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The action of the play takes place in Paris about 1760. Henriette Duquesnoy, a young
woman of the streets being masqueraded as an innocent girl to lure the Marquis d'Arcy
into a marriage that would disgrace him.
Produced and Directed: Maxwell Wrey
Impressario: Sydney W. Carroll
Scenery and Costumes: Philip Gough
Miss de Casalis's second costume: Nathan
Miss Leigh's Act 2, Scene 2 wedding dress: Nathan
Mr. Cellier's first and second costumes: Nathan
Mr. Cellier's third costume: Simmons
Furniture: J. S. Lyin, Ltd.
Silverware: Robinson Bros.
General manager: Jack Thomas
Business Manager: J. Wood-Ingram
Stage Manager: Leslie Bodley
Press Pepresentative: Robert Jorgensen
Opened: Ambassador's Theatre, London, May 15th, 1935
May 15, 1935; St. James's Theatre, London, May 29, 1935
Cast: Vivien Leigh (Henriette Duquesnoy), Jeanne De Casalis (Mme de Pommeraye), Frank Cellier (Marquis d'Arcy), Viola Tree (Mme Duquesnoy), Douglas Matthew (Footman), Antonia Brough (Maids)
Sydney Carroll: "Vivian" - it's neither one thing nor other.
It'll confuse people. They won't know if you are a man or a woman. Will you agree to spelling it "Vivien"?
"I changed my name again today," Vivien Leigh told her husband that day.
Sydney Carroll: I took a big chance. But I just knew she was the one. A lot of other people claimed they discovered Vivien, but I was the one. I have a great knowledge of palmistry, and Vivien reluctantly let me read her hands. She was ashamed of what she called "my paws." After that reading, I decided the role was hers.
New York Times; May 16, 1935:
LONDON, May 15. - Sydney Carroll tonight presented an exquisitely mounted artificial French eighteenth century comedy, "The Mask of Virtue," adapted by Ashley Dukes from the German of Carl Sternheim's "La Marquise D'Arcis," based on Diderot's original in which Vivien Leigh, young actress, made a brilliant debut. It concerns a woman avenging herself on a lover by inveigling him into marriage with an apparently demure maiden who actually is more than worldly wise. Frank Cellier plays the lover and Jeanne de Casalis, his discarded, avenging mistress.
Vivien Leigh: I remember the morning after The Mask of Virtue - which is the first play I did at the West End - that some critics saw fit to be as foolish as to say that I was a great actress. And I thought, that was a foolish, wicked thing to say, because it put such an onus and such a responsibility onto me, which I simply wasn't able to carry. And it took me years to learn enough to live up to what they said - for those first notices. I find it so stupid. I remember the critic very well, and have never forgiven him. [It was W. A. Darlington.]
Some paper (May 1935): NEW STAR TO WIN ALL LONDON
VIVIEN LEIGH SHINES IN NEW PLAY
Cedric Belfrage (The Daily Express): A ravishing stage debutante whose beauty will the talk of the town. Miss Leigh was the success of the evening. Her charm is matched by rare intelligence. A new star is in the ascendant.
E. A. Baughan (News-Chronicle):
Vivien Leigh in "The Mask of Virtue." A great young actress.
Vivien Leigh is the name of a young actress whose distinguished beauty and sense of style in acting will astonish all London as they astonished the audience last night. An actress of uncommon gift, the actress succeeded through sheer sincerity and naturalness.
W. A. Darlington (The Daily Telegraph):
VIVIEN LEIGH in "The Mask of Virtue." Mr. Carroll is to be congratulated on having made a discovery in her for she has looks, personality, and a pleasant confidence.
Jesse Collings (The Daily Sketch): The feature of the evening was the excellent work of an unknown actress, Vivien Leigh. She is splendid. Displayed real power. A great discovery.
Daily Express: "a lightning change came over her face."
John Betjeman (Poet Laureate): "the essence of English girlhood."
James Agate (Sunday Times): "She [Vivien Leigh] gives to this part all that it asks, except in the matter of speech. If this young lady wants to become an actress, as distinct from a film star, she should at once seek means to improve her overtone, which is displeasing to the fastidious ear."
Stephen Williams (The Evening Standard): Miss Vivien Leigh as the reluctant bride has beauty and charm.
Laurence Olivier: Her [Vivien's] looks were magical, she possessed beautiful poise;
her neck looked almost too fragile to support her head and bore it with a sense of surprise...
She also had something else: an attraction of the most perturbing nature I had ever
*The autobiography of the greatest actor of our times.
CONFESSIONS OF AN ACTOR
Copyright Wheelshare Ltd, 1982
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