|Marie Marguerite dressed for a birthday|
Tonight "The Cherry Orchard" is transferred from the Lyric, Hammersmith, to the Royalty. This I think marks a definite turn in public taste towards true plays. I have been remarking this turn for some years, but managers seem quite blind.
When Fagan produced "The Cherry Orchard" for us at the Lyric, we thought it ought to be done but did not believe in it. On the Thursday after the first performance (Monday) none of us believed in it, and Fagan met the directors and agreed without argument that the thing was a failure. But a few days later he was believing in it (by reason of the enthusiasm of small audiences), but the returns were still awful, and the loss heavy. Then the returns enormously improved. Loss became a profit, and tonight this most disconcerting and original play has come in a sort of triumph to the West End, where no manager would have looked at it a month ago. All this is owing to Nigel Playfair having seen it done at Oxford, and being firmly backed by me in his desire to have it done at the Lyric.
So, it played at the Royalty this evening to a by no means full and rather apathetic and not at all first-night audience. But I was struck still more than ever by the power and beauty of the play.