|Addison Wells Smith|
That play has to have received some of the best advance notices ever for a stage production, as I’ve noted before. For weeks in advance, newspapers all over the country reported that the congress would include a production of As You Like It in Esperanto (newspapers also seemed fascinated by the news that there would be church services in Esperanto as well). And with all that advance notice, of course there had to be a review or two.
The Washington Times opted for two, and on August 17, 1910, gave more space to the review in Esperanto than the review in English. The review in Esperanto is 426 words long, and at that, is significantly longer than the welcome the Washington Herald had made to to the congress. This is largest chunk of Esperanto I have seen in an American newspaper, so I quote it in full:
And for the benefit of anyone reading this who doesn’t speak Esperanto:INTERNACIA TEATRO EN SESA KONGRESOLa Prezentado De “As You LIke It” Estas Por La Esperantisto Nova Provo Ke Ilia Lingvo Tute Konvenas Por La Internacia Teatro.Sukceso de la Hickman Players.
La Esperantistoj jam havis la okazon pruvi en siaj unuaj Kongresoj la perfektan taŭgecon de sia lingvo por la traduko de dramoj kaj komedioj, kaj la prezentado de “Ifigenio en Taǔrido” dum la Kongreso de Dresden lasis neniun dubon pri tio—oni efektive memoras la sukceson kiun tiam havis Reicher kaj lia kompanio.
Sed ĝis nun oni neniam estis ludinta verkon de Shakespeare, kredeble pro la malfacileco de la prezentado kaj la granda nombro de aktoroj kiu estas necesa. La honoro ludi en Esperanto unuafoje verkon de la fama angla poeto estis proponata al la “Hickman Players” kaj ili bonvolis akcepti tium malfacilan taskon. Malfacila! Oni pripensu, ke la komedio “As-you-like-it” konsistas el kvin aktoj, kaj enhavas dudek du rolojn! La ludantoj de la lernejo Hickman antaŭ du monatoj nenion sciis pri Esperanto!
Dank’ al la lerta direkto de S-ro Robert Nugent Hickman ili mirinde sukcesis kaj la Esperantistoj montris al ili, per siaj senfinaj aplaŭdoj kaj aklamoj ke la komedio “plaĉas al ili”!
La traduko estas farita de D-ro Ivy Kellerman-Reed kaj ni sincere gratulas ŝin pri la flueco kaj beleco de ŝia stilo, bedaŭrante ke la manko de spaco ne permesas al ni citi en tiu artikolo la plej rimarkindajn partojn. La temo de la komedio estas tro konata, por ke ni parolu detale pri ĝi. Ni intencas nur doni kelkajn impresojn pri la prezentado, kiu okazis en libera aero. Unue la scenejo. Vera arbaro! Efektive la loko elektita estis la bieno de la “Bristol School.” Sur la herbo la aktoroj iris kaj reiris kaj la kanto de la griloj akompanis ilin. La scenejo estis bone lumigata de potencaj lampoj antaŭ kiuj de tempo al tempo vitro ruĝa aŭ flava estis metata por produkti vere mirindajn efikojn. Oni povus facile imagi, ke oni estas en ia feina arbaro kaj la impreso estis grandioza.
Due la muzikistoj kaj aktoroj. Dolĉa muziko akompanis kelkajn korusojn kaj ludis dum la interaktoj. Pri la aktoroj ni parolas aliloke. Ni nur diros tie ĉi ke ili ludis rimarkinde kaj ke, dank’ al ilia penado la tuta afero estis tra grava sukceso por Esperanto.
Nun la propagandistoj de la lingvo kreita de D-ro L. Zamenhof povas estis certaj, ke “Internacia Teatro” estas ebla, kaj ili nur devas atendi la entrepreneman homon kiu volos konigi al la mondo, per Esperanto, la majstroverkojn—malnovajn kaj modernajn—de la universala literaturo.
Clearly written by a partisan, probably a member of the Congress, though I certainly hope it wasn’t Edwin C. Reed (reviewing your spouse’s work is just a no-no). The Times did not reveal the name of the reporter, although most articles of the period are unsigned. The performance of an Esperanto translation of Iphigenia in Tauris had been reported in the news the year before, so one did not need to be a particular Esperanto insider to know about it.INTERNATIONAL THEATER AT THE SIXTH CONGRESS
The Presentation of the “As You Like It” Is a New Proof for the Esperantists that Their Language Is Appropriate for International Theater.
A Success of the Hickman Players.
The Esperantists already had the opportunity to prove in their their first congress the the perfect suitability of their language for the translation of dramas and comedies, and the presentation of “Iphigenia in Tauris” during the Dredsen conference left no doubt about that—one certainly remembers the success which Reicher and his company had then.
But until now, no one had ever played a work of Shakespeare, probably due to the difficulty of the performance and the large number of actors needed. The honor to play for the first time in Esperanto a work of the famous English poet was proposed to the “Hickman Players” and they were pleased to accept the difficult task. Difficult! Consider that the comedy “As You Like It” consists of five acts, and has twenty-two roles! Two months ago, the players of the Hickman school knew nothing about Esperanto!
Thanks to the expert direction of Mr. Robert Nugent Hickman they were amazingly successful and the Esperantists showed them with their endless applause and acclaim that the comedy was “as they liked it.”
The translation was made by Dr. Ivy Kellerman-Reed and we sincerely congratulate her on the fluidity and beauty of her style, unfortunately the lack of space does not permit that we cite in this article the most remarkable parts. The theme of the comedy is too well known for us to speak in detail about it. We intend only to give a few impressions about the performance, which took place in the open air. First, the stage. A real forest! In fact, the site chosen was the grounds of the “Bristol School.” On the tress, the actors came and went, and the song of the crickets accompanied them. The scene was well lit by powerful lamps before which from time to time red or yellow glass was placed to produce some truly wonderful effects. You could easily imagine that you were in some kind of fairy forest and the impression was. magnificent.
Secondly, the musicians and actors. Sweet music accompanied a few choirs and was played between acts. We speak elsewhere about the actors. We only say that they played remarkably and that thanks to their effort the whole thing has been a major success for Esperanto.
Now the promotors of the language created by Dr. L. Zamenhof can be certain that “International Theater” is possible and they now need wait for the enterprising person who wants to make known to the world, through Esperanto, the masterworks—old and modern—of universal literature.
Oddly enough, the production seems to have been something of a swan song for the Hickman Players. They disappear from the news after this, although I can find articles detailing their productions of Shakespeare dating back to 1906, so it seems to have been a short-lived troupe. Maybe success went to the players’ heads, since an article in the Times on August 18, 1910, noted that the actor who played Orlando in the production, Addison Wells Smith, was planning on becoming a professional actor.
According to the 1910 census, Mr. Smith was the 20-year-old son of a patent attorney, with no employment listed. According to the article, “for the last two years he has been a student in a New York school of acting,” and notes his intention to return to New York. He seems not to have made it on the stage, or perhaps even to New York, as subsequent censuses list him as selling automobiles. and city directories show him living in Washington in 1912.
The Times was fairly careful with their Esperanto; I only found three mistakes: First, as I noted in a footnote, the writer was unclear on the use of the reflexive pronoun “si”; Second, “rimarkindajn” (remarkable) was hyphenated as “rimar-kindajn,” giving me pause to wonder what rimar/ meant as a root, but then I realized that you can’t possible divide the other part into anything that made any sense, as it would be k/ind/aj/n. You can’t have k/ as a root; it’s too short. With their careful Esperanto, you would think they would have taken similar pains in English; Third, lumigata was mistyped as “lumizata,” which (once again) leads us to a nonexistent word. The last two are minor errors that are clearly due to the compositor’s unfamiliarly with Esperanto, despite great care with the article.
However, about the picture of Addison Wells Smith, were the words “Woes in New Tongue.” Oh dear. They meant “Woos in New Tongue.”
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