[Illustration: FOR SYDNEY DIRECT.]
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MARTINUZZI AS THE ACT DIRECTS.
The production upon the stage of a tragedy “not intended for an acting play,” as a broad travestie, is a novel and dangerous experiment—one, however, which the combined genius of the Dramatic Authors’ Council has made, with the utmost success. The “Hungarian Daughter” was, under the title of “Martinuzzi,” received, on its first appearance, with bursts of applause and convulsions of laughter!
The plot of this piece our literary reviewer has expressed himself unable to unravel. We are in the same condition; all we can promise is some account of the scenes as they followed each other; of the characters, the sentiments, the poetry, and the rest of the fun.
The play opens with an elderly gentleman, in a spangled dressing-gown, who commences business by telling us the time of day, poetically clapping a wig upon the sun, by saying, he
“Shakes day about, like perfume from his hair,”
which statement bears out the after sentence, that “the wisdom he endures is terrible!” An Austrian gentleman—whose dress made us at first mistake him for Richard III. on his travels—arrives to inform the gentleman en deshabille—no other than Cardinal Martinuzzi himself—that he has come from King Ferdinand, to ask if he will be so good as to give up some regency; which the Cardinal, however, respectfully declines doing. A gentleman from Warsaw is next announced, and Castaldo retires, having incidentally declared a passion for the reigning queen of Hungary.
Mr. Selby, as Rupert from Warsaw, then appears, in a dress most correctly copied from the costume of the knave of clubs. Being a Pole, he stirs up the Cardinal vigorously enough to provoke some exceedingly intemperate language, chiefly by bringing to his memory a case of child-stealing, to which Martinuzzi was, before he had quite sown his wild oats, particeps criminis. This case having got into the papers (which Rupert had preserved), the Cardinal wants to obtain them, but offers a price not long enough for the Pole, who, declaring that Martinuzzi carries it “too high” to be trusted with them, vanishes. Mr. Morley afterwards comes forward to sing a song according to Act of Parliament, and the scene changes for Miss Collect to comply, a second time, with the 25th of George II.
In the following scene, the Queen Dowager of Hungary, Isabella, introduces herself to the audience, to inform them that the Austrian gentleman, Castaldo, is
Pity-fraught object of her fondness.”
He appears. She makes several inflammatory speeches, which he seems determined not to understand, for he is in love with the virgin queen; and maidens before dowagers is evidently his sensible motto.