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    Author's Introduction

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    Chapter 1
    ANNAJANSKA is frankly a bravura piece. The modern variety theatre
    demands for its "turns" little plays called sketches, to last
    twenty minutes or so, and to enable some favorite performer to
    make a brief but dazzling appearance on some barely passable
    dramatic pretext.

    Miss Lillah McCarthy and I, as author and
    actress, have helped to make one another famous on many serious
    occasions, from Man and Superman to Androcles; and Mr Charles
    Ricketts has not disdained to snatch moments from his painting
    and sculpture to design some wonderful dresses for us. We three
    unbent as Mrs Siddons, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Dr Johnson might
    have unbent, to devise a turn for the Coliseum variety theatre.
    Not that we would set down the art of the variety theatre as
    something to be condescended to, or our own art as elephantine.
    We should rather crave indulgence as three novices fresh from the
    awful legitimacy of the highbrow theatre.

    Well, Miss McCarthy and Mr Ricketts justified themselves easily
    in the glamor of the footlights, to the strains of Tchaikovsky's
    1812. I fear I did not. I have received only one compliment on my
    share; and that was from a friend who said, "It is the only one
    of your works that is not too long." So I have made it a page or
    two longer, according to my own precept: EMBRACE YOUR REPROACHES:

    Annajanska was first performed at the Coliseum Theatre in
    London on the 21st January, 1918, with Lillah McCarthy as
    the Grand Duchess, Henry Miller as Schneidekind, and Randle
    Ayrton as General Strammfest.
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