For this blog post, I will be sharing photos I took in Loyola Special Collections of articles and programs of performances given at both St. Ignatius College, and Loyola University when it was established. It was interesting to see how widely advertised the plays were in Chicago. For example, “The Fool’s Bauble,” an original play written by Professor John D. McCarthy, was performed as a Christmas play at Powers’ Theatre by students of St. Ignatius in December of 1907. It was advertised in the following article as “thoroughly Catholic in tone,” with original songs and music. It is interesting to note that the article concludes with a list of students who earned honors. I will also note that a challenge I faced in my research occasionally after this point was discerning if the programs were from St. Ignatius at Chicago or St. Ignatius at San Francisco.
The following article is from The Chicago Record-Herald, a newspaper that started in Chicago in 1901, that eventually yielded to The Chicago Record. The play is said to have both a choir and dancers.
This article is from the Evening Post and it details much of the same information on “In the Fool’s Bauble,” but it includes that the Sunday School of the Fourth Presbyterian Church will be giving a Christmas festival with the admission of one potato! It is a bit peculiar that the article discusses the play and then tangentially describes two other community events.
The article featured below is a review of “In the Fool’s Bauble,” and it comments that the “action and plot of the play are good, some critics even preferring it, from an artistic standpoint, to “The Last of the Gladiators,” which gave so much satisfaction two years ago.” If you recall, I came across a photograph in the St. Ignatius Photo Album vol. IV, of a play titled, “Telemachus, or The Last of the Gladiators” (1905). I was unable to find any information about this play, but due to the nature of this article, I am inclined to believe it was an original piece created by St. Ignatius faculty.
In the article printed December 21st of 1907 in The New World, below, I noted that the Jester was played by the student Edmund Curda, you will be seeing my exploration of him as a student in a moment! It was a bit strange to find less about the other Christmas Plays, if there was an annual Christmas play, so perhaps the articles on this play were collected by the creator of the scrapbook because it is an original piece.
The article below, also from the Chicago Record Herald, printed on December 27th of 1907, the setting of the play is described as “France in the time of Louis XI.” The illustration is titled “Saved by the King.” I think it is interesting to consider a Professor might like to write a historical play and have his students produce it for educational purposes. There also appears to be an emphasis on original composition, given the nature of the Oratorical contests requiring original work on a theme.
The next theatrical program concerning St. Ignatius (I admit it is unclear if the performance was given by St. Ignatius of Chicago or St. Ignatius of San Francisco. It is possible it is San Francisco because I could not recognize the names of the students and I have found evidence that classes were not typically categorized by letters at St. Ignatius of Chicago) that I found was a performance of “The Trial Scene” from “The Merchant of Venice” on January 24th, 1914. The program differs from the performance of a play because it seems like a purely educational exercise, the presenters are defined by being students of “The Class of Third High-Section B.” The program includes an essay on “The Merchant of Venice” and a biographical sketch of Shakespeare and so the performance’s purpose is academic analysis of the scene.
The next event I found worth noting was the annual Gymnasium Exhibitions given by the Students and Alumni of St. Ignatius College in the month of March. The event seemed to emphasize dramatic performance as much as athletic, because, for example, in the program below, the 1912 event included songs, a “Jewish Character Sketch” (this is interesting to contemporary readers), and an “English Character Sketch.”
The photograph below helped me discern about when in the school year the event would occur, as this event took place on March 31st, 1914 at the College Hall. I was not able to find more about the venue at this time.
I was able to discern that the events occurred at St. Ignatius College in Chicago because the article below refers to the university as the “west side catholic college.” The article also mentions alumni who were part of forming a vaudeville team for the musical and comedy numbers in the event. The article was also published for March 10th, around the same time as the other events, although the year is unclear.
While looking for other events that might have occurred annually at St. Ignatius, I came across how the Naghten Prize Debate I found in photographs from the 1880s continued until Loyola University had been established, in the two pictures below, you can see the event having taken place in 1915 and 1916.
While reading this scrapbook, I came across several primary sources on the performance of theatre and poetry at St. Ignatius college. First, I would like to share an exciting extension of previous research! If you recall, I set out to find more about the plays that I found photographs of in the Photo Albums of St. Ignatius and Loyola Academy. One play was “The Upstart,” a translation of a Molieré play, set in the eighteenth century, and it was labeled as having taken place in 1898. In this second volume of Miscellaneous Programs, I happened upon a program for “The Upstart,” and because of the consistency of the date, I am led to believe this is the program for the same photograph of the play I came across in my earlier research.
The program has many pages and was clearly published on a wide, commercial scale. The dramaturgical information is interspersed with advertisements. In the photograph below, you can see the “argument” or synopsis of the play is surrounded by ads. The play seems to have an emphasis on social etiquette and class distinctions. I plan to explore the individual plays and the themes of plays in the next phase of my research project.
In the photograph below, you will see the “Notice of the Play.” The notice elaborates on how “The Upstart” is a translation of Molieré’s “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.” It is interesting to speculate the value of performing French neoclassical theatre to St. Ignatius’ students. It could have been a tool for learning about the development of verisimilitude (the three unities based off of Aristotle’s “Poetics”) as well as the tropes of neoclassical theatre. It is interesting to note abstraction from the original text in that Prof. J. A. Lyons eliminated female characters in his translation of the play to “suit the present purpose” of its performance by an all-boys school.
In the photograph below, it is explained that the proceeds of the play were given to the “Library and Reading Room Association.” You will notice the second paragraph criticizes “the newspapers and periodicals of the day” for lacking the proper intellectual entertainment, only to be remedied by exposure to the good books provided for free to the students. This dedication seems to imply to an extent that the consumption and performance of the play is an intellectual exercise, just as Mr. Jordan’s lack of “good education” is the main aspect of his faults in the play.
In the photographs below the cast is listed. The names of the cast members, for example the rendering of the Music Master by Justin McCarthy is consistent with the labeled actors in the Photo Album of St. Ignatius.
In the photograph below, the members of the Junior Choir are listed. This would be the first instance that I recorded the establishment of a Junior Choir at St. Ignatius. The accompaniment of the play by a choir seems harken back to forms of Greek theatre, in addition to suiting the content of the play.
In addition to small ads, larger ones also took up pages in the program, as seen below. I am reminded of more modern programs with this development and am led to believe that the play must have been opened to the public in a different sense than other plays with programs without ads. I am curious as to the money that might have been earned by the college for selling program space to companies for their advertisements.
To me, one of the most exciting aspects of finding this program involved exploring information on the instructor of the play. In the photograph below, the program mentions the play was directed by “Professor Joseph I. Sullivan.” If you recall, I came across what I discussed with Dr. Roberts to potentially be photographic evidence of performances of tableau vivant by St. Ignatius in its Photo Album. The photo was labeled as “Classical Models of Mr. J. Sullivan” and at this point in my research, I was convinced he served as the drama instructor of the college.
My suspicions were supported when I came across an advertisement for Joseph I. Sullivan himself in “The Upstart” program, where he is described as the “Director of Amateur Theatricals.” The advertisement was centrally located on the page (I found this to be a bit humorous) and other advertisements on the page were for other Catholic institutions, St. Mary’s College in Kansas and the Seminary of the Sacred Heart in Chicago.
It was convenient to find that a pamphlet of the Alumni Association was toward the back of the scrapbook and I was able to find Joseph I. Sullivan listed. At this point, I was very eager to explore what J. Sullivan studied at the college while he attended and if it was related to theatre.
I also found evidence of several different Oratorical and Elocutions Contests facilitated by St. Ignatius and held in Holy Family Church’s, Sodality Hall. Pictures of the covers of the programs can be seen below. The sorts of pieces presented at these events appeared to be poems and often scenes of plays (particularly Shakespeare) and there is often music performed at these events.
One example of music being performed at these events was in the program below, both the college Glee Club and the W.L. Thompson Senior Choir are cited to have performed.
To provide an example from this program, too, for performances of theatre at these events, it is listed in the same program that a “Play-Scene from Hamlet” was performed by the student Matthias F. Raftree.
The photograph below is of a small illustration of Sodality Hall that I found in a program for a performance by the Holy Family Parish schools.
I was able to find more context about the nature of the Oratorical and Elocution contests in the Program below, of a contest held by St. Ignatius in Steinway Hall in 1899. I came across a “Prize Day” program for November 4th, 1897, where students would be award Premiums for their academic performances. It appears students would be rewarded for winning contests like the one featured below at a Prize Day.
The inside cover of the program had this small caption that explains that the theme of the contest was “Great Men of the Century,” which students of the Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Poetry classes used to chose a subject for original compositions to be presented. The emphasis on original composition and presentation seems characteristically Jesuit and I am curious to find if any such essays are still kept in Loyola University’s Special Collections (stay tuned for phase 2).
In addition to the program for “The Upstart” and Oratorical and Elocution contests held by St. Ignatius College, I was able to find more programs that indicated other events that occurred potentially annually. Below, the festivities of the Silver Jubilee Commencement featured the Senior College Glee Club (The W.L. Thompson Senior Choir?) and because of its date, June 24th, 1895 the program seems to detail a continuation (from the Holy Family Church to the next day in the Auditorium) of the Silver Jubilee event program I came across in the first volume of programs.
The photograph below is of a “National Peace Jubilee” held October 18th, 1898, by St. Ignatius College. This program implies many Jubilee events were held, featuring songs and recited essays.
After having found Joseph I. Sullivan listed as a member of the Alumni Association, I fell upon more evidence of the association’s activities. For example, in the photograph below, a lecture series was delivered in the Auditorium Recital Hall (the same site as the Silver Jubilee, June 24th?) on December 17th, 1898.
I also came across a letter dedicated to the Alumni of St. Ignatius requesting that they encourage their young men to attend the university. I would also like to note that this letter was distributed when Henry J. Dumbach served as president, Dumbach being the name of the campus building now that used to be the all-boys school.
Interesting Finds! I was able to gather a better sense for the school’s functions by encountering the primary sources below. This first one is an advertisement for young men to apply for scholarships to attend St. Ignatius college.
In addition to encouraging attendance from students by providing scholarships and requesting alumni send their own children to the college, the letter below was send by the Vice-President, Francis Cassilly, to a priest to read during their masses. The letter advertises aspects of the university and encourages parents in the congregation to send their boys to the school.
The advertisement below details the five departments of the college and claims that “In all the Departments instruction is given, without extra charge, in French and German.” I am curious if this aspect is to appeal to French and German speaking prospective students and/or appeal to conventions of classical education.
Other fun programs I came across include the one below for the St. Ignatius College Orchestra in San Francisco. St. Ignatius in Chicago also had an Orchestra around the same time. The linked photo is to The Orchestra from 1903-04.
In the photograph below, a Mardi Gras Convert was given by St. Ignatius College on Feb. 19th, 1901, with an appearance of the S.I.C. Glee Club.
In the program below, Junior Students of St. Ignatius put on a concert for “the benefit of the House of The Good Shepherd, which is an organization that still exists in Chicago today in 1892. Their website explains the organization was founded by nuns in 1859, to care for “Chicago’s troubled women and children.” Charitable events such as the one in the program below are evidence of the students of St. Ignatius enacting the Jesuit mission.
A final note, I found evidence the study of theatre history is emphasized by the college in the 1890s because Commencement ceremonies, such as the one described by the photograph of the program below, featured oratory meditations on theatre. In this program, The Twenty-First Commencement held in Central Music Hall (the shared Chicago venue), orations on “The Ancient Classical Theatre,” “The Medieval Miracle Plays,” and “The Modern Dramatic Muse” were presented. As I mentioned in my first post, a Brechtian (although Brecht was not born until 1898) and highly academic and politically analytical attitude towards theatre performance, seems to be thematically related to Jesuit educational values during the 1890s.
This blog post will serve to summarize what I was able to learn from this scrapbook of programs. I was able to gather evidence of an element of performativity at St. Ignatius Literary Exercises, Commencements, a Silver Jubilee, and Oratorical and Elocution Contests. There is evidence that scenes of Shakespeare and dramatized selections of Longfellow were performed. St. Ignatius also presented the plays “Julius Caesar,” “The Silver Hatchet,” and an original Extravaganza, “The Lord Mayor of Krashtowl” between 1895 and 1898. There is also evidence that other Chicago Universities, such as the De La Salle Institute and The Chicago Musical College used the same performance venues as St. Ignatius in the city, and other Catholic universities would perform very similar plays and literary works around the same time. I hope to explore questioning what led to the accumulation of the programs and if I can determine anything about why programs from universities that are not Catholic are included in the scrapbook. It might be that the maker of the scrapbook compiled any programs received or generated by St. Ignatius, and it is possible the creator of the scrapbook was a Jesuit.
One of the most interesting aspects of this first volume of miscellaneous programs is how it provides evidence of interconnectivity and correspondence between St. Ignatius and other Catholic Chicago-based institutions. For example, below, a program for the Thirtieth Annual Concert and Commencement Exercises from The Chicago Musical College was received by St. Ignatius. It is interesting to note that the event took place at Central Music Hall, where many St. Ignatius events were also held. I would also quickly like to mention that I have excluded many primary source examples (throughout my posts) of theatre at other Catholic universities that I have digitized.
The program featured below detailing the Commencement exercises of the De La Salle Institute, located on the South Side of Chicago, was also held at Central Music Hall a few days before the exercises of The Chicago Musical College graduates. I found more evidence on the venue in my later research, but I am curious if these documents were preserved in the scrapbook because a sense of community was established through shared spaces by Catholic universities in Chicago during this time in the 1890s.
In the same interest of shared spaces, as I stated in earlier posts, the same plays were performed and discussed at various Catholic universities. Below, the leftmost and center photos are of the program for Detroit College’s “Williams Shakespearian Recitals,” delivered in 1897. The “s” after “Williams” is not a typo because the representative of the Detroit College Alumni Association facilitating the Recital is Mr. George B. Williams. The event claims Mr. Williams will be “Interpreting from Memory Shakespeare’s Historical Drama,” which is “King Henry IV,” as well as the W. D. Howell Farce, “The Sleeping Car.” It is interesting to note the value placed on the recitation occurring “from memory.” The photograph on the right is a program for the performance of “King Henry IV” by the Philopedian Society of St. Xavier College. The commonalities between these primary sources suggests an emphasis on the dramatic recitation and performance of Shakespeare in both school’s curricula and academic circles.
Another school that sent programs to St. Ignatius (or that had programs obtained by St. Ignatius) is St. Louis University. In the photograph featured below, the students of St. Louis produced a play called “The Critic or A Tragedy Rehearsed.”
Interesting Find! An interesting primary source I came across in the miscellaneous programs was a Souvenir Program from a Minstrel performance by the Feehan Council of the Young Men’s Institute. While I found the Young Men’s Institute is a Catholic Fraternal Organization started in 1883, I could find nothing to date of the Feehan Council. Minstrel shows of the early nineteenth century were a form of entertainment that involved blackface, so I find it troubling to a contemporary context that the program was kept by the maker of the scrapbook. It is also interesting that Catholic institutions would practice this national American and “mainstream” mode of performance .
In the previous post, I described how my research indicates that Catholic universities often performed the same plays and dramatized poetry. It could be possible the correlations between plays performed at Catholic universities were collected into the scrapbooks because they were the same. It has been interesting to uncover how St. Ignatius performed both classical European works as well as work contemporary to its students. One example of a show similar to one at St. Ignatius being performed at a different university can be discerned from the photograph below. Woodstock College at its “Shrove-Tide” event performed the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, “H.M.S. Pinafore.” If you recall my consultation with Dr. Roberts from a previous post on the Photo Albums of St. Ignatius, it appeared the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, the “Mikado” (premiere in 1885) was performed at St. Ignatius premiered.
Interesting Find! Another similarity between the universities, is they both had a Glee Club provide music at their events and performances.
While reading through this scrapbook, I was able to gather information about the theatre and performance practices at St. Ignatius, as well as similarities between St. Ignatius and other Catholic universities in this regard. It became very apparent that universities often performed the same plays and whether this is a function of Catholic values enacted in a performance, the “popular trend” of a play, or something like coincidence is difficult to determine at this point in my research. I became interested in including performances of poetry in my studies because I have found Elocution and Oratorical contests are often referred to as “Entertainments” in their programs. The program of the Thirty-Eighth Commencement Literary Exercises of the Rhetoric and Grammar classes held May 3rd, 1897 in College Hall included performances of poetry. Below there is a photo of an Oratorical Contest conducted at the Haymarket Theatre, with the evidence of the existence of a St. Ignatius College Glee Club (they make appearances at commencement events). In addition to the Glee Club at St. Ignatius, there is also evidence of a Debating Society. There is an invitation in the scrapbook to Literary Exercises delivered by the Debating Society at Kimball Hall, December 2nd of 1896.
I found evidence of another Oratorical contest at Sodality Hall on June 2nd of 1897, which would imply a contest of this sort was held by St. Ignatius College around the same time annually. I can suppose the contests were dramatic performances because one of the presentations given by the student Joseph A. McLaughlin is a “Scene from the Merchant of Venice.” Note the appearance of Arnold D. McMahon, a student I followed later in the catalogues who was the lead actor in “Elma; the Last of the Saronidae” in 1896. McMahon also became an instructor on Penmanship and Arithmetic at St. Ignatius after he graduate (I will provide photo evidence in a later blog).
One of my findings was related to the photo I found of the performance in 1904-05 of “King Robert of Sicily,” which appears to have been a dramatization of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem. Across my research, I found an emphasis on the works of Longfellow in the curriculum of St. Ignatius. For example, in the program entitled “A Public Specimen in Elocution” featured below, the Longfellow poem “Victor Galbraith” was read. The poem was read by Mr. C. B. Newton, who is credited as the director of the students who delivered pieces. The event was at the College Hall on Wednesday evening of February 2nd, 1898.
Another example of an emphasis in the St. Ignatius curriculum on Longfellow is the program below. The photo on the right is evidence of an event dedicated to celebrating the works of Longfellow. In the photo on the left, the poem “King Robert of Sicily” was delivered by Andrew D. McMahon.
In this scrapbook, I saw that McMahon also play Lucius in a performance of “Shakespeare’s Tragedy or Julius Caesar.” The play was adapted and presented by the St. Ignatius Seniors at College Hall on December 30th, 1896. You can see McMahon listed in the cast below.
The photograph below is evidence of a similar event to the “Afternoon with Longfellow,” occurring in the same year, where the Junior students of St. Ignatius presented poetry.
I found evidence of a “Yule-Tide” entertainment given by the students of St. Ignatius every year, often called “extravaganzas,” an 18th century term for entertainments and productions In the photograph below, you can see a program for “The Silver Hatchet: An Extravaganza for Small Boys” that was presented at College Hall on January 1st of 1897. The cast list suggests the play had dancers and the tropes of a comedy of manners, as characters would disguise themselves to uncover gossip and truth. The programs includes a list of the settings of the three acts of the play. I often found programs would include a brief synopsis of the play that are entitled, “The Argument.” This caption indicates further use of classical academic meanings of words because “argument” is a more archaic word for the “summary of a book.”
Other performative event programs I found in this scrapbook included a “Silver Jubilee,” that was considered part of a “Thanksgiving Series,” although conducted in June. I found that the “Thanksgiving” might be referring more to the guest of honor than the holiday in my later discovery of similar events. At these events musical performances were given and students would recite essays.
My final finding related to St. Ignatius in this scrapbook is particularly interesting because it indicates the potential for original drama performed at the college. The photograph below is an invitation to the “original Extravaganza” called “The Lord Mayor of Krashtowl.” A special matinee was performed for the eighth grade boys, and I found in other places that performances were sometimes given exclusively for boys in this grade level, which is something I am excited to explore further.
Greetings, readers! Over the course of the semester, I have explored Loyola University’s Special Collections to uncover more about the theatre evidence found in the Loyola Academy and St. Ignatius Photo Albums (see previous posts). I am very excited to share the information I have found concerning the who, what, when, and the where’s of the plays I recorded from the photo albums and a whole lot more! I was able to explore a bit about the lives of the students who acted in the plays as well as the play directors (remember Mr. J Sullivan and the tableau vivant?). The following posts will be on various avenues of research I pursued while reading the Scrapbooks of Miscellaneous Programs from 1880-1902, the Scrapbooks of newspaper articles called the “History of St. Ignatius, 1907-1916” and the “History of St. Ignatius, 1913-1917”, and the Course Catalogues of St. Ignatius and Loyola Academy from 1885-1910. I have documented photographic evidence for the claims I make about the theatre performances, venues, and actors in my posts. Please feel free to contact me to inquire about them!
This photo album contained more indications of named productions. The first piece of evidence is a photo labeled “King Robert of Sicily 1904-05.” There are actors are labeled in the photos by what appears to be their own names. The costumes of the actors suggest they are dressed as a King, a Jester, a Friar, and an Angel. I researched “King Robert of Sicily” and found a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called “The Sicilian’s Tale, King Robert of Sicily.” The poem is about a selfish and arrogant King Robert who from his chambers hears priests chanting,”He has put down the mighty from their seat, And has exalted them of low degree.” King Robert has a dream where no one believes he is king, an angel watches from afar, and when King Robert wakes up, the angel dresses him as a jester and his nightmare comes true. Once King Robert has “exalted them of low degree” by being mistaken as a jester and falling into acceptance, the angel returns him to the throne, where he now takes the time for silent prayer. Given the costumes in the photo album, it is possible to discern that the poem was dramatized. This broadens the variety of dramatic performances at St. Ignatius College from 1890-1910 that we have previously identified to include poetry.
There was another photo of costumed students, who are mostly wearing gladiatorial garments. The actors are labeled, but there are no indications of a performance title. Given our understanding that “Ion,” the Euripidean play, was performed, and that poetry was performed as well, it is possible to imagine that the recitation of a classical epic or a classical play could have been the production behind these photographs.
One photograph, among a few others of costumed students, is labeled “James Griffin as Prince Hal.” This seems to suggest, in some aspect, a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part I.” One actor, that appears younger, has a costume that could be considered consistent with the costume on James Griffin, but the other seems to be wearing a roman or greek costume like actors we have seen costumed similarly. This seems to suggest that James Griffin might have performed a monologue as Prince Hal. A presentation of a monologue in costume is a new form of theatre we have not identified previously. I suggest a performance of a Shakespearean monologue could have been done for a year five, poetry class.
A final piece of evidence of theatre production I found in this album was of four photographs of students in costume next to the label “Telemachus or The Last of the Gladiators 1905.” It was difficult to uncover anything about the title of this play, which, given the small cast, I imagine could have been a short masque or one act. When students are acting as classical figures, such as in the “Ion” picture or in other photos of students dressed as gladiators, they wear strapped shoes to resemble the short of sandals we associate with ancient Greece and ancient Rome. A few of the students wear these shoes and that consistency seems to suggest they were a cast rather than students performing monologues. In “The Story of Telemachus” an article published by a Professor S. M. Hopkins in “The Independent …Devoted to the Consideration of Politics, Social and Economic Tendencies, History, Literature, and the Arts (1848-1921),” I learned that Telemachus was a monk who tried to stop a gladiator battle in a Roman amphitheater around 404-408 CE, but he was stoned to death. I imagine this background could have be related to the play although I can find nothing on the script itself. For St. Ignatius College to be performing a play like this means the lives of saints were dramatized by students, as yet another variation of theatrical presentation at the school.
In this photo album, I found more evidence of the performance of plays than in the Loyola Academy album, though it is dated earlier, and so there could be more photos in these earlier albums to draw from. There are specific titles of plays mentioned in this album and more to be gathered about the different types of performance at St. Ignatius College. There even appear to be sets designed for the plays and different theatre spaces (in the proscenium arch as would be expected of realism). The photos are interspersed among other pictures of sports teams and students.
The first photographs that suggest theatre performance are of a play labeled as “Elma” and dated “1895-96.” The two photos are a cast shot and an action shot (appearing to be a death scene) of the show, which has exactly thirty members of various ages. In the cast shot there appears to be soldiers, choir boy characters, and others which can be gathered from the costumes. The costumes on younger, choir boy, actors are fully white. Other actors are dressed in elaborate costumes (resembling renaissance soldiers) with facial hair pieces and spears. Supposedly the “main” characters include a wizened man with a large beard and a staff and a centrally located character in a dark, elaborate costume, who seems to be delivering last words in the “death scene” photograph (possibly Elma?). The set design seems to be a backboard decorated to look like foliage, or a forest scene. In the death scene, all the choir boy characters stage left and look down at the central character on the ground being consoled by a mustached soldier character. It was difficult to uncover anything substantial about this production.
The next suggestions of performance in this photo album were of figures (various ages again) painted all white and posing in different ways so that they resembled statues. Pictures of the figures are featured throughout the photo album and are labeled as “1996-97.” One of the photographs is labeled “Classic Models 1896-97 Mr. J Sullivan.” In exploring the blogs of my peers that have done research for the JLPP, Sarah Muenzer, in her blog post of January 2014, said she found a book in the Cudahy library main stacks entitled “An Elementary Treatise on Natural Philosophy’ by A. Privat-Deschanel.” Muenzer says that ” Inside the cover was a personal signature of a man named James P. Sullivan, who I would guess was a student at the original college, as an Ignatius Book plate was also present.” She did find that James Sullivan was in a fact a student at the college. It might be a stretch, since the name Sullivan is popular, but maybe the Mr. Sullivan who instructed the statue performers might be related to the Sullivan Muenzer discovered because it was common for family legacies to attend the college, but there are no dates to throughly suggest this. Dr. Roberts suggests the figures could be an example of “Tableau Vivant,” defined by the internet as “a silent and motionless group of people arranged to represent a scene or incident.” I am curious as to what scenes or concepts might be represented by these figures.
The next evidence of a performance was from a production labeled as “The Upstart” and it is dated December of 1898. One of the photographs appears to be taken during performance. The actors are dancing and violins are being played by musicians in costume. The costumes resemble clothes of the 18th century, powdered wigs and pants tucked into socks at the knee. The set design has three large curtains on each side of the walls of a room open to the audience, resembling a domestic drama in a proscenium. The audience section has wooden chairs placed in rows for seating. The actors are labeled by their last names and there are roughly thirty cast members in the cast shot.I initially could not find any resources online about a production or performance called “The Upstart.” After looking at the Loyola University library catalog, I found an online database, Gale Cengage Learning, that had an Eighteenth Century Collections resource for a production called “The Upstart,” which was a satyr play printed in London in 1710. The script was written in what I identified to be middle English and it is only seven pages long.
The final piece of evidence of theatre from this album was from a show labeled “Ion” and it is dated 1894 98. There are only six actors featured in this photo and they wear gladiatorial helmets. One actor wears a very large beard and robes. The markings on the robe and the shoes worn by the actors seem Grecian, as would be appropriate for the play. It is difficult to decipher which characters would be Apollo, Hermes, and Ion. An interesting detail (that could also be coincidental) is that an actor’s last name is Cudahy, the name of our main Library complex at Loyola University. I imagine this production is, in fact, the Euripidean play.
The evidence of these performances suggests that the students of St. Ignatius College performed a wide range of historical plays from classical antiquity to the eighteenth century. I imagine there might have been a pedagogical aspect to the performance of these plays as well. Theatrical exercises such as Tableau Vivant suggests the college was interested in exploring alternative dramatic styles. From my research so far, I’ve gathered that the early schools that are now Loyola University gave a great variety of theatre performance.
The first course of action to be made for this research was to look through photo album evidence of theatre performance and see what could be suggested about theatre this early at the university. The past few weeks have been spent sorting through the photo albums, pursuing the course catalogs, and preparing a game plan for the course of the research.These first few posts will be my categorized findings. There is much to be found in the photo albums and a few conclusions that can be drawn! It will be interesting to see what avenues this research can open up. The photo albums are accessible online at the links in each of their descriptions.
The first photo album I looked through belonged to the Loyola Academy, established in 1909 and housed in what is now Dumbach Hall on campus (it’s exciting to think I study literature in the same building!). The photo album contains pictures of the entire student population, as an all-boys school, which seems consist of about fifty students. It haspictures of both a basketball and football team, maybe there could have been a theatre troupe organized by an instructor?
This photo album also contains evidence of theatre performance and has a photo labeled as an “unidentified play” taken outside of Dumbach hall. There are a few assumptions we can make because of the photo. The most we can tell about the production comes from the costumes of the actors- there are three variations of a costume on the actors- and possibly the size of the cast, which is forty-two people. The production features actors dressed in uniform (resembling soldiers) that are each holding swords. Since the production is most probably only featuring the students of Loyola Academy, some of the actors seem to be practicing one of the oldest theatre conventions of cross-dressing as women. These actors seem to be wearing wigs that are buns on their heads and they appear to be in makeup as well. The actors in front seem to be wearing bald caps that cover the hair on the tops of their head and leave a little strip of hair down the center. Most of these actors are wearing robes, except for one actor on the far left who wears a black uniform. The actors in the front row also have fans and there is a very large battle axe laid in front of the entire configuration of actors.
I brought these finding to Dr. Roberts and claimed these features could suggest the piece is a musical- it makes sense that the “soldiers” and female characters make up the chorus and the actors along the front are the primary characters of the show. Dr. Roberts was able to claim the production could be the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, “The Mikado.” W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan wrote other operas such as “H.M.S. Pinafore” and “The Pirates of Penzance,” that you might recognize. “The Mikado or The Town of Titipu” premiered in 1885, and so we can imagine the production was a fairly contemporary piece to perform. The operetta is about the son of the Mikado in Japan escaping an arranged marriage by pretending to be a pauper musician in the Town of Titipu, where he meets a young woman betrothed to her guardian, a flirtatious tailor, and falls in love. There is an executioner, a group of school girls, love triangles, and loopholes in the law that allow everyone to marry an appropriate partner. What does it mean for the young men of Loyola Academy to have performed this show? My follow up questions to the conclusion this performance is “The Mikado” would include; where was this performed? Who attended the performance? Are there problematic elements to this production that mean something different to a modern audience? My primary take aways from this identification is that it suggests the theatre produced by the school was both contemporary, popular, and large scale-the school was not concerned with only performing historical pieces.
The next evidence of theatre featured in this album are two photographs of a group of costumed actors, labeled as “Missing Bonds.” I have tried to track down evidence of this label as the title of a play, but I could find nothing on the internet, so the search will continue! The photos are very enthusiastic and less posed than the actors in the unidentified performance. In one photo (consisting of ten actors) the actors are mostly dressed in suits, one is dressed as a gladiator in both photos- complete with white robes and helmet, one resembles a police man because he is brandishing a police baton in both photos, and another looks like a war admiral in a decorated uniform. Two actors wear matching costumes with black, high collars that resemble priests. The other photo doesn’t feature as many actors as the first but contains a different actor in a new costume with a pointed hat. Since the photo still contains the costumes and people who appear to be the same actors as in the first photo I mentioned (and if the first photo were of the full cast), then we could guess that the group could be a comedy troupe or variety show performers or some other kind of organization. The differences in period of the costumes could suggest this as well (or maybe “Missing Bonds” is a very vibrant show).
The names of the students are listed in the larger group photo. One that particularly interests me is “Perry Quinlan” because that family name seems to be common in these photos- maybe these students are related? Maybe some research can be done to learn more about them!
The next post will be about the findings in the even earlier St. Ignatius photo album of 1885-1907!