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French Play "Jack L'Eventreur"

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French Play "Jack L'Eventreur"

Post by Karen on Tue 4 Oct 2011 - 17:05

A Paris Play in Which the Sir Chief of the Finest Takes Part.

The lower grade of French playwrights, who fasten on the sensations of the hour for the subjects of their plays, have found a congenial and profitable topic for dramatic treatment in the murderous exploits of Jack the Ripper. The play of "Jack l'Eventreur," which is now being performed at the theatre of the Chateau d'Eau in Paris, is the work of Messrs. Xavier Bertrand and Louis Clairian. As might be expected, a play with such a hero is full of blood-curdling, double-distilled realism, but the leading dramatic critic in Paris - Francisque Sarcey - considers it worth attention in his theatrical chronique in Temps to the extent of two columns.
The first personage we are introduced to in the drama is Sir Robinson Brown, chief of the New York police. That the New York chief constable should have a titular preface to his name is only in accordance with the peculiar knowledge which a Frenchman has of anything outside of his own country. And what more natural than that Sir Robinson should go to study and get points from the magnificent police system in London? It is not quite certain whether Sir Robinson is sent by New York or by the government, but the dramatists evidently think that in any case there is very little in America outside of New York. Sir Robinson is particularly anxious to know how Sir Stevens manages to arrest, try, and hang seven criminals in as many days.
"It's the simplest thing in the world," says Sir Stevens. "I have a squad of girls in the force whom I pay to become the mistresses of the criminals and then hand them over to us."
"Very ingenious," remarks the chief of the New York police. "But can you always find women to do the work."
"I should say so. See, here is a list of the names of the last seven criminals hanged and of the women who caught them." And the theatrical representative of Superintendent Murray took a note of the names of the women and their addresses. He obtained other valuable information from Sir Stevens and then bade him good-bye.
Sir Robinson was not gone ten minutes when another visitor sent in his card, which also bore the name of "Sir Robinson Brown, Chef de la Police de New York." Another Sir Robinson is shown in and is described as a "Yankee tres raide et un peu grineheux (very ugly and a little disagreeable, Sir Stevens is naturally astonished at the appearance of the duplicate Sir Robinson, but that gentleman says: "Here is the proof that I am the real Sir Robinson," and pulls from his jacket a document which establishes his identity, and explains the objects of the commission on which he is sent "par le gouvernement." He also explains that when he landed in England he was seized by a "band of brigands," who carried him to a cave and stole his money and some of his papers. It turns out now that Sir Robinson No. 1 is Jack, who is not yet the Ripper, but is the chief of a set of thieves who "lodge under the bridges of the Thames." It was seven of his squad that had been captured by the police and executed. Having obtained the names of the women who acted as police spies Jack determines to begin his career as the ripper. As the play proceeds one after another of the assassin's victims is seen to fall by his hand in a corner of the stage, and is carried across in full sight of the audience by two of Jack's "brigands." Jack leaves a knife sticking in each of the victims, and bearing the words: "Jack the Ripper. The others will have the same fate." The killing goes on through five acts. Some drunken women, lost children, and a milord are introduced, and other things, which show that the authors, Messrs. Bertrand and Clairian, have made a brilliant imaginative study of social life in London. They have always kept in view the fact that they were writing contemporary history as well as melodrama, for the average Parisian takes his ideas of foreign countries from the stage. To the credit of the dramatist, however, it should be added that they have been realistic enough not to let the London police catch Jack. He is shot by a lunatic who exclaims as Jack falls: "I have saved old England."

Source: The Omaha Daily Bee, Wednesday October 16, 1889, Page 2

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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