He Who Gets Slapped


March 10 & 11, 1931


Illini Theatre


A nobleman seeks refuge in a circus, working as a clown called “he who gets slapped” or HE for short. The wiser he speaks, the more ridiculous he sounds to the throng, and the more he gets slapped. HE is the source of laughter to all who do not understand him. He falls in love with the beautiful bareback rider, Consuelo. Theirs is a highly symbolic love, which her father plans to end by marrying her to another nobleman. In the end, HE and Consuelo take poison and die, and the nobleman who had sought her commits suicide.

Author: Leonid Andreyev, Translated from the Russian by Gregory Zilboorg

Historian’s Corner

Professor George Anson of the faculty at the Illinois Wesleyan University School of Music composed some of the incidental music for this play. Harry E. Riddle, replaced Professor Constantine Malmberg in the part of The Gentleman. Professor Malmberg was called out of town during the final week due to a death in the family.