Play List:

1. The Rath Boys

2. The Witchfinder

3. A Madcap Prince

4. Corinne

5. The Queen of Connaught

6. The Nine Days’ Queen

7. The Mormons

8. The Shadow of the Sword

9. Lucy Brandon

10. Storm-Beaten

11. Lady Clare

[Flowers of the Forest]

12. A Sailor and His Lass

13. Bachelors

14. Constance

15. Lottie

16. Agnes

17. Alone in London

18. Sophia

19. Fascination

20. The Blue Bells of Scotland

21. Partners

22. Joseph’s Sweetheart

23. That Doctor Cupid

24. Angelina!

25. The Old Home

26. A Man’s Shadow

27. Theodora

28. Man and the Woman

29. Clarissa

30. Miss Tomboy

31. The Bride of Love

32. Sweet Nancy

33. The English Rose

34. The Struggle for Life

35. The Sixth Commandment

36. Marmion

37. The Gifted Lady

38. The Trumpet Call

39. Squire Kate

40. The White Rose

41. The Lights of Home

42. The Black Domino

43. The Piper of Hamelin

44. The Charlatan

45. Dick Sheridan

46. A Society Butterfly

47. Lady Gladys

48. The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown

49. The Romance of the Shopwalker

50. The Wanderer from Venus

51. The Mariners of England

52. Two Little Maids from School

53. When Knights Were Bold

___

Short Plays

Other Plays

Buchanan’s Theatrical Ventures in America

Poetry Readings

ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

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ROBERT BUCHANAN’S OTHER PLAYS - continued

 

6. The Maiden Queen (1896)

maidenqueenera

[From The Era (8 April, 1905).]

 

A comic opera in two acts, book by Robert Buchanan and ‘Charles Marlowe’, music by Florian Pascal. Like The New Don Quixote the only evidence of this ever being produced is a copyright performance at Ladbroke Hall, London on 6th April, 1905. However, the libretto was published (London: Joseph Williams, Ltd., 1908.), which probably explains why the following extracts were included in Writers, readers, and reputations: literary life in Britain, 1870-1918 by Philip J. Waller (Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 857-858):

“Topsy-turviness remained a comic standby. Punch in 1898 gave its ‘vision of the future’ in the form of a letter to the editor of the ‘Daily Telephone’, on the theme of ‘Should Husbands Work?’ Then there was The Maiden Queen, a two- act comic opera, storyline by Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, music by Florian Pascal, which delighted audiences in 1908. Again set in the future, c. 1970-80, women (‘the stronger sex’) hold all offices of Church and State, chorused by the Amazons (‘the flower of the Army’); men are subordinate and voteless, kept cloistered until ripe to be married off. Naturally, Lady Rosalind Millstone, ‘the democratic Home Secretary’, is nicknamed the Grand Young Woman; and when the Revd Annabel Lee, excited at being made Bishop of Putney, exclaims, ‘I shall faint!’, she is told, ‘Courage! Bear it like a woman!’ The education of Prince Edgar—in direct succession to the throne, though likely to be passed over on account of being male—provides occasion to satirize political correctness. Newnham is now a single-sex men’s college, where the hapless Professor Dingo is cross-examined by Lady Bustleborough, the Lady Chancellor, about the Prince’s syllabus:

LADY CHANCELLOR. You have taught him the duties of his sex and position?

DINGO. Quite so.

LADY C.  Your course of study has embraced—

DINGO. French and the piano. Calisthenics and the Fashion Plates; the Moral Philosophy of Man as an inferior biped; Modesty and Deportment . . .

LADY C.  Very good. You allow him to read no carnal books?

DINGO. None!

LADY C.  No pagan authors, such as Thackeray, the arch-enemy of our sex.

DINGO. Certainly not. Even Kipling is forbidden, on the ground that his works describe the achievements of Man. He is thoroughly grounded, however, in the masterpieces of the female novelists of the last century—more particularly Ouida—

MISTRESS [of Newnham]. Ouida! Good heavens!

DINGO. Pardon me, the study of the works of Ouida has this effect, it shows the wickedness of the male sex in all its ghastly enormity. From this point of view Ouida is strictly moral—and, moreover, Ouida, if tradition is to be trusted, was a female!

The Lady Chancellor then catechizes Lord Eustace, one of the Prince’s fellow undergraduates:

LADY C.  What is Man’s most fitting place?

LORD EUSTACE. [after a look at DINGO, who winks]. The Home!

LADY C.  What must he chiefly avoid to fulfil his functions?

LORD E.  All public excitement, all enquiry into political questions, which are beyond his intellect—

LADY C.  And what, above all, must he reverence?

LORD E.  The Perfect Woman, as embodied in those who legislate for his security.

The Maiden Queen ends with Prince Edgar becoming King and true love reigning.”

___

 

The Maiden Queen is not mentioned in the Jay biography and due to the appearance of the Rev. Annabel Lee, I first assumed it was written around the time of the publication of Buchanan’s novel of that name, in March, 1898. However, I then came across this letter in The Era which as well as mentioning The Maiden Queen also makes a passing reference to Good Old Times (aka When Knights were Bold):

 

The Era (23 May, 1896)

COINCIDENCES AGAIN.
_____

TO THE EDITOR OF THE ERA.

     Sir,—We observe that a farcical comedy called Josiah’s Dream was produced on Thursday evening at the Strand Theatre. Curiously enough, it bears a strong resemblance in subject to two works in which we have collaborated, and which have been completed for a considerable time. The prophetic vision of the Coming Woman, as she is to be a hundred years hence, is to be found in an opera, The Maiden Queen, while the structure of the farcical comedy— involving, as it does, two acts of contemporary life, and one act which takes place in a remote period—closely resembles the structure of a comedy which we wrote more than a year ago. We do not suggest for a moment that the author of Josiah’s Dream has plagiarised our ideas, but certainly the long arm of coincidence has been at work, and as both our pieces are set down for early production we think it desirable to make this explanation, lest in the fulness of time we ourselves should be accused of adopting any suggestions from Josiah’s Dream.
                                           Yours truly,                   ROBERT BUCHANAN and CHARLES MARLOWE.
     35, Gerrard-street, Shaftesbury-avenue, W.,
     May 22d, 1896.

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And then I found an even earlier item, in The Echo of 11th November, 1890, which stated that:

     “Mr. Robert Buchanan is writing, in collaboration with Mr. Walter Slaughter, a new comic opera, bearing the curious title, The Rev. Miss Amabel Lee.”

Given the nature of the novel, The Rev. Annabel Lee (whether ‘Amabel’ is a misprint or the original version, I have no idea), I doubt whether it began life as a comic opera, so this could have been an early attempt at what eventually became The Maiden Queen.

 

Back to the Bibliography or the Plays

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7. The Diamond Necklace (1900) (a.k.a. The Queen’s Necklace)

 

This seems to have begun life as a Buchanan/Marlowe collaboration, then segued into A Royal Necklace by Pierre and Claude Berton, which was produced at the Imperial Theatre, London on April 22nd. 1901.

 

The Era (10 June, 1899 - p.12)

     MRS LANGTRY will make her reappearance on the stage in a version by Messrs Robert Buchanan and “Charles Marlowe” of Dumas’s Collier de la Reine. The version is founded on historical documents and on the famous trial for conspiracy already familiarised to English readers by the brilliant essays of Carlyle. Mrs Langtry will produce the play as soon as possible in London, and will afterwards tour with it in America and the Colonies, creating the leading female rôle of Marie Antoinette. Another piece by the same authors, also to be produced shortly, is the comedy founded by special arrangement with Sarah Grand, on her famous story, “The Heavenly Twins.”

___

 

Daily Mail (10 June, 1899 - p.3)

     A little confusion crept into our paragraph of Wednesday last in reference to Mr. Sydney Grundy’s play for Mrs. Langtry, when she once again becomes manageress of a theatre. Mr. Grundy is writing Mrs. Langtry a play, but it is an original modern play, with a part different from any other essayed hitherto by this lady. “Le Collier de la Reine” will form the subject of a drama to be produced by her, but it is from the pen of Mr. Robert Buchanan and Mr. Charles Marlowe. Mr. Buchanan writes us that it is not an adaptation of Dumas’ novel on the same subject, but is founded on historical documents. “As you are of course aware,” adds Mr. Buchanan, “the Cagliostro episode, with which we chiefly deal, has been traversed brilliantly by Carlyle.”

___

 

The Glasgow Herald (12 June, 1899 - p.13)

     Mr Robert Buchanan, I have the best authority to state, will be the author of the new piece with which Mrs Langtry will resume management. Mr Grundy is also, it is understood, writing a play for the popular society actress. Mr Buchanan’s play will be an adaptation of Dumas’s “Collier de la Reine,” which, if I mistake not, has already been witnessed on the London stage under the title of “The Diamond Necklace.” Mrs Langtry will create the character of Queen Marie Antoinette, and after a London season in the autumn she hopes to take the play to the United States, and perhaps also to Australia.

 ___

 

The Graphic (17 June, 1899 - p.9)

     The next drama of old Court life in France will present Mrs. Langtry, who has so long been absent from the London stage, in the character of Marie Antoinette. The period of the play—which is the work of Mr. Robert Buchanan and the lady novelist who prefers to be known to the world under the pseudonym of “Charles Marlowe”—is not the dismal time of the Terror, but the earlier days of the famous procés of the Diamond Necklace, familiar to readers of Carlyle and Dumas.

___

 

Daily Mail (5 July, 1899)

GOSSIP OF THE
GREEN ROOM.
_____

MR. ROBERT BUCHANAN’S PLAY
FOR MRS. LANGTRY.
_____

     As Mr. Robert Buchanan told us in his letter to the “Daily Mail,” he and “Mr. Charles Marlowe” have gone rather to Carlyle than to Dumas for their material for the four-act play which they are writing for Mrs. Langtry, whose tenancy of the Haymarket (where she will first present Mr. Grundy’s new piece) is now definitely settled on the lines announced here. “The Queen’s Necklace” is of the time of Marie Antoinette. The action of the play takes place, in act the first, at the Royal Palace of Louis; in the second, at the house of Cagliostro; in the third, at a great ball given by the King; in the fourth, at Versailles. The second act will show us a curious optical delusion, and the fourth a dénouement which is claimed to be entirely new.

_____

     In the second act we are shown the inception of the Cagliostro plot, which is to induce Cardinal De Rohan—who is in love with the Queen—to purchase the necklace for her and so compromise her in the eyes of her husband. But the fact is that her double, Gai D’Oliva, a woman of no moral importance, is to be substituted for her, and so striking is the likeness that even De Rohan is deceived. In the third act Gai D’Oliva is wearing the necklace at the ball, and is pointed out to the King as his wife. In the fourth act the King taxes Marie Antoinette with her conduct, and then the plot of Cagliostro and Provence against her is unravelled. The dramatists support the view that the Queen, though indiscreet, had always repelled the advances of the Cardinal.

_____

     The authors leave Dumas chiefly in the character of Cagliostro. Through Dumas—in “Dr. Balsanio” and in “Le Collier de la Reine”—he is represented as a real magician. Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Marlowe endow him with the power of hypnotism, and, while preserving the weird element, make the sinister figure plausible. Variation, too, is made in the character of the Countess de la Motte.

___

 

The Stage (6 July, 1899 - p.11)

     Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe are at work on a new play for Mrs. Langtry—of the Marie Antoinette  period.

___

 

The Era (8 July, 1899 - p.12)

     DUMAS is still in demand, and, besides the Monte Cristo drama, by Mr Henry Hamilton and the new piece by Mr Aubrey Boucicault, we are to have one by Mr Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, based on the character and life of Cagliostro, and the celebrated “Queen’s Necklace”—an incident which will be the title of the play. Dumas and Carlyle are both laid under contribution for the plot of this piece, which is designed for Mrs Langtry.

___

 

The Liverpool Mercury (17 July, 1899 - p.8)

     Mr. Robert Buchanan and Miss Harriet Jay are understood to be engaged upon a play which is to be produced by Mrs. Langtry at the Haymarket. It is upon the subject of the famous necklace mystery which did so much injury to the reputation of Marie Antoinette. There is a novel on the same subject by Alexander Dumas. Mrs. Langtry’s season will begin on August 31, and she will be supported by Mr. Charles Hawtrey, Mr. George Grossmith, jun., and Miss Lily Hanbury. The season will be necessarily brief, as the regular Haymarket company reappear in town on October 2 in Mr. Sydney Grundy’s promised adaptation of “La Tulipe Noire” of Alexander Dumas.

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The Era (21 April, 1900 - p.12)

     MRS LANGTRY’S American season has been a serious financial loss. She was obliged to break several contracts, as the authorities in several cities prohibited her from performing The Degenerates. “The Americans,” she says, “are incredibly capricious. They formerly treated me as a deity, and now they cut me to the quick. My error was in believing the English newspaper talk of America’s pro-British sentiments. I began by reciting ‘The Absent-Minded Beggar.’ That was my undoing! I was snubbed merely for being an Englishwoman.” Mrs Langtry will, when she returns to England, run The Degenerates round the provinces for a time, and in the autumn will produce a new costume play by Mr Robert Buchanan.

___

 

The New York Times (29 April, 1900 - p.18)

     Mrs. Langtry will produce in London next Autumn Robert Buchanan’s version of “The Queen’s Necklace,” acting Marie Antoinette and her double, Oliva.

___

 

Daily Express (8 May, 1900 - p.2)

     Another play of Mr. Robert Buchanan’s, founded on Dumas’ book, “The Queen’s Necklace,” is to be produced by Mrs. Langtry, on her return. In this Mrs. Langtry will double the parts of the Queen and Gai d’Oliva. The big scene occurs in the ball-room—the last act—where the brilliant courtesan appears in the Queen’s necklace.

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The Stage (10 May, 1900 - p.14)

     The report continuously published that Mrs. Langtry is to produce a new play by Robert Buchanan founded on the story of the Queen’s necklace in the coming autumn is incorrect. As I have before stated in these columns, Mrs. Langtry’s plans are well defined. A tour has been booked for her, commencing in September, which will last until Christmas. Then, if arrangements can be completed for a theatre, the new play in question probably will be given its first production, but I am authorised by Mrs. Langtry’s manager, Mr. Edward Michael, to say that beyond the fact that the autumn tour is inked in, no positive arrangements of any sort have been made for the future.

___

 

The Stage (9 August, 1900 - p.11)

     Mrs. Langtry has “copyrighted” at the Library of Congress, in Washington, U.S.A., her new play, The Diamond Necklace, written by Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe.

___

 

The Era (18 August, 1900 - p.10)

     “THE DIAMOND NECKLACE,” by Mr Robert Buchanan and “Charles Marlowe,” of which we have heard so much, was copyrighted by Mrs Langtry ere she left America at the Library of Congress, Washington. This, we understand, is the new piece Mrs Langtry intends producing in London at the end of her tour.

___

 

From Dramatic Compositions Copyrighted in the United States 1870 to 1916 (Library of Congress Copyright Office)

Diamond (The) necklace:
—original romantic drama in 4 acts, by Robert Buchanan and Chas. Marlowe [pseud. of Harriett Jay] Typewritten.
© Lillie De Bathe, London; 1900 A:11044. Mar. 2; 2c. May 4.    10768.

___

 

The Era (25 August, 1900 - p.10)

     MRS LANGTRY, when she brings out Mr Robert Buchanan’s play, The Queen’s Necklace, in the country, will play a dual rôle, and she has just been to Paris to arrange with M. Pierre Berton to produce the piece for her.

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The Era (22 September, 1900 - p.11)

     Mr Malyon is now on tour with The Degenerates, which he is stage-managing for Mrs Langtry, and he will also help that lady with the production of Mr Robert Buchanan’s new play, The Necklace of Pearls, when that piece is done in London. Besides being an actor and stage-manager, Mr Malyon is an author, and has produced several plays and sketches, the most notable being The Honourable John (written in collaboration with Mr Fred Mouillot), A Mere Question of Time, The Lady Burglar, and The Order of the Bath (with Mr H. H. Morell), which has been highly successful in London (at the Palace), America, Hamburg, and Paris. Apart from this Mr Malyon, as we know, has lent many a helping hand “in touches” to other works, being a ready writer as well as a ready stage-manager, and a very agreeable man in and out of business.

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The Stage (11 October, 1900 - p.13)

     Mr. Edward Michael, business manager for Mrs. Langtry, tells me that that lady has secured the Imperial, Westminster, for a long term. She will alter and redecorate it at an expense of between £4,000 and £5,000, and will open there in the spring with A Queen’s Heart, the new play by MM. Pierre and Claude Berton which she acquired during her recent visit to Paris. The Imperial during the last few years has not competed very successfully with the other West End houses, but there is no reason why, under an able and generous management, its popularity should not return with added force.
     A play which Mrs. Langtry may present during her tenancy of the Imperial is Robert Buchanan’s The Queen’s Necklace.

___

 

Daily Express (23 October, 1900 - p.2)

ON AND OFF THE STAGE.
_____

MRS. LANGTRY IN FARCICAL COMEDY.
_____

     Mrs. Langtry does not mean to weary us with serious drama all the year round, and so has decided during the summer months to give us farcical comedy at the Imperial Theatre, Westminster. This is capital. With the thermometer at eighty something one can’t follow the woman with a past through all her Hampton Court maze. One merely wants iced drinks and a laugh. Mrs. Langtry has shown us she possesses a very genuine vein of humour. Let us hope to see her in some very amusing dramatic work.

_____

     Meanwhile, it looks as though she would play her first serious drama in the Law Courts. It will be remembered that Mr. Robert Buchanan wrote her a Marie Antoinette play. This Mrs. Langtry bought outright, for which she paid Mr. Buchanan a sum down. She then, holding this to be her absolute property, commissioned M. Paul Berton, the French dramatist, to write her another on this very subject, which she intends to open with at Westminster. Mr. Buchanan contends that he has not been fairly treated, and some litigation seems probable. Will matters be arranged? We shall see.

_____

     The subject acquires a very pathetic interest now that Mr. Buchanan is stricken with paralysis. He has done excellent work in adaptation, notably “Sophia” (from Fielding’s “Tom Jones”), though he is less happy in original dramatic work. He has always been an ardent controversialist, throwing himself with passionate insistence into every question of the  hour. To his great honour he always fought for what he believed to be the weaker side. As a hard-hitter he probably has no equal. May he long be spared to renew his battles and to add his share to the colour and interest of life. We should be the poorer without him.

___

 

The New York Clipper (1 December, 1900)

OUR LONDON LETTER.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

                                                                                                                             LONDON, Eng., Nov. 14.

. . .

     Mrs. Langtry hopes to have her new theatre, the Imperial, Westminster, ready for her by May 1, and, as the work is to be pushed, this date shows that the old and very shabby house is to be very thoroughly rebuilt. Her business misunderstanding with Robert Buchanan over the “Marie Antoinette” play he wrote for her has been settled, and it has been said by her that it is a capital play, but had not enough Marie Antoinette in it to suit her. The one on the same subject which she is having written in Paris by M. Pierre and Claude Berton may therefore be looked forward to as being well furnished with Marie Antoinette from start to finish.

___

 

The Glasgow Herald (14 December, 1900 - p.7)

     Mrs Langtry has secured “The Bath Comedy,” which will be produced at the New Imperial Theatre at the conclusion of the run of the new “Marie Antoinette” piece, which itself, although completed and developed by a  French author, is, it seems, originally due, in conception at anyrate, to Mr Robert Buchanan. “The Bath Comedy” is an adaptation by Mr Egerton Castle, the author, and Mr Belasco, the American playwright, of a novel of the same name.

___

 

The Dundee Evening Telegraph (7 January, 1901 - p.3)

     Little if any improvement has taken place in the condition of Mr Robert Buchanan. He is absolutely helpless, and quite incapable of mental effort. There is not the smallest chance he will write another line.
     Mrs Langtry has taken advantage of the Christmas holidays to run over to Monte Carlo, where she has been enjoying a very short vacation. She will have to be back in the course of the present week, as she and her company intend to start a new tour at Ealing on Monday next.

___

 

Daily Express (16 April, 1901 - p.2)

     A veil of mystery surrounds the authorship of “The Queen’s Double,” the Garrick version of “Le Collier de la Reine.” Both Mr. Robert Buchanan and Mr. Herman Merivale are known to have written plays on the subject. But Miss Janette Steer repudiates the former, and speaks vaguely of “a well-known writer hitherto associated with comedy.” This description might well fit Mr. Merivale, the MSS. of whose play she holds. Further, his version bore the title which is now advertised. Only, Mr. Merivale knows nothing of Miss Steer’s production! When the truth is out it will probably be found that Miss Steer herself has turned her hand to playwriting. Everyone the exponent of her (or his) genius is her maxim.

___

 

The New York Times (23 April, 1901)

MRS. LANGTRY’S THEATRE OPENED.
_____

“A Royal Necklace” Well Received,
Though It Is Regarded as Crude.

     LONDON, April 23.—Mrs. Langtry inaugurated the Imperial Theatre, London, now under her management, last evening, about an hour after the builders had hastily fled from the building, with what is regarded as a rather crude play by Pierre and Claude Berton. It is called “A Royal Necklace,” and is a story of the intrigues of Marie Antoinette.
     Despite the weakness of the piece, Mrs. Langtry’s personality secured for it a favorable reception. Mrs. Langtry as the Queen and Robert Taber as Count Fersen were frequently recalled.
     Responding to the final call, Mrs. Langtry briefly apologized for the incompleteness of the theatre, and said she hoped soon to make it more comfortable.

___

 

The Times (23 April, 1901 - p.7)

timesnecklaceplaythmb

[Click the picture for the review of A Royal Necklace by Pierre and Claude Berton.]

 

From R. D. B.’s Diary 1887-1914 by R. D. Blumenfeld (William Heinemann, 1930 - p.111)

     Had a note this evening from Maida Vale that Robert Buchanan has had a paralytic stroke and is not expected to live. I suppose the old playwright’s quarrel with Mrs. Langtry over his play “Marie Antoinette,” which she had bought from him has upset him, since she has now commissioned a Frenchman to write one on the same subject for production at the Imperial Theatre, Westminster.

Back to the Bibliography or the Plays

 

2. Plays Mentioned

The earliest mention of an unproduced play of Buchanan’s is probably the following item from The Echo of 15th May, 1869:

     “The earliest novelty at the Holborn Theatre, under Mr. Barry Sullivan’s management, will be a new tragic play by the author of ‘London Poems.’ Mr. Robert Buchanan is already known to playgoers by his tragedy of The Witch-Finder, produced some years ago at Sadler’s Wells.”

The item was repeated in various provincial papers and there is a letter to Browning of 22nd May, 1869, where Buchanan mentions having written a play for Sullivan (and another for Hollinghshead). However there is no evidence that Sullivan ever produced a Buchanan play and there is no mention of Buchanan in Barry Sullivan and his contemporaries; a histrionic record by Robert M. Sillard (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1901).

The evidence that the following plays were ever written is dubious, usually there is an odd reference in the newspapers and nothing else.

1. Annan Water

2. The Shadow of a Crime

3. A Son of Hagar

4. Richard Steele

5. Adam and Eve

6. Oh! Anastasia

7. André Cornélis

8. Father Anthony

 

Annan Water (1883)

 

A note at the beginning of Buchanan’s novel, Annan Water, states: “This Romance has been dramatized previous to publication, represented, and duly protected. All further dramatization of the subject, or of any portion thereof, is therefore forbidden by the Author.” Several reviews of the book mention this dramatization and it is also referred to in various newspapers, but there is no evidence that the play was ever produced.

 

The World (New York) (25 November, 1883 - p.1)

     Robert Buchanan has dramatized his last novel, “Annan Water.”

___

 

The Graphic (1 December, 1883 - p.12)

     Mr. Robert Buchanan is said to have written another play founded upon his forthcoming novel, called Annan Water.

___

 

The Illustrated Police News (16 December, 1883)

     Another new play is announced from the pen of Mr. Robert Buchanan, called “Annan Water,” founded upon a novel by the dramatist which will shortly be published.

_____

 

“The Shadow of a Crime” (1885)

 

The Edinburgh Evening News (30 October, 1885 - p.4)

     We hear that Mr T. Hall Caine and Mr Robert Buchanan are engaged on the dramatisation of Mr Hall Caine’s novel of last season, “The Shadow of a Crime.”

_____

 

“A Son of Hagar” (1885)

 

The Academy (28 November, 1885 - No. 708, p.355-356)

     MR. T. HALL CAINE has written another novel, which will be published first in the weekly issue of the Liverpool Mercury, as likewise was his former novel, The Shadow of a Crime. It will also appear simultaneously in the Manchester Times, in one of Messrs. Harper’s serials, and in an Australian newspaper. The title chosen is “A Son of Hagar,” for the plot turns upon the abandonment of a wife. The scene is laid partly in Cumberland, partly in London; and the time is the present. We may add that the story has already been dramatised by the author, in collaboration with Mr. R. Buchanan, thus protecting stage rights in advance, so far as possible.

_____

 

“Richard Steele” (1891)

 

The Daily News (2 February, 1891)

     What is the “episode in the life of Sir Richard Steele” on which Mr. Robert Buchanan has founded a new costume play for Mr. Charles Wyndham? The question may serve as a riddle for the curious in such matters. Authentic anecdotes of Steele are not very abundant. Shall we see him at Button’s? or at that tavern “by Hyde Park Corner” where he and Richard Savage concocted the pamphlet which was to pay the bill? And will the dramatist follow him down to Llangunnor, where he passed away among friends, far from his old coffee-house cronies?

___

 

The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (3 February, 1891)

     Mr Robert Buchanan has completed the new costume comedy commissioned by Mr Charles Wyndham. The play is founded on an episode in the life of Sir Richard Steele, of “Spectator” fame, and Steele himself is the hero.

___

 

The Derby Daily Telegraph (3 February, 1891 - p.2)

     After a spell of mysterious and uncharacteristic silence Mr. Robert Buchanan has allowed it to leak out that his new comedy for the Criterion will not be unassociated in subject with Sir Richard Steel of “Spectator” fame. “Dicky’s” life should serve the purpose capitally, and his marriage experiences were a laughable comedy in themselves. It is a sign of the times that so up to date an author as Mr. Buchanan should fly the hot house region of Parisian three-act farce and utilise a subject as English as it is wholesome.

___

 

The play never materialised, possibly because another play on a similar subject, Richard Savage by J. M. Barrie and H. B. Marriott-Watson, was produced at a matinée performance at the Criterion Theatre on 16 April, 1891 and was not a success.

_____

 

Adam and Eve (1893)

 

The Echo (12 December, 1893 - p.1)

     A few days ago we hinted that Mr. Buchanan had written the libretto of a light opera. We may state now that it is of the fantastic order, and may be seen at a theatre this season. It is entitled Adam and Eve; or, a Hundred Years Hence. Its theme is certainly original. We are to suppose that the world has been visited with a second Flood, and that all humanity is extinct. Two inhabitants of the planet Mars are entrusted with the task of re-peopling the earth, and of avoiding the errors that have attended the growth of previous civilisations. We are introduced to this interesting couple a few years after their transplantation, and they are engaged when the curtain of the first act rises in looking after their offspring. How an opera in two acts is to be constructed with such a limited number of dramatis personæ is Mr. Buchanan’s secret.

___

 

Aberdeen Weekly Journal (10 August, 1894)

THE AFFAIRS OF MR ROBERT BUCHANAN.
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     At the London Bankruptcy Court, a meeting has been held before Mr Registrar Giffard for the public examination of Robert Buchanan, the well-known author and playwright, who appeared to pass upon accounts showing unsecured debts £15,632, and no available assets. Creditors for £8750 partly secured hold charges upon his plays, “The Piper of Hamelin,” “Dick Sheridan,” “The Charlatan,” and an unfinished opera, “Adam and Eve;” also charges upon certain of his books, which he places no estimate upon. Amongst the debts appearing in the statement are those of Mr G. R. Sims for £805; Mr Albert Chevalier, £150; Mr Passmore Edwards, £250; Messrs L. and H. Nathan £200; dresses for “A Society Butterfly” and Mr J. Willing, jun., £200. A sum of £240 is due in respect of the rent of the Opera Comique. The failure is attributed to loss and liabilities incurred in connection with theatrical speculations in 1890 at the Lyric and Royalty Theatres, £5000; to heavy interest on borrowed money, £1500; to loss by the non-production of the play, “Dick Sheridan,” in America, and by adverse criticisms on his dramatic work, and to losses by betting, £1500. He states, further, that his loss on the production of “A Society Butterfly” at the Opera Comique recently was £600.

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Oh! Anastasia (1896)

 

The Era (14 November, 1896)

     MESSRS ROBERT BUCHANAN and CHARLES MARLOWE have also ready a new wildly farcical piece, to follow their Strange Adventures of Miss Brown. The title is Oh! Anastasia, and the piece is described as “a cyclone, in two storms and a hurricane.” The leading character, from whom the piece takes its name, has been offered to Mrs John Wood.

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The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (21 November, 1896 - p.20)

     “A CYCLONE in two storms and a hurricane” is the official description of a new farcical comedy which has been christened by its authors, Messrs. Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe, Oh! Anastasia. This title recalls the “Oh, Sophonisba! Sophonisba, Oh!” of the poet, which was parodied in the line, “Oh, Jimmy Thomson! Jimmy Thomson, Oh!” The central figure in the hurricane, which let us hope will not prove to be a storm in a teacup, is considered to be fitted to Mrs. John Wood.

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André Cornélis (1897)

 

The Era (11 December, 1897)

THEATRICAL GOSSIP.
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     MR BEERBOHM TREE has made arrangements with Mr Robert Buchanan for an adaptation of Bourget’s powerful story “André Cornélis.” In this a youth convicts his stepfather of having slain his own father—as in Hamlet, to be sure. But in this case the blow was accidental, and the stepfather is a most exemplary man. “For the sake of my mother and sister, who love you,” says the avenger,” I will not denounce you, but within such a time you must die by your own   hand.” Such a compact is made, and broken. The wretched man does not fear death—knows, indeed, that a fatal disease is rapidly working its course—but he hesitates to inflict the shame and pain of suicide upon his beloved wife. Between the two men there is another violent scene, and the younger man stabs the elder, who, in dying, declares that he inflicted the wound himself.

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The Glasgow Herald (13 December, 1897 - p.9)

     Mr Robert Buchanan, by the way, has been entrusted by Mr Beerbohm Tree with the English adaptation of Paul Bourget’s “Andrée Cornéles” for Her Majesty’s. The story is a gloomy one with a double tragedy. A man and woman have loved, but the woman does not know anything of the affection she has inspired in the man and marries somebody else. Afterwards the two men quarrel, and the husband is killed. The widow, quite unaware who struck the fatal blow, which, be it said, was given in self defence, marries the murderer. Her son, however, learns the truth, and offers his step-father the choice of suicide or being denounced. The man refuses, and the son plunges a dagger into the heart of his father’s murderer. At this moment the wife enters, and the dying man, in order to conceal the truth, declares he committed suicide.

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The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (18 December, 1897 - p.13)

     THOSE who have read M. Paul Bourget’s powerful novel, “Andrée Cornéles,” will have recognised in it the materials for a strong play, so it is not surprising to learn that Mr. Robert Buchanan has set about the task of dramatisation. The main motive is found in the death-blow unintentionally administered to the heroine’s husband by his rival, her former sweetheart, and in her subsequent marriage—in all unconsciousness of the truth—to the innocent murderer, who is finally tracked down by the son of his victim. The drama has been added to Mr. Tree’s long list of future productions.

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Father Anthony (1899)

 

The Era (8 July, 1899)

     MR JACOB LITT has just secured from Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe the American rights of Father Anthony.

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The Era (26 August, 1899 - p.12)

     MR JACOB LITT, who has recently arranged with Mr Cecil Raleigh to write a melodrama a year for him, and who has also secured the American rights of The Ghetto, which is to be produced shortly at the Comedy Theatre, with Mrs Brown Potter and Kyrle Bellew in the cast, has long been a producer of plays. and has for the past ten years conducted the tours of from six to ten companies. Two years ago, however, he bought the rights of Sporting Life, and gave it a production at the Academy of Music, new York, where it remained for five months. He still has it on the road. Other companies that Mr Litt has out this season, travelling in the States, are those performing Shenandoah, In Old Kentucky, Mistakes Will Happen, and Zorah. He is the proprietor of theatres in Milwaukee, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Chicago. McVicker’s Theatre, Chicago, of which he is the lessee, is one of the largest and best equipped theatres in the States. On May 1st he secured the Broadway Theatre, which is now being thoroughly overhauled, redecorated, refurnished, and equipped with all modern electric improvements. Mr Litt’s general manager, Mr A. W. Dingwall, has also made a contract with Mr Robert Buchanan and Charles Marlowe for the American rights of Father Anthony.

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The Edinburgh Evening News (2 April, 1900 - p.6)

     MR ROBERT BUCHANAN’S ILLNESS.—Mr Robert Buchanan has had a long illness, but is now reported a little better—well enough, in fact, to put the finishing touches to a new four-act play he has been for some time past writing on his book “Father Anthony.”

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Next: Buchanan’s Theatrical Ventures in America 1884-1885

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