The Garden of Allah


The Garden of Allah
   Opening on 21 October 1911 at the Century Theatre, the opulently staged drama ran for 241 performances. Mary Anderson emerged from retirement to collaborate with Robert Hichens in dramatizing the popular novel of the same title by George Tyler; the authors were present at the sold-out premiere, which lasted four hours. Processions of camels and other scenes of Arabic culture interspersed the dialogue sequences that advanced the romantic love story culminating in Christian renunciation. Mary Mannering as Domini Enfilden and Lewis Waller as Boris Androvsky declare their love in Count Anteoni's verdant garden. They marry and conceive a child before Domini learns her husband's secret: Boris is a Trappist monk who has broken his vows. They bid each other a poignant farewell before the monastery gates, but the audience gets a final glimpse of the eponymous garden in an epilogue showing mother and child five years later. One of the most impressive scenes of spectacle was the night scene in the desert. Out of an azure sky with twinkling stars came a terrific sandstorm: "At one side stands the flapping tent of the wanderers, while from all sides pour the heaps of sand forced by the gale, rolling, tumbling, sweeping along, in a seeming race with the wind-driven clouds" (New York Times, 22 October 1911).
   See also religious drama.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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