|Gilbert's Plays > The Palace of Truth
The Palace of Truth opened at the Haymarket Theatre on 19 November 1870 and was the first of three successful "fairy comedies" which Gilbert wrote for John Balwin Buckstone at the Haymarket Theatre.
With this play, Gilbert struck out in a new direction with his plays. Up to this point his dramatic output had consisted of burlesques and extravaganzas. The Princess of 1870 had been a stepping stone, but with The Palace of Truth he firmly lauched himself into the field of drama.
The original source of the play is Madame Genlis's collection of stories Le Palais de la Vérité from which Gilbert distilled a single idea: a magical palace which forces everyone who enters it to speak the truth without realizing they are doing so. King Phanor takes his court there, and each of them unwittingly reveals his or her true character.
Plots based upon the idea of characters being forced to unconsciously reveal their true natures — or becoming what they pretend to be by magical means would feature regularly in Gilbert's output for the stage from this time on. It is, in fact, the first appearance of the "lozenge plot" which would prove so contentious in his partnership with Sullivan.
Page modified 13 August, 2011 Copyright © 2009 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved.