An evening of entertainment at the Dayton school house
A large audience assembled at the school house last Saturday evening to witness the presentation of the drama, “The Lost Children,” by the Musical Union, assisted by others of the home talent. Considerable pains had been taken to make this closing entertainment a complete success and the members of the company exerted themselves to their utmost to secure that end and acquit themselves creditably. The words of the play were all well memorized and the parts were finely sustained.
The characters of Jamie and Lily, “the lost children,” were performed in an excellent manner by little Eddie Hess and Gertie Howard, who entered into the spirit of the play and were highly encored by their appreciative listeners.
The prologue and epilogue by Eddie and the tableaux in which Gertie figured beautifully as the Goddess of Liberty, capped the climax of their success.
William Dunavan as Mr. Manly, Cora Green as Mrs. Manly, and Dessie Root as Bridget sustained their parts admirably. The other characters of the play, Jennie Dunavan as Miss Fitzallen, William Davis as Mr. Bonville, James Green as Town Crier, Chas. Green as Watchman, and William Holton as Dick, played their parts well.
The squad of soldiers under the command of Thomas Howard was a novel feature in our home theatricals, and the drill and the military tableaux were considered very fine.
The minstrels deserve a word of praise for their funny efforts.
The singing between the scenes by the chorus of young girls was quite good and their selections appropriate.
All in all the drama was quite a success and is highly satisfactory to the management. The members of the Union desire to return thanks to Capt. S. R. Blanchard, of Ottawa, for his kindness in fitting out the military scene, which made the drama quite effective, to Mr. Thos. Howard and others for their kind assistance in presenting the drama, and to Wright’s orchestra for their excellent music.1
For those of us unlucky enough to have missed this outstanding production, this newspaper description of another presentation of the play gives an idea of the action:
The opening scene takes place in the parlor of Manly Hall. Mrs. Manly tells Bridget (who has an endless story about “my father”) to dress the children and let them out to play. The children dressed, the lady with matronly solicitude tells them above all things not to run after the soldiers.
The next scene opens with a most imposing array of soldiers, neatly dressed in dark blue cloth with white facings. The men were put through the manual exercise and company drill and then marched and counter-marched followed alas! by Lillie and Jamie, now as the reader will see, two lost children. Fortunately a sailor boy on his way to his vessel stumbles across the lost ones in the street and finding that they only know that their names were Lillie and Jamie, and that “pa’s name is pa”, and “ma’s name is ma”, he takes them to his home and leaves them with his mother.
Meanwhile the frantic father has enlisted a watchman and the town crier into his service but no signs of the children can be found. A report however comes that a sailor was seen carrying two children off to sea. The upshot is that the sailor is found, brought before Mr, Manly who seizes him by the throat. Fortunately the sailor’s mother enters with the two children and all is explained. The sailor refuses to take any reward; Bridget tries to tell a wonderful tale about “my father’’ and all ends well.2
- Ottawa Free Trader, May 7, 1881, p. 8, col. 1
- Passaic (New Jersey) Daily Times, December 20, 1884. p. 2, col. 2