Scaring Off of Teddy Dawson
Other Plays by Harold Brighouse
Brighouse, Harold (English playwright, novelist, 1882-1958), “Scaring Off of Teddy Dawson,”
a __-minute play in English, set ______. 1911,
© 1911 by Harold Brighouse;
• in Harold Brighouse’ The Scaring Off of Teddy Dawson (New York: _____, 1911), LCCN unk82-109066; formerly in the catalog of Samuel French, Inc., 25 West 45th Street, New York City, New York 10010-2751, U.S.A., telephone 212-206-8990, fax 212-206-1429; or 7623 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90046-2795, U.S.A., telephone 213-876-0570, fax 213-876-6822; or 80 Richmond Street East, Toronto, Ontario M5C 1P1, Canada, telephone 416-363-3536, fax 416-363-1108; or Samuel French, Ltd., 52 Fitzroy Street, London W1P 6JR, England.
_____ (m), __, _____; _____ (m), __, _____; _____ (f), __, _____; _____ (f), __, _____.
• Probably out of print and in public domain.
• Brighouse represents the Manchester school of playwriting. Barrett H. Clark in his play note quotes from Brighouse’ Preface to his own Three Lancashire Plays: “It is those plays which exhibit in high degree the use of action in the form of dialogue that are the more comfortable reading; and, always postulating that a play is a play . . . a thing practicable, actable and effective on the stage—the more physical action is subordinated to character, to the exploration of human nature, the better it is for reading purposes and the better for all purposes.”
• “Brighouse described himself as ‘essentially a regional writer,’ but although he is indeed normally associated with the Manchester School of playwrights, his work transcends the geographical area from which it sprang, and has been successful on both sides of the Atlantic. He has left us a larger body of playable works than the acclaim for his one acknowledged masterpiece, Hobson’s Choice (1915), would suggest: some highly readable novels, and numerous exquisite one-act plays, of which form he was a master. Harold Brighouse was born in Eccles, Lancashire. His father was John Southworth Brighouse, a cotton spinner and prominent Liberal. Brighouse won a scholarship to Manchester Grammar School, but at seventeen he left school and went to work as an assistant buyer in his father’s firm, which was located near a theater. During this time young Harold was introduced to the works of Shakespeare and Richard Sheridan, as well as to some remarkable pantomimes and music hall stars. In 1902 he went to London with the firm’s buyer to open a small office in the city. Here his acquaintance with the theater increased, as he regularly sat in the shilling gallery and made friends with the first-nighters. The job lasted two years, during which time he became engaged to a Lancashire girl and, still working for what turned out to be a failing firm, commuted between Lancashire and London. Finally he married and set up house at Withington, Cheshire, approximately 150 miles northwest of London. Brighouse’s impulse to write for the theater came after watching ‘an outrageously bad play’ and feeling that he could do better. His first effort, however, a five-act romantic drama, was rejected by Forbes-Robertson in 1904 on the grounds that it lasted only an hour; but it was returned with the comment: ‘Try one-acters first – write of the life you know.’ Brighouse took both pieces of advice and wrote ‘Lonesome-like,’ a one-act play with a Lancashire setting. But the play had to wait until 1911 to be performed. Brighouse’s career would never have been so successfully launched had it not been for Annie Horniman and the Repertory Movement. This remarkable lady, having launched George Bernard Shaw at the Avenue Theatre in 1894 and started the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1904, turned her attention to Manchester and opened the Gaiety Theatre there in 1908. To her director, Iden Payne, Brighouse sent three one-act plays. ‘The Doorway,’ ‘Lonesome-like,’ and ‘The Price of Coal.’ ‘The Doorway’ became Brighouse’s first produced play and was presented in 1909. These plays were popular successes. Indeed, ‘The Price of Coal’ (1909), produced as a curtain raiser in London, ran for two years. The essential quality of the Brighouse one-act play is its clarity of outline: each one centers on a simple truth of human nature and contains only a few, but believable, characters in an aesthetically pleasing and sometimes instructive fable. Brighouse’s first full-length play, Dealing in Futures (1909), was produced by the Glasgow Repertory Theatre, as were ‘Lonesome-like’ and ‘The Price of Coal.’ His early full-length plays were clearly influenced by John Galsworthy and Shaw. His best full-length works are mildly mocking comedies of north-country manners, like Zack (1916) and What’s Bred in the Bone (1927). When the war came in 1914, Brighouse, though unfit for combat, nevertheless joined the newly formed Royal Air Force and spent the war attached to the Intelligence Staff at the Air Ministry where in addition to producing propaganda he also busied himself writing what turned out to be his most famous play, Hobson’s Choice. The play, refused by London managers, was accepted by Payne, then in New York, who directed the first production there to excellent reviews. The following year the play was produced in London where, although it had to compete with light entertainment for soldiers on leave and with zeppelin raids, it nevertheless ran for 246 performances at the Apollo and Prince of Wales’s theaters. After the war, Brighouse settled in Hampstead, London. The Repertory Movement had been dispersed. The cinema had come to stay. In 1920 Hobson’s Choice and The Game (1913) were filmed, and in 1923 Brighouse’s play Other Times (1920) was made into a silent film by Jesse L. Lasky called Children of Jazz. At this time Brighouse also turned his attention to writing novels and short stories. His fifth novel, Hepplestall’s (1922), was popular and is fairly typical. It is a romantic story of the foundation of a great Lancashire cotton mill, of the loves and hates that arose out of its birth, and of the final resolution of a hundred-year-old feud by the marriage of the heir to the mills with one of the ‘begging Bradshaws’ who has become an actress in London. Also, in 1920, Brighouse saw through the publication of Three Lancashire Plays: The Northerners, about the industrial conflicts in Lancashire in 1820; The Game, about the corruption behind the scenes in professional football; and Zack, an amusing comedy about a lad with a gift for jollification who is thought by his mother to be stupid until he is ‘discovered’ by his wealthy cousin Virginia, rather in the manner of Will Mossop in Hobson’s Choice. These plays, all set in Lancashire, had been produced with indifferent reception during the war. Between 1920 and 1927 Brighouse was as prolific as ever, writing three volumes of outdoor and period plays, three more Lancashire plays which were produced at the Liverpool Playhouse, and a steady stream of one-act plays, many of which appeared in the one-act play anthologies which were becoming popular at this time. All the while from 1913 to 1949, he was a contributor to the Manchester Guardian, providing book reviews, essays, short stories, and travel sketches. But the 1930s and 1940s were not prolific playwriting years for Brighouse, and he was a little-known figure in the theater when he collapsed and died in London on 25 July 1958, on the eve of his seventy-sixth birthday. Within Brighouse’s dramas it is possible to identify certain recurring themes: the perils of factory and pit caused by industrialization; corruption at the business, local government, and parliamentary levels; conflicts between love and integrity, ambition and apathy; and powerful mothers and managing daughters. Brighouse exhibits his talents best within the framework of the one-act play, perhaps because its necessary brevity saved him from the confusing turns of plot and psychology into which many of his longer works led him. His one-act plays set in London, Lancashire, Italy, or France in each case present a structurally sound arid aesthetically appealing miniature. Brighouse’s plays have been slowly rediscovered in England, with productions on television and on the stage. Graft (1913) and Dealing in Futures (1913) were adapted by Gerald Savory for television as Fiddlers Four and Vitriol in 1960. Hobson’s Choice was successfully revived at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, in 1975 and continues to be produced regularly in England and the United States. Zack received its first major revival by the Royal Exchange Company, Manchester, in 1976 (with Patricia Routledge) and was remounted there again in 1986. Brighouse’s returning popularity in England and the United States may be attributed in part to a return to public consciousness of the principal theme which animated his early efforts, the conflict between capital and labor, intensified by the increasing polarization between Right and Left in Britain today. Particularly to be admired is the balance Brighouse brings to this conflict: an attempt not to take sides in the dispute. Finally, however, there is a craftsmanship evident in Brighouse’s work; and it may be that in reaction against the formlessness of much modern drama, there is a renewed critical appreciation of linear structure and attention to characterization. TACT January 2005 THEATRICAL WORKS: The Doorway, 1909, Gaiety Theatre, Manchester * Dealing in Futures, 1909, Royalty Theatre, Glasgow * The Price of Coal, 1909, Royalty Theatre * The Polygon, 1911, Court Theatre, London * Lonesome-like, 1911,Royalty Theatre * Spring in Bloomsbury, 1911, Gaiety Thr. * The Oak Settle, 1911, Theatre Royal, Dalston * The Scaring Off of Teddy Dawson, 1911, Theatre Royal * The Odd Man Out, 1912, Royalty Theatre * Little Red Shoes, 1912, Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London * The Game, 1913, Playhouse, Liverpool Garside’s Career, 1914, Gaiety Theatre * The Northerners, 1914, Gaiety Theatre * The Road to Raebury, 1915, Prince’s Theatre, Manchester * Followers, 1915, Prince’s Theatre, * Converts, 1915, Gaiety Theatre * Hobson’s Choice, 1915, Princess Theatre, New York; 1916, Apollo Theatre, London * The Clock Goes Round, 1916, Globe Theatre, London * ZACK, October 30, 1916, Syracuse Theater, New York; and April 23, 1922, Comedy Theatre, London * The Maid of France, 1917, Metropolitan Theatre, New York * Jack o’ Lantern, 1917, Globe Theatre, New York * Other Times, 1920, Little Theatre, London * The Bantam V. C., 1920, St. Martin’s Theatre, London * Once a Hero, 1922, Ambassadors’ Theatre, Southend * Once a Year, 1923, Playhouse * A Marrying Man, 1924, Playhouse * Mary’s John, 1924, Playhouse * The Happy Hangman, 1925, Court Theatre * What’s Bred in the Bone, 1927, Playhouse * It’s a Gamble, 1928, Playhouse * Safe amongst the Pigs, 1929, Repertory Theatre, Birmingham * Mr. Somebody (translated from Ferenc Molnar’s Valaki), 1936, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.”—TACT - The Actors Company Theatre, http://www.tactnyc.org/show.php?sid=3&id=71, August 17, 2008.