TRIAL BY JURY and THE SORCERER
The first performance of The Savoy Company proper was the double-bill of Trial by Jury and The Sorcerer, directed by its founder, Dr. Reginald Allen, given at St. James Hall in Philadelphia on December 6 and 7, 1901. It is with particular pleasure in this 114th season that Savoy continues to honor Dr. Allen with new productions of both Trial and Sorcerer.
TRIAL by JURY
Edwin, tiring of his sweetheart Angelina, falls in love with another. Angelina, accordingly, hails him to court for breach of promise. At the rise of the curtain the Usher, while enjoining impartiality on the Jurymen shows a definite partiality himself for the fair Plaintiff. Edwin explains that he simply happened to fall in love with another girl. Though Jury and Judge indicate that they have had similar episodes in their own past, they have little sympathy for Edwin.
After the Jury is sworn in, Angelina appears and immediately captivates all the men present. Her lawyer gives a stirring speech, and she falls sobbing on his breast.
In vain, Edwin proposes various solutions. First, he offers to marry her if he may marry his other sweetheart later, but her lawyer objects. Edwin then tries to dissuade her from marrying him by saying that when he is drunk he would beat her. Upon hearing this, the Judge proposes that Edwin be made drunk to see whether he would indeed beat her, but her lawyer again objects.
Finally, the Judge, disgusted at the objections and eager to get away, makes a startling proposal to all.
The first Act of The Sorcerer is laid in the grounds of Sir Marmaduke’s estate. The village folk are gathered in honor of the betrothal of Alexis, Marmadukes’ son, and Aline, the daughter of Lady Sangazure who half a century before had been the sweetheart of Sir Marmaduke himself. The pew-opener enters with her daughter, Constance, who is deeply in love with the Vicar. The Vicar, however, cannot be brought to an understanding of this either by the girl’s behavior toward him or by her mother’s hints. Alexis and his fiancée sign the contract, and everyone congratulates them on their nuptials. Along with Aline, Alexis speaks of his belief that rank should not govern marriage. To prove his theory he obtains a supply of love potion from his family sorcerers, Wells & Co. This concoction does not affect married people, but makes the unmarried pair off without consideration of rank. Alexis orders John Wellington Wells, of Wells & Co., to perform the incantation, after which he mixes the potion with tea and serves it to the guests at the engagement party. All gradually fall asleep and the curtain falls.
It is midnight as the second Act opens and the guests are awakening. Alexis wishes Aline to swallow some of the potion, so that he may be sure her love will not change. She protests, but does as he asks. As each person regains consciousness they propose marriage to the first person they see: Constance professes love to the aged notary, Sir Marmaduke professes his intention to marry the old pew-opener and Lady Sangazure proposes to Wells. Wells, on the other hand, is filled with remorse at the condition he has brought about. He must leave the great Lady because he is already engaged to “a maiden fair on a South Pacific isle”. Doctor Daly and Aline see each other and begin to become violently attached. Alexis, thoroughly frightened by the state of affairs, rushes to Wells and entreats him to remove this dreadful spell. Wells tells Alexis that to accomplish this task either he or Alexis must be sacrificed to Ahrimanes. But as neither is willing, the guests are made to choose.