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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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Sarah Bernhardt as Adrienne Lecouvreur

Sarah Bernhardt appears at the Russell Theatre in Ottawa on December 6 and 7 in Scribe's Adrienne Lecouvreur and Dumas's Camille. The reviewer for the Morning Citizen writes on December 7 of Adrienne Lecouvreur that "the enthusiastic reception accorded her was magnificent, though it must be considered a reproach on the theatre going public that there were a few, though only a few, vacant seats. For certainly no more wonderful personage or wonderful acting has been seen on a Canadian stage...the play is staged in a lavish manner."

Reviewing Bernhardt's performance in Sardou's La Sorcière at the Théâtre Français in his November 28 Montreal Herald column, B.K. Sandwell did not allow his admiration for Bernhardt's art to move him to uncritical adulation. Though he praises "the wonderful fluid, hesitant drips of her enunciation," he also declares that Bernhardt "has the defects of her virtues, of course." "It has become impossible for her to talk in a natural and conversational manner; her every tone is charged with the burden of a significance for which there is not always justification; her every gesture is eloquent in exactly the same manner, and even her repose breathes of high dramatic tension…But the beauty of the voice itself would excuse everything; the plastic magnificence of the gestures would justify them in a modern society comedy."