Saturday, 4 February 2012

Discontented Peggy, and How She Was Cured

When I posted sundry scraps from "Mr Teedles" the other day, my friend and neighbour Gavin - of the most excellent Arkhonia blog - paid me the greatest of complements: he thought I'd made it up myself. I can see why - I do go out of my way to find books and ephemera of such mind boggling oddness so I can make my own fake books and films and the like seem just that *little* bit more likely. so it seems fitting that Gavin encouraged me to buy "Discontented Peggy" from Todmorden market



It's an odd little thing - very obviously an "improving" playlet for young ladies. One of over 500 of the things as well! Part of me wants to collect them all (in some sort of early twentieth century melodrama take on Pokemon, maybe) but i know the wife will have stern words about such things...



i'm rather delighted, by the way, that the publisher has a "play department". my mind wanders off into a wonderful image of a whole office of workers dedicated to improving the minds of the young through the medium of sentimental nonsense



I like how productions seem to be mainly aiming at "a decent "fairy glen"..." rather than something with any degree of competence. And I'm also quite fond of this too:"don't let "Peggy's" face look rosy in the "glen scene". It must be made up to look white and woe-begone." Bless...



Have any of you met anyone who's actually been made to swallow Castor oil? Is this entirely the sort of thing popular culture of the late nineteenth century to late seventies British comics have propagated for generations... is there a thesis in this at all?



Peggy: "... Nurse is a horrid old cross-patch, and I hate her."
Nurse: "... I'll punish Peggy when I find her. She richly deserves punishment."
And thus the circle of violence continues... how very sad.



Is "lightly tripping the lea" some kind of euphemism?



Nothing much to report here beyond yet more lea tripping...



My favourite line here is "so trip we a measure in happy content" which smacks of the sort of thing someone writing verse comes up with when their existing line of poetry doesn't scan quite well enough.



More tripping here, but also the promise of "a dish of dewdrops". I think most organic shops sell these nowadays, as well as larger branches of Waitrose.





I'll leave these pages as they are, but all I can say is that one-two emotional punch of "Peggy's Song of Repentance" and "Sprite's Song" must have overwhelmed contemporary audiences. Very popular in Sammy Davis Jr's Vegas set as well...



And then it all ends in dancing. I don't know if it's just me, but I think the ambiguity of some of the lyrics here remind of me of the breathless outpouring of imagination in Dylan's "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands". Moving.



Fairy plays were obviously very popular weren't they? I'm also quite amused that the gauge of success of these plays was how easy the things were to repeat... Meanwhile "Cruel Jack Frost" seems unduly precious about his "artistic pictures". Always was a prima donna that one...

And obviously, before we leave these pages, I think it fairly obvious that there is no better title for anything ever is "Princess Jonquila's Necklace". In fact I think everyone should be called Jonquila... or failing that the majestically suggestive Violet Methley.



And finally...."The Truth About Tarts - if you are looking for a fairly short children's play which is full of good material you will find what you want here. This play is packed with good situations and cannot fail to get over." No further comments are necessary I feel.

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