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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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Theatre critic Fred Jacob publishes his essay, "Waiting for a Dramatist," in the June Canadian Magazine six years after Edgar Selwyn's Pierre of the Plains, adapted from Gilbert Parker's novel Pierre and His People, successfully premiered at the Hudson Theatre in New York on October 12, 1908. In his essay, Jacob laments the lack of Canadian playwrights dramatizing Canadian characters, settings and national life. "It is true that a land called 'Canada' has been made the scene of a few dramas in the past, but in every case the name only served the purpose of telling the audience in advance that they were to be entertained by lawlessness and thrills…Mr. Selwyn came back to the land of his birth to find material for a play when he made a dramatized version of Sir Gilbert Parker's novel 'Pierre of the Plains,' but this drama served to show only how completely out of touch he was with all things Canadian. He catered to the popular notion, now happily dying out, of the civilization to be found in the northern half of the continent. For stage purposes, Canada has been regarded as a land of melodrama."

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