm upon them all.” (Scott, Ivanhoe, ch. XXVI) 

Dibdin’s adaptation trims the phrases “Watch and ward, knight and squire, foot and horse” which could be thought to reiterate the breadth of the “go or come, eat or drink, bless or ban” speech pattern and develops Wamba’s advice with a mouthful of cod-Latin.

CEDRIC. But if I am spoken to how shall I answer like a true friar?
WAMBA. Pax vobiscum pantrimina haunchinos venisonibus, old sack, hung beef. In ale cellariminos, such latin is as a good to a friar, as a broomstick to a witch, or a wand to a conjuror. (II, v)

     At Covent Garden, Beazley not only repeats the mock-Latin exercise, but also expands on Scott’s “eat or drink” phrase by introducing “cherry bounce,” an anachronistic, but hugely popular, eighteenth-century drink. 

CEDRIC. But, how shall I bear myself like a reverend brother?
WAMBA. It all lies in two words, “Pax vobiscum”—“Who goes there?” says the Warder, - “Pax vobiscum!” say you, and you pass on—“Come, most holy Friar, and taste my cherry-bounce,” says the housekeeper; “Pax vobiscum!” say you, and you stop—and if you can so far stretch your genius, as to invent a little mock-Latin; such as, somnambutum, forestinas, castellum, battlementus, flagellum—it will help you wonder-fully, since, what people don’t understand, goes a great way with them. (III, iii)

Bunn (II, v) chooses to reproduce Beazley’s “cherry bounce” speech exactly, but when Murray comes to work on the scene, he reverts to an edited version of Scott’s original dialogue, mining the novel for additional colour, such as Wamba’s comical “grave, deep tone”. [p. 83]

IVANHOE. . . . How shall I bear myself as a reverend brother?
WAMBA. The spell lies in two words. Pax vobiscum will answer all queries. If you go or come, eat or drink, bless or ban, Pax vobiscum carries you through all. It is as useful to a friar as a broomstick to a witch, or a wand to a conjuror. Speak it but thus, in a grave, deep tone—Pax vobiscum!it is irresistible. (II, ix)

Murray played Wamba himself. He was a small man with a light voice, so that this would generate a comic moment for the audience, seeing their Manager literally making a fool of himself. Dibdin’s play ends with the Trial at Templestowe, as do the works from Soane, Bunn, Moncrieff and W.H. Murray, whilst the anonymous Adelphi piece and Beazley’s work for Covent Garden end with the burning of Torquilstone.{footnote}See Folger Henderson bill no. W11:99 Theatre, Sheffield 14 Nov 1820 when the bill tells patrons that the guest tightrope walker will perform earlier than normal because of the smoke from the explosion in the last scene of the play. See also footnote 20.{/footnote}  However, between first and last there are varying adjustments. Some adaptations list Ivanhoe amongst the Normans, Rebecca is pursued by Bois Gilbert or Front de Boeuf, King Richard is absent from several works and in the final scene Dibdin gives Ivanhoe part of Richard’s speech.

“I will resist thy doom,” said the Grand Master.
“Proud Templar,” said the King, “thou canst not—look up, and behold the Royal Standard of England floats over thy towers instead of thy Temple banner!—Be wise, Beaumanoir, and make no bootless opposition—Thy hand is in the lion’s mouth.” (Scott, Ivanhoe, ch. XLIV)

IVANHOE. Proud priest, my king disdains an answer to thee. His royal standard floats above thy temple mummery, nor all thy threats can pull that daring ensign, from where a British hand with justice plants it --- Beware, thou’rt in the lion’s grasp. [p. 84]
RICHARD. Templars, go where ye list, but rule not here. Come, Ivanhoe, thy destin’d Bride, Rowena, and thy father’s favour, await to crown thy gallant loyalty.
ISAAC. And dare such humble subjects, as my dear Rebecca and myself intrude—with heartfelt gratitude to you, and you, and all, we’d say—our minds, our heart, and means shall ever be devoted to our country and the good king we have so long revered. (Dibdin, Ivanhoe, III. vi)

Occasionally this process of repeated revisions can muddy the meaning; in 1823 Murray expands a speech for Ivanhoe to emphasise the patriotic, but in the process seems to blend Richard’s role with that of Ivanhoe. 

IVANHOE. And now, my gallant friends, the rebels are dispersed, and Richard mounts again the throne of England, amidst the general love of his subjects. Henceforth let factions cease. Norman and Saxon blended in one common interest, the study of my future life shall be the happiness of all; - the tie which binds me to our people, the watchword to intimidate their foes—OUR NATIVE LAND; and every loyal heart will join the cry—“Long live King Richard—Long live the Lion-heart.” (III, iv)

The bulk of the Ivanhoe pieces were used for actors’ benefit nights in their first season. Whilst the London theatres toiled, their efforts were more or less pilfered by companies across the country and 1820 saw benefits featuring Ivanhoe adaptations taken in Worcester, Bury, Derby and Salisbury. In Edinburgh the Minor, Pantheon Theatre, played another version for the benefit of its author, Mr. Montague, where it was advertised as “altered from the pieces performing at the Surrey & Coburg theatres in London.”{footnote}See Folger Henderson Waverley bill no. W11:94, Pantheon Theatre, 4 March 1820.{/footnote}  Rebecca and Isaac were the characters chosen most often by the benefit-takers.{footnote}The Ivanhoe dramas were rarely used by theatre servants such as the stage Manager who, without personal followings to assure a good house, needed to select cast-iron local favourite pieces that were economical to stage, if there were to be any profits left after expenses.{/footnote}  Rowena and Ivanhoe were selected less often; however, they do appear to have benefitted from a phenomenon seen before in the Scott dramatizations [p. 85] whereby his somewhat colourless lovers grow in importance onstage from their being assigned some of the most popular musical pieces and/or the most dynamic physical action.

 

IV. Music and the Ivanhoe Dramas

     The importance of music to the Scott dramatizations as a whole, both the speech-based pieces and the number of “operas” and grand operas which emanated from his works, was considerable, although the musical components varied again according to the tastes of the Manager and audience and the vocal resources within any season’s company. The impact of Daniel Terry’s 1816 adaptation of Guy Mannering was significant in that several of the songs and duets from that play not only remained in the theatrical repertoire, but were also arranged for amateur performance at home.{footnote}Numerous public collections have sheet music of the period, featuring the songs, glees and ballads arranged for voice and piano accompaniment e.g., the Library of Congress collection includes several pieces taken from “Guy Mannering” dramas. https://www.loc.gov/item/2014568264/.{/footnote}  In this respect Ivanhoe differs slightly from some other of the Waverley novels, in that it was favoured by librettists and composers of “grand opera” and consequently provided less material for the private sphere, the sombre tone of several plotlines favouring the concert stage rather than the parlour. Whereas playbills for versions of Guy Mannering or Rob Roy would regularly feature the titles of the expected vocal pieces, the majority of the plays from Ivanhoe might not list any music at all. Yet where there were opportunities, the sheet music was promptly made available. On 11 Mar. 1820, the Morning Post advertised “popular Songs and Duets from the Drama of “Ivanhoe; or, the Knight Templar” now performing at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, sung by Miss Stephens and Miss Tree” (1; column 3) including “‘Music o’er the Passion stealing’ price 1s.6d.” published by Goulding and Co.. Theatre composers, alongside settings of the chosen verses or the composition of a suitable overture, often borrowed existing melodies or larger sections of existing theatre scores. Both the Beazley and Murray adaptations open with a scene in the forest, where Robin, Allan and the Miller have a glee and chorus beginning “Tho’ we lay down our bows,” utilising the opening of Stephen Storace’s opera Mahmoud (1796). Alongside technically challenging music, it was clear that including a few musical numbers for which the gallery knew [p. 86] the simple tunes and could join in the chorus was useful, and Scott’s borrowing of a “catch” “Ho! Jolly Jenkin” from Ramsay’s Tea-Table Miscellany (433) for the rollicking drinking scene between the Black Knight and the Friar in Chapter XX was a favourite. Alfred Bunn had mentioned his addition of “two songs, that I deemed it advisable to compose.” This was so that he could exploit the talents and considerable reputation of Madame Vestris who was taking on the expanded role of Elgitha with songs of her own and duets with her lover, Wamba. Bunn was endeavouring to lighten the overall piece with this subplot of love amidst the peasantry. The Scott operas taken from Ivanhoe included M. R. Lacy’s Rossini pastiche seen by Scott in Paris, The Maid of Judah; or, Knights Templars which first appeared in Britain on 7 Mar 1829 at Covent Garden and Wohlbruck’s The Templar & The Jewess which was seen at the Prince’s Theatre, London in 1840 performed by Herr Schumann’s Company of German singers.{footnote}See Illustrated London News 27 Jan. 1844 for an illustration of the production at the Princess’s Theatre. books.google.co.uk/books?id=PqhPAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA61&lpg=PA61&dq=Madame+Vestris+Ivanhoe&source=bl&ots=7kwNSDT8Uj&sig=ntAhH7IvNUNWgKyghZ_7wxK5mFc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiEj-Xc4-HfAhU0A2MBHcoSCdsQ6AEwDXoECAMQAQ#v=onepage&q=Madame%20Vestris%20Ivanhoe&f=false{/footnote}  Much later in the century W.S. Gilbert’s 1891 opera Ivanhoe would play for 155 consecutive nights and subsequently on tour in a compressed version. Interested readers are directed to the substantial studies of The Walter Scott Operas by Jerome Mitchell (1977), who lists eleven pieces derived from Ivanhoe, and of popular music, through Roger Hansford’s (2017) work on the Figures of the Imagination: Fiction and Song in Britain, 1790-1850 in which he outlines how Scott gave a boost to aspirational middle-class singing by “combined the images of chivalry and musicianship” (17).

 

V. Production Challenges/Opportunities Specific to Ivanhoe: Expense

     Whilst several of the pieces which appeared in the first phase of Waverley adaptations endured in the repertoire, there were aspects to Ivanhoe the novel, structural and thematic, which impacted on its subsequent stage career. An evident constraint was the level of resource needed to produce an adaptation satisfactorily. Alfred Bunn advertised the Birmingham production by announcing that the stage would be used to its full extent for the first time, by raising the proscenium curtain and moving the pilasters, “to the amazing [p. 87] width of FORTY FEET.”{footnote}See Birmingham Chronicle 31 Aug. 1820 page 3 column 5.{/footnote}  All of the adaptations needed a large cast and the medieval costumes, weapons and armour required would be not only costly, but also difficult to transport for the smallest groups of touring players, working in whatever large rooms or empty barns could be found, so that Ivanhoe rarely appears in their repertoire, whereas Guy Mannering and Rob Roy were seen everywhere. Similarly, not all theatres, for even the so-called Theatres Royal in smaller towns might be simple venues open for a few weeks in the year, would have had the machinery necessary to deal with the burning of Torquilstone.{footnote}See playbill for the Horncastle Theatre, playing the “Chivalrous Play” of “Ivanhoe; or, The Jew of York” Folger Shakespeare Library, Henderson Collection, W11:110 dated 18 March 1837 the evening under the patronage of the “Chairman & Gentlemen of the Bull Inn Ordinary.”{/footnote} {footnote}See Folger Henderson Waverley playbill no. W11:99 for the Sheffield Theatre 14 Nov. 1822 presenting the ‘Musical Chivalric Play’ of Ivanhoe or, the Knight Templar. See also footnote 13.{/footnote}  The result was that in England, pieces taken from Ivanhoe amounted to 4% of the total, whilst dramatisations of Rob Roy and Guy Mannering generated the bulk of the performances at 28% apiece.

 

VI. Hippodrama and the Military Connection

     One type of performance which toured works taken from Ivanhoe across the country, enabled all those within a locality who could afford 6d. for the cheapest seat to witness the gorgeous and stirring spectacle of the “hippodrama.” This was a form of entertainment that incorporated horses as props or characters, appearing in a circus ring with the audience around three-quarters of the circle and a stage at one end. The companies occupied existing purpose-built buildings in the larger cities, or toured tented pavilions fitted-up with temporary seating, etc. Some incorporated movable platforms and ramps from the ring to the stage, so that the action could flow from one to another seamlessly. To generations for whom horse-power and horses were ubiquitous, displays of skilled horsemanship were endlessly fascinating. The principal performers were often ex-cavalrymen whose experience gained in the training and management of horses for war enabled them to marshal large casts of performers, equine and human.{footnote}See, for example, the profile of Philip Astley at www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/the-first-circus/{/footnote}  In the case of Ivanhoe, the pieces taken from the novel were slotting into an existing performance tradition within which the representation of medieval tournaments and tales of “chivalry” were [p. 88] already popular. A.H. Saxon’s study, Enter Horse and Foot, notes a revival of Garrick’s Cymon at Drury Lane (1791) which included a tournament and fight between mounted knights (Bell, “The Performance” 192). Similarly, one of the principal performer/managers of the hippodrama, Philip Astley, had produced W. Barrymore’s The Blood-Red Knight, or the Fatal Bridge (1810) with considerable success in which the climax featured a pitched battle, involving men and horses, over several levels, in and out of water. Whilst it was the 1840s which saw the bulk of the hippodramas taken from Ivanhoe, Kimberley Poppiti reveals that as early as 1824, Mr. Blythe “of Astley’s” was presenting a “Grand Combat of Eight” from Ivanhoe as part of an evening’s entertainment featuring The Blood-Red Knight to audiences in Philadelphia (77).

     Jane Moody’s study of Illegitimate Theatre in London 1770-1840 maps the connections, practical and thematic, between the work of a number of London’s Minor theatres, including Astley’s, and conflict across the world: “Revolution and war now provided the script for an illegitimate theatre of peril, danger, and spectacular illusion. The physical materials as well as the iconography of these martial spectacles originated from contemporary warfare” (28). Moody then goes on to outline how scenery and effects were borrowed from current military practice. Similarly, Barbara Bell identifies the tournament as the key performance structure that ran through “The Performance of Victorian Medievalism” and focuses in particular on the changes to military training and practice brought about by the Government’s conversion of its light dragoon regiments into regiments of lancers around 1816 (“The Performance” 191-216). The new Polish lances were 12 feet long with a sharpened tip rather than the blunt end of the medieval lance, and men and horses trained in the tilt-yard much as their medieval counterparts would have done, with competitive tournaments open to public view. The leading stage rider, Andrew Ducrow, presented a spectacle entitled The Lists of Ashby! Or, The Conquests of Ivanhoe at Astley’s in 1837; however, the later hippodramas which emerged out of Ivanhoe were given a measure of impetus by the celebrated amateur tournament staged by the Earl of Eglinton in 1839 in which theatrical elements reaching back to the medieval tournaments organised by Sir David Lyndsay (c.1490-c.1555), mingled with the amateur performative and sporting elements of the event (Bell, “The Performance” 200-04). Ducrow repeated his production not long after the tournament and [p. 89] the critic of the Morning Post (3 Sep. 1839) was pleased to proclaim “Honour to DUCROW! The real Tournament has failed, but the mimic Tournament, “with real armour,” has succeeded.” The critic goes on to insist that “here, though not at Eglinton, in several instance [sic] “they ran the shock—their coursers fell”—many a lance was broken, and many a hapless knight unhorsed” whereas the Evening Standard (3 Sep. 1839) on the same day described “Tilting with the lance, in which real champions were disarmed or gently unhorsed, and stuffed knights hurled from their steeds with violence.” Bell (“The Performance” 205-08) describes a tournament which took place at the Cremorne Gardens pleasure grounds in London and considers the innate differences between jousting as a sport or an exhibition and the type of performance favoured by the Morning Post’s critic and by many of the spectators at Eglinton, in which there was a pre-determined narrative as in the hippodramas, allowing for planned danger and a guaranteed thrilling spectacle.

     It is possible to track the progress of some of the hippodramas on their tours. The performances were usually concentrated on that one section of the novel and in so doing balanced out an omission from the performance patterns in the text-based theatre. Other Scott adaptations might be compressed “as an afterpiece,” becoming the supporting piece of the evening rather than its principal attraction once their initial wave of popularity had passed. Later favourite pieces might also engender a truncated presentation, when the play could commence at Act 2 or feature Acts 1 and 3. Some adaptations from Ivanhoe did appear compressed but not truncated within a conventional theatre setting and the hippodrama made good the omission. Batty’s circus took The Lists of Ashby for tours of Ireland 1840-1842, returning to the South West of England and London late in 1841 and off to Waterford and Dublin in March 1842. Batty’s production directly referenced the Eglinton Tournament and sought to combine the two in the advertising. Meanwhile Cooke’s Circus was in Leeds in March 1841 and Carlisle, Penrith and Newport, Westmoreland in May-July 1842 with The Tournament or the Lists of Ashby. The playscripts used by these establishments were rarely published, but in 1859 Fox Cooper wrote a three-act adaptation of Ivanhoe for Astley’s. Bell (“The Performance” 198-99) quotes the climax of the piece as an example of how the action could be moulded to enable this particular company to demonstrate its skills to their best advantage. Not content with having Ivanhoe [p. 90] defeat Bois Guilbert in single combat, Astley’s ensure that the finale is as action-packed as their audience could wish to see:

BOIS GUILBERT. Dog of a Saxon, take the death thou hast drawn upon thy head!
IVANHOE. On, then, and heaven defend the right!
HERALD. Sound!
(Music. Trumpet sounds and success varies, and all the spectators are agitated apparently by their hopes and fears. Ivanhoe at length disarms Sir Brian de Bois Guilbert, strikes him down centre, places his foot upon his breast, and his sword at his throat.)
GRAND MASTER. Forbear! Ivanhoe is conqueror! Rebecca is free!
BOIS GUILBERT. Never! I will contest it yet! On Templars! The fiends have juggled with us. Onwards, for our Holy Temple!
ROBIN HOOD. Ha! Breaking Faith! Then my merry men, on for Richard!
(Music.—Hurrahs and general combat between the Knight Templars and the outlaws, in which the Black Knight is mixed up; after a desperate conflick [sic], the Black Knight on horseback, rushes up to the pile with Gurth, and they release Rebecca.—Tableau.)
BLACK KNIGHT. Nay, nay! On your allegiance I charge you hold! Ivanhoe is the conqueror in the fight. The maiden is his prize. He’s won her freedom. He who rebels ‘gainst this, my righteous judgement, his head shall answer for it. (Discovering himself.) This Richard of England awards for doom.!
(Music)
(Richard, c., Royal Guards, R. and L. The Standard of England is unfurled, Grand Master throws down his baton. They all kneel, Rebecca falls at the feet of Ivanhoe, Isaac on the other side. Ivanhoe raise them, they rush into each other’s arms, and the curtain falls amidst general shouts.) (Cooper III, iii) [p. 91]

Over the past decade, a number of scholarly studies have considered the impact of live animals on the performance arena, and certainly Raber & Mattfeld 2017, Mattfeld 2017 and Parker-Starbuck 2015 would recognise the embodied power implicit in the comment of The Globe critic that “the constant appearance of horses on the stage imparted a life-like reality to the scene which could have been attained in no other way.” In a lengthy article, The Globe reviewer (26 April 1859) thought the Astley Ivanhoe compared favourably with Kean’s Henry V, then being played at the Royal Princess’s, in terms of the way that the scenes of ceremonial and battle were managed: very differently but equally effectively in the mind of the critic. In contrast, the critic of the Reading Mercury (30 April 1859) felt that it was “eccentric, and decidedly original, to make such prominent use of [the horses] in the storm of Torquilstone Castle.”

 

VII. The Jew Portrayed: the Fates of Rebecca and Isaac

     A second factor that shaped some of the adaptations and their reception was the question of the fate of Rebecca and the wider Jewish strand to the source material. There have been several studies addressing the attitudes to and depiction of Jews in Romantic-era Britain and nineteenth-century literature over the last few years generating lively debate, notably work by Todd M. Endelman (2009), Sheila A. Spector and Frederick Burwick (2011), Efraim Sicher (2017) and Aaron Kaiserman (2018), whilst Michael Ragussis (2010) sets the experience of Jews before and behind the curtain alongside that of the Scots and Irish, as other ethnic minorities being dramatized during a period of national change when “learning how to be English often meant learning how to exclude Scots, Irish, and Jews” (11). Endelman, focusing on the social and economic structures of English life as they impacted on the toleration and advancement of the Jewish community, acknowledges the industry of earlier writers, particularly those from the Jewish Historical Society of England. Alfred Rubens’ 1970 journal article “Jews and the English Stage, 1667-1850” reveals that in the first decades of the nineteenth century the Royalty and Astley’s theatres were the most popular with Jewish audiences, whilst there were so many Jewish performers working at Astley’s that the company was known familiarly as “Astley’s Jews” (158). Rubens details both the activities of Jewish performers, such as the celebrated tenor [p. 92] John Braham who was a regular performer as Bertram in Guy Mannering, and of Jewish audiences, whether barracking an ill-judged song in Thomas Dibdin’s Family Quarrels (1802) or boycotting the theatres after the revival of The Jew of Malta (1818). He also considers the impact of the employment of Jewish boxers from Astley’s, notably Dutch Sam and Mendoza, by the Covent Garden management in an effort to quell the O.P. Riots at Covent Garden (1809). Sheila A. Spector’s Introduction, “The Convergence of Romanticism and Judaica,” to the volume containing Burwick’s article, emphasises the need to take account of the integral role that the Jews held in the emergence of Romanticism as “a response to the dislocation of old certitudes and an attempt to derive a new ethos . . . which required a reconsideration of the Jew as other” (1). Burwick, outlining the way in which the stage image of the Jew was changing, notes Thomas Dibdin’s bad miscalculation in the character of a false/assumed Jew, calls Soane’s The Hebrew “a clear blunder” (112-13) and quotes Genest’s opinion that it was Moncrieff’s version of Ivanhoe which kept close to the original, which was the most successful, and Soane’s which was least satisfying.{footnote}Genest, Some Account of the English Stage, page 53 quotes from Moncrieff’s advertisement to the printed text, claiming that his would be found to be the best adaptation because he had not written fifty lines of the play.{/footnote}  Soane would not be the only playwright who sought to respond to the feeling amongst a portion of the readers of Ivanhoe that Rebecca was better matched with Ivanhoe than the less dynamic Rowena. Efraim Sicher’s closely argued study, The Jew’s Daughter: A Cultural History of a Conversion Narrative traces the imagery surrounding Jewish fathers and their daughters within art and literature focusing on the evolution of a powerful cultural paradigm, whilst Kaiserman considers Rebecca’s steadfast refusal to convert as placing Scott’s novel apart from the run of such works, rather attempting to “demonstrate a mutual dependence of Jewishness and Britishness” (178). In this instance, it is perhaps Ragussis who offers the most pertinent comments on the repertoire of the period, suggesting that “the male ethnic stage figure was a way of responding to a kind of ethnic panic” and the novel inverted the paradigm with “cross-ethnic romantic pairings” (163) the popularity of which was in part the result of the “audience’s appetite for ethnic spectacle” (202) which the theatre both offered for consumption and also questioned. Ragussis explains that “the theater [sic], with its mixed multi-ethnic audience, became [p. 93] the central arena in which the important cultural sign systems of ethnic difference were inspected and regulated, popularly and publicly, daily and communally” (44).

 

VIII. The Second Half of the Century: Burlesques, Amateurs and Some New Adaptations

     When the first wave of enthusiasm and reverence for the latest Waverley novel started to subside, it was inevitable that they and their stage adaptations would become the subjects of the light-hearted burlesques that were popular mid-century. The burlesques of this period, also called extravaganzas or travesties, have little connection with twentieth-century burlesque shows, often containing striptease acts within a variety bill, other than an irreverent tone. The nineteenth-century burlesques of Waverley dramatisations aimed to parody both the best-known elements of the original material and the conventions of the stage representations. Victorian burlesques regularly featured cross-dressing, women playing the young heroes, much as in pantomime where the Principal Boy was always played by an actress, whilst some of the female parts were played by men. These were not always the old crone roles but, for example, Effie Deans from The Heart of Mid-lothian.{footnote}One such piece was W. Brough’s The Great Sensation Trial or Circumstantial Effie Deans which played at St. James’s Theatre in April 1863 and aimed at the current craze for “sensation dramas.” Mr. Rogers played Effie Deans to great applause.{/footnote}  In Ivanhoe burlesques the roles of Ivanhoe and often that of Locksley were played by women, and Rowena seems to have been occasionally played by a man. The elaborate cod-chivalric ceremonies of the Ivanhoe adaptations were fine targets for humour and battles and tourneys were often conducted with hobby-horses. Amidst a host of topical jokes and puns, the musical scores might feature pieces from other adaptations given new lyrics or contain popular songs taken from the singing saloons, the forerunners of the music-halls. There was a balance to be struck however, between the popular and what would play to the widest audience. The Brough Brothers wrote The Last Edition of Ivanhoe; with all the Newest Improvements in 1850 and its appearance at the Haymarket Theatre garnered an extensive review from the critic of The Musical World who, whilst applauding much that was enjoyable, he and “the juvenile part” of the audience particularly enjoyed the tournament [p. 94] scene with its “mock fights on the hobby horses,” took the brothers to task for a repeat offence in including the song “Sam Hall.” This piece, the critic feels, is too “Coal-holeish and Cider-cellarish,” naming two notoriously rowdy singing saloons,{footnote}This blog includes a useful bibliography. http://radiodaysmusic.com/main/maiden-lane-and-the-cyder-cellars/{/footnote}  and the song is unsuited to burlesque because only a very small section of the audience, “gents, late taverners and lads of the gas,” understand the jokes and respond to them (207). Adaptations from Ivanhoe were also used for amateur performances for charity, when the female roles would be played by professional actresses. Occasionally particularly ambitious amateur groups would tackle a serious adaptation, as in 1854, when The Pianoforte Makers Amateur Dramatic Benevolent Society produced the “Romantic Drama” of Ivanhoe; or, the Knight Templar at the Theatre Royal, St. James’s, London;{footnote}See Folger Henderson Waverley bill no. W11:119.{/footnote}  however, it was more often the burlesques which attracted the amateurs. Bell (“The Performance” 208-09) has analysed the way in which sections of Victorian society, notably the aristocracy and the military, were able to combine a serious attachment to many of the ideals and skills of the medieval revival, alongside a thoroughly irreverent approach to the clichés of the style. A company, performing in support of the Universal Beneficient Society and featuring the Marquis Townsend (Oswald), Lord Arthur Pelham Clinton (Cedric) and Mr. W.L. Maitland as Rebecca, played the burlesque of Ivanhoe at the Royal St. James’s, Royal Strand and Holborn theatres in 1867 and as late as 1889, the Guards Burlesque Company were at the Chelsea Barracks with Ivanhoe.{footnote}See Folger Henderson Waverley playbill no. W11:125{/footnote}  Bell (“The Performance” 210) displays an illustration from the Illustrated London News Library showing Kate Vaughan, playing Rebecca, giving some advice to Lt. Compton Roberts, playing Rowena.

     The final shift in the nineteenth-century stage fortunes of Ivanhoe came full circle as a new generation of playwrights shaped adaptations to the tastes of contemporary audiences. A major influence was Andrew Halliday who, before his early death in 1877, created a number of Scott adaptations. A former journalist with a keen eye for the public mood, Halliday was noted for his abilities in various dramatic forms, but was best known for a handful of Scott adaptations, including Ivanhoe adapted as Rebecca (1871) for Drury [p. 95] Lane. Halliday makes his own adjustments to the original material, including creating a scene between Rowena and Rebecca played across Ivanhoe’s unconscious body, in which Rowena begs her not to try to steal her lover. Prince John is shown a silvan masque and the Lists at Ashby are replaced by a Tournament at Templestowe with “real horses,” the horses and stunt-double riders recruited from Astley’s, and three hundred auxiliaries. The audiences were enthusiastic and the critics were divided, the London Evening Standard and The Daily Telegraph and Courier thought it well done and any changes to be minor, whilst in a lengthy review The Morning Advertiser declared it to be an “ill-balanced, inchoate jumble” (25 Sep. 1871). Another successful later adaptation was that by Robert Cowie, lessee of the Theatre Royal Dundee. Once again, the piece is praised for its “fidelity” to the original, the critic in the Dundee Courier (20 Feb. 1875) being duly impressed: “The characters are carefully preserved in all their details, the most striking scenes have been faithfully produced, and the utmost veneration has been shown for Scott’s magnificent dialogue, which has a rich intellectual flavour, too often awanting in the modern drama.”

 

IX. Conclusion

     Down the decades, the fortunes of Ivanhoe onstage had followed the fashions of the time, but had not perhaps surpassed their impact in the first years of its representation. When King Richard, or Ivanhoe, declared that Saxon and Norman should come together for the good of England, it was not insignificant that for the first time in nineteenth-century Britain all the audiences, from Theatres Royal to Minor houses to crowds clustered about the smallest groups of strolling players could, if they chose, hear Scott’s characters speak exactly the same words. None were excluded from the current cultural conversation and Ivanhoe was one Waverley novel that survived as a vehicle for adaptation into the twentieth century, demonstrating the same flexibility whereby chapbooks were replaced with comic-books, and the stage adaptations and novel were further adapted for film and television. [p. 96]

 

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