About the Production of Theory and Practice

by Amy Dipre, Samantha Gomez, and Taynara Giandoso

  • The Independent Theatre Society produced Theory and Practice on April 28, 1893 at Terry’s Theater in Strand, London. Theory and Practice is a one-act, twenty-minute play that came on before Alan’s Wife.
  • A website on Terry’s Theater explains that “The Era reported on the new Theatre in their 15th of October 1887 edition saying: ‘On Thursday evening Mr. Edward Terry’s new theatre in the Strand was opened for private inspection. The style is Flemish renaissance, delicately decorated in apple green, old pink, and gold. From every part of the house an uninterrupted view of the stage is to be had; and on the matter of exits and fire precautions great care and thought have been bestowed” (“Terry’s Theatre, The Strand, London”). Terry’s Theater opened on October 17, 1887 and closed on October 8, 1910. In 1923, the theater was demolished to “accommodate the widening of Strand” (“Terry’s Theatre, The Strand, London”).
  • Arthur Benham was born on October 26, 1871 and died on September 8, 1895. He was only 23-years-old when he died and this is probably why it is hard to find much information on him (Boase 1919). An entry in Modern English Biography indicates that Arthur Benham and Estelle Burney were brother and sister. It also mentions that the year before the production of Theory and Practice, they both worked on another play at Terry’s Theatre, a four-act-play called The County (Boase 1919).
  • Philip Hunter was portrayed by Mr. Bassett Roe and Mrs. Hunter was portrayed by Estelle Burney (Benham 8).
  • Theory and Practice takes place in a dining room. There is a table set for two in the background but the action takes place after dinner, so perhaps the table was set with empty plates. The action also requires a piano and a desk. The play provides little description of the room or the furniture.
  • The play received mixed signals from critics. The Athenaeum said that this was a play “of little importance, treated a commonplace subject in a commonplace fashion” (Athenaeum 582). The Theatre’s critic called Theory and Practice a “trite but not unamusing exercise in playwriting” (Scott 335). There are reviews about Theory and Practice in Era, Stage and Theatre. According to The London Stage: “Era noted that this piece, about a married couple, with “diametrically different tastes,” provided a good contrast to the “grim gloom” of Alan’s Wife” (Wearing 163).
  • Due to the fact that Theory and Practice came on before Alan’s Wife, it did not get much attention from critics. In many of the journals and databases, it is hard to find entries that mention more than one sentence about Theory and Practice after they discuss about Alan’s Wife. Alan’s Wife is such a provocative play that it had many critics talking about it and left little attention for Theory and Practice.

 

Works Cited

Benham, Arthur. Theory and Practice: Comedietta in One Act. London: French, 1893.

Google Books. Web. September 2015

Boase, Frederic. Modern English Biography: Containing Many Thousand Concise Memoirs of Persons Who Have Died Since the Year 1850, with an Index of the Most Interesting Matter, Vol. 4. N.p.: Netherton and Worth, 1906. Google Books. June 2008. Web. Nov. 2015.

“Terry’s Theatre, The Strand, London.” Terry’s Theatre, The Strand, London. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2015. <http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Terrys.htm>.

Scott, Clement, Bernard Edward Joseph Capes, Charles Eglington, and Addison Bright. The Theatre. Volume 30. Google Books. Wyman & Sons, 1893. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.
Wearing, J. P. The London Stage 1890-1899: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. N.p.: Scarecrow, 2013.

 

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