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Figure GAY MACLAREN THE GIRL WITH THE CAMERA MIND.— NEW YORK WORLD Management MAY STANLEY 53 WASHINGTON SQUARE NEW YORK L ET'S see Gay MacLaren's presentation of 'Bought and Paid For,' said my friend. Oh, the impersonator? I asked. No, answered my friend quickly, the woman who has invented a new art form. I went in a skeptical mood. I left the theatre in the mood of enthusiasm that now impels my pen. The curtain arose upon a stage bare of scenic effect. Here was a stage upon which imagination could play unhindered. Could Miss MacLaren, unaided by scenery, call the imagination of her audience into play? Could she make all the characters of the play live again with the rich personality they had in the original New York production? At best, she will do a good job of reading, a vivid bit of impersonation, I thought. Miss MacLaren entered, a dainty, very feminine person. I had visions of her having laboriously memorized the lines of the play. But my friend reminded me that Miss MacLaren never sees the manuscript of a play she is to present; just attends the theatre a few times and the play sticks in her memory—not alone the lines of the play, but each intonation, gesture and mannerism of every member of the cast. I'll be interested to see how she interprets these characters, I said to my friend, for I saw the original production. I wonder what she will make of 'Jimmy.' Will she have the same conception that Frank Craven had when he created the role? Oh, said my friend, You miss the point. Miss MacLaren doesn't create or interpret any character. You see she isn't just a 'reader' of plays. She reproduces the original performance with all the accuracy of a victrola record. It isn't Miss MacLaren's 'Jimmy' you are about to see; it's Frank Craven's 'Jimmy.' This dialogue took less time in the talking than the writing, but it made us lose the brisk and workmanlike introduction that preceded Miss MacLaren's plunging into the play. I can only say that the illusion was perfect. It was not a reading. It was not an impersonation. It was a re-creation. The original cast lived and acted again. Miss MacLaren goes back from these Belasco days, when little room is left to the imagination of the audience, to the simpler days of Shakespeare when, under the stimulus of good acting, the audience could have the pleasure of building its own scenery with the delightful fabrics of its imagination. —GLENN FRANK, Editor of Century Magazine. What the New York critics say: After watching and listening to Miss MacLaren reproduce 'Friendly Enemies,' at the Belmont Theatre, unassisted by any 'props' aside from a simple stage setting, we came to the natural conclusion that Miss MacLaren is a remarkable person. It was a prodigious feat of memory and an exceedingly clever achievement. She has not only a 'camera mind,' but also a phonograph voice. Miss MacLaren should prove a great boon to the people who have no opportunity of seeing the plays on Broadway.— STEPHEN RATHBUN , in the New York Sun. She imitates every character and presents every bit of stage business.— New York American. A most remarkable performance … A great many of those who attended the matinee yesterday, at the Belmont Theatre, had seen George Broadhurst's play, 'Bought and Paid For' with the original cast when it was produced a number of years ago, and they had to admit that not only does Miss MacLaren remember the words, but she also manages to catch and retain those subtle little mannerisms that are supposed to be peculiar to the individuality of each actor.— New York Morning Telegraph. She can produce the whole show, from the leading actor or actress, right down to the bellboy or doorkeeper.— New York Evening World. She has memorized and can act all the parts in thirty plays, without having studied a single manuscript. She attends four or five performances of a production, making mental pictures of each character and every situation. When giving an impersonation, she frames one of these mind photos and the words spoken are immediately recalled.— New York Tribune. Her powers of imitation are almost uncanny.— New York Journal. She gives the actors a chance to see themselves as the audience sees them.— New York Star. She acts with an authority and conviction and a fire and intensity that are startling.— Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Miss MacLaren presented 'Friendly Enemies' entirely from memory, never having seen the printed text. It is her remarkable ability to portray character and action by means of gesture and tone quality, making the persons of the drama stand out clearly and distinctly that has won for her the title of 'The girl with the camera mind' … She gave a remarkable reproduction of Louis Mann's manner of speech, gesture and actions.— Brooklyn (N. Y.) Standard Union. Her appearances at the Belmont Theatre played capacity.— New York Clipper. What famous men and women say: Aside from acting every part and making the whole production it wouldn't surprise me at all if she wrote her next play. With her gift of mimicry, her marvelous memory and inexhaustible freshness and vitality, she is practically the whole show—with a perfect cast. — ROBERT H. DAVIS , Dean of New York magazine editors. It is quite impossible for me to say how surprised I was to see Miss MacLaren give a whole play and take each part perfectly. It was one of the greatest evidences of genius I have ever seen in my life, and I feel that she should have a theatre of her own. — MRS. NOBLE MCCONNELL , President of New York Mozart Society. Gay MacLaren is most remarkable in her ability to make her characters live, and in holding one's interest from start to finish without the assistance of stage setting in any particular. — MRS. THOMAS A. EDISON. I consider Gay MacLaren one of the really remarkable personages in the dramatic field. It would be quite extraordinary for any actress to impersonate cleverly a single character in all the plays she does, but to impersonate all the characters cleverly in all the plays leaves one speechless in surprise and admiration. — DIXIE HINES , New York critic and well known writer on dramatic topics. I consider her versatility and her ability to enact all the characters in a play so convincingly to be an extraordinarily clever feat. — MARY SHAW, famous Ibsen actress. Her impersonations are marvelous. I consider her one of the most gifted actresses of the American stage. — SAMUEL SHIPMAN , author of Friendly Enemies, and other well known plays. Her performances of the characters in the play 'Bought and Paid For' as well as 'Friendly Enemies,' at the Belmont Theatre, will linger in my memory as the greatest achievement in its line it has ever been my pleasure to witness. — RICHARD G. HERNDON , well known New York manager. What the magazines say: To speak of Miss MacLaren's work as extraordinary is to display a poverty of expression. Out of the ordinary and away from the beaten path is this form of original entertainment which she has mastered. She is more than an 'impersonator,' she mimics the characters she portrays; so splendidly does she give the lines and create the atmosphere, it is hard to realize there is only one person on the stage … This artist has youth, a very charming personality, and makes a graceful picture on the stage. The unique part of Miss MacLaren's recitals is that her work is without the aid of the written play or even of notes on the performance. She simply imitates the play as she sees it and gives the lines as retained by her remarkable memory.— MAY JOHNSON , in the Musical Courier. Gay MacLaren has added another profession to the list of things that 'women can do.'— American Magazine. She puts it over all by herself.— The Green Book. Miss MacLaren presented 'Bought and Paid For' in her first New York appearance. She enacted all the characters in the play and gave a very finished performance. Especially well done was the comedy role of Jimmy Gilley, originally created by Frank Craven.— The Billboard, New York. She is the original little theatre of America—a human paradox—a mental sphinx.— Lyceum Magazine. New York heralded Gay MacLaren, the girl with 'the camera mind,' last week and pronounced her, if not exactly the eighth wonder, at least one of the wonders of the stage. This girl is a 'whole show.' After two or three visits to a play she has it indelibly imprinted on her memory, and with the addition of a voice capable of the closest imitation of the players engaged in portraying the play, she is enabled to give it alone and unassisted, characterizing, imitating the voice, and making coherent and clear the action, dialogue and complete production.— Stage and Screen Review. She gives an entire play without any other aid than her marvelous memory. I heard her do 'Bought and Paid For,' and she is so clever at it that I can think of no better substitute for the real thing, especially in places where the high cost of travel makes the screen the only form of drama available. — MATTHEW WHITE , dramatic critic of Munsey's Magazine. What the press says: This is no ordinary entertainment, but a really interesting and effective representation by one person of a full cast, well imitated as to actions and words. With the present high cost of theatrical productions, especially en tour, Miss MacLaren promises to become a prime favorite.— Pittsburgh Dispatch. It is distinctly a privilege to see and hear her.— Wilmington (Del.) Journal. Her imitations were so true that at times it seemed as if several persons were talking.— Louisville (Ky.) Times. A charming personality and a great artist.— Columbus (Ohio) State Journal. Her speedy return is hoped for.— Fresno (Cal.) Herald. A versatile young artist who impersonates alone and unaided an entire cast.— Chicago News. The secret of her work is her method of mentally reconstructing a scene that she desires to recall.— Kansas City (Mo.) Times. Beauty, charm of personality and great talent have been given to Miss MacLaren. Her recital was one of the big events of the season.— New Haven (Conn.) Register. She is an artistic genius.— Marion (Ohio) Tribune. She acted the entire play, delineating each character with such distinctness and consistency that at no time did the audience confuse one character with another.— Des Moines (Iowa) Capital. Her imitation of all the characters was very convincing, but the imitation of David Warfield was nothing short of magnificent.— Battle Creek (Mich.) Inquirer. It seems as if she had a large company of players at her call, and as if by magic they entered, rendered their lines and made their exists.— Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer. She is a living phonograph record.— St. Paul Dispatch. She is the idol of the Isthmus.— Panama Morning Journal. Had the room been darkened, one could not have believed that but a single person was on the stage.— The Saratogan, Saratoga, N. Y. The presentation of a play by Gay MacLaren is an exhibition of more different forms of genius than are often combined in one personality.— Palm Beach (Fla.) Times. She is not only a star, she is a whole constellation.— Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. No artist has ever duplicated Miss MacLaren in the number of return dates to this city.— Hamilton (Ohio) News. The entertainment was like the real production of the great play by an entire cast, and at all times she held the audience under the spell of her superb art.— Scranton (Pa.) Times. She has the most wonderful memory known.— Detroit (Mich.) Sunday News. Every variation of voice, manner and gesture, typifying the many roles, were carried out with remarkable interpretative ability.— Erie (Pa.) Times. To impersonate one person with accuracy so as to make the audience lose sight of the artist is a difficult feat, but to impersonate six different persons, all supposed to be on the stage at once, and to make the audience see them is an art of the highest quality, but one that Gay MacLaren has certainly mastered.— Billings (Mont.) Gazette. We hope Springfield may have the opportunity to hear this gifted artist soon again.— Springfield (Mass.) Republican. One of the most delightful of the season's artistic events.— Bradford (Pa.) Era. If it should come to pass that the expense of routing plays is too great, a few Gay MacLarens and we will never miss the actual play.— BOSTON GLOBE. T HE plays that Miss MacLaren presents include the most successful dramas and comedies by American playwrights—such as her famous imitations of David Warfield in The Music Master, and of Laurette Taylor in Hartley Manners' Peg o' My Heart, and recent stage offerings. Her repertoire also includes plays by such master minds of the drama as Shaw, Barrie and Galsworthy. Miss MacLaren learns the entire play by attending five consecutive performances by the original cast. She is constantly adding to her repertoire, and every play she gives has the approval of the Drama League of America. A complete list will be sent on request. M ISS MACLAREN has given more than two hundred recitals in the 1920-1921 season, including two matinees at the Belmont Theatre, New York, and a special guest appearance for the New York Mozart Society. Other notable appearances were at the Syracuse University, Syracuse, N. Y.; Chicago Women's Club, Chicago, Ill.; Artist Course, Augusta, Me.; University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.; Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, Cal.; South Dakota University, Brookings, S. D.; Dallas Women's Forum, Dallas, Texas.
|Title||Gay MacLaren: "The girl with the camera mind"|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||MacLaren, Gay Zenola|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||8|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|