THE EVIL GENIUS: A DRAMA IN FOUR ACTS

The stage version of The Evil Genius was written at the same time as the novel.  Although the play is one of Collins's better works for the theatre, it was never produced except for a single performance at the Vaudeville Theatre, 30 October 1885, purely to establish Collins's dramatic copyright.  Managements were probably wary of the play because of its theme of divorce and the 1883 failure of Rank and Riches.

 

No published version exists although the Sotheby's sale of 14 July 1898 featured a transcript and some acting copies (lot 600); and the original manuscript (lot 599) with the following note by Collins: "Dramatic Version of The Evil Genius.  Version performed on one afternoon at the Vaudeville Theatre to secure my copyright in 1885.  Since corrected and revised in 1886 on this copy.  To be destroyed when the piece is again performed in its corrected form."

 

Currently, various transcripts and copies are held at The British Library (MS 53345); Harvard (MS Eng 968.1 and MS Eng 968.3); and Texas.

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