The Contrast: A Comedy in Five Acts

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Cosimo, Inc., Jul 1, 2006 - Drama - 160 pages
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OF INTEREST TO: fans of 18th-century theater, readers of American literature LETITIA: It is whispered that if Maria gives her hand to Mr. Dimple, it will be without her heart. CHARLOTTE: Though the giving the heart is one of the last of all laughable considerations in the marriage of a girl of spirit, yet I should like to hear what antiquated notions the dear little piece of old-fashioned prudery has got in her head. -from Act I It is the first American comedy to be performed on stage. THE CONTRAST, which debuted in New York in 1787 to great acclaim and was performed in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston between then and 1792, literally set the scene for American dramatics, creating characters that have become iconically American, from the "Yankee" Johnathan to the vapid Charlotte and Letitia... characters we continue to see in film, TV, and fiction today. Frequently likened to British playwright Richard Sheridan's The School for Scandal, this remains a delightful satire-and a quintessentially American one. American playwright ROYALL TYLER (1757-1826), born William Clark Tyler, wrote many other plays, some of which have been lost, as well as novels, essays, and humorous verse.

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About the author (2006)

Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1757 to Royall Tyler and Mary (Steele) Tyler, Tyler attended the Boston Latin School, Yale and then Harvard, where he earned a reputation as a quick-witted joker. After graduation, he briefly served in the Massachusetts militia under John Hancock during the abortive Rhode Island expedition. In late 1778, he returned to Harvard to study law, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1780. He opened a practice in Braintree, Massachusetts, eight miles outside of Boston. After a brief stint in suppressing the 1787 Shays's Rebellion, Tyler moved to Boston and boarded in the house of Elizabeth Palmer. After unsuccessfully courting Abigail Adams for many years, in 1794, he wed the Palmers's daughter, Mary Palmer, took her to his new home in Vermont, and with her had eleven children. In 1801, Tyler was appointed to the Supreme Court of Vermont as an assistant judge, and was later elected chief justice. In 1812 he ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate. In 1826, he died in Vermont, of facial cancer that he had suffered from for ten years.

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