In spite of the unanimous recognition the play received from the press, the theatre still refused to produce it, as nearly all the authorities agreed that it would be “hardly possible to stage.” Finally, the new chief of the theatre, Count F. Brockenhuus-Schack, determined to carry the matter through. The author then undertook to stage the play, designed the scenes, and arranged the mise-en-scene to the minutest detail. On November 14, 1914, the first performance took place. He sat in the latticed author’s box. The first three acts went smoothly, interrupted at times by applause. The fourth act, the one talked about and difficult, was still to come. The fate of the play depended on this act. The curtain rose, and with the slowness of life the act proceeded. The silence of the audience was uncanny. Toward the end, the foremost theatrical critic of the city rose to his feet and raised his hand as if in horror. The curtain fell. Not a hand stirred. A whole minute elapsed and Mr. Kamban left the box, refusing to himself to admit the failure. Then suddenly a wild enthusiasm broke loose and lasted several minutes. According to the regulations—unique in Europe—of the Royal Theatre, the curtain may not be raised for any author or actor except at a jubilee. The public, however, refused to leave the theatre till the manager had escorted Mr. Kamban to the dais in front of the curtain, and there he expressed his thanks to the audience.
After four months in Copenhagen, “Hadda Padda” toured the Scandinavian Countries, and preparations were being made for its production in Germany, when the war broke out, and the German theatres were indefinitely closed to foreign dramatists. That is why, two years ago, he came to America.
Skuli, the town judge.
Lady Anna, his wife.
Hrafnhild, called Hadda Padda; Kristrun; their daughters.
Little Skuli, their grandson.
Rannveig, Hadda Padda’s nurse.
The Sheriff of Breidabol.
Lady Margaret, his wife.
Ingolf, law student; Olof; their children.
Steindor, Olof’s husband, the sheriff’s secretary.
Sigga; Doddi; Magga; Steindor’s and Olof’s children.
Native and foreign summer tourists.
There is an interval of a year between Acts I and II; of a week between Acts II and III. One night elapses between Acts III and IV.
Place: Iceland. Time: Present.
(A luxuriously furnished drawing-room in the house of the Town Judge. On the right, in front, a door. In the middle rear an open door draped with rich, heavy, deep-red curtains. On the left a large window. In the corner, between the window and the door, a grand piano, behind which stands a palm, the leaves spreading over the piano. In front, on the left, a divan. Alongside of it is a pedestal with a black terra cotta statue on it.)