Mixed marriage is one theme of this one-act play of fantasy and legend, in which it is at times difficult to decipher the monkeys from the humans. Members of the audience intimidate a conceited playwright who has an idea for a new play. His heroine is a female monkey, Jocko, who falls in love with an exiled European, Don Delgado. Out of disgust for humanity, they retreat to the jungle. Don Delgado's relatives object strenuously, and so does the Great Ape, a simian father figure who insists on the superiority of monkeys over man. Greed invades the Eden when Jocko discovers a gorge filled with diamonds and Don Delgado demands she risk her life again and again to fetch them out. The spectators agree and disagree with the opinions expressed, and it becomes difficult to distinguish the illusions of theatre and the reality of the world. Premiered at Hollywood's Horseshoe Theatre, Jocko (Or, the Monkey's Husband), "an exercise for the intellect," was the rage of Paris boulevard theatre in the 1800s. Boulevard theatre was the popular or free (or illegitimate) theatre that sprang up in France. The great playwrights and great performers, like Sarah Bernhardt, found opportunity to experiment and grow, much like off-Broadway and regional theatre in America today. One of the favorite characters was Jocko. The origin of Jocko is difficult to ascertain. Jocko appears in Italian puppet theatre and elsewhere in Europe. This modern version by Tim Kelly gathers the Jocko tales into a significant avant-garde play, just as the earlier versions of boulevard theatre were the vanguard of their day.
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