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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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Six weeks after his hanging for treason in Regina on November 16, 1885, Louis Riel; or, The North-West Rebellion by the American playwright Clay M. Greene is staged at the 2,196-seat Grand Opera House in Toronto on January 5 and 6.

Sergeant L. Dixon's musical and dramatic burlesque, Our Boys in the Riel Rebellion. Halifax to the Sakatchewan, tracing the rather uneventful participation of the Halifax Regiment in fighting the Riel Rebellion, premieres at the 1,250-seat Academy of Music in Halifax on April 12 and is published in Halifax.

Six months after Riel's death, two recent French immigrants, Charles Bayèr and E. Parage, present a public reading of their four-act romantic melodrama Riel at the Institut Canadien in Montreal on May 14 where it is enthusiastically received. The drama is published by the Montreal newspaper l'Etendard the following month.

Charles Mair's five-act historical drama Tecumseh, set just before the War of 1812, is published in Toronto and London, England. The play explores the conflicts between the Indians led by Tecumseh and the Americans which lead to the Indians' alliance with the British during the war.

Elzéar Paquin, writing in Chicago where he is working as a French-language journalist, publishes his closet historical drama Riel with Beauchemin in Montreal at the end of 1886. His polemical drama stresses the historical development of the Riel Rebellion and its overall importance in the struggle by French-Canadians to protect their rights from English-Canadian oppression.

The eighteen-year old Charles Wesley Handscomb has his melodrama, The Big Boom, satirizing the real estate boom in Winnipeg in the early 1880s, produced by the E.A. McDowell company at the 1,376-seat Princess Opera House in Winnipeg on November 23.