Wallace, the Hero of Scotland

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Wallace, the Hero of Scotland is a drama in three acts by an anonymous author.

The original text

Based on the life of William Wallace[1]. Nothing is known of the original play, but a version of a play by this title was published in Edinburgh by Hodgeson and Co, in 1822 in his series of "Juvenile Dramas"[2], i.e. the popular parlour entertainment for children in the early 19th. century, utilizing an illustrated images of scenes and characters from existing texts to be "produced" in a toy theatre[3].

Which suggests that a performance may have been done in Edinburgh at some time in the early 1820s and that some kind of text existed, possibly the one used by the South African performers in 1860.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1860: The Sergeants of the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot performed the three-act drama Wallace, the Hero of Scotland in the Garrison Theatre, Grahamstown on August 29. The cast consisted of Sergeant-Major T. H. Smith (Wallace), Sergeant J. Lydon (Monteith), Private A. M'Laughlin (Allan Ramsay), Sergeant P. Fox (Earl Mar), Colour-Sergeant W. Shaw (Kirkpatrick), Sergeant J. Hanrahan (Duncan), Colour-Sergeant G. E. Hungerford (Cressingham), Sergeant G. Little (Robert Mortimer), Colour-Sergeant E. Winders (Lord Saulis), Drum-Major A. Craig (Gerald), Colour-Sergeant B. Martin (Gilbert Hamilton), Sergeant M. Lyons (Earl of Athlyn), Corporal G. Brown (Marian), Lance-Corporal J. Davies, (Helen Mar), ---- (Madeline), Sergeant J. Quinn (Label [First letter unclear]).

A contemporary response to this performance is offered by the North Lincoln Sphinx (Vol. 1, No 2. Grahamstown, September 15th, 1860. Page 18): "The drama would have been more successful if it had been preceded by a few extra rehearsals. The prompter's assistance was too much wanted, and the scenery required more care, and nicer adjustment. The character of Wallace was well sustained; though at times, the performer's utterance was rather rapid and almost trenched upon flippancy; - a little more pathos, and feeling, would have been a great improvement, and have left us nothing to find fault with. The same remarks apply to the disposal of Monteith, by Sergeant J. Lydon, to whom the character was not quite suited. Duncan should learn his part and speak out; and more freedom of movement is requisite in the performance of Kirkpatrick. Colour-Sergeant G. E. Hungerford did well as Cressingham, and, excepting two or three faults of pronunciation, his performance was exceedingly creditable; he spoke distinctly, and naturally, and with a proper conception of the character. Allan Ramsay's voice was rather monotonous, but he looked and played his part very well. The remainder of the male characters acquitted themselves fairly; they had not much to say, and, generally, they said it tolerably. The lady Marian displayed scarcely sufficient feeling, and the minor female characters failed in the same particular; the part of Helen Mar was, however, successfully given, and if a few rather glaring faults of pronunciation are excepted, the performance was deserving of high credit.

"The music, however, was execrable; and in the absence of the band, it would have been better to have left the orchestra untenanted, than to have annoyed the ears and nerves of the audience with such inharmonious sounds."



Graeme Morton. 2014. William Wallace. A National Tale Edinburgh University Press[4]

Edward J. Cowan. 2007. The Wallace Book. Edinburgh: John Donald, E-book by Birlinn (2012)[5]

Archive Exhibition of Hodgson's Juvenile Drama: The British Stage in Miniature 1821-1840, held at the Guildhall Library in 2007[6]

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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