Pageant Repeated at State Farm for Women

[New London Evening Day, 23 Aug 1934]


A large number of spectators saw the second presentation of the pageant, The Lady of Shalott, by the employees and inmates of the State Farm for Women, Niantic, yesterday. The performance went off without a hitch, and the evolutions and dancing of the numerous and multi-costumed players were highly colorful and spectacular.

The spot chosen for the pageant was in a natural amphitheatre in front of the North building, seated high on a mound which runs about 1,000 feet down a decline to the large and beautiful lake on the state property. A stage castle had been built on the edge of the water, and in this building reclined the Lady Shalott, spending her time looking into her mirror, as depicted in Tennyson's famous poem.


Fit It Fit It


The performance began at 3 o'clock, when Mrs. Cook, who figured as the narrator of the play, bedecked with a tall head piece, came into view and took her place in front of the field, to recite in a far-reaching and dramatic voice the epic poem of Tennyson.

During the performance the narrator announced at beginning of each episode the prologue from the tower through a microphone. While there were several scenes the action was continuous.



Scene 1 - The Lady of Shalott is in the tower, weaving the life of the village into her web as she watches it being enacted in the reflection of her mirror. She has been told that a curse will fall upon her if she looks at the village of Camelot. She sees the villagers marketing, and making merry at a wedding.

Scene II - Sir Launcelot is reflected in her mirror. She forgets the curse that will fall upon her, leaves her web, and leans out of the window.

Scene III - The Lady of Shalott, in fulfillment of the curse, leaves her tower. The villagers, who have never before seen her, fall upon their knees as she passes by.

Scene IV - The Lady of Shalott goes to a barge, writes her name upon it, enters the barge and lies upon it as though it were a couch. The barge moves slowly down the river, and the Lady of Shalott sings her dirge, and singing, dies. Her barge floats by the town of Camelot, and the burghers and villagers, attracted by the singing, come to the water's edge and recognize their lady.



Immediately after the recital of the poem, groups of villagers clad in variously colored attire, representing all classes of the people of the village of Camelot, were seen approaching from several roads converging upon the castle. The scene was made more effective by cattle and sheep led by their tenders. Soon the field was covered, the villagers separating and going about singly or in groups, marketing and getting ready to make merry at a forthcoming wedding. Soon the bride and groom attended by a large wedding party, came running to the ribbon bedecked pole in the center and began dancing around it. The villagers also formed groups, joined hands and danced in circles.

Then Sir Launcelot (Miss Mildred Macknic) comes along, riding his prancing steed. He made a gallant figure and showed himself an excellent horseman. No wonder the poor Lady of Shalott doomed to reclusion, when she saw the knight reflected in her mirror, lost her heart and forgetful of the dreadful curse, leaves her web and leans out of the window. She realizes too late her end is come because of her glance at the forbidden village. So she leaves the tower of the castle. All dressed in white, with robes flowing in the breeze, she moves along the water's bank. The villagers seeing the beautiful lady, for the first time, prostrate themselves before her as she passes. She reaches her barge on the lake, and enters her name upon it. Lying in a bed of flowers the barge slowly and impressively glides down the stream while the awed assembly looks on in wonderment. Then the Lady of Shalott in a plaintive, beautiful voice sings her dirge and singing sweetly dies.

The entire performance was carried forward with a skill and completeness which showed excellent training. The players each knew his or her part, and seemed to enter into the spirit of acting with enthusiasm. The spectacle of the large, beautifully decorated barge with flowers fringed with green foliage, and the Lady in her robes of white lying so pathetically on her bower of death singing her funeral song, was very effective. The spot selected for the pageant was well adapted for it, with shady trees and a glorious body of water to bring into the picture.



The Lady of Shalott..........Mrs. Bennett
Sir Launcelot..........Miss Mildred Macknic
Narrator..........Mrs. Cook
Director..........Mrs. Richard M. Adams
Costumes..........Miss Mollie Schmeltzer

Stage settings and properties - Mrs. Brown, Mr. Wall, Mr. Strong, Mr. Thurlow, Miss Beedle, Mr. Latham, Mr. Simoncini.

Committee on dances - Miss Burdsall. Miss Beatty and Miss Kehrer.