Masonic references in the theatre
The appearances of Freemasonry in fiction range from the unremarked use of symbols such as the square and compasses, to the actual inclusion of masonic ritual. The following list of references is not definitive, nor are all entries confirmed. Please forward additional references, with details, to our editor.
William Rufus Chetwood, The Generous Freemason; or, the Constant Lady.|
With the humours of Squire Noodle, and his man Doodle. A tragi-comi-farcical ballad opera. In three acts [and in prose and verse] including Neptunes Masonic Ode. With the music prefix'd to each song. By the author of the Lovers Opera [W. R. Chetwood]., Chetwood William Rufus, [freemason]. London, 1731. 8o.. [COPAC: British Library].
A Short History of the first Masonic Opera, "The Generous Freemason" [written by W. R. Chetwood], and the words and music of "Neptunes Masonic Ode.", Chetwood William Rufus, Northcott Richard, 1914. pp. 3 ; 8o.. [COPAC: British Library].
Gilbert and Sullivan, The Grand Duke
Olga: ... We're all in itwe're all tiled here.
Ludwig: That has nothing to do with it. Know ye not that in alluding to our conspiracy without having first given and received the secret sign you are violating a fundamental principle of our Association?
(sings) By the mystic regulation
Of our dark Association,
Ere you open conversation
With another kindred soul,
You must eat a sausage roll.
If in turn he eats another
Thats a sign that hes a brother -
etc., etc. [AQC xciii 13; lxvi 104]
James P. Hart, The Freemason, or, The secret of the lodge room.
A domestic drama, in two acts. Dicks' standard plays ; no. 909. London : John Dicks, 1888. 13 p ; 19 cm. Drama. "First performed at the Queens Theatre, June 3, 1839." Secret of the lodge room. [Oxford]. [AQC xxxii 93]
Carl Laufs and Curt Kraatz, Die Logenbrüder (Are You a Mason?)
A three-act farce in which two non-masons attempt to convince others that they are masons, adopted from a German production at the Residenz Theatre, Berlin, 4 December 1897, "trialed" at the Theatre Royal, Woking on 9 September 1901 and presented at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London three days later. Also produced on Broadway by Leo Ditrichstein, it appeared on 1 April 1901 for 32 performances at Wallack's Theatre, and at the Garrick Theatre on 19 August 1901 for 32 performances and again 5 September 1904 for another 16 performances. Also made into a movie. See Masonic references in cinema. [AQC xxxii 93]
James Millar, The Man of Taste, or the Guardians, a Comedy.
First performed in the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London 1735. Found in Act IV:
Martin: "...as soon as I had finished settling with these polite accomplishments, I resolved to crown all with a Smattering of Philosophy; and for that purpose am now Fellow of the Royal Society."
Reynard: "And I am a Free-Mason, which is the same thing, you know."
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus.
The fifth version of this play about the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart featured a masonic sub-plot which did not appear in the film.
Amadeus, a play by Peter Shaffer, with an introduction by the director Sir Peter Hall and a new preface by the author. First published in England in 1980 by André Deutsch Limited, in a somewhat different form. The first American edition was published in 1981 by Harper & Row, Publishers, again in a somewhat different form. First Perennial edition published 2001. HarperCollinsPublishers. 124 p. pb ISBN : 0-06-093549-9
Thornton Wilder, The Matchmaker.
In the opening scene of a 2019 Vancouver Arts Club remounting of Thornton Wilder's 1954 slapstick comedy, the grumpy, misanthropic Horace Vandergelder wears an ornate masonic apron with square and compasses.
"The Man Who Would be King." Illustration reproduced from the frontispiece to Rudyard Kiplings Complete Works of Prose and Verse 1907. No artist credited. Further information can be found in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum vol. 93 (1980). "Freemasonry in Fiction", Frederick H. Smyth, 8 November, 1979 pp. 1-16 Also see AQC xxxii (1919) Henry Lovegrove, "Three Masonic Novels." ; W. B. Hextall, "A Masonic Pantomime and some other Plays", AQC xxi (1908) pp. 138-160.