Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Butler Students Performed Booth Tarkington Play at School #57 in 1926

In March of 1926, nine members of the Pi Epsilon Delta Theater Fraternity performed "Tweedles," a comedic play written by Booth Tarkington.  Butler University lacked many facilities at its Irvington location, including a theater so local productions had to be staged in IPS #57 at 5435 East Washington Street.  Tarkington, most known for his novels, authored several plays.  "Tweedles" centered around the character of Julian Castlebury who visits a tea room.  Hilarity ensues.  The play was directed by Claude Sifritt and was a student production.  The cast performed two shows in mid-March and provided a perfect date night for Butler coeds.  It is not known if Mr. Tarkington attended the production.

"Tweedles" by Booth Tarkington was performed on March 17 and 18, 1926, by Butler University students at School #57.  Pictured left to right: Harold Magee, Volney Hampton,  Helen Pascoe, Rudolph Baker, Horace Storer, Frances Ogle, Fred Sanders, Mary Dirnberger


  1. The play premiered on Broadway in August 1923, and ran for 3 months or so. I've been unable to find any reviews of it, or an open-source version of it (although it is, I believe, now out of copyright). Copies are available from used book sellers, if anyone wants to see exactly what hilarity ensues (frankly, based on my reading od Tarkington's work, I would not expect much). But it's not cheap; what I'm finding is $15 + $5 shipping:

  2. I have found a reasonably priced copy of the play and ordered it. I will be reporting on it once it arrives.

  3. Keep us posted, Don! See if the humor holds up...maybe it was never there!

  4. Based on my reading of the play...

    Don't spend your time and money trying to find it.

    The basic plot: Ne'er-do-well son of a prominent Philadelphia family, on vacation with his parents in a resort community, falls madly in like (as my brother used to say; perhaps it's true love) with the waitress/clerk in the tea shop/antique emporium. He buys a set of Bristol glass and leaves it there (on the pretense that he has nowhere to put it), so he can come by daily and chat with the waitress.

    Meanwhile, gay divorcee seeks to entangle our youth in her web. Claiming to be from Philadelphia (youth's parents have never heard of her, so how could that be?), she also seeks to turn parents against the girl.

    It's a 3 act play & I'm about halfway through Act 2. I have yet to laugh. But maybe audiences in the 1920s had a different sense of humor...or maybe it's just me.

  5. Thanks, Don! There is probably a reason this play has been forgotten!!

  6. Thanks, Don! There is probably a reason this play has been forgotten!!