By Jeffrey Ullom (auth.)
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Additional resources for America’s First Regional Theatre: The Cleveland Play House and Its Search for a Home
23 The influence and contribution of these two extraordinary women—Brooks and Angell—remains largely ignored by the simplistic accounts of the founding of the Play House, even though both were present for the initial meeting at the Brooks’ home. In retrospect, the success of her husband Charles S. Brooks as an author and playwright overshadowed the important contributions that Minerva Brooks made to the creation of the Play House. Nevertheless, it is clear that Minerva Brooks was a force to be reckoned with both in the Play House and in Cleveland society.
42 Barrie’s link to O’Neil, Keller, or any other Play House founding member remains unknown; however, it is clear that she can be linked to the gathering at the Brooks’ residence through artistic connections. This claim is corroborated by the fact that Minerva Brooks also began teaching interpretive dance at the same Noyes School of Rhythm in the early 1920s. Furthermore, Barrie would have been familiar 24 America’s First Regional Theatre with the “rhythmic expressions” presented at La Nuit Futuriste!
13 When Fiske arrived in Cleveland, she found audiences and critics that were small but appreciative. This reception must have been a welcome change from Fiske’s previous engagement in Pittsburgh, where the controversial ending of the play left audiences confused. While some Steel City theatergoers opted not to attend because they believed A Doll’s House to be a children’s show, others who witnessed the third act “settled down to wait for a fourth act and the penitent return of the wife. The house lights went up, and down, and up—and still they failed to take the hint.
America’s First Regional Theatre: The Cleveland Play House and Its Search for a Home by Jeffrey Ullom (auth.)