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Chapter NumberNone
Chapter Url
Full Date1874-08-22
Page Number7
Word Count1108
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleThe Frozen Deep: A Dramatic Story In Five Scenes
article text

The Storyteller.




London, April, 1874. W.C.

AS long ago as the year 1856, I wrote a play called " The Frozen Deep." The work was first represented by amateur actors, at the house of the late Charles Dickens,

on the 6th of January, 1857. Mr. Dickens him self played the principal part—and played it arith a truth, vigor, and pathos, never to be for- , gotten by those who were fortunate enough to , witness the performance. The other personages ' of the story were represented by the ladies of Mr. Dickens' family; by the late Mark Lemon (editor of Punch) ; by the late Augustus Egg, R.A. (the artist), and by the author of the play. The next appearance of " The Frozen Deep " (played by the amateur company) took place at the Gallery of Illustration, Regent-street, before the Queen and the Royal family, by the Queen's own command. After this special performance, other representations of the work took place— first at the Gallery of Illustration ; subsequently (with professional actresses) in some of the prin cipal towns in England —for the benefit of the family of a well-beloved friend of ours, who died in 1857 : the late Douglas Jerrold. At Man chester the play was twice performed—on the second evening, in the presence of three thou sand spectators. This was, 1 think, the finest of all the repreaentationa of " The Frozen Deep." The extraordinary intelligence and enthußisam of the great audience stimulated us all to do our best Dickenß surpassed himself. The trite phrase, is the true phrase to describe that manificent piece of acting. He literally electrified the audience. I present here, as a " curiosity " which may be welcome to some of my readers, a portion of the original play-bill of the performance at Man chester. To me it has now become one of the saddest memorials of the past that I possess. Of the nine amateur actors who played the men's parts (one of them my brother; all of them my valued friends) but two are now living besides myself—Mr. Charles Dickens, junior, and Mr. Edward Pigott IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE LATE MR DOUGLAS JERROLD. FREE TRADE HALL. tTHDKR THE MANAGEMENT OF MR. CHARLES DICKENS. Dn Friday Evening, 21st August, and on Saturday Evening, 22nd August, 1857, At Eight o'clock Exactly, Will be presented an entirely new Romantic Drama, Iu Three Act-, By MR. WILKIE COLLINS, Called THE FROZEN DEEP. The Overture composed expressly for thia piece by Mr. Francesco Berger, who will conduct the Orchestra. The DrttK* 6,i/ Mrtnr*. Huthttn, of Tiehboriw-*titft, llu>i marlxt, uiui Mit* H'ilL-inn, of Cttrl>artt»i-*trtrt, Fltzroy tquurt. Ptrruquier: Mr. Wilton, of the Strioul. Captain Ebaworth { ot^'-^ } Mr. Edwanl Pigott Captain Helding {of J^".. Wau" ]• Mr. Alfred Dickens. Lieutenant Crayford Mr. Mark Lemon. Frank Aldemley Mr. Wilkin Collins. aatahard Wardour Mr. Charles Dickens. Lieutenant Stevantou Mr. Young Charles'. John Want (aliip's cook) Mr. Augustus Egg. Bateson I two of the " Sea- ( Mr. Shirley Brookes. Darker.. I Mew's" people 1 Mr. Charles Collins. Officers and Crews of the "Sea-Mew"and "Wanderer." Mrs. Steveutou Mrs. George Viuitig. Bose Ebsworth Miss Ellen Sabine. Lacy Crayford Miss Ellen Tenuin. Clara Burnharu Miss Maria Ternau. Nurae Esther Mrs. Teruan. Maid Miss Mewte.t The Bcenery and Scenic Effects of the First Act by Mr. Telbin. The Bcenery and Scenic Etfeots of the Second and Third Acta by Mr. Staufield, R. A.

* A facetious uiokname invented by Dickens for his eldest sou. t Another nickname hy Dickens for a yoong lady who had nothing to say. The' country performances being concluded, nearly ten yeara passed before the footlights Rhone again on " The Frozen Deep." In 1866 I accepted a proposal made to me by Mr. Horace Wigan, to produce the play (with pertain altera tions and additions) on the public Btage, at the Olympic Theatre, London. The firat perform ance took place (while I was myself absent from England) on the 27th November, in the year just mentioned. Mr. Henry Neville acted the part ** created " by Dickens. Seven years passed after the production of the play at the Olympic Theatre—and then "The Frozen Deep " appealed once more to public favor, in another country than England, and under a totally new form. I occupied the autumn and winter of 1873-4 moat agreeably to myaelf by a tour in the United States of America ; receiving from the generous people of that great country a reception which I shall remember proudly and gratefully to the end of my life. During my atay in America I read in public, iv the principal cities, one of my shorter stories (enlarged and re-written for the purpose), called " The Dream Woman." Con cluding my tour at Boston, I was advised by my friend:* to give, if possible, a special attraction to my farewell reading in America, by presenting to my audience a new work. Having this object in view, and having but a ahort apace of time at my diapoaal, I bethought myaelf of " The Frozen Deep." The play had never been pub lished, and I determined to re-write it in narra tive form for a public reading. The experiment proved on trial to be far more successful than I had ventured to anticipate. Occupying nearly two hours in its delivery, the transformed " Frozen Deep" kept its hold from first-to laat on the interest and the sympathies of the audi ence. I hope to have future opportunities of reading it in my own country, as well as in the United States. Projioaala having lately been made to me, in England and in America, to publish my " read ings," I here preseut them—beginning with "The Frozen Deep." The stories as I print them are, in both instance., considerably longer than the -toriea aa I read them ; the limits of time in the oase of a public reading rendering it impera tively neccasary to abridge without mercy developments of character and incident which are eaaential to the due presentation of a work in its literary form. I have only to add—for the benefit of thoae who may have seen, and who mvsf not lntve forgotten the play — that the narrative version of " The Frozen Deep" departs widely from the treatment of the atory in the firat act of the dramatic version, but (with the one exception of the third scene) follows tbe play as closely as possible in the succeeding acta.