Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

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Plays by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

The Magistrate

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Respected London magistrate Mr. Posket has never done anything shocking in his life; which only makes it more surprising when his stepson, Cis, manages to coax him into an ill-fated night on the town. Following his escape from the police, Posket desperately tries to hide his actions, certain that the truth would ruin his career.

This well-crafted farce was a huge success when it premiered in 1885, and has since been made into a film and a musical. It was most recently revived on the West End in a production starring John Lithgow.

The Second Mrs. Tanqueray

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In his best known social drama, Arthur Wing Pinero attacks the hypocrisy and myth surrounding women in second marriages. Despite the warnings of his friends, the widowed Mr. Tanqueray chooses to marry a lower class woman with a scandalous history. The new Mrs. Tanqueray must struggle to win over her new stepdaughter as she attempts to find balance in her mismatched marriage.

The Second Mrs. Tanqueray expertly utilizes the melodramatic convention of the Woman with a Past to examine the social and gender politics of late Victorian England. The play’s premiere in 1893 made its lead actress, Paula Campbell, a star.

Trelawny of the ‘Wells’

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Famous actress Rose Trelawney is willing to give up anything for her sweetheart, Arthur – even her successful theatre career. Out of the spotlight, however, Rose discovers that the real world is not to her taste. Desperate to escape the tedium of her life, she abandons her husband and returns to the stage, only to discover that her stint in reality has left her unable to perform in popular melodramas.

Arthur Wing Pinero’s comedy premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 1898; it shows the transition from the melodrama popular in the mid-nineteenth century to the more realistic drawing room comedies of a later period. It was revived in London by the Donmar Warehouse in 2013.

Arthur Wing Pinero was born in London in 1855, abandoned the legal profession for acting in 1874 and had his first play produced in 1877. His first major success, The Magistrate (1855), which he also directed, was followed by two more farces, The Schoolmistress (1886) and Dandy Dick (1887), and a comedy, Sweet Lavender (1888), which ran for 683 performances. The Profligate (1889), his first problem play, heralded two more, The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893) and The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith (1895), both of which starred Mrs. Patrick Campbell. After Trelawny of the 'Wells' (1898), his popularity was sustained with such plays as His House in Order (1906), and Mid-Channel in 1909, the year of his knighthood. Thereafter his success on stage lessened, though he lived to a respected 79, dying in 1934.