.EDWARD GORDON CRAIG A recent portrait photograph by Allan Chappelow. taken at Vence.


C. London.I Fifth impression with new illustrations. W. 1957 Printed in Great Britain by Butler and Tanner Ltd Frome and London .First published in 1911 by William Heinemann Ltd Great Russell Street.


ladies to pass. are fond of it and encourage its grc vth. and those half-dozen one did not invite and never would invite. without knowing much about art. of this book to my very dear friends. those managers of stores. sculptors. Coming after them is that group of kindly people. I happy to believe. because of their very evil or foolish intentions towards our For instance. whether they be painters. Well. my guests are made up of a thousand invited friends. who. those directors of journals. I willingly throw open the doors art. men and women. I feel very shy about meeting such guests. am Then there are other surprises. those engineers. will feel at home here. Well. are really Or should one stand on the of little account ? threshold and receive one's guests and hope that they will enjoy themselves ? I think I shall do the latter.PREFACE TO THE FIRST IMPRESSION. vi . musicians. These. in this case. poets or architects. the artists. will stand aside for a moment to allow first of all the beautiful Then there are the scholars. of course. even after one has practised that about which one theorizes. as I have only schooled myself in one particular branch of knowledge. These. ask WHAT for forgiveness 1911 should be said as Preface ? Should one from those one unwitShould one admit that words are tingly offends ? all nonsense. and that theories.

from Ireland and after these the shades of Vallentin. I included him among the shades. I first saw three examples of his work in 1908. we shall from welcome Hevesi. " Where is Appia. with their cheap cynicism and witty remarks which are calculated to put a blight upon every pleasant moment. . in the first edition of this book. best. and Wyspiansky. from Krakow.PREFA CE those sea captains. I saw some of Appia's designs in a portfolio belonging to Prince Wolkonsky. . . Mosquin. . Yeats. so. Sulergitski. from Amsterdam Antoine. who will attempt to rob our happy gathering of all enjoyment. from Munich Madame Guilbert. told that he was no more with us. that these people To the others I present what is will stay away. and I wrote to a friend " " My friend asking. vii . Switzerland l Stanislawski. Appia. . are the uninvited guests. the foremost stage-decorator of Europe. is not dead. A rare few. who come froni Moscow De Meyerkhold. Last of all. let us hope for the best. . perhaps. who comes from St. Petersburg Starke. upon every achievement. and I was told that the designer I 1 was was still living." This winter (1912) replied. and Katchalof. from Berlin . Paul Fort. They were divine . from Paris and our great poet who has won over the stage. and how can we meet ? Poor Appia died some years ago. and Fuchs. . . Well. there is what is known as the theatriHow many of these will accept my cal profession. . if they can Least of all possibly do so. from Budapest Appia. men who startle one by suddenly putting in an appearance and expressing a sincere and hearty desire to join in the festivities. from Frankfurt Vos. but certainly the invitation ? So when the rest of us have all assembled.

G. E. 1911. they would think that I suspected them of being spies. Vlll . London. And I think we can all feel happy on the progress which our movement has made.PREFA CE Being in my own house. I am not careful to be cautious among my friends. a movement which is destined ultimately to restore the Art of the Theatre into its ancient position among the Fine Arts. I let myself go. It is a great honour for me to feel that among my friends are the names of the first artists in Europe. within the house and beg that they will forever hold towards it and myself good thoughts. C. If I were to do so.

when I said that they must ! It is the dream put into words. was published in 1911. or judging the merits of actors. The t)ber-marionette is the actor plus fire. Some of it was previously published in The Mask. written between 1904 and 1910. not. not for what and the friends of any theatre wanting My to develop will. minus ix . friends one living actors replaced by things of wood than the great Italian actress of our day wants all the actors to die.PREFACE book.. ** Is it not true that when we cry Oh. no one will expect to I find in it rules for producing plays. is this monster the tJbermarionette ? " cry a few terrified ones. pray. and one of the Dialogues appeared as a booklet in 1905. 1908-9. It is the best I can do in the way of putting down in words some of the thoughts which have been born as I worked towards a new theatre. And what." And that is what I wanted the actors to do some actors the bad ones. So it is it must be taken for what it is. It is not a text book . I hope. welcome this new edition of my book. is it not? will be likely to ask it to be other than that. go to the Devil " we never really want that to happen ? What we mean is.. building theatres. They will know that I no more want to see the No go"and the Uber-marionette replace them. " get a little of his fire and come back cured.

without smoke and steam of mortality. I know. It is quite likely I should put back all the footlights were I at work in my own theatre and remove certain other I . and I think I owe them here a word of thanks. We cannot create anything worth seeing or hearing if.PREFACE the fire of the gods and demons. an egoism : the insulting idea. : had said was "some footlights'' what and I had done was to remove all the footlights then put some back again. they talked of it for ten years as a mad. and the safest. ix. The literal ones took me to mean pieces of wood one foot in height. that infuriated them. this audacity of doing as one likes in one's own house. think you know that I have. What lights. and written some books. Up blazed their indignation. . that I know of asks the bowler and the field how he is to play the oncoming ball. in my time. it's hideous. then as more recently. 32. to illuminate the darkness and its actors. but there it is. 1 I remember the same thing happened when someone put into my mouth the statement that I wanted to abolish the footlights. The point was gained by them. or if he is expected to look the other way so as to be prettily think is Our work stumped. engravers and 1 [See The Mask. vol. some wood engraving and etching. done a drawing. like a tame crat. No cricketer is like a sport in that. we must first ask others what they the best thing to do. p. I little I was encouraged by draughtsmen. a wrong. .] X .

Never was such a pack of inconsistent demands and counter demands let loose as the pooled intelligence" of these indignant ones has let loose at * * They demanded of me why I flatly refused to show them other ideas by which they might profit. " These brave pioneers" having produced quite a little effect with these ideas. others took up ! having the ordinary British desire in me to profit a little too. I only wish I were more inventive. Hands off " And sure enough before long they did begin to tinker with these notions themselves thereby imperilling their immortal souls one would fancy. more independant and had a finer style to bring to my work. Another point on which I hope you can agree with men me is this : Having damned shall all my notions for a new theatre we call it a different theatre a few offended ones of the stage and their satellites outside it. forbid me to carry them out. mustn't do this now I must dream. Quite a howl went up when I refused to do this. but should we later on find them of value we intend to carry them out for ourselves. should lay down the law that a nimble inventiveness. I'm to do now I'm xi do it I'm not to not to dream of .PREFACE of letters to do as I liked when doing these works. a firm independence and a style of one's own are undesirable and wrong. me I for the last fifteen years. It went on famously for a while. " We consider your ideas are worthless. since the things were damned. pioneering. and I see no sound reason why anyone belonging to the theatre. just because the theatre is so exceptional a place.

PREF A CE doing alone I must come here no. what would that lead to? At the worst it could only arouse a little more competition. is it not ? such an ado then. Xll . that be the whole fell purpose behind all the pro- paganda and misrepresentation. this E. don't come here go there all this in our England and all for what? What do you. then it is merely rather ridiculous. I wonder ? What would you say ? full then.. book is the dream.. to prevent someone taking Why the next step to realize something of his dream ? In brief. . costs from getting a theatre of I cannot believe that . For what harm could I possibly do to the great Dramatic Art of England if I had one poor theatre of my own. 19*4. To begin with I couldn't. and my competitors had the other 502 theatres ? Have they done such very great harm with the count of the 503 theatres of our Isles ? well what could I do with one ? Supposing I were to do all the things I write of in this book. who are my friends. Would that do good or harm. think it was all for? I believe it was all solely to ingratiate themselves with the man in the side street. C. Rapallo. G. if my . But I was told it was so as to prevent me at all own. but if that is all . but supposing I could achieve a fair proportion of them.

It's not the ideas that I would have changed it is only the way of writing them down that I would have tried to better. E. : know what it is they want and they insist that I make no alteration at all I am not to blot a line : the book today is to remain as it was in 1911. just keep still." say Heinemann's." does this mean that they fear say Heinemann's I am as terrible an enfant now as I was then in 1911 ? If so. " " NO.TO THE A READER IN 1955 WORD JUSTmine of a word before you begin to read this book of 1905-1911. I am far too happy to know that it is be my old publishers who will " responsible and that it is in their safe hands. C. G. to its pages but Heinemann's won't have it they . let me pretend to be that let me let me be an actor glare and grumble and rage to the end. Yes. I would have cut or added I wanted to revise it. in spite of my wishing to make it just a little better. : : xiu . so it delights me to do just as they want." What can I say to that ? It was Heinemann's who first printed it. you are not to make our book better you can't make it better. Anyhow.




The Art of the Theatre as pure imitation is nothing but an alarming demonstration of the abundance of life and the narrowness of Art. Craig. creative minds. and the Machinist So we have lost the tricks in place of marvels. cannot be but most grateful to Mr. destined to set on fire our pseudo-Theatres. The Realist offers imitation for life. but a bird is a marvel. they may be marvellous. His torch. spoiling almost all that is to be called Theatrical Art. return I the most ancient because he demands awe can which traditions of THINK Mr. and must regard all that is and shall be done in his honour to be done in the vital interest of the very Art of the Theatre. I am sure all who are working on the stage throughout Europe. and he gives us both. covered for us that in a rope-dancer there He dismay be more theatrical art than in an up-to-date actor reciting from his memory and depending on his prompter.INTRODUCTION to Craig have ever known. but they can never be a marvel. It is like the ancient example of the child who was trying to empty the sea with a shell. truth and the marvel of life that is. or stagemanagers priding themselves on their being creative minds. A flying machine is marvellous. is the truest revolutionist I dream. These two men are the Realist and the Machinist. has been kindled at the sacred fires of the most ancient arts. as for the wonderful tricks of the machinist. Revolution and revelation are not far each from the other. and. xvii . our monstrous and barbarous play-houses. we have lost the main thing possessed by the art. For more than a hundred years there have been two men working on the stage.

ALEXANDER HEVESI. Craig on the He found the forgotten wonderland with stage. He has his admirers and followers in our little Hungary. the sleeping beauty. and. marvel in all that does not seem to be marvellous at all. living in a country cottage. I am very sorry that I am not able to express all that I feel in a better style. I am obliged to write it as I can. That is the great discovery of Mr. and. with the knowledge of a student. we Hungarians. the whole of the new generation being under his influence. because Art is not imitation. and not as I would. more intense and more in which we are so profoundly interested. without any disparagement to the great merit and good luck of Prof. true Artist life is To the common more abundant. and has fought for it with the gestures of an artist. as close neighbours and good observers. DR. and with the constancy of a He has done the greatest service to the Art lover. July 10. dare say that almost all that has been done in Berlin and Dusseldorf. but vision. and it is a great happiness for us all that he comes off with flying colours. 1911. in Munich or in Manheim for the last ten years is to be called the success of Mr. the land of our dreams and wishes. Budapest.INTRODUCTION a marvel and Art living than True Art is always discovering the life itself. Reinhardt. far even from my English dictionaries. xviii . Craig. with the soul of a child. But I am writing in a language which is not mine. Drmnaturg-Regisseur of the .State Theatre.

forms which are consciously put round a substance. This I must always keep as something precious. if we rightly understand that. It distinguishes true from false in Ceremonial Form. and then there are untrue unsuitable. but there are suitable true forms. Whitman. I invite you to reflect on this. As for the smaller things which I can touch I am not content to believe in them. Religion and all else naturally clothes itself in forms. " It I the here as the Artist. bad. All I ask is that I may be allowed to see it. And if my King wanted to chop off my head I think I would submit cheerfully and dance to the block for the sake of ! SPEAK preserving Kings have given us everything. and we in times gone by have in return made up the splendid procession which follows in their wake. As the briefest definition one might say. Kings have not stopped giving us everything. but we. earnest solemnity from empty pageant. all are loyal. alas. as though they could ever be the thing. good . will be true. and though all artists labour and most are poor. and see it more splendid and more noble than any others can ever see it. all are worshippers of Royalty. xix . Therefore God save the King " All Architecture is what you do to it when look upon it. will correspond to the real Nature and purport of it. if there is a symbol of God." CARLYLE. have 1 my ideal of Kingship. All substances clothe themselves in forms.GOD SAVE THE KING is meritorious to insist on forms. If there is a thing in the world that I love it is a symbol. in all human things. the Sun. and what I see must be superb." l So do we artists feel about SDU oyalty. If there is a symbol of heaven that I can bend my knee to it is the sky. Forms which GROW round a substance.

But I know how nobly all has been arranged in this Garden. lately given those wonderful servants of ours over reign as king our senses have rebelled. are permitdisgusting. that we have bargained our senses away to our unimaginative reason. have searched the archives of knowledge at so great an expense. and I hear the echo of his laughter all the night. laughs And the gods are laughing ! My God. Our senses have had the vanity and the impertinence to revolt. It costs all this to become practical to-day . a pretty penny seems that in the Garden of Paradise. only with his eyes. the world. gods. and its pale echo soothes me to sleep through She night.o We Our GOD SAV E THE KIN G ! o up forming the splendid processions. so that it will no longer do " " to put our continual yearly fall down to woman. and expect have pampered Jupiter to send them a better. have lost the trick of it because we are losing the old power of our eyes and our other senses. our senses whom we : We is the price we pay. there are as many trees of knowledge as there are men. for my God's laughter is as the song of Paradise in my ears. So that it comes to this that we on our part have lost our royalty. our intellect so much of late. This is infinitely Our senses. if you please. He laughs on all the day. and we had surely better try to support her bitter laughter than that harsher scorn of the imagination It indeed. peerless. ting They want another ruler than the Soul. themselves the luxury of becoming tired. so will I find some way of giving thanks for And xx . so entirely down on me by day and as surely as this bounteous laughter pours flows away from me by night.

The Sun is for me the greatest of tyrants that. until they have lost the sense of hearing ? Better would it be for these beings to value once more their most noble servants the senses. But I am free to tell myself. let me but preserve the senses my all eyes. From the marble columns of Mount Carrara to the wrinkle on the face of my nurse. my ears. and attempt to perceive by their means the full meaning And when they of the voice and of the face of God. and all shall be well shall seem far more beautiful than terrible. By their help The will xxi . my touch. He is a terrible God to those who fear to From these he will " breed be burnt by him. Which is which never be put into words. For not only do these servants of our Royalty help to idealize all things for us. maggots. and." Beautiful and the Terrible. grumble. ears this laughter of the Gods is like the shrieking of a storm. While I worship the sun I cannot listen to the talk which twaddles on about the tyranny of kings. But part of my reason for loving the Sun. all is laid bare for me and illumined by his light nothing escapes the eye of God. have understood that they will see the full meaning of the King. is illumined by the Sun. is . All truth. Will it not shriek in their ears will it pass ? they be dead. fact. in until .o it all : GOD S AVE THE KING! o thanksgiving to the joyous laughter and the it brings. and pray that it will Royal comfort that But to many pass. but they also help to fix a limit to our vanity. and these people raise their eyebrows. the truth of tyranny no less than the truth of slavery.

passes along our way. nor the King as he Our ears seem to be deaf. The hem of the robes' brocade was once pleasant to our fingers' touch to touch the silken glove with our lips was once a privilege and a luxury. we must slave like thieves. If I had lost the sense of sight I should be unable to see this glory. so depart. I should look for it to work some practical daily miracle in vain. we begin not to hear the song of Paradise. that the miracle is just the passage of this symbol of the Divine.*> GOD SAVE THE KING! o I recognize my God as he rises like the spirit of Imagination from the East and sails across the blue straits of heaven. Our touch. . Mystic voices seem to cry. having robbed ourselves of our greatest possession. we fail to pick up the chorus which follows in the wake of Royalty. oh noble consummation Afraid any longer to serve like noblemen. Whereas." This seeking to know more this desire of the threatens to rob our senses of their vitality our eyes may become dim till we shall no longer recognize the God before us. . is growing coarse. Now we have become the mob. not seeing it. our fine senses. " and we answer rebel Seek to know no more : " liously. like shadows. ! xxii . this Sun. I know that the miracle comes and goes. too. for " And that seeming motion of this God is enough man to know. this seeming motion of the Sun from east to west. I should demand other miracles from it than Happiness may expect. deny me this and an eternal curse fall on ye. ambition's aim. seeing this daily glory. I will be satisfied. and." "Show Come brain his eyes and grieve his heart.

Florence. Long live the King 1 E. by the grace of Royalty. slaves chained together daily to be released by our imagination. refusing true Freedom. that only power which achieves But for me.<^> GOD SAVE THE KINO! o We are becoming veritable by circumstances. I am a free man. G. C. XX111 . 1911.


merely making the best of a bad job that am forced to alter my first and more optimistic dedication to my second. development. haps no surer sign of it can be pointed to than that all those whose work lies in the Theatre are to be continually heard announcing that all is well and that the Theatre is to-day at its highest point of no desire for a change would spring up instinctively and continually as it ever does in those who visit or ponder on the modern well. both physical and mental. How could it be otherwise ? Peris round us. Therefore the second thoughts are best. I DEDICATE THIS TO THE SINGLE COURAGEOUS INDIVIDUALITY IN THE WORLD OF THE THEATRE WHO WILL SOME DAY MASTER AND REMOULD IT. They it is good to make the best of a bad job. SECOND THOUGHTS.THE ARTISTS OF THE THEATRE OF THE FUTURE DEDICATED TO THE YOUNG RACE OF ATHLETIC WORKERS IN ALL THE THEATRES. But if all were Theatre. rriHEY JL and I it is also say say that second thoughts are best. What a pity and what a pain No to me that we should be obliged to admit it ! such race of athletic workers in the Theatre of today exists . It is because the Theatre is in this . degeneration.

or felt " Sheng to Chang Fa-Shou. Perhaps . and then I look around me for those to whom I can speak and for those who will listen and. and am understand me. " It is come. houses and lands if " 1 it is the man they stand in the way of his art who will give up personal ambition and the temporary success of the moment." a stele A. desire who shall an agreeable wealth of smooth guineas.I). the Ssti. liberal founder of this Temple. mother. the manifold net of a fivefold covering. the boy or faces me. are a health. its power. under lite cut bonds Engraved upon Kensington Museum. Therefore to content that he alone shall the man who will. 535 (China). 1 you have been a painter for the longing towards moveor you have been a manufacturer. now in the South Wu 2 . as Blake leave father. young man you have already been a years in a theatre. It is to him I speak. but demand as his reward nothing less than its the restoration of his home. of theatrical parents a while but have ment you quarrelled with your parents when you were eighteen. of family affection and worldly cares t etc. I see the force which shall create the race to him says. he who will cease to . because you wished to &:> on the stage.DEDI C A TION wretched state that it becomes necessary that some one shall speak as I do. listening. YOU few . its liberty. I speak. the backs of a race of unathletic workers. man in Him I see. was able. I and him of personal courage. understand. or you have been born . and I see nothing but backs turned towards me. Still the individual.

to be intoxicated with the air. why you wanted to go on the stage. stage. and to create this state in It is . on the stage. unfortunately. some have answered their parents. this desire to be merged in some other creature's being. They perhaps asked and you could no reasonable answer because you wanted to give do that which no reasonable answer could explain And had you in other words." I think that said to your parents. " I want to fly. you are upon the stage. others. this newly awakened feeling. a young man will say.WANT and they would not let TO FLY 9 you." If. and not knowing that it was the desire to live in the imagination. . you would have probably got further than had you " I want to alarmed them with the terrible words." go Millions of such men have had the same desire. this desire for movement. try and get out of your head then that you want to be an actor and that it is the 3 . I want to go on the ." definite This is probably your case. this desire to fly." not that which they want and the tragedy I think when walking. you want to exist in some other state. Try and get out of your head now that you really want "to go on the stage. " I want to be an actor. you wanted to fly. You want to fly. " " and it is only perhaps I want to be an actor when in the presence of the irate parents that in " " his desperation he turns the into the perhaps " I want. disturbed with begins.

from what is unimportant . . And with this obedience to your manager comes the first and the greatest temptation which you will encounter in your whole work. you have only to ask me for them and I am ready to serve you. you have accepted an engagement from the manager of the Theatre. but because you are working under him. You must serve him faithfully. I shall try to sift what is important for us with. and may be it will be of some use to you.OBEDIENCE TO YOUR MASTER Let us say that you are you have been so for four or five years. I shall give you the value of my experience for what it is worth. and if while I am telling you all this you want any doubts cleared or any more exact explanations or details. and you may with courage and complete good spirits throw what you will to the winds and yet lose nothing of that which you stood up for in the beginning. nothing else but this one thing to cheer yourself But I'm going to give you all sorts of things to cheer yourself with. because it is probable your personality has . I do not mean to say you must not lose your person. yet be above the stage. ality. To begin with. You will not admit it to any one your parents would apparently seem to have been right you will not admit it to yourself. for you have of all end your desires. already an actor . . not because he is paying you a salary. You may remain on. Because you must not merely obey his words but his wishes and yet you must not lose yourself. and already some strange doubt has crept upon you.

While serving your apprenticeship under your first manager listen to all he has to say and all he can show you about the theatre. must not lose the first feeling which possessed when you seemed to yourself But you must not you you to be in movement with a sense of swinging upwards. The other sources of inspiration are music I tell and architecture. and go further for yourself and search out that which he does not show you. . for it would mean book upon book to put the thing clearly before you. you to do this because you will not have it told you by your manager. lose sight of that which you are in quest of. it is to one part of nature only. This was not so with Henry Irving. study They take the Theatre as their source of inspiration. . and if at times some actors go to nature for assistance.^OBEDIENCE not come to its TO N AT U RE o complete form. you will find greater inspiration than inside it : I mean in nature. . But you can remember that as actor he was unfailingly 5 . Go where they are painting the scenes go where they are twisting the electric wires for the lamps go beneath the stage and look at the elaborate constructions go up over the and ask for information about the ropes and stage the wheels but while you are learning all this about the Theatre and about acting be very careful to remember that outside the world of the Theatre . In the Theatre they from the Theatre. about acting. but I cannot stop here to tell you of him. to that which manifests itself in the human being.

what they tell you he did is another. and that he studied all nature in order to find symbols for the expression of his thoughts. I have had some I played in the same Theatre as Irving in Macbeth.HENRY IRVING right. and you will doubt my counsel. that I began to understand how much value was in tradition. The competent actor thereupon revealed to my amazed intelligence something so banal. What Henry Irving did is one thing. especially one who was an enthusiastic admirer of Henry Irving. because it had slipped my . and I have had several such experiences. did such and such a thing in such and such a way . . the north or the south of England. and later on I had the opportunity of playing Macbeth myself in a theatre in experience of this. memory. You will be probably told that this man. Siddons played 6 Lady Macbeth. I therefore asked him to be good enough to show me how Irving had treated this or that passage what he had done and what impression he had created. for it is upon such tradition that the Theatre has existed and has degenerated. and so lacking in distinction. to I was curious know how much would strike a capable and reliable actor of the usual fifteen years' experience. so clumsy. I have been shown by a competent and worthy actress how Mrs. whom I hold up to you as a peerless actor. but with all respect to your present manager you must be very careful how much credence you give to what he says and to what he shows.

way but . another action there. The things which she showed me were utterly worthless in so far as they had no unity. When you have studied these thoroughly you will find some which are of value. although one action here. would have some kind of reflected value. and you will certainly find that the experience as actor has been necessary. The pioneer seldom finds an easy road.^INCORRECT TRADITION o She would move to the centre of the stage and would begin to make certain movements and certain exclamations which she believed to be a reproduction of what Mrs. you will have all the advantages and the disadvantages of pioneering 7 . although you will disregard what I say and do as I did if you have much of the volcano in you but you will do better to listen. . I do not recommend you to do the same. remembering that this your apprenticeship as actor is but the very beginning of an exceedingly long apprenticeship as craftsman in all the crafts which go to make up the art. Siddons. accept and adapt that which tuition. they tell you. Siddons had done. and as your does not end in becoming a celebrated actor but is a much longer and an untrodden way leading to a very different end. and so I began to see the uselessness of this kind of and it being my nature to rebel against those who would force upon me something which seemed to me unintelligent. I presume she had received these from some one who had seen Mrs. I would have nothing to do with such teaching.

if. serve your term of apprenticeship as is . Your whole life is not too long. Did you think when the longing came upon you and when you told your family that you must go upon the stage that such a great longing was to be so soon satisfied ? Is satisfor lost. as 1 have said. and spreading a sense type. in fact. I call to mind one actor whom I know and who shall stand as the A genial companion. and then only at the very end will some small atom of what you have desired come to you. and the truest sense of comradeship. as actor actor faithfully and well. that a five years' quest can make a parody of it ? But of course not. faction so small a thing ? Is desire a thing of nothing.THE END IN VIEW : o . keep in mind what I have told you that your aim not to become a celebrated actor. it is not to become the manager of a so-called successful theatre it is not to become the producer of elaborate and much-talked-of plays it is to become an artist of the Theatre and as a base to all this you must. possesses generosity. o ON THE ACTOR o As a man he ranks high. Short cuts lead you may give yourself up nowhere in this world. . generous in giving assistance to younger and less accomplished of 8 . And so you will be still young when you are full of years. If at the end of five years you are convinced that you know what will your future be . you are succeeding. companionship in the theatre.

Woodcut. 1920.PLATE King Lear " 1 the storm. .


knows that geniality is a rare thing on the stage and that the bubbling personality is always welcomed. He also knows that laughter is capable of very many sounds. and not merely Ha. with about as much knowledge of the art as a cuckoo has of anyin the centre . and. when standing thing which is at all constructive. Ha.WHAT THE ACTOR KNOWS actors. and produces nothing positive. Anything to be made according to plan or design is foreign to his nature. finally. manner. by art. able to hold his own at the side of the stage instead of with a voice which commands my attention when I hear it. he would be lost in amazement and would consider 9 . yet this arrives by a kind of good-natured instinct and not through knowledge. which he continually For instance. Instinct and expe- rience have taught him a few things (I am not going to call them tricks). Ha. But his good nature tells him that there others are on the stage besides himself. that this same bubbling personality and all this same instinctive knowledge doubles or even trebles its power when guided by scientific knowledge. But what he does not know is this. He forte. continually picturesque in his speaking about the work. and that must be a certain feeling of unity between their thoughts and his. that If he should hear me say this now is to say. he has learned that the sudden drop in the voice from forte to piano has the power of accentuating and thrilling the audience as much as the crescendo from the piano into the repeats.

tains thinks that Shakespeare wrote Othello in a passion of jealousy and that all he had to do was to write words which came into his mouth. dry. but and I think others hold the same opinion. that the words had to pass through our author's head. and that it was just through this process and through the quality of his imagination and the strength and calmness of his brain that the richness of his nature was able to be entirely and clearly expressed. mounand brooks to create works of art. and to him through his intelligence and his will. He is one who thinks that emotion creates emotion. or everything which they touch would be given a definite and beautiful form. It is the particular power which belongs to man alone. and hates anything to do with calculation. Nature not alone supply all which goes to create a and it is not the privilege of trees. and by no other process could he have arrived at this. let us say. It is not necessary for me to do with calculation. must have not only the rich nature from which to draw his wealth. and the brain to know how to put 10 it before . My friend probably work of art. Therefore it follows that the actor who wishes to perform Othello.THE CREATIVE POWER ^ that I was saying something which was finicking. but must also have the imagination to know what to bring forth. and not at all for the consideration of an artist. the 1 first am of the opinion. will to point out that all art has and that the man who dis- regards this can only be but half an actor.

he would tell his brain to inquire into the depths. It will contain his brain we can say that the finer it allow itself. and there fashion certain symbols which. the sphere of the imagination. 11 . perfect actor would be he whose brain could conceive and could show us the perfect symbols of all which his nature contains. without exhibiting the bare passions. He jvould not ramp The and rage up and down in Othello. re- membering how much depends upon its co-worker. T HE IDE AL ACTOR o Therefore the ideal actor will be the man who possesses both a rich nature and a powerful brain. to learn all that lies there. would none the less tell us clearly about them. his nature Of everything. point with its restless exhibition of but would create that perfect moderate heat which it would know how t^ keep temperate. the perfect actor who should do this would in time find out that the symbols are to be made And mainly from material which lies outside his person.o us. rolling his eyes and clenching his hands in order to give us an impression of jealousy. and also the less liberty will it allow its fellow-worker. sternest control. But I will speak to you fully about this when I get For then I shall show you to the end of our talk. and then to remove itself to another sphere. the intellect would bring both itself and the emotions to so fine a sense of reason that the work would never boil to the bubbling activity. the Emotion. knowing how valuable to it is its Finally. the quality the less liberty will Of we need not speak.

and the significance of this is most important. I should say that the face of Irving was 1 See The Actor and the tlber-Marionette. 54. that it is amazing to me that many people have not seen more clearly what the future must be. pointed out so clearly the right use of expression as opposed to the wrong use. photographs. I think you will find it difficult to say when you look on the face. Procure all the pictures. Can you not see the mouth being made to move by the brain. that it betrays the weaknesses which may have been in the nature. and the best of all the books is his face. with his brain commanding his nature. To begin with you will find a mask. you can of him. 12 . has been Henry There are many books which tell you Irving. drawings.THE FACE OF HENRY IRVING that the actor as he is to-day must ultimately disappear and be merged in something else if works of art are to be seen in our kingdom of the Theatre. p. Try and conceive for yourself that face in movement movement which was ever under the powerful control of the mind. and try to read what is there. about him. 1 Meantime do not forget that the very nearest approach that has ever been to the ideal actor. and that same movement which is called expression creating a thought as definite as the line of a draughtsman does on a piece of paper or as a chord does in music ? Cannot you see the slow turning of those eyes and the enlargement of them ? These two movements alone contained so great a lesson for the future of the art of the theatre.

o ON THE STAGE-MANAGER ^> After you have been an actor you must become a stage-manager. Rather a misleading title this. have compromised. That is to say. Try and think of all this when losing hope that you will ever bring your nature as exhibited in your face and your person under sufficient command. continue to learn all that has to be learned. I give that the mask is the only right medium of portraying the expressions of the soul as shown through the expressions of the face. They have been met by this difficulty and have shirked it. something other than your face and your person which you may use and which is easier to control. and have not dared to arrive at the conclusion which an artist must arrive at if faithful to himself. and then you will learn finally that it is not to be entirely controlled. but make no attempt yet awhile to close with it. as to how they set about controlling the face. Know this.THE MASK AS THE MEDIUM the connecting link between that spasmodic and ridiculous expression of the human face as used by the theatres of the last few centuries. 18 . and the masks which will be used in place of the human face in the near future. arrives Know for a truth that there is you this hope so that when this moment you will not do as the other actors have done. Continue to be an actor.

and. though the experience will not for you It is bring either great delights to you or great results to the theatre in which you work. and whether the nails had been ordered. and you held your head a little higher for a week. and of the additional one or two pennies that go with the I suppose that you thought that the and last wonderful day of your dream had great arrived. were fixed to the doors of the dressing-rooms ? Am I not right in saying that you had to descend again to the stage and stand around waiting to see if things were done to time ? whether the scenery was brought in and hung up to time ? Did not 14 . " this title. How well it sounds. yet I fear there are no masters of the stage science. a peculiar position." Every theatre has a stage-manager. what was it ? Am I not right in saying that it meant an early attendance at the theatre to see after the carpenters. You will therefore remember the proud joy you felt when you were sent for. with some solemn words informed that your manager had decided to advance you to the position of stage-manager.MASTER OF THE THEATRE will not be permitted to manage the stage. and begged to remind you of the importance of the post. and whether the cards situation. and you can but benefit by the experience. and looked down on the vast land which seemed to stretch out before you. Perhaps already you are an under stage-manager. But after then. Stage-manager ! it indicates Master of the science of the stage.

GENERAL UTILITY MAN TO-DAY the costumiere come tearfully to you saying that some one had taken a dress from its box and sub- another ? Did you not request the costumiere to bring the offending party before you ? and did you not have to manage these two in some tactful way so as to offend neither of them. old chap. Having told them that were you not relieved by sudden appearance of the director of the And'did you theatre. old fellow. them you had been there already four hours." here. and did not the actors arrive at that hour apparently in liked you. stituted and yet so as to get at the truth of the matter ? did you ever get at the truth of the matter ? did these two go away nursing anything but a loathed hate towards you ? Put the best case. and with their superb conviction that the doors of the theatre had just that moment been total ignorance that opened because they had arrived least six of these actors in the ? And did not at next quarter of an hour come up to you and with an or " Look I say. one And And of and the other began to intrigue the next hour. Did you find yourself against you still on the stage at about half-past ten. generally the chief actor ? not instantly go to him with the different requests 15 ." start asking you to " arrange something for them on the stage so as to make their task a little easier ? And were not the things which they asked all so opposed one to the other. that to assist any one actor would have been to offend the other five ? you would do your the best.

hoping that he. as master. ? movement twisting his chair back with a sudden The actor. that at yesterday's rehearsal Mr. would take the responsibility of arranging all these difficult matters ? And did he not reply " Don't bother me with these details to you. The first words are spoken the first difficulty arrives. and ." Certainly. It is the first little hitch." replies the stage-manager.THE REHEARSAL which had been made to you. ever so slight. and yet not wishing to take any fault " Are these the to himself. the position. " director turns to the stage-manager. Brown rose at this or that line. The play opens with a conversation between two gentlemen seated at a table. a trifle distressed that he has been the cause of the first delay in the day's proceedings. all? And then the rehearsal commenced. look of disapproval. the director interrupts with a gentle . " chairs which we are supposed to use on the night ? The him. passes from tary the director. and asks " Are these the chairs we use upon the night ? " A momensir. and is reflected upon the faces of the No. asks with equal courtesy. Having gone on for about five minutes. please do what you think best." and did not you then instantly know in your heart that the whole thing was a farce the title. and a ! . sir 16 actors. He asks if he is not correct in saying question. two little restless wind passes round " the theatre. I think it would be best to use at rehearsal the chairs we " " are going to use on the night.

but she may be said to these orders ? " Thunder-clap. A sharp flash of lightning shows itself on the face of the director. she has seen no reason for arriving in time." A thin. that is to say. 17 . sir. and a sudden frown of thunder hangs upon the brows of the actors.THE REHEARSAL The stage-manager he cries. comes on to the stage and stands " We before the judgment seat. I " [Miss Jones is of the leading lady. shall use the chairs at rehearsal which have been " No chairs. The stage-manager asks to see the property list. sad-looking is little man."] Hence the irritation of the entire company. had orders. mother. who is the wife of the daughter the director. sir. When she arrives she will have the look upon her face of having been concerned with more important busi" ness elsewhere. " Isherwood. Being the wife of the director. Her position is not defined in the " assist her theatre." ordered for this scene. two chairs in Scene II. claps his hands. the list of Isherwood casts his eyes things used in the scene." Great moment Isherwood replies. " Miss Jones. as they are and red brocade. to put these chairs with pink for the director. He hesitates. have been ordered for this scene. and hence the loss of the art. Hence the waste of time in so many theatres." The wind rises. across the desert of the stage in search pathetically of the leading lady. with a mask which impenetrable on account of its extreme sadness." Who gave you Hence the absence of the chairs.

who rather plays the the stageof the tyre than part the axle of the wheel of the stage. authority of his title. or so he humoured expected to be as fresh and as goodThis would be an easy and pleasant matter if he had the is without a break of a minute. the scene-painting room. You will do well. The rehearsal The stage-manager has to be there all continues. It teaches the man who how assumes these terrible responsibilities for him when it great a need there is to study the science of the stage. hold few opinions." But it is none the less a good if a strange experience. the carpenmust hear all their grievances. if in his " entire and absolute control contract lay the words of the stage and all that is on the stage. and never forget that it is a position capable of development. must see ters' room everything being delayed and when the company returns to the theatre fresh after a pause of an hour . 18 . he " so-oalled dispense with the services of a " by being the veritable stage-manager may stage -manager himself. after having remained an actor for five years to assume these difficult responsibilities of stage-manager for a year or two. so that comes to his turn to be the director of the Theatre.WHY This is A GOOD EXPERIENCE first trial of but one and the manager. and yet property room. he must retire to the . that is to say. the time with but little control all and permitted to responsible for the and after it is over. while the actors may errors retire to their luncheon.

and working with the manipulators of the artificial light. if I had no further ideal. 187 of this volume. rehearsing the actors and conveying to them the requirements of each movement. You will find it on p. each situation. 1 This little it 19 . one who is able to take a play and produce it himself. and conveying to them clearly what is required. my letter that I was going to give you all sorts of things to cheer yourself with. Now. so that you should have absolute faith in the greatness of the task which you set out to achieve. that I had nothing to give you I should consider whatever and I should urge you to think no more But I told you at the beginning of of the Theatre. there that the nature of his position should make figure in the whole world It should therefore be your aim become such a man.THE IDEAL STA GE 1 -M A N A G E R About the ideal stage-manager I have written in my book. and it is now free once more to roam the world under the protection of Mr. no further truth. to reveal to you about the Stage and to about your future than this that I have told you of. The Art of the Theatre. and here I remind you of this again lest you should think that this ideal manager of whom I speak is the ultimate into which book I have been able to rescue from a dungeon had been thrown. if I had nothing better to bring to you than these suggestions. designing the scenery and the costumes and explaining to those who are to make them the requirements of these scenes and costumes. Heinemann. and I have shown him the most important of the Theatre.

Read what I have written about him in The Art of the Theatre. you will have to work in that of the ideal stagemanager. these ordinary difficulties. and your best way to do this is to study how to master the different materials which. for a little diplomatist tact is is a dangerous thing. You will then possess your own Theatre. much more to follow. and that your hope shall be so high. and what you place upon your stage will all be the work of your brain. You have only to take care that in exercising this tact you do not become a little diplomatist. shall be higher. and that you have learned that great required and no great talent. Keep fresh your desire to emerge from that position. I take it that I have already explained to you.AND BE YON D achievement possible for you. and how you may learn something about It is now time best 20 . but rest perfectly sure that I have more. not even that of the poets or the priests. To return to the duties of the stage-manager. later on. and you must waste no time so as to be ready. ON SCENE AND MOVEMENT to tell you how I believe you become a designer of stage scenery and may costumes. that no other hope. or that you have already experienced. and let that suffice you for the time being. It is not. much of it the work of your position is when your hands.

our aim is to increase it. how you may to who work with you work in bring the harmony with each other. and will go on studying. and the preparation will take you a year or two for each play . I say this only after very many doubts and after much experience and you must always bear in mind that it is from my experience that I speak. most of all. you will have no more doubts as to what impression you want to create. as I say. we are not going so far as offer I are to accept to dispense with it here. the production of general and broad effects appealing to the eye which will 21 . the play still retains some value for us. Let is me tell you at the commencement that it the large and sweeping impression produced by means of scene and the movement of the figures. your exercise will be to see how best you can create that impression. and. the works which you wish to present. You have been studying. you that experience. with the scene.THE STUDY OF THE PLAY the uses of actors artificial light . and We it that are we not going to waste that . with the ideas of the author. and that the best I can do is but to . Therefore it is. You will know these so well by the time you begin to prepare them for the stage. which is undoubtedly the most valuable means at your disposal. Although you know that have parted company with the popular belief that the written play is of any deep and lasting value to the Art of the Theatre. Let us here limit them to the four great tragedies by Shakespeare.

! departed at vision all for which I saw But you ask me and what colour ? What are the lines which are the lofty lines. you are quick in your question as to what actually to create for the eye. . We know the play well. first of all to our mind's eye. It is idle to talk about the distraction of scenery. nest rock . one eighth of an inch from the in the mind's eye ? what form this rock shall take Go to them. . In what kind of place is that play laid T How does it look.'MACBETH add a value to that which has already been made valuable by the great poet. Come now. 22 now moment at down on your paper never mind the cliff. have I in. because the question here is not how to create some distracting how to create a place which harmonizes with the thoughts of the poet. and I see the moist cloud which envelops the head of this rock. First and foremost comes the scene. glance but a them quickly set them the lines and their direction. but rather Ultimately this moisture will destroy the ultimately these spirits will destroy the men. a place for fierce and warlike men to inhabit. I see a lofty and steep rock. That is to say. secondly to our eye ? I see two things. I answer as Let it mount up swiftly place there a rock I tell you. Now then. we take Macbeth. a place for phantoms to scenery. and which are to be seen in any lofty cliff ? . convey the idea of a mist high. Now. Swiftly which hugs the head of this rock.

let them go high. the man . Two one for the rock. they wish to tell you of the moss of the tell Highlands and of the particular rain which descends in the month of August. finished when the scene is you will not see with your eye the effect you have seen with your mind's eye. lack of faith in the value lies in limitation and in proportion which is which the undoing of all the good ideas which are born in the minds of the scene designers. when looking at the picture which Shakespeare has indicated. they cannot go high enough and remember that on a sheet of paper which is but two inches square you can make a line which seems to tower miles in the air. the spirit. yet forget not that each for the mist. take and from me. Now.THE COLO V R Do not be afraid to . It is this lack of courage. They wish to make twenty statements at once. but look in the play of the poet. for it is all a matter of proportion and nothing to do with actuality. Touch not a single other colour. They wish to us not only of the lofty crag and the mist which clings to it . quickly. and you can do the same on your stage. accept this statement colour contains for a many variations. ask about the colours ? What are the colours that Shakespeare has indicated for us ? Do not first look at Nature. They cannot resist 23 . but only these two colours through your whole progress of designing your scene and your costumes. one You . If you are timid moment and mistrust yourself or what I tell.

make haste do not others who read this in other countries will : find in it technical truths before you are aware of it.PRACTISE AND LOSE NO TIME showing that they know the form of the ferns of Scotland. and that the mist hover the spirits innumerable. to speak more technically. and that their archaeological research has been thorough in all matters relating to the castles of Glamis tell is and Cawdor. And so in their attempt to tell us these : many facts. and stole thence life o* the building/ do as I tell you. and yet must be seen to be clearly separate from the human and more material beings. even if he look but with 24 It is . obvious then that some curious sense of a dividing line must be created somewhere upon the stage so that the beholder. sacrilegious murder hath broke ope Lord's anointed temple. so that you may see for yourself that what I say to you is true and. on paper both on a small scale and on a large scale practise with colour on canvas. all confusion <f Most The The So. You have swarm the in to consider that at the base of this rock clans of strange earthly forces. cloud of mist is not all that and will outstrip you But the rock and its you have to consider. you have to think of the sixty or seventy actors whose movements have to be made at the base of the scene. for if you if you are an Englishman. Practise with the pencil . they us nothing. and of the other figures which obviously may not be suspended on wires.

and from that bring the figures which you have fashioned and which are to stand for the your men and women. You have room enough there for all Now then. bless Call to mind heart. you bring this tone and colour downwards until it reaches nearly to the level of the floor but you must be careful to bring this colour and this tone down in some place which is removed from the material rock-like substance. and all spirits. that you have got in the back of your head the recollection that a little later on in the play come " " as they are called. Let there be a void below as well as above. Is it not precisely the same colour to begin with ? and do 25 . Now then. and let these paths mingle in one flat do this. and in this void let your mist fall and fade. shall things are separate things. space taking up half or perhaps three quarters of the stage. interiors several But. open your stage other parts. let it be the side of a cliff round which many paths twist. know you are yet not quite comfortable in your mind about this rock and this mist I know I . tone and colour (one colour) will have given the ethereal to the mist-like vacuum. don't bother about that your ! that the interior of a castle is made from the stuff which is taken from the quarries. Let your rock possess but half the width of the stage. You ask me to explain technically what I mean.A TECHNICAL EXPLANATION be convinced that the two I will tell his corporal eye. . you how to Line and proportion having suggested the material rock-like substance.

You will have but to give variations of the same theme. be the most carefully studied parts of the whole But in telling you not to waste an inch of scene. as rain. him I do not therefore mean to convey that you must show every inch of him. the sun. the wind. You must not. wonder of wonders. nor place him in such a position that an inch of him is Therefore the place on which he walks must lost. and by these means you will. actually have preserved unity. Your make never to let upon these two themes but remember go of the main theme of the play when searching for variations in the scene. waste a single man. the hail. So you will not have to change lightning. success will depend upon your capacity to variations .A TECHNICAL EXPLANATION not the blows of the axes which hew out the great stones give a texture to each stone which resembles the texture given it by natural means. the snow. in order so that you may seize some of her treasure 26 . the rock the brown . By means of suggestion you may bring on the stage a sense of all things the rain. therefore. and you must be able to increase the impression of your numbers without actually adding another man to your forty or fifty. the mist the grey . the intense heat but you will never bring them there by attempting to wrestle and close with Nature. frost ? your mind or change your impression as you proceed. It is needless to say more on this point. By means of your scene you will be able to mould the movements of the actors.

especially something clever. By means of suggestion in movement you may translate all the passions and the thoughts of vast numbers of people. by a daily and a much slower initiation. practising what we speak about for a few years. and. only the more important and ous for valuable parts of my teaching would last. is useless upon the stage. to begin with. accuracy of detail.A TECHNICAL EXPLANATION and lay it before the eyes of the multitude. I call to mind the amount 27 of trouble I had when . and for Heaven's sake don't think it is important that you have got to do something. For instance. let us add for the sake of the cause. It be a different thing if you could study with would me. I am afraid that if I practical and inexpensive ? were to commit my method to writing I should write something down which would prove not so much useless as bad. and. Do you want further directions as to how to become a designer of scenes and how to make them beautiful. or by means of the same you can assist your actor to convey the thoughts and the emotions of the particular character he impersonates. don't worry particularly don't worry your brain. But I can give you now some more general ideas of things which you might do with advantage and things which you may leave undone. Your nature would in time learn to reject that which was unsuited to it. Actuality. For it might be very dangermany people to imitate my method.

I had to take The play of Henry IV. and outside the glimpses of English great cluster and fluster of " scurvy knaves. manager where the chairs and the tables and other matters of detail played over-important and photographic parts. and. of course. and thirty or forty other characters that trotted round this part." who ran in and out. all this as a good example. and I thought it rather unique and daring at the time to place this door a little bit off the straight. not knowing any better. consisted to my mind of one excellent part. Prince Hal. There were the great flagons. that swinging jig tune which we have all grown so familiar with. There at the back was the usual door. There was the little piece of jovial music to take up the curtain. on the curtain rising there was to be a . therefore. I was working in a theatre at the time. and a noise of jovial drinkers in the next room. do not hold with others that it was of any value whatever. and. There was the window with the latches and the bolts and the curtains ruffled up to look as if they had been used for some time.MY EARLY EXPERIENCE I was a boy somehow produce of twenty-one over the struggle to designs traditional in character without feeling at all in sympathy with the tradiI tion. I remember making designs for scenes I was working under an actorfor Henry IV. There was the usual table with the chairs round it on the right side. there were the three girls who pass at the back of 28 landscape. and I count it as so much wasted time.

^ WOULD-BE IMITATORS o One pops her head in at the window with a laugh arid a word to the potman. because. or even other plays by the same author have conjured up. the relation of Hamlet to Macbeth is quite close. I have seen some of the scenery which is ders. carefully how I make " said they. and the one play may influence the other. sinking to piano of the orchestra as the character enters. to explain to scenes. but the them my strangest of people have said this to me. and if I 29 . And so for you how to make your scenes is well-nigh It would lead you into terrible blunimpossible. was only when I banished the whole of this from my thoughts. and it is utter rubbish. me to tell supposed to be produced according to my teaching. laughing. first speaking My whole work of that time was based on these stupid restless details which I had been led to suppose a production could be made from and it . that I began to find anything fresh which might be of value to the play. with sweet simplicity. then I could make some too. I have been asked so many times. by people eager to make a little swift success or a little money. and so on. I let my scenes grow out of not merely the play. Then there is the dwindling of the laughter and the the window. but from broad sweeps of thought which the play has conjured up in me." You will hardly believe it. and no longer permitted myself to see with the eyes of the producers of the period of Charles Kean. For instance.

We are concerned with the heart of this thing. and how and why I do everything else. I would ! always do so. at times malignant. Therefore approach it from all sides. But you how vain that would be To in tell them in five minutes or in five hours or to do a thing which it a lifetime to begin to do would be utterly impossible. And yet when I have been unable to bring myself to a day how even has taken me tear my knowledge so up into little to these people they have been shreds and give it most indignant. and do not let yourself be attracted away by the idea of scene as an end 30 . it is only that if I were to tell you. the way they are to be handled. you see it is not that I am unwilling to to you the size and shape of my back-cloths. the lights that are to be thrown upon them. art. surround it. the pieces of And wood that are not to be attached to them. and with loving and understanding it. though you would benefit to this extent you would lose to a far greater extent. explain the colour which is put upon them. and the art would have in me its most treacherous minister. and you could produce *' effects" therein to several plays with enough satisfy the curiosity of quite a number of people.o WOULD-BE IMITATORS could be of service to ^> them without being and to the see treacher- ous to myself as an artist. though it might be of some service to you for the next two or three years. We are not concerned with short cuts. We are not concerned with what is to be" effective" and what is to pay.

and now make that picture possible through the words. Do you see at all what I mean? Look at the thing from every standpoint and through every medium. over again. instantly leap back to another thought about another part of this unit. and the record Hard. of A PLAY costume as an end in or itself. let it instantly leap round and consider the acting. Consider only the words. Consider the movement robbed of all scene. Now pour all your colour upon Now wash away all the colour. The results they achieve are on record. but it is not much good for the individual. and is 31 . mechanical teaching may be very good for a class. or of stage any of these things. merely as movement. and never lose management hold of your determination to win through to the secret the secret which lies in the creation of another beauty.THE PREPARATION OF in itself. Somehow mix the movement of the person with the movement which you see in your mind's eye in the scene. You can far sooner trust other influences to move your will and even your hand than you can This may not trust your own little human brain. nothing to boast about. Decide nothing yet. and do not hasten to begin your work until one medium force you to commence. all costume. be the methodical teachings of the school. and then all will be well. matter-of-fact. while your mind is thinking of scene. Wind them in and out of some vast and impossible picture. In preparing a play. Now begin this. movement and voice.

how to put on it a jacket.o THE COSTUME BOOKS o when so I come to teach a class I shall not teach them much by words as by practical demonstration. or beautiful ways. covering for the head. you will get much further than if you feast your eyes and confound your brain with Racinet. By the way. and you must take great care with these and be utterly independent when you come to think about what you have been looking at. He has much love for the little 32 . coverings for the legs. do not trouble about the costume books. For instance. If you find afterwards that they contain many good things you will not be so far wrong. and you will lean far too much on these historically accurate men who are at the same time historically untrue. Hottenroth and the others. Viollet le Better than these that I have mentioned is Due. but best plan is never to let yourself become comyour plicated with these things. The coloured costumes are the worst. you will be able to design a Racinet costume or a Planchet costume. When in a great difficulty refer to one in order to see little it will help you out of your difficulty. and try to vary these coverings in all kinds of interesting. but if you accept them straight away your whole thought and sense for designing a costume will be lost. Planchet. Doubt and mistrust them thoroughly. I may tell you one or two things how that you will find good not to do. amusing. Remain clear and freshIf you study how to draw a figure.

This may be very exciting as a curiosity.VIOLLET LE DUG truths which underlie costume. another barbaric costume. for it is no easy thing to do. but the main strength of this branch of the work lies in the costume as mass. for a man who is bold and tender. but I promise you if you persevere long enough you will be able to do it. You will probably make blunders at first. For example. It is the same when they come to consider movements. : mass individually. historical novelist. but even his is more a book for the and one has yet to be written about imaginative costume. Then go further attempt to design the clothing for a divine figure and for a demonic figure these of course will be studies in individual costumes. who would naturally 33 . Keep continually designing such imaginative costumes. make a barbaric costume. and is very faithful in his attitude . It is the mistake of all theatrical producers that they consider the costumes of the . and a barbaric costume for a sly man which has nothing about it which can be said to be historical and yet is both Now make another design for sly and barbaric. Now make a third for one who is ugly and vindictive. It will be an exercise. We often hear it Company said that each member of the Meiningen composing the great crowd in Julius Caesar was acting a special part of his own. the movements of masses on the stage. You must be careful not to follow the custom. and attractive to a rather foolish audience.

and detail has Detail is very well You do not make an mass by crowding a quantity of impression Detail is made to form mass only details together. or. each a different cry. A hundred men to compose a crowd. may give some people the impression 34 of a vast . as is not. and . And each of them has his own action. so that many by the them copy the most end of the first twenty nights they are all giving out the same cry. to his of own cries . Masses must be treats a mass. and it is a much easier thing to crowd a quantity of details together than it is to create a mass which shall possess beauty and interest.ach acts himself. treat a mass. by those people who love the elaborate. let us say.THE MOVEMENTS OF MASSES " say : Oh. all Rome. . as in Julius Caesar a hundred men. On the stage they and in its place. as Rembrandt Bach and Beethoven in itself nothing to do with the mass. well and good. giving vent act his little part. how interesting to go and look at one particular of his life man in ! own How if " ! And who is acting a little part It is exactly like wonderful that is the standard and if that is a corner ! our aim. of instantly turn to the natural when they wish to create this elaborate structure. which after the first twenty nights is exchanged for the most effective and popular action and by this means a fairly decent crowd of men with waving arms and shouting voices may be composed. But we know that it treated as masses. though effective ones. and each is told to i_.

even as artificiality is life. tends more and more .THE 'NATURALISTIC' IN MOVEMENT crowd. voice. and we must keep each art. and in we have to consider necessary or The necessary action at a unnecessary certain moment may be said to be the natural place of it action." written that you exist. Therefore we have to put the idea of natural or unnatural action out of our heads altogether. 35 . To others it gives the impression of a crush at a railway station. but we can fight against it best by studying the other arts. and speak in a natural " . most happily. and is abhorrent when it shows in it abhorrent when we meet must understand that the everyday two things are divided. but do not forget that there is such a thing insipid and costume. things being to This tendency towards the natural has nothing do with art. It is to prevent such to be generally adopted. as noble artificiality. in Avoid the so-called movement as well as in scene The naturalistic stepped in on the Stage because the artificial had grown finicking. . writing about natural movement and " Wagner had long put in practice the gesture says of natural stage action tried of late years system Some one : at the Theatre Libre in Paris by a French comedian a system which. . in We thing in its place we cannot expect to rid ourselves " " in a moment of this tendency to be natural to " " " make natural scenes. Avoid " all this naturalistic " sort of thing.

public-house or garret must seem to every one nothing less than tomfoolery. and remembering that no action is better than I little action." well it right moment. the sly. which is right. limiting yourself to those three texts that I have given you. Give action to these Create for them figures which you have made. club. there is hardly any action action is right. carry 36 . and if that is what is and good. And to train a company of actors to show upon the stage the actions which are seen in every drawing-room. there is hardly any which is natural. but it remains almost incredible in its childishness.NATURAL ACTION NOT ALWAYS RIGHT action for that meant by as it is " natural. your little book or pieces of paper with and continually be inventing with your pencil you little hints of forms and faces stamped with these these. In so far is natural. so must you invent a series of significant actions. but we must not get that haphazard natural In fact. have told you to make designs for three costumes of a barbaric period. still keeping in mind the great division which exists between action in the mass and action in the individual. That companies are so trained is well known. sayc Rimbaud. into our heads every Action is a way of spoiling something. each particularized by some special character. significant actions. the ugly and vindictive. Just as I told you to invent costume which was significant. the bold tenderMake studies for ness.

laddie . although at times that. and beautiful. and contains harsh things. never incomplete things. and we may say that the awakening day Once let the word effecof the Theatre is near. and not always the " " effective as we know it in rich. the justest thing. is the But Beauty is so vast a thing. and when you have collected dozens of them select the most beautiful. which sometimes ceases to be what is held as ugliness. and they will be ready to speak this word Beauty. When we speak about the effective. but ." Not bad advice either but . not the smooth." although I used the " " word beautiful as the artists use it. too. seldom the the Theatre. contains nearly all other things contains even ugliness. Once let the meaning of this word Beauty begin to be thoroughly felt once more in the Theatre. The old tive actor tells the young actor to raise his voice. fling it at the Spit it out back of the gallery.THE WORD 'BEAUTIFUL* AND three impressions . be wiped off our lips. we in the Theatre mean something which will reach across the foot lights. perfect bell note. not the superb always. to " " " Spit it out. I cannot be expected to explain to you all that the artist means by the word beautiful but to him it is something which has the most balance about it. And now for a word on this. 37 . I particularly did " not say the most effective. not as those of the stage use it. that which rings a complete and Not the pretty.

and as with the other arts it goes without saying. We grant all this. and that we have not got further that is what is so distressing about the whole business. or a young 88 this . or a young musician. a either. must be clearly heard." and I can put my finger on the reason why the young actor labours under experience.THE WORD 'EFFECTIVE* to think that this has not been learnt in the last hundred years. but it is not the one and only essential thing which the elders must be continually drumfive or six . or a young architect. but general school " there is this great difference between the world " " " world schooling of the actor and the schooling of the other artists who do not go to the academies A young painter. and distinct form so that they may be clearly understood. disadvantage the moment he begins his stage It is because previous to his experience he has passed no time as student or as apprentice. which the world has to offer us. He takes the short cut instinctively to these tricks. It is the same in all art. Naturally all pointed actions and all pointed speeches must have a clea. and this playing of tricks has been the cause of the invention of a word " Theatrical. Obviously all stage actions and all stage words must first of all be clearly seen. ming it into the ears of the younger generation when It teaches the young actor steps upon the stage. young poet. soon to become a master of tricks. I do not know that I am such a great believer I believe very much indeed in the iu the schools.

We are on fire with the desire to begin our work. experimenting and labouring unseen and his experiments unThe young actor may not enter an noticed. academy either. He has prepared himself he has strength . do you think we angels.THE FIRE OF CRITICISM sculptor life. learning there. but shall run away 39 We may we are certainly not fools for stepping . for ten minutes. he knows what he is going to face. and he may also knock about in the world. But for every boy and girl to be subjected to this the attempt this first year that they timidly only unfair on them enormous task is not but is disastrous to the art of the stage. although twenty ? Say it is Do you not be We are to appear six times. and for a man of ten years' experience at any work to come under the fire of criticism will I shall benefit him and his . Willingly and with an enormous courage we accept some appear almost in a panic. but and here is the vast difference all his experiments he must make in front of a public. and he too may experiment just the same as the others. and we We are delighted. ever be beholden to the higher criticism. think we say no ? small part. Let us picture ourselves as totally new to this work. It is eight lines. lines. work a thousandfold. and must come under the fire his of criticism. Every little atom of his work from the first day of commencing until the last day of his apprenticeship must be seen. may and may have ten never enter an academy during his years' knocking about in the world learning here.

It takes most young actors but five years' acute suffering to become Too early criticism effective.o in. We have received this criticism. for they are speaking the entire truth you should be glad of this. instead of rushing to tricks for support. . if you have been but three. but uncon40 ." I not blaming the critic for writing this am not saying that it will kill a great artist or that I only say that this seems it will break our heart so unfair that it is only natural that we retaliate by taking an unfair advantage of the very art which I . by becoming effective at all costs. On we go. we do as they do. am we have commenced to love. we have done our best the others have received good criticism. and if you . we can stand it no longer. are but still feeling your way slowly. ineffective. four or five years on the stage. we become effective. Receive your bad criticism with a good grace and with the knowledge that with patience and with pride you can outlive and out-distance all around you. AND THE RESULT It : o appears to us heaven. and causes him to be a traitor to the Beware of this and rather be art which he loves. breaks the young actor who would be an artist as far as possible. or that you played your part badly. to become theatrical. It is right that the critic should say that you were ineffective at a certain moment. It is quite right of them to say that. Next " It is a pity that the manager elected morning an incompetent young man to fill so important a part.

PLATE Old Gobbo. " 2 " series. . Merchant of Venice Woodcut. 1909.


So take entire courage. Continue. as I have said at the beginning. until you feel you are on the point of giving way. when liberty to say what he wishes. velopment of the Theatre. you will no longer have you to appear each evening upon the stage in person. It is this that the better the artist the worse the actor. then leap nimbly aside into the position of stage-manager. to remain an actor until you can stand it no longer. you will be in a better position. and it is here that you will find something that you can rely on. 41 . productions. it is true) the of the theatre. and the critic has more At any rate. I thought to tell you here something about the uses of artificial light but apply what I have said . costumes and the rest. The critic is not more lenient towards the producer of plays. but somehow or other he is less " He seems to inclined to use the word effective. will of course be the most theatrical ones." as it is is but a more modern deunderstood nowadays. become stage-manager. But here tradition is not so strong. if not a much better position. for are you approaching the muse point at which stands (slumbering. as I have pointed out. Your most effective scenes. and therefore anything which is written about your work you cannot take as a personal criticism. " for his art permits him this production. And here.THE CRITIC'S ATTITUDE sciously they disclose a still greater truth." have a wider knowledge of the beauty or the ugliness It may be that the tradition of of these things. .

The painter has lately been making quite a pretty little He is very raid upon the outskirts of the stage. the old and beautiful own theory of art which each in his piece of soil cultivate best. and these theories he has exemplified in his own particular branch of knows how to art so well. Take care to pay no attention to what they say ordinary stage hand knows art than these amateurs. may apply. To tell you of the instruments which they use. or engraving on wood will produce something which It is reasonable to . When in doubt listen to the advice artificial light of a man in a theatre. have used our Theatre as a kind of after-thought. what they do. how they use them so as to Some of produce beautiful results. even if he is only a dresser. you will soon have the wit to find your own way of using the we are given in the Theatre. affectation. before we pass out of the Theatre on to Finally. or any attention to the amateur. etching on copper. In the Theatre they become sheer suppose that a man who has spent fifteen to twenty years of his life painting in oils on a flat surface. and a few musicians. more about our An often a man of much intellectual ability and full of very many excellent theories. rather than pay A few painters. is not quite practical. let me give you the last advice of all.THE LAST ADVICE OF ALL of scene and costume to it this other branch as well. a few writers. other more serious matters. If you have the wit to invent the scenes and the costumes that I have spoken about.

stage management and unveil to you some greater possibilities which I intend to carry I think are in store for you. Their work is so fine. difficult I mean all to understand. If you have anything to do with them you If one will end by being an amateur yourself. 43 . So with the poet he will produce something which is literary. And as the last but one word was about these men. to their work. that when Nature seems to be too is pictorial and has the qualities of the pictorial . o THE And now FUTURE. It will all be very picturesque and pretty. else. for their works are the best and the wisest works in the world. they have found such good laws and have followed these laws so well. A HOPE *> you on beyond this about which I have spoken. but it will unfortunately be nothing to do with the Art of the Theatre. so the last word of all shall be about their work. of these should wish to talk with you about the Theatre be careful to ask him how long he has actually worked in a Theatre before you waste any more time listening to his unpractical theories. Beware of such men you can do without them. go straight to these fellows. . have given up all their worldly hopes in this one great search after beauty. and it will help you out of the difficulties. And so with the musician .DON'T LISTEN TO AMATEURS but he will nothing produce something which is musical.

appreciate the fun. and I hope you will pass through those years as actor. for there is a spice of fun in it Remember we all. and that will be my reward. using me as the stalking-horse. and when you 44 signal to me let . and am always prepared to take more if you will but leap forwards and secure the advanI shall tages. but keep our convictions to ourselves. To do this successfully. a very powerful and this subtle enemy. . people should be convinced of your belief in the truth of my statements. And so as to let nothing stand in the way of that I would have you run no risks. theories or practices : it is of great value to me that you should be so convinced. although in your apprenticeship you must hold your own opinion. Try to win no support for me. manager. designer and producer without any very great disturbances. there is no need for either of these two alternatives. To do that would be to weaken your position and to weaken the value of It is of no value to me that this preparation time. I have taken so large a share of the rebuffs by loudly proclaiming my beliefs in the cause of the truth of work. are attacking a monster. you must hold it very closely to yourself and above all things remember that I do not expect you to hold my opinion or to stand up for it publicly.^> AND NOW 'BEYOND* & I have come to the end of talking with you about matters as they are. Run no risk of being faced with the dismissal from your post with the option of the denial of our mutual beliefs. Besides.

& it AND NOW 'BEYOND' be by that more secret o wireless telegraphy. and so long as this world exists the calmest and the shrewdest personality will always be the King. and about kingdom I will speak now. in this : six to ten years. unfurl your banner. speaking best what I mean. It is merely another word for the Individual. or sometimes the General it all comes to the same in a different dress. the idea of the King. no need to use further then be fitted to step out your turn. The king (to the the artist the artist) is that superb part of the scales. " instinctively in It explains of the land of the Theatre. In some rare instances he is called the President. Maybe in the next three or I use the word Kingdom " word Kingdom will have disappeared Kingdom. To thought very dear. shrewd personality. thing. or he is called the Pope. for you will be upon the frontier of your kingdom. there will be you will your apprenticeship. Kingship. and it is no good denying is it : He is the King. You can't invent anything than Kingship. I shall understand the finished means even than com- munication. When you have concealment and. finer . which the in gold and sometimes decked with precious stones . the calm. the delicately worked handle 45 old workmen made . four thousand years the . There is the sense of the perfect balancer. King but I doubt it and if it does go something else equally It will be the same thing fine will take its place.

those seen through the eye and not with the eye. Therefore I have taken these scales as the device of our new art. a thing waiting 46 . OUR DEVICE without which the scales could not exist. When impersonating and representing you made use of those materials which had always been made it sentation. and upon which the eye of the measurer must be fixed. Having passed through your apprenticeship without having been merged in the trade. the human figure as exemplified in the actor. for our art is based upon the idea of perfect balance. it was invisible and yet ever present with him. that is means of of Scene. There is a thing which man has not yet learned to master. tangible only to those who have passed through such an apprenticeship. you passed on to Repreand now you advance into Revelation. the result of movement. speech as exemplified in the poet through the actor. Without having done so you would not even be able to see it. the visible world as shown by use of . Superb in its attraction and swift to retreat. In the beginning with you I have no fear that what I was Impersonation. a thing which man dreamed not was waiting for him to approach with love. Here then is the thing which I promised at the beginning to bring to you. throw to you now will be because it is visible and caught by other hands. by the wonderful and divine power of Movement. you are fitted to receive this. to say. You now invisible will reveal by means movement the things.THE BALANCES.

Music. as infinite of four and eight. east and service. doth not behave itself unseemly. law of two and six. images delineate the relation Is it not profound. so like to Music. of infinite excellence. . hopeth St. and is kind is not puffed up. beyond all comparison lovely ? But what of that infinite and beautiful thing " From dwelling in space called Movement ? sound has been drawn that wonder of wonders called Music. believeth all things. all is Moveremember that all things spring from movement. somehow a common as space. ment I like to to be our supreme honour to be the ministers to the supreme force moveI like to think that it is ment. prepared to them through all the circles beyond the earth It is it is Movement.MOVEMENT soar with but for the approach of the right men. It is all love. it is all that he says true love should be. belief that only by means of words can truths be revealed. 47 . Even the " wisdom of China has said: Spiritual truth is deep and wide. as like one sphere to another. this distracted For you see where the theatre (even the poor and desolate theatre) is connected with The theatres of all lands. . one could speak of it as Paul speaks of love. and And things how infinitely noble. but difficult of Without words it would be imcomprehension. even music. to expound its doctrine without images possible Words explain the its form could not be revealed. It suffereth all things.

the human body refuses to be an instrument. is able by the strength or grace of the body to express much of the strength and grace which is in human nature. but it cannot express all. By association with the minstrel. who used other instruments. for I do not hold that the ideal dancer is the perfect instrument for the expression of all that is most perfect in movement. have developed (if a degenerate development) from movement. and not a gloomy one by any means too soon to degenerate into something more like the acrobat. even to the mind which lodges in that body. nor a thousandth part of that For the same truth applies to the dancer and all. there was another and a wiser race. In the earliest days the dancer was a priest or a priestess.THE SONS OF LOS west. The sons of Los rebelled and still rebel against their The old divine unity. for it is on record and before the human being assumed the grave responsibility of using his own person as an instrument through which this beauty should pass. to Alas who use their own person as instrument. and finally to achieve the distinction of the : . that with the renaissance of the dance comes the renaissance of the ancient art of the Theatre. the actor appeared. the divine square. The ideal dancer. I do not hold. We know so much. the peerless circle of our nature has been ruthlessly all those ! broken by our moods. ballet-dancer. father. the movement of the human form. and no longer can instinct design the square or draw the circle on the grey wall 48 . male or female.

For a man through his person can conquer but little things. a greater feeling of admiration and fitness when I see a machine which is made to fly than when I see a man attaching to himself the wings of a bird. and a truth which does not lessen the beauty which exhales from the dearest singer or the dearest dancer of all times. This is a truth which is not open to argument. To me there is ever something more seemly in man when he invents an instrument which is outside his person. I believe not at all in the personal magic of man. for the flute and for the lute than I have for I have the human voice when used as instrument. but through his mind he can conceive and invent that which shall conquer all things. merely to desire that which we call the impossible was to achieve it. but only in his impersonal magic.THE TRANSLATING INSTRUMENT before it. organ. and through that instrument translates I have a greater admiration for the his message. But with a significant gesture we thrill our souls once more to advance without our bodies upon a new road and win it all back again. It seems to me that we should not forget that we belong to a period after the Fall and not before it. In that great period previous to this event we can see in our mind's eye the person of man in so perfect a state that merely to wish to fly was to fly. I feel that it is just the very story for the artist. I can at least extract a certain hint from the old story. And though it may be only a story. We seem 49 .

but it would be a mistake to return and look for names in China. We shall no longer waste time and courage in a vain hope. and you from time to time will read what I write. I have written to the tongues of all the nations. This alone let me tell you. But I shall not remove from you the very difficulty which will be the source I wish to leave all open and to of your pleasure . ? How do I know whether I can achieve that or not 50 . and let the English word become familiar language. " " has been broken in upon.o THE NAME to see OF THIS ART o man flying into the air or diving into the We see depths and taking no harm therefrom. India or We have words enough in our English Greece. So we have to banish from our mind all thought of the use of a human form as the instrument which we are to use to translate what we call Movement. no foolish clothes. I have thought of and begun to make my instrument. we must square deific realize that no longer is man to advance and proclaim that his person is the perfect and fitting medium for the expression of the perfect thought. and shall continue to write. we are aware of no hunger and But now that we are conscious that this thirst. make no definite rules as to how and by what means movements are to be shown. all about this elsewhere. and through this instrument I these intend soon to venture in my quest of beauty. be all the stronger without it. We shall matter as it grows in me. The exact name by which this art will be known cannot yet be decided on.

the great movements will not yet be captured. And after I have given activity to those I suppose I shall be permitted to continue to give activity to the like of them. and permitted it to first how can rules make its first assay. cated beauties contained in movement as it is seen in Nature. and from the principles I all these instruments some better instrube made. It will need the force of the whole race to discover all the beauties which are in this great source. look to others to make Slowly. But when they come. I am guided in the making of mine by only the very first and simplest thoughts which I am able to The subtleties and the complisee in movement.THE NAME OF THIS ART Therefore o I tell you definitely what are the which you have to learn ? Alone and unaided I can reach no final results. constructed my instrument. Yet that does not discourage me from attempting some of the plainest. I think that movement can be divided into two 51 . not for which rule will ment . no. but I am entirely conscious that they contain but the simplest of rhythms. thousands of years. like instruments. these I dare not consider I do not think 1 shall ever be able to hope to approach these. great health comes with them. . this new When I have race of artists to which you belong. those which I seem to understand. for we shall be nearer balance than we have ever been before. barest and simplest movements I mean those which seem to me the simplest.

the builder is a male. and the woman ? poet is a male. as ever. how beautiful it would be And as this is a new beginning it lies before men and before women of the next centuries as a vast possibility. And I like to suppose that this art which shall spring from movement will be the first and final belief of the world . Get on with the thought of the invention of an instrument by which means you can bring movement before our eyes. When you have reached this point in your developments you need have no all this. I like to suppose . Can it be that this idea which comes to me now will at time in the world ! some future date blossom through help of the or will it be. the painter is a male. And it seems to me that before the female spirit gives herself up. In men and women there is a far greater sense of movement than of music. all this. But . the movement of one and three which There is ever that which is masculine is the circle. perfect movement will not be discovered at least. How fresh. the man's part to master these things alone ? The musician is a male. and with the male goes in distinct parts.THE SQUARE AND THE CIRCLE movement of two and four which the square. and I like to dream that for the first men and women will achieve this thing together. neither will you be able to. the is quest of this vast treasure. in the square and ever that which is feminine in the circle. Come now. here I is an opportunity to change cannot follow the thoughts any farther here.

you will have risen above the Theatre. it is that balancing word AND. do you see any value in the thing I give you ? If you do not at first you will by and by. Well. I believ^ in the time when we shall be able to create works of art in the Theatre without the use of the written play. I write here of things. 1907. without the use of actors . I believe in each period and in the necessity of undergoing the experience each has to offer.THE FIRST AND FINAL BELIEF further fear of hiding your feeling or your opinion. not ten. FLORENCE. to understand. but may step forward and join me in the search. Maybe you will pursue a scientific method on your search. You will not be a revolutionary against the Theatre. but I believe also in the necessity of daily work under the conditions which are to-day offered us. hundred roads leading to this point not merely one. and the words THE FUTURE are divine but the word which links all these words is more perfect than all . and entered into something beyond it. and a scientific demonstration of all that you may discover can in no way harm this thing. But one f It is possible for And that one will understand that just possible. The word TO-DAY is good. 58 . I could not expect a hundred or even fifty. no. and he will be careful not to confound these three separate periods. and the word TOMORROW is good. and that There must be a will lead to very valuable results. dealing with to-day dealing with to-morrow and with the future.

or something quite There is little to show us that this quesdifferent.) IT whether or no Acting has always been a matter for is an art. DE VOS AND ALEXANDER HEVESI To SAVE THE THEATRE. Sculpture and Painting. of inquiry as used when On the other hand there have been in certain circles many warm on this topic. . prove that though there is much evidence to had they chosen to approach this one for their serious consideration. 1900. 54 . tion disturbed the minds of the leaders of thought at any period. very rarely taking part men of the Theatre at all. argument and therefore whether the actor is an Artist. SIBLE. Those arguments in it have seldom been actors. THE THEATRE MUST BE DESTROYED. of Architecture. THE ACTORS AND ACTRESSES MUST ALL THEY MAKE ART IMPOSDIE OF THE PLAGUE.THE ACTOE AND THE tTBER-MAKIONETTE " a INSCRIBED IN ALL AFFECTION TO MY GOOD FRIENDS. (CONSTABLE. and all have displayed any amount of illogical heat and very little knowledge of the subject." ELEONORA DUSE : Studies in Seven Arts. . would have applied to it the same method they subject as considering the arts of Music and Poetry. . ARTHUR SYMONS. being an art. The arguments against acting and against the actor being an artist.

to speak dent is For acci- an enemy of the artist. There can be no such attack made on the actor or his calling. They are illogical from beginning to end. and I believe that these admit of no dispute whatever. So now regularly with each season comes the quarterly attack on the actor and on his jolly calling. the attack usually ending As a rule it is in the retirement of the enemy. the literary or private gentlemen who fill the enemy's rank. and pandemonium is by the tumbling together of many acciTherefore in dents. personal enmity. My intention here I is not to join in any such attempt. they attack I have for some reason best known to themselves.UNREASONABLE ATTACKS are generally so unreasonable and so personal in their detestation of the actor. is not an art. or conceit. or on the strength of never having gone to see a play in their lives. On the strength of having gone to see plays all their lives. followed these regular attacks season by season. order to make any work of art it is clear we may only work in those materials with which antithesis of created 55 . Art arrives only by design. Art is the exact pandemonium. that I think it is for this reason the actors have taken no trouble to go into the matter. It is therefore incorrect ACTING of the actor as an artist. and they seem mostly to spring from irritability. would merely place before you what seem to me to be the logical facts of a curious case.

that they are ready to play him false at any moment. all are at the mercy winds of his emotions these winds. while the mind is all the time and refuse again to obey his afire. he moves as one in a frantic dream or as one distraught. In the modern theatre. moving without unbalancing him. the : . or 56 . succeeding for a The mind struggling and moment. not the logician's directions. He is at its beck and call. It is useless for him to attempt to reason with himself. if not utterly beyond control. owing to the use of the bodies of men and women as their material. emotion possesses him. he therefore carries the proof in his own person that as material for the Theatre he is useless. it seizes upon his limbs. Hamlet's calm directions (the dreamer's. his arms. which of the must blow for ever round the artist. by the way) are thrown to the winds. passions. mind the instant emotion warms. are so weak to stand against the torrent of his face. The whole nature of man tends towards freedom . in moving the eyes. so is it with the expression of his face. The actions of the actor's body. moving them whither it will.o ACTING we can calculate. all which is presented there is of an accidental nature. the expression of his sounds of his voice. But with the actor. creating the heat which shall set these emotions As with his movement. swaying here and there his head. IS NOT AN ART o is Man not one of these materials. His limbs refuse. his feet.

we have arrived 57 . It shifts and changes." " with his movements. every stray emotion. like lightning. conspiracy against his mind.EMOTION CONSPIRES AGAINST ART the muscles of the face whither bringing the face for a few subjection. and he produces the impression of discordant emotion. and before the mind has time to cry out and protest. Emotion works upon the voice of the actor. sways and turns. and even if it were quite true. for emotion is able to win over the mind to assist in the destruction of that which the mind would produce. and as the mind becomes the slave of the emotion it follows that accident upon accident must be continually occurring. and crying out to it " His expression runs a mad riot hither will you . every casual feeling. Instantly. and is precisely what the artist aims to produce . : ! and thither. and lo 1 Nothing is coming of It is the same with his voice as it is nothing. cannot be of value. the hot passion has mastered the actor's expression. first of all this is not true. So then. Therefore the mind of the actor. it is chased by emotion from the actor's forehead between his eyes and down to his mouth now he is entirely at the mercy " Do with me what of emotion. is it will. the mind moments into thorough suddenly swept aside by the emotion which has grown hot through the action of the mind. we see. Emotion cracks the voice It sways his voice to join in the of the actor. is less powerful than his emotion. It is of no avail to say that emotion is the spirit of the gods.

what magnificent movements you make Your voice. it is more delicate. for there is nothing more than that men and women should be outrageous let loose on a platform. it is a series of accidental confessions. it is like the singing of birds and how your ! . and a tiger in an arena suited the taste better. The man with the greater learning comes across the man with the greater temperament. In the beginning the human body was not used as material In the beginning the in the Art of the Theatre. He addresses him in something like the following terms: "You have a most superb countenance. so that they may expose that which artists refuse to show except veiled.EMOTION CONSPIRES AGAINST ART at this point: that emotion first is the cause which and secondly destroys. That. Art. in the form which their minds create. eye flashes ! What a noble impression you give 58 I . . can admit of no accidents. emotions of men and women were not considered An elephant as a fit exhibition for the multitude. exhibition is not more brutal. as we have said. when the desire was to excite. and can give it us unalloyed. which the actor gives us. that man was until which ever persuaded to take the place that time animals had held is not difficult to surmise. How it was it is more humane. then. The passionate tussle between the elephant and the tiger gives us all the excitement that we can get from the modern Such an stage. is not a work of art of all creates.

with a good-natured lack of reason." The other answers will indeed create a think I shall have some I could easier your lines. you'll to speak those lines. and say something instinctive. and would fill them with enthusi: asm ? " " No." replies the way. And the man of temperament replies " Is that Do I strike you as appearing as a god ? really so ? It is the very first time I have ever thought of it." " that idea of yours Salutation to all tempter. And do you think that by appearing in front of the people I could make an impression which might benefit them. You Is it agreed." says the intelligent man " by no means only by appearing . I will write a few words which you shall address to the people." just as you will. no. have something to say you great impression. men * On that theme I will compose say one : " I difficulty in speaking ' ' ! * : ! hundred or two hundred lines . that you will do this ? replies the other. You shall stand before them. such I feel perhaps that I as Salutation to all men should be able to be more myself if I acted in that " That is an excellent idea.COMEDY OF AUTHOR AND ACTOR I think all people You almost resemble a god should have pointed out to them this wonder ! which is contained in you. but if you . no. suggested it to me. 59 man be the very have yourself ! ." then. just appear. and flattered beyond measure. and you shall speak my lines It is sure to be perfectly right. Salutation " " If you wish it.

they found him useful. and vanity will not reason. Although they knew not the stops of the instrument. because even were true (true it cannot be). But all the time. and that he invests with of another's thoughts. After the applause the young man is swiftly forgotten. And so to-day we have the strange picture of a man content to give forth the thoughts of another. and shortly afterwards other authors found it an excellent thing to use handsome and buoyant men as instruments. they could play rudely upon him and . the author found it profitable. and even if the actor were to present none but the ideas which he life if this 60 . the dead words of an author. The young man appears before the multitude and speaks the lines. He does it because he is flattered . and however long the world may last. and it is no good to push it grave aside and protest that the actor is not the medium for another's thoughts. It mattered nothing to them that the instrument was a human creature. the nature . and the speaking of them is a superb advertisement for the art of literature. which that other has given form to while at the same time he exhibits his person to the public view.TRAGEDY OF AUTHOR AND ACTOR And so the comedy of author and actor commences. and will revolt against made a slave or being medium for the expression The whole thing is a very matter indeed. they even forgive the way he has spoken the lines but as it was an original and idea at the time. new in man will fight for freedom.

with the Art of the Theatre as the main topic for amusing conversation. the Theatre will continue its growth and some years to hinder its development. They must create for themselves a new form of acting. and who as a class are ever to be loved. I am fully aware of the sweeping character of this statement. driving them into sad monasteries where they will laugh out the rest of their lives. As I have written elsewhere. more must be said lest I give unintentional offence. I know perfectly well that what I have said here is not yet going to create an exodus of all the actors from all the theatres in the world. consisting for the main part of symbolical gesture. his nature would still be body would have to become the slave of his mind and that. He cries to the " Watch me I am now pretending to audience be so and so. To-day the actor actors will continue for . impersonates a certain being.THE W A Y OUT in servitude. By this means style may return. . . and as it concerns men and women who are alive. to-morrow they must represent and interpret and the third day they must create. is by nature utterly useless as a material for an art. To-day they impersonate and interpret. But I see a loop-hole by which in time the actors can escape from the bondage they are in. as I have shown. his himself should compose. for the reason which I have given. and I am now pretending to do so 61 : . is what the healthy body utterly refuses to do. Therefore the body of man.

Why why. " and then he proceeds to imitate as exactly as possible. and he proceeds to show it. one would think. the best he can do of creating. that which he has announced he For instance. the spirit of the thing. or the calm of death. and any child of ten does The difference between the child of as much. life The looks actor looks life . the audience that he is in love. he is Romeo. is not all this dreadfully 62 . ten and the artist is that the artist is he who by drawing certain signs and shapes creates the impression of a donkey and the greater artist is he who creates the impression of the whole genus : : of donkey. This. by kissing Juliet." The long ears made it plain enough. that is just as if a painter were to draw upon the wall a picture of an animal with long ears " and then write under it This is a donkey. and he never dreams As I have said.^> THE ACTOR IMITATES o and so. to rival a photograph. art as being when you think of it. is it is claimed for this that it is a work of art an intelligent way of suggesting thought. it is claimed. he seldom thinks to invent with the aid of Nature. He tells will indicate. the heat of a fight. photographically he kisses he fights he lies back and mimics death and. when he wants to catch and convey the poetry of a kiss. He tries to reproduce Nature. upon upon and as a photo-machine he attempts to make a picture He never dreams of his an art such for instance as music. without the inscription. is to copy slavishly.

" as he are not permitted to exist : the law will not allow them. life 1 into their work." A better one would " be getting out of the skin of the part altogether. and makes a proposal to exhibit himself aria his poetry. " There is a stage expression of the actor getting under the skin of the part." cries the red-blooded and flashing " is there to be no flesh and blood in this actor. refer the reader to The Republic. and will follow those models which we prescribed at first when we began the education of our soldiers. The painter means something rather different to actualIt depends what you call life. p. we Book III. but can only show an artless copy. so. when we have anointed him with myrrh. ? which cannot convey the spirit and essence of an idea to an audience." PLATO. [The whole passage being too long to print here. " art of the theatre of yours ? No life ? same stupid when you use the word in relation with the idea of art.ACTOR WOULD RIVAL PHOTOGRAPHER Is it not a poor art and a poor cleverness. mean some actual and lifelike And therefore when any one of these pantomimic gentlemen. and set a garland of wool upon his head. comes to us. a facsimile of the thing itself ? This is to be an imitator. 395. J 63 . the ventriloquist. who will imitate the style of the virtuous only. then. or the animal-stuffer who. who are so clever that they can imitate anything. signor. And rougher and severer poet or story-teller. when they speak of putting ity . not an artist. we shall lead him away to For we mean to employ for our soul's health the another city. This is to claim kin1 ship with the ventriloquist. when he speaks of life in his art." " What. we will fall down and worship him as a sweet arid holy and wonderbut we must also inform him that in our State such ful being . and the other artists generally mean something essentially spiritual it is only the actor.

and let him listen to their opinion on matters of art. Therefore let the other artists speak with the actor. and actor will bring the force of his courage to assist the my My attitude towards the whole misunderstood by many in the Theatre. I have spoken this way because love of the Theatre. and because of my and belief that before long an extraordinary hopes development is to raise and revive that which is of my hope and belief that failing in the Theatre. and I invite a musician and a painter to join us. grumbling. I have had enough of seeming to decry the work of the actor from trivial motives. that it is for this reason I say that it would be better the actor should get out of the skin of the part If there is any actor who is reading altogether. shall remain 64 . ARTIST. if not some way by which I can make the preposterous absurdity of this delusion of his. from all these. a reproduction ? I am going to suppose that such an actor is here with me as I talk . matter is . one who is tired of a thing and who attempts to break it. mine alone a stray quarreller I seem to be in their eyes. and let the actor support his own case as best he may. is there him realize make an actual copy. We sit here conversing. MUSICIAN reproduction. the in this revival. the actor. Let them speak. It is considered to be my attitude. a pessimist.ACTOR. this belief that he should aim to this. something blatant in its appeal. the musician. painter and myself. I who represent an art distinct silent.

himself and his attitude. So we are all collected here. And let us that for once we are all really interested imagine 65 we proceed . a little picturesque strides across the space sweeping in a half circle. The actor's is an inward and ! personal gaze at himself. We are surrounded trees. " He is this dreaming of the almost impossiof conveying on to his canvas the full earthly bility and spiritual value of that which is around him. He is unconsciously enjoying the sense of himself. He between us and the view. and all the rest of the sentimental nonsense. She is but a little thing. of the God that made her. vast and by beautiful curving hills and towering mountains in the distance . in the sigh which. " how beautiful the sense of all says the painter. almost unheard by the rest of us. yet he faces the thing as man generally faces that which is most dangerous. covered with snow around us innumerable delicate " How beautiful. atom. to question each other." sounds of Nature stirring Life. actress would stand there meek in the presence of Nature. for picturesque we know she is in every movement. as representing the main and central figure in a really good scene. The musician gazes upon the ground. that she is there. she conveys to her audience and to " little me. and he regards the superb without seeing it. conscious of one thing panorama Of course an only." in the presence herself. the talk first turns upon Nature. and having taken the attitudes natural to us.THEIR DIFFERENT ATTITUDES As we sit here.

encloses many a professed artist somewhat tightly in a little square box." asks the painter. and in order to do so we must . . all good friends.) But let us take it for granted that there is a general interest . that the actor and the musician wish to learn some- thing about the art of painting. it true that before you can act a part properly you must feel the emotions of the character you are " " Oh well. After having many times rearranged and selected those emotions which we consider of importance we then practise to reproduce them before the audience . : feel as little as is necessary . the other's work. yes and no it depends representing ? u We have what you mean. they have nothing to fear they are all good fellows. . and that the painter and the musician wish to understand from the actor what his work consists of and whether and why he considers it an art." answers the actor. and can give " " Tell us. of stupidity.THEY SHALL SPEAK THE TRUTH in finding out all about the other's interests. in fact the less 66 we feel. not thin-skinned. For here they shall not mince matters. . first to be able to feel and sympathize and also criticize the emotions of a character we look at it from a distance before we close with it we gather as much as we can from the text and we call to mind all the emotions suitable for this character to exhibit. the highest form usual. and (I grant that this is very unand that mind-selfishness. believe. is and take blows. but shall speak that which they As they are looking only for the truth.

during the evening ? There never has been a 67 5 ' : ! . and that he could control his face. "never. " But musician sinks down deeper into his chair. Rachel. there never was a perfect actor. Edmund Kean of England. He had expected his friend to say that it had nothing whatever to do with emotions. say one out of ten millions. The artist here asks " Then you admit that it " " would be a state of perfection ? Why. who has done No. has there never been an actor. ten times. sometimes a hundred times. twice. will always be imcourse possible." cries the actor. 44 who has so trained his body from head to foot that it would answer to the workings of his mind without permitting the emotions even so much as to awaken ? Surely there must have been one actor. features. the artist rises to his feet and paces to and fro. and he rises almost " That is as much as to say. Eleonora this? . with a sense of relief. never there never has been an actor who reached such a state of mechanical perfection that his body was absolutely the slave of his mind. there has never been an actor who has not spoiled his performance once." says the actor emphatically. voice and The all." asks the artist. I call them all to mind and I repeat there never was an actor or actress such as you describe. just as if his body were an instrument.PERFECT ACTING IMPOSSIBLE the firmer will our hold be upon our facial and bodily expression. of But it is impossible . " 44 Duse. Salvini of Italy." With a gesture of genial impatience.

it may be as simple as it possible. our arts make such a thing possible. I can choose that on which I am to place I can consider this as long as I like the lines I can alter it. my own will is The line can be straight entirely under my control. nothing except my own will can move or alter these and." continues the artist. from excitement. wave it no fear that when it." replies ." the actor " I wish it were possible thing. or a piece of architecture." " for instance. And when it is ready finished it undergoes no change but that which Time." they reply. and there never will be ? in certain positions . in any state I choose (and of course I prepare. or four hundred lines. as I have said. is but it is possible to first make perfect. wills. then in a state which is both free say. " A picture. nervousness in fact. That to choose that which is to make the can lines. may consist of four lines. who finally de" That is rather an extraordinary stroys it.THE WILL OF THE ARTIST " But has there been ever the actor asks quickly a painting. wait. I : . and there I wish to make a straight I shall make a curved one. or that when I wish line to make a curved there will be square parts about or it can is . Having my material. placed : piece of acting which could be called even almost " For answer perfect. can be round if I choose. 68 . trouble. are in their place. or a piece of " " Unmusic which may be called perfect ? " The laws which control doubtedly. and select that also) I can put these lines together so now they . haste.

WORKS in OF ART " AND CHANCE " artist. The most intelligent statement. to spoil ? I will throw my mind telligence altogether. that your work has not the may nature of an art. He does not dilly-dally between the two things which overboard. . your body. your work is subject to every conceivable change which emotion chooses to bring about. sometimes a trifle too 69 like a centaur. The haphazard statement. gaining the better of your intelligence. ' . and it is that which I hold makes the difference between an intelligent statement and a casual or haphazard statement. let He are contending in him. that is a work of chance. In fact. is not a bit afraid of the result. which is so entirely beyond my control. a fine thought." replies the is a very extraordinary thing. for my body. it my work." Yes. though I be mistaken. that is a work of art. ' What value lies in Some actors seem to say: my body pull me and the play and there seems to me to be some through wisdom in the standpoint of such an actor. He goes at it like a man. That is to say (and you have said it yourself) each statement that you make in art. the one against the other. your body is not permitted by Nature to complete. That which you conceive in your mind. When the intelligent statement reaches its highest possible form it becomes a work of fine And therefore I have always held. has in many instances on the stage driven out the inhaving beautiful ideas ? To what end shall my mind conceive a fine idea.

I should say. you're be. all caution. is so remarkable. do with art. and ing though we applaud the actor who exhibits such a personality as this. with calculation. so distinct and clear you could make your body into a machine. all reason. he it is we applaud. You mean to say that before I appear on the stage." Well. what strange atmosphere you would spread over the whole thing and that which you have told me you have seen in the play.THE BRAVE ACTOR he flings o away result all is science. and talkthey pay willingly. yes. . nothing to do with art at all. about other things than excellent spirits. you have imagination you are rather an exception. or into a dead piece of material such as clay and if it could obey you in every movement for the entire space of time it was before the audi. not what he is doing or how he is doing it . I am " an artist. I feel that we must not forget But we are here are applauding his personality. 70 . you are. or design. what you would do. I have heard you tell me how you would play Richard III." You're a nice friendly creature. ." laughs the " abominable on the stage. so consecutive in in form. but you have ideas. and that which you have invented and added to it. telling me my art's no art ! 1 believe I see what you mean. spirits in and the for that good the audience. absolutely nothing that we to " But actor gaily. you happen to because you are a very bad actor. and before my body commences to come into the question. that if its thought.

" sighs the " actor. future opens before you ! fly in the air.LAWS OF THE ART OF THE THEATRE ence. you place a terrible picture before me." Well. and you could put aside Shakespeare's would be able to make a work of art out poem you For you would not only of that which is in you. up and over. that's not for me to give you. you would have executed to perfection and that which you had executed could be if ." Ah. have dreamt. the search would bring you " " " Too the actors to a wall. Something I supwill follow when some of you begin to. not sure I do not wish that photography had been discovered before painting. but that's talking wildly." No. and you give us nothing in " its place. just as there are laws at the roots of all true arts. . repeated time after time without so much differ" ence as between two farthings." Leap it. That's for you to find. no. You take away our finest dream. found and mastered would bring you " " Yes. Surely there must be laws at the roots of the Art of the Theatre. direction you have to go " you will get at the root of pose. and then what a splendid In fact. I envy you. live in the air. high " where it would lead ? " Why." " Yes. so that we of this generation might have had the intense joy 71 T am . talking in the " that's the fellows which if all desire ? ! ! ! air." continues he. the matter in time. then " " " " Scale then How do we know it. You would prove to me that it is impossible for us ever to think of ourselves as artists.

showing that photography was pretty well in its way. you and I. He is. In fact. ful remark for a representative of the only art in the world to make. What an actor the man would have been. in fact. indeed it is rather a bad sign when you meet a composer who is intelligent.LESS EXACT THAN PHOTOGRAPHY of advancing.'* at which they all laugh the musician in a sort of crest-fallen. and in the rest of it. but we mustn't . photography. The actor immediately cries " But I don't see that that's such a wonderout. games. absurdities. He is nothing except in his silent. somewhat unintelligent. the more is this noticeable. He hardly knows our language. that is just because he is a musician. are jokes. music. who have been talking all this time while the musician has sat level with photography ? " " sinking deeper and deeper into his chair. why. but there was something " " Do better ! you hold that our work is on a No. indeed. in tones. And as for the intellectual musician. that means another whisper that name here he is so popular to-day." At which the musician must go and spoil the whole thing by getting up and giving vent to some foolish remark. My dear fellow. and what a personality he had I understand that all his ! life he had yearnings towards being an actor. conscious " manner. and the greater the musician. and 72 . our arts by the side of his art. it is not It is less of an art even than half as exact. except when he speaks in notes. he hardly knows our world.

may have some right in the course of many years or many centuries to ask Nature to bestow a new name on their product. Well. has yet to find that material. then you can say that you are on the high road towards creating a new art. she soon has her revenge and so it is with the arts. lieve that the old mother approves of the forcing process. one which has never yet been used by man to give form to his thoughts. it all turned out a great " success a success of personality. The Theatre. It then only remains for you to begin. // you can find in Nature a new material. *' How can that be ? How can all arts combine and make one art ? It can only make one joke one Theatre.A NEW HOPE . by a natural law join together. . My pleasure shall not be to compete with the strenuous photographer. as I see it. For you have found that by which you can create it. and if she ever winks at it. Things which slowly. I believe he would have been an excellent comedian whereas he became a musician or was it a playwright ? Anyhow. blunderingly but placidly." Was it not " " a success of art ? asks the musician." he replies. For my part I am with the artist's last statement. all the arts combined." And thus their conversation ends. and I shall ever aim to get something entirely opposed to life as we see 78 . You cannot commingle them and cry out that you have created a new art. " " which art do you mean ? Oh. Only by I do not bethis means can a new art be born.

looktoo long upon life. a blossoming from that 74 . vivid light. nor the secret. is me far-off glimpse of that spirit which we call Death to recall beautiful things from the imaginary world . where all cannot be blackness and fog as is supposed. and those figures impelled to some wondrous harmony of movement all this is something more than a mere matter of fact. Shades spirits seem to me to be more beautiful. but vivid colour. creatures inhuman. I do not know they often seem warmer and more living than that which parades as life. : which lack the sun inspiration. the melodramatic. For. joyous. and the the conspiracy against vitality against both silly red heat and white heat ? And from such things tragic. nor the mysterious. these dead things. may one not find all this ing to be not the beautiful. coldest cold. give I think that my aim shall rather be to catch some all. sharp-cut form. pretty figures and calm figures. they say they are cold. of life it is not possible to draw But from that mysterious. fierce and solemn figures. which seems a kind of spring. MYSTERIOUS BEAUTY life. and superbly complete life which is called Death life of shadow and of unknown shapes. hardest but the dull. cities of men and women packed with pettiness. or to out again to the world. and which one finds peopled with strange. humanity. and filled with more vitality than men and women. even conventionalized. From this idea of death.A it. This flesh-and-blood for lovely as it is to us not a thing made tc search into.

So much for my wish. my personal aim may be is of very Yet the aim of the Theatre as little importance. in the wild means and vain belief that by such can be conjured there. Therefore what but in something far different. on and finest principles are too stern to the stage. and they will have to avoid that frantic desire to put life into their work. I sail whither the winds take this . swift mimicry. for three thousand times against one time it means the bringing of excessive gesture. nor in a hundred me there 9 there is artists or actors. 1 find my arms full of flowers. can never become earliest free. the Theatre . in an instant. but the entire Theatre of the personal world is not represented in me. a whole is to restore its art. The performers should an earlier teaching (if train under the influence of the very to commence with). personalities of the Stage. and it should commence by banishing from the Theatre this idea of impersonation. speech which bellows and scene which dazzles.IMPERSONATION UNDESIRABLE laud and from this idea can come so vast an inspiration. With them it is a case of sheer triumph in spite of the rules. this idea of reproducing Nature for. to prove the rule. I pass at ease on a sea of beauty. I advance hut a pace or two and again plenty is around me. own no danger. while impersonation is in the Theatre. thai with unhesitating exultation I leap forward to it and behold. in the very 75 . And in a vitality few instances. all this partially It succeeds partially with the bubbling succeeds.

cares not a rap and we literally jump for joy.THE BUBBLING PERSONALITY teeth of the rules. It is intolerable them that I should assert that the Stage must and actresses before could they agree with me ? That would include the removal of their favourites the two or three beings who transform the stage for them from a vulgar joke into an ideal But what should they fear ? No danger land. How 76 . threatens their favourites for were it possible to put an act into force to prohibit all men and women from appearing before the public upon the stage of a theatre. to of the personalities of the Stage. Those who do not think with me in this whole matter are the worshippers. art. have to we don't want to consider or to question we go with the tide through admiration and That we are hypnotized our taste suggestion. who look on throw our and cheer again. personalities such as these are extremely rare. cheer. or respectful admirers. . and we hats into the air. The great person: ality has if we wish to see a personality assert itself in the Theatre and entirely triumph as an actor we must at the same time be quite indifferent about the play and the other actors. about beauty and But and triumphed both over us and the art. this would not in the least affect these favourites these men and women of personality whom the playgoers crown. we are delighted to be so moved. Consider any one of these personalities born at a period when the Stage be cleared of all its actors it will again revive. We .

seems agreeable. Personality invents the means and ways by which it shall express itself.FLA . and acting is but one the very least of the means at the command of a great personality. 77 personality." growled Dr. Johnson. " should be in his work like God in creation. how totally opposed must he have been to the actual appearance of the actor personality or no personality. " I have always tried pitiless method. one who is never actually seen. Art should be raised above personal affection and " ." not to belittle Art for the satisfaction of an isolated thinking mainly of the art of he feels this so strongly of the writer. and these men and women would have been famous at any time. and in any But if there are many to whom it is incalling. He if is but : . but merely stands half revealed behind his work. "To see Lear acted. tolerable that I should propose to clear the Stage of ALL the actors and actresses in order to revive the Art of the Theatre." literature . U BERT their was unknown would it in any way have lessened power hindered their expression ? Not a whit. turned out of doors by his daughters on a rainy night. 1 It is time to give it the perfection of the physical sciences by means of a And again. there are others to it whom The artist." says Flaubert. invisible and all-powerful he should be felt everywhere and seen nowhere. nervous susceptibility. has nothing in it but what is painful and dis1 " Punch has 110 feeling. to Charles Lamb says see an old man tottering about with a stick.

" And again " There came upon me a great desire to say somewhat in rhyme but when I began thinking how I should say it. in the which thou shalt set forth how strong a mastership I have obtained over thee. that the feeling the acting of Lear ever produced The contemptible machinery by which in me. Dante is told by Love " to compose certain things in rhyme. in the figure of a youth. or one of Michelangelo's terrible figures Lear is essentially impossible to be represented on the stage. appeared to him. methought that to speak of her : : were unseemly. they mimic the storm which he goes in is not more inadequate to represent the horror of the real elements than any actor can be to represent Lear." " Hamlet himself seems hardly capable of being gusting. Dante in La Vita Nuova tells us that. in a dream." They hold it as unseemly We have here witnesses against the whole ' ' business of the modern stage. through her.CHARLES LAMB DANTE IIAZLITT We want to take him in to shelter. " " " scarce fitting. And so write these things that they shall seem rather to be spoken by a third person." says William Hazlitt. They might more easily propose to personate the Satan of Milton upon a stage. which is scarce fitting. Love. Collectively they 78 . unless I spoke to other ladies in the We see then that to these men it is second person. that the living person should advance into wrong the frame and display himself upon his own canvas. Discoursing of Beatrice. and not directly by thee to her. is all acted.

the air. Then. it having been claimed that the great plays gained when represented in front . (Constable. 1900. He will never cease telling us how important all these decorations are. And there are many more witnesses to testify for me. an appeal that the beholder forgets the thing itself while swamped : by the personality. the actors and actresses must all die of the plague. of its maker. Arthur Symons." We may believe her.ELEANORADUSE That it is bad art pass the following sentence to make so personal. She means what Flaubert and Dante mean. the millions of men against the thousands who do go. and the following reason not the least a grave danger in simple and good work he sees that there is a body of people who are opposed to these lavish decorations he knows that there has been a distinct movement in Europe against this display. There are the people who never go to the theatres. " To save the Theatre. He scents 1 Studies in Seven Arts. even if she words it differently. And for the testimony of an actress. held to be insufficient evidence. He will say that no pains should be spared to bring every assistance towards cheating the audience into a sense of reality. so emotional. He urges all this is for several : reasons. manager thinks the stage should have its plays gorgeously decorated. . They poison now : l they make art impossible.) 79 . the emotion. Eleonora ^use has said the Theatre must be destroyed. we have the support of most of the managers if this is The modern theatreof the Theatre of to-day.

they see that if once people came to realize this fact. Edmund Scherer. George Sand. Pater. they would then go further and desire the play which was presented without actors and finally . Coleridge. according to the choice of the imaginative intellect. if once the audience tasted of the delight which a sceneless play brings. from London to Berlin and Vienna. Lessing. oloodlike stains of action and passion. from Paris to Rome. . Hans Christian Andersen. purged from the angry. and I suppose all the intelligent men 1 Of Sculpture Pater writes: "Its white light. they would go on and on and on until they. all that distracts the simple effect again : us of the supreme types of humanity. not what is accidental in man. reveals. it gradually purges away. but Ben Jonson. Lamb. Goethe. " In life Napoleon is reported to have said there is much that is unworthy which in art should be omitted much of doubt and vacillation and all : . of generating around itself an atmosphere with a novel power of refraction. but the god in him. should disappear in the representation of the hero. selecting. The managers see this danger ahead of them. as opposed to man's restless movement. had positively reformed the art. Anatole France. recombining the images it transmits." Again : " The base of all artistic genius is the power of conceiving humanity in a new." And not only Napoleon." And " All that is accidental. and not the managers.NAPOLEON of the plainest background. We should see him as a statue in which the weakness and the tremors of the flesh are no longer perceptible. This be proved to be a powerful one movement can it has spread from Krakau to Moscow. of putting a happy world of its own construction in place of the meaner world of common days. all traces in them of upon the commonness of the world. striking. 1 Ruskin." 80 . rejoicing way. transforming.

and one not lightly To-day 81 . no longer a living figure in which the weakness and tremors of the flesh were perceptible. They have protested for and women and the theatrical managers have them energetically. Much has been written about the puppet. do away with the reality of action. Cardinal Manning. and so we look argued against against all this. and you do away with the means come to pass in time. There are some excellent volumes upon him. No longer would there be a living figure to confuse us into connecting actuality and art . and be either overlooked or discussed. It is a reasonable conclusion. and with it photographic and weak actuality. the Englishman. by which a debased stage-realism is produced and flourishes. Do away managers supporting with the actor. and you tend towards the doing away with the actor. This is what must for the truth to and I like to see the the idea already. Do away with the real tree. 1 The actor 'must go. is particularly emphatic when he speaks of the actor's business as " the prostitution of a body purified by baptism" necessitating to he has also inspired several works of art. emerge in due time. until he has won for himself a better name. 1 From another point of view. do away with the reality of delivery. even the unintelligent in Asia fail to comprehend photographs while understanding art as a simple and clear manifestation have protested against this reproduction of Nature. or marionette.and in his place comes the inanimate figure the tTber-marionette we may call him.THE VBER-MARIONETTE of Europe one does not speak of Asia.

the puppet has become a reproach. This is incorrect. mistakes gravity of face and calmness of body Yet for blank stupidity and angular deformity. the last echo of some noble and beautiful art of a past But as with all art which has passed civilization. and there is something in him more than the flashiness of displayed The marionette appears to me to be personality. and make . The applause may thunder or dribble. He is a descendant of the stone images of the old temples he is to-day a rather degenerate form of a god. one designs a puppet on paper. their hearts beat no faster.^> in his THE MARIONETTE least o regard him as rather a superior doll happy period many people come to and to think he has developed from the doll. They fuller blooded stage. and. They drink only to 82 reel. Always the close friend of children. even modern puppets are extraordinary things. as beautiful and as When any remote as ever. imitate the comedians of the larger and They enter only to fall on their back. into fat or vulgar hands. Such an one has not even perceived what is contained in He the idea which we now call the marionette. All puppets are now but low comedians. their signals do not grow hurried or confused. though drenched in a torrent of bouquets and love. no slower. he still knows how to select and attract his devotees. There is something more than a flash of genius in the marionette. the face of the leading lady remains as solemn. he draws a stiff and comic -looking thing.

and that the highest art is that which conceals the craft and forgets the mistaken.C. Their eyes have lost that infinite subtlety of seeming to see. or is it not the old Greek Traveller of 800 B. held gently. so gravely and so beautifully did she linger on the statement of her sorrow. Her arms and hands seemed S3 . the passion and the pain were con. They have forgotten the counsel of their mother the Sphinx. they have become stiff. no distortion of body or feature allowed us to dream that she was conquered. that with us it seemed as if no sorrow could harm her. They have failed to remember that their art should carry on it the same stamp of reserve that we see at times on the work of other artists. who.<> E1G 11 T H U N D RE D B. now they only stare They display and jingle their wires and are cocksure in their wooden wisdom. C. I tinually being caught and viewed calmly. with such a show of calm did she unloose for us the thoughts of her breast. tells us that he " was won to their beauty by their noble artifi" " ? ciality Coming into the House of Visions I saw afar off the fair brown Queen seated upon her throne her tomb for both it seemed to me. craftsman. Their bodies have lost their grave grace. describing a visit to the temple-theatre in Thebes. With so much ease did her rhythms alter as with her movements they passed from limb to limb. by her hands. I Am sank back upon my couch and watched her symbolic movements. <^ love only to raise a laugh.

ART OF SHOWING AND VEILING like a thin warm fountain of water then broke and fell with all those sweet It would pale fingers like spray into her lap. life The iiber-marionette it will not compete with rather will Its ideal will not be the 84 flesh go beyond and blood but . To that end we must study to remake these images no longer content with a puppet. fiber-marionette. We may learn at one moment which rose. or symbolic creature. This Art of Showing and Veiling. made also by the cunning of the artist." This in 800 B. for it is impossible to witness a performance without a sense of physical and spiritual refreshment. is so great a spiritual force in the land that it plays the larger part in their religion. 4 from it somewhat of the power and the grace of courage. have been as a revelation of art to us had I not already seen that the same spirit dwelt in the other examples of the art of these Egyptians.C. so that we can gain " " once more the noble artificiality which the old writer speaks of ? Then shall we no longer be to that under the cruel influence of the emotional conweakness which are nightly witnessed the people and which in their turn create in the by beholders the very weaknesses which are exhibited. And who knows whether the puppet the faithful of the artist. shall not once again become medium for the beautiful thoughts May we not look forward with hope day which shall bring back to us once more the figure.' as they call it. we must create fessions of an it.

searching for sights and sounds in that peaceful and joyous country. that they might raise a figure of stone or sing a verse.THE rather the itself V BER. artists whose works and names catch the drooping eye of to-day do not so much speak like men as bawl like animals. investing it with that same peace 85 of those larger times : these all . the guardians bent their thoughts forward towards the unknown. If the famous Rubens and the celebrated Raphael made none but passionate and exuberant statements. essay has a word or two about Death found its way on to the paper called there by the incessant " " which the Life Life Life clamouring of realists keep up. and these more than all others exhibit the true The other flamboyant or masculine manner. there were many artists before them and since to whom moderation in their art was the most precious of all their aims. especially by those who have no sympathy or delight in the power and the ! ! ! mysterious joyousness which is in all passionless works of art.MARIONETTE body in trance it will aim to clothe with a death-like beauty while exhaling a Several times in the course of this living spirit. the moderate masters. The wise. or lisp like women. And this might be easily mistaken for an affectation. strong because of the laws to which they swore to remain ever their names unknown for the most part faithful a fine family the creators of the great and tiny gods of the East and the West.

the forgotten masters of the temples and all that those temples contained have per- meated every thought. cities of and canopies of gold under which dwelt their gods. ASIA. as they travelled from height to plain.IN AMERICA. 86 There. . and who And not the least records more than he has seen. too. the minister whose duty it was to celebrate their guiding spirit the spirit of Motion. in their work with this sense of calm motion resembling death In Africa (which some glorifying and greeting it. over rivers and down valleys. living in their super!) ancient cities. every mark. the essence of the perfect civilization. In America we can picture these brothers of that family of masters. : among those artists was the artist of the cere- monies. those moving cities which. dwellings which contained all the requirements of the most fastidious. And " " artists in each city not one or two men called spacious tents of silk whom the rest of the city looked upon as ne'er-dowell idlers. the creator of the visions. In Asia. AFRICA and joy seen from afar. which T ever think of as able to be moved in a single day. but many men chosen by the community because of their higher powers of perception artists. so as to balance all the grief and turmoil here. For that is what the title of artist means one who perceives more than his fellows. seemed like some vast advancing army of peace. colossal cities. of us think we r are but now to civilize) this spirit dwelt.

can be discovered by looking at any example of Egyptian art. that is to say. not individuals obsessed with the idea of each asserting his personality as if it were a valuable and mighty thing. but too. stupidities. nor any indication that the artist's mind or hand was for the thousandth part of a moment out of the command of the laws which ruled him. Yet tenderness is there. in the service of the simple How of that stern the law was. nor fear. their brains content because of a kind of holy patience to move and their fingers only in that direction permitted by the law truths. swaggering personality not one single breath of it. Fierce of the artist ? doubts of hope ? not one hint of such a thing. and how little the artist exhibi- day permitted himself to make an tion of his personal feelings. How This it is to be a great artist. Look at any limb ever carved by the Egyptians. they will deny you Their attitude is so until the crack of doom. and charm is there. ? none not a sign of it has of these confessions Nor pride. search into all those carved eyes. nor the comic. Strenuous determination escaped the artist. but gush. arc no signs of supreme art. and the superb ! amount of emotional outpourings of to-day and of yesterday are no signs of supreme intelligence. prettiness is even there side by side with the force and love bathes each single .LOVE INSTEAD OF GUSH dwelt the great masters. silent that it is death-like. emotion. To 87 . work.

and in their poetry we were to figure and we also reminded them to " Come as you invite us with the familiar words : are. with us that they were putting into their archiAnd so it was we came to tecture. and have " great prostrated ourselves before the so-called masters. in their painting. in their architecture. having crushed most of them. . the happy-go-lucky hooligan in the seat of the law that is to say. could hardly be driven out of Italy. us. hovered over Greece." and have worshipped these dangerous and flamboyant personalities. architects. their music. in their sculpture. On an evil day we thought in our ignorance that it was us they were sent to draw that it was our thoughts they were sent to express that it was something to do . a stupid spirit reigning . And so it came about that when this ignorance had driven off the fair spirit which once controlled the mind and hand of the artist. demand that we should be able to recognize ourselves in all that they put hand to that is to say. in their music. a dark spirit took its place . sculptors. that which we asked them for they have supplied. munching them along with the acorns of our food.o 'COME AS YOU ARE 9 o Europe came this spirit. . leaving a little stream of tears pearls And we. but finally before fled. have gone farther and fared worse. musicians." The artists after many centuries have given in. vied one with the other to supply the 88 . ! and everybody began to shout about Renaissance while all the time the painters.

I'LATK 'Julius Caesar". a Drawing. .


on account of its beauty and tenderness. all the colours higgledy-piggledy." WILLIAM BLAKE. if the form be that of the living. fingers itching of their frames. . : but these are they are from 89 . having . fired into a blaze and destroyed. and what is that but the land where dwells that which we call Death ? So it is not lightly and flippantly that I speak of puppets and their power to retain the beautiful and remote expressions in 1 " All forms are perfect in the poet's mind not abstracted or compounded from Nature Imagination. the colour for it must be sought from that unknown land of the imagination. and in its place realism. the blunt statement of life. mouths which to come out Form breaks into panic the calm and cool whisper which once had breathed out such an ineffable hope is heated. all the lines in hubbub. of life in trance : it as his privilege to walk in front of them to lead. 1 won picture. for it was the spirit which first chose And in that the artist to chronicle its beauty. like the ravings of lunacy. something everybody misunderstands while recognizing. because it is not the custom of the artist to walk behind things. Up sprang portraits with flushed faces. which bulged.*> THE HOOLIGAN all R E I G N S *> demand that that all these things should be so made people could recognize them as having something to do with themselves. And all far from the purpose of art for its purpose is not to reflect the actual facts of this life. eyes leered. Rather should life reflect the likeness of the spirit. wrists which exposed the pulse.

that these puppets were always little things of but a foot high ? 90 force of our laughter (and tears) with the heartrending shriek of my upon yourself ! "Oh my Oh my nose ! Oh my ! . nor did they speak through the nose of the hidden manipulator. ladies and gentlemen. images which were indeed made " and that many centuries ago likeness of God. ! " Sister seem to cry out appealingly to your dog " Sister Anne. [Poor Punch. of the wires jerky movements. Let me again repeat that they are the descendants of a great and noble family of " in the Images. I mean no slight to You stand alone. they doll. these figures had a rhythmical movement and not a jerky one had no need for wires to support them. " Puppet " is a term of contempt. degenerate though they have become. you turn the : nose nose "] Did you think. with that superb bravado of yours. who have made a jest of these puppets. you as you look back across the centuries with painted tears still wet upon your ancient cheeks. is nobody coming ? And then Anne. To speak of a puppet with most men and women is to cause them ." to giggle. though there still remain some who find beauty in these little figures. and you . a torrent of applause. They think at once they think of the stiff hands and the " tell me it is a funny little But let me tell them a few things about these puppets.PUN CH form and face even when subjected to a patter of There are persons praise. dignified in your despair.

the ceremony. And then. one day. the hurrah for existence. Something they were making which should become him. Surrounded by gardens spread warm and rich with flowers and cooled by fountains. no ous form than yourselves. gardens into which no sounds entered. In this ceremony he took part. something to honour the spirit which had given him birth. Only in the cool and private chambers of this palace the swift minds of his attendants stirred incessantly. On the banks of the Ganges they built him his home. and with it the sterner hurrah for the privilege of the existence . and where the flowers of his little ! garden had courageous petals as big as his head ? Try and dispel this idea altogether from your minds. 91 . and let me tell you something of his habitation.THE BANKS OF THE GANGES The puppet had once a more generIndeed. Do you think that he kicked his feet about on a little platform six feet square. in which hardly anything stirred. In Asia lay his first kingdom. a vast palace springing from column to column into the air and pouring from column to column down again into the water. a celebration once more in praise of the Creation the old thanksgiving. made to resemble a little old-fashioned theatre. so that his head almost touched the top of the proscenium ? and do you think that he always lived in a little house where the door and windows were as small as a doll's house. with painted window-blinds parted in the centre.

the symbol of the hills. and he is losing his health in it. " what am I to fear most ? he asks them. stepping forward. of moving things. the symbol of the quickest . And during this ceremony there appeared before the eyes of the brown worshippers the symbols of all things on earth and in Nirvana. which is veiled by the word Death. I will not say a theatre. the symbol of the animal. the figure. The symbol of the beautiful tree. They answer him " Fear most the vanity of men. and of all swift moving things. we should be laughing at the fall that we have brought about in ourselves laughing at the beliefs and images we have broken. You laugh him to-day because none but his weaknesses are He reflects these from you. would not have laughed had you seen him in his prime. of the wind. figure of and. of remembrance. of thought. temple. Something is in the air . and we find From a his home a little the worse for wear. If we should laugh at and insult the memory of the puppet. in that age when he was called upon to puppet at at be the symbol of man in the great ceremony. the symbol of Buddha and of Man and here he comes. was the beautiful our heart's delight. " And his doctors tell him he must be careful. A few centuries later. but something between a temple and a theatre. the symbols of those rich ores which the hills contained the symbol of the cloud." He : thinks " : But that is what 92 I myself have always . the whom you all laugh so much.THE THANKSGIVING CEREMONY to come. but you left to him. it has become.

yet to these two women it proved an intoxication only. And now let me tell you who it was that came to disturb the calm air which surrounded this It is on record that curiously perfect thing.' And he dismisses my eyes upon his doctors and ponders upon it." "like his"). should be one to lose sight of it and should myself be one of the first to fall ? Clearly some subtle attack is to be made on me. somewhat later he took up his abode on the Far Eastern coast. should 5 intoxicated.THE THANKSGIVING CEREMONY taught. I will keep the heavens. He did not see them. and 93 them . No sooner thought than done. his eyes were fixed on the heavens. an inspiration which cleared the mind even as existence. the desire to stand as the direct symbol of the divinity in man. that we who celebrated in joy this our have this one great fear. Is it that I. And at the ceremony to which they came he glowed with such earthly splendour and yet such unearthly simplicity. and there came two women to look upon him. one who has ever revealed this possible truth. that though he proved an inspiration to the thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight souls who participated in the festival. and arraying themselves as best they could in " garments (" like his they thought). but he charged it full of a desire too great to be quenched. moving with " gestures (" like his they said) and being able to cause wonderment in the minds of the beholders " (" even as he does they cried). they built themselves a temple (" like his.

what has made me love and learn to value that " which to-day we call the " puppet and to detest " " life in art ? I pray earnestly that which we call the liber-marionette for the return of the image to the Theatre. grow quickly. and the parody proved profitable. then. and that wilderness of weeds. The actor springs from the foolish vanity of two women who were not strong enough to look upon the symbol of godhead without desiring to tamper with it. The figure of the divine puppet attracted fewer and fewer lovers. the modern theatre. This is on record.GUSH NOT LOVE demand of the vulgar. soon sprang up. came that darker spirit which is called Chaos. Do you see. FLORENCE : March 1907. and the women were quite the With the fading of the puppet latest thing and the advance of these women who exhibited themselves on the stage in his place. he will be loved so well that once more will it be possible for the people to return to their ancient joy in ceremonies once more will Creation be celebrated homage rendered to existence and divine and happy intercession made to Death. supplied the Weeds. In fifty or a hundred years places for such parodies were to be found in all parts of the land. the whole thing a poor parody. and in its wake the triumph of the riotous personality. It is the first record in the East of the actor. and when he comes again and is but seen. they say. 94 .

its state as an art and an institution. shall me for a reformer. I beg of When I become a reformer and a physician in one " reform it take Hamlet's advice and with myself and ending altogether. little And so it is improve no marked nor lasting improvement. Those who live in London or Berlin little what is passing in the two French Those who live in Paris and London have seldom heard of the Berlin theatres. And the Art of the Theatre still remains unknown. bring about . Two small progressive theatres in Paris. And those know very theatres.SOME EVIL TENDENCIES OF THE MODERN THEATRE AS do that I is I step before you to speak about the Theatre not mistake you do not do that. . who live in Berlin and Paris hardly know that any such theatres that these gallant efforts to exist in England. one must have at least half-a-dozen or a dozen theatres in different parts of the world. because all their energy and occasional good deeds evaporate after a few thousand people have left the theatre. 95 theatres. But to be a reformer one must be in the position of a reformer that is to say." beginning to say. which make daily the state of things. London or Berlin are quite useless towards improving the state of things in the Theatre. so that the reforms spread evenly. a surgeon with the limelight man.

and it is the weeds. nor the Italian. and there an end. would matter but little to the men who are busy all the time searching for the truths which are the basis of One of the evil tendencies of the modern all things. to aim at being heard of for a few months and years. robbing the other plants of that goodness and altogether spoiling the beauty of the garden. not as a casual onlooker nor as an irritable one. the evil tendencies of the modern theatre. Scandinavian nor Russian theatres.NOT A REFORMER . a man is instantly arrested by the weeds. Bear in mind that when I speak of the Theatre I do not allude especially to what is called the English theatre nor do I mean that which they call . but more as one who takes a loving interest in watching the growth The eye of such of plants in a beautiful garden. then. Nothing seems so foolish or so abominable to him as the weeds which absorb the goodness from the soil. the French theatre. unheard of. 96 All theatres . to make an effort in front of a full audience for a few thousand evenings. To reform this would it not need the headlong strength of theatre some profoundly stupid giant ? I write. is to forget this entirely. that I am concerned with here. I do not particularly mean what is called the German theatre. It would be quite another matter (and I should be unable to write as I do) if any of these theatres had disco veredJLaws for the Art of the Theatre for these theatres to be unknown. as an onlooker.

of all lands are alike in all things except language, and, alas the weeds so closely resemble each other

positively comic. I speak then of the Theatre as a whole, the Theatre of Europe and America, for I have seen


it is

none other; though I believe, from what I hear, that the Eastern Theatre abstains from offending
the intelligence.
of the Western Theatre is to disthe vital principles of the art To invent or regard borrow with haste so-called reforms which may

The tendency

attract the public, not those which are necessary To encourage piracy and to the health of the art

imitation instead of cultivating natural resource: To take the keys of the place from their rightful
keepers, the artists, and to hand them over to the " " or anyone. business man I write, as I say, as an onlooker, but I have been for over fifteen years a worker in the theatre.

This I say for the benefit of those who may not know, and who question my authority for these statements.

have many times written that there


only one

way to obtain unity in the Art of the Theatre. I suppose it is unnecessary to explain why unity
should be there as in other great arts I suppose it offends no one to admit that unless unity reigns " I suppose this is quite chaos is come again





well, then.

So far, so good. And

should not be

difficult to










unity is to be obtained. I have attempted this in my book, The Art of the Theatre, 1 and now I wish


by what process unity

is lost.

me make

will serve) of

(an incomplete one, but it the different workers in the theatre.
list I will tell

When I have made this
of the broth.

you how many

head-cooks and how they

assist in the spoiling




is the proprietor of the there is the business manager Secondly, rents the theatre. Thirdly, there is the stage-

and foremost, there


sometimes three or four of these.


are also three or four business men.
to the chief actor and the chief
chief; that

Then we come actress. Then we

have the actor and the actress who are next to the

to say,


are ready to step into




twenty to sixty other actors this, there is a gentleman who designs scenes. Another who designs costumes. A third who devotes his time to arranging lights. A fourth

Then there are from and actresses. Besides

who attends to the machinery (generally the hardest worker in the theatre). And then we have from twenty to a hundred under-workers, scenepainters, dressers,

costume makers, limelight manipulators, scene-shifters, under machinists, extra ladies and gentlemen, cleaners, programme sellers and there we have the bunch.


look carefully at this



see seven

See page 137.


heads and two very influential members.
directors instead of one,
of one.


and nine opinions instead

impossible for a work of art ever tc be produced where more than one brain is permittee to direct ; and if works of art are not seen in the Theatre



it is

one reason plenty more.



sufficient one,

though there an

Do you wish to know why there are seven masters
instead of one
in the theatre

say, there


because there is no one man a master in himself, that is tc no one man capable of inventing anc

It is


capable of designing and superrehearsing a play intending the construction of both scenery anc

costume of writing any necessary music of inventing such machinery as is needed and the lighting that is to be used.

No manager

of a theatre has


these thing!

study and it is a disgrace to the Western Theatr< that this statement can be made. You have bui to ask any manager in London, Berlin or Parii whether he can invent the drama which is to b< presented in his theatre. Or ask him whether h< can invent and design the scenes which are to b< shown on his stage. Or ask him whether he knowi anything about historic or imaginative costume and whether he knows a beautiful colour from ai ugly one. Whether he can even combine lovely tones and colours together so as to form a whole and whether he knows anything of the hand, th< 99

wrist, the



arm, the neck, and all the rest of the the body in movement. Ask him

whether he knows how
fully illumine
will over-light




sufficient to

twenty cubic feet, and how much twenty cubic feet and so waste the Ask him if he knows the weight of wood light. and cloth, or if he can tell you how swiftly or how slowly a stage floor is able to be raised or

Ask him any

and he



of these ordinary things, you that it is not his

And then


remarkable master of the

Art of the Theatre

will call


his co-workers, and,

pointing to them, he will say, assistants."


These are


not speaking the truth. They are not his they are his masters. They lead him with a hook in his nose like the great Leviathan which we see in pictures of the older day pageants.



only made of emptiness covered with paste-board. Is not this a fine master ? Is not this a pretty way to obtain
looks mighty terrible, but he


same unity, this one thing vital to the art ? So then we have to turn to the six other masters, each of whom helps towards the patchwork, and see if they will help us to a reasonable answer. The regisseur, or stage-manager, is under the deluthis

sion that in truth he


the one



the artist,

the inventor, the master, but, poor fellow, he is nothing of the kind, for no one is the master each

throwing into the broth whatever ingredient he





are petty masters, each hindering tl Many of the r^gisseurs, or stage-manager



to me.


have worked with some

others I have spoken with; but all are under tt It is a kind of delusio delusion that I mention. of despair, for rgisseurs are really very goo

workers and spare themselves no pains when the are in the theatre. They should have spared n pains to prepare themselves for their task befw
entering the theatre.

As our questions to the met with such a lamentable

director of the theatj
reply, let us see wheth*

the r^gisseur, or stage-manager, will be able to gi\ us a better answer. Let us ask him, let us ask an r^gisseur in Europe or America, if he can imagin and invent that which is to be presented to th audience; that is to say, the piece, the play, th Let us ask hii idea, or whatever you may call it. whether he can design the scenes and costumes fc

that piece, and whether he can superintend the construction that is to say, whether he knows th secrets of line and colour and their manipulatioi

Let us ask him whether he can direct without th of experts the different workmen who ai employed on account of their utility, not o account of their imagination. And if there is on such man in Europe or America who can repl " Yes " to all these questions, he is the man t whom the control of the stages of Europe an America should be offered for such a man would b 101

able to acquire the


capacities as himself, for

he would know what was necessary. And when you have ten such men in Europe you have a new But there are not ten, as you will find out Theatre. if you ask. I could not tell you the name of one. And so it is that unity, as I have said, is absent from the Art of the Theatre. Yet there are several brains in the theatre who know that if they could find the secret which would produce this unity they would have discovered a very good deed. In Germany there are a few such men searching in the topmost branches of the tree. But, as they do not think to search at

leads them into strange mean very well, but they act very They They are red-hot in the pursuit, but they queerly.

the roots, their search

run blindfold.

The tendency

of these



to borrow.


borrow from every conceivable source. They borrow from the painters, they borrow from the architects, they even borrow from their own fellows,


idea, so long as it is attractive;


so long

as the idea has a plain enough base on which to build a little structure of sense, it is quickly trans-

ferred into the theatre.

What a way
artist to act




wishes to be called an

Clever artists illustrating week after

comic papers of Germany find their on and thrust upon the stage of the " " modern theatre, Jugend decorates Shakespeare
in the


ideas seized


tendency. and Simplicissimus is useful for Gorky and Wedekind. and that to engage a man who paints the side of a house would be a shrewder act on their part ? One curious side of this question of the painter being invited to co-operate in the theatre is that I am looked on as supporting the and. whereas I am against the whole thing from beginning to end. all things in the theatre of to-day. The directors show an eagerness to-day to secure the studio painters to design scenes for them. in fact. adding a fresh wound to an already mutilated corpse ? Do they not also see that to invite the studio painters into the theatre is an insult to those scenethis is ! How strange Do painters whose families have worked in the theatre for hundreds of years ? and do they not also see that the peculiar merit of the studio painter is of no avail inside a theatre.oTHE STUDIO PAINTERS o " and Bernard Shaw. These things are experimental and rash innovations. they not see that they are inviting into their theatre that which in time will turn and rend it asunder. could bring any release for the art by convention. hasty preparation. dangerous alike to the art and to the public. am pointed out as an example of the success which attends the movement. hasty reforms. hasty " Hastiness characterizes ideas as hastily carried out. secondly the unintelligence and incapacity of those who by 103 If the painter lies which so bound. firstly .

It . an artist to catch. Where. incessant quarrels to smooth over. The bad is copied as swiftly and as thoughtlessly as the good. always one incessant hustle. (I am speaking of the modern theatres . an author to see. Why. at least one new play to be brought out each month. bitter or sweet. and any one year in a theatre can understand hurrying and blundering is not who has lived a it. . would be a welcome thing but it is not bring they bring one more fetter. a critic to entertain. on by these and rgisseurs. In this haste all 104 . play reading. which are supposed to be in the advance. is the time to stop and consider about the art of the thing ? This may do very well for an oil business or a large grocery these things thrive by hustling not so an art. looking at scenery. is seized Any it is flashy hasty and thoughtless directors squeezed.THEY BRING NO RELEASE then their coming release they is not their fault to offer their service it is our fault to accept it. We borrow and we borrow and we borrow. extracted from it. any design. Day after- noon evening night : these gentlemen of the theatre are continually on the rush. We are already so much in debt that we are nearly in despair. studying parts. attending receptions. (?).) Rehearsing in the morning. see- ing people in the midday. Yet this so strange. its are supposed to be masters . provided enough or eccentric enough. building to superintend. picture. capital to find. then. and its juice. : . this even makes the borrowing careless. And we are in such haste. after all.

Must the Theatre continually cry out that it contains none but the fifth-rate men ? Must the men 105 . that is exactly the class of diplomacy in the theatre. and how seriously these little imitation diplomatists go about their work It is f very curious to read in De Goncourt's Memoirs of the impression the two brothers received when they wished to honour the theatre by bringing their work on to its stage. what a picture he paints for us we feel. when reading the account of his keenly different interviews with these gentlemen. and disgusts me to think that for ever and for ever such men as De Goncourt. and all the great writers and all the men of truest It horrifies and for ever distinction in the world should be put in such a humiliating position . but it is shameful that it is ever the Theatre which should put these men in this position. a true courtier of distinction. Goethe. De Musset. Browning. Edmond de Goncourt. Victor Hugo. how vulgar and contemptible the situation must have ! been. we must admit that beauty by the side of intrigue is but a poor sort of a thing to follow . Burlesque intrigue.DE GONCOURT HUGO GOETHE DUMAS is thought of the principles or the beauty of the art lost sight of and all desire to produce beauty After all. departs. Dumas. and not only is it that which disgusts me. surrounded by these burlesque diplomatists of the How theatre. and a sort of burlesque intrigue is the goddess of the theatre of to-day.

thief.TWO TENDENCIES of the theatre continually act when in the presence of other artists ? And if they act. must they for ever continue to act ignominiously. now. Century after century the artists of the theatre. but grow vulgar to the core. to return to the tendency to invite the painters and other artists to assist us in our work. call them 106 business men. But. is to be many times worse than a vagabond and a thief. Would . When it drops this bad habit it will have time to attend to the things which are of more importance. . despairing of ever seeing the stage awaken from its state of drunken lethargy. depart from the theatre and go elsewhere. and it will have then the spirit to look at things squarely. When it does its work itself there will be no longer need for anything of the kind. so that the " cries whole world out : Behold an actor. The result is that to-day there are no more artists in the theatre. Let the Theatre drop its stupid games of amateur diplomacy. we may. and the haste which characterizes everything we These two tendencies have driven the best do. The heads of the theatre are always men with a certain amount of business capacity . remained a vagabond not in This is especially the to goodness that he had and a thief. and a ! " The actor has actor into the bargain lately been priding himself that he has raised himself from the old position when he was held as damn bad a vagabond and a case in England. workers out of the theatre. in fact. so that he had lost his distinction for to become a gentleman name.

! ! : 1 ! : so through this crass innocence. so it What a magnificent artist you are " And then is he runs out into the highways and byways. Manager. he has asked for a forest. realism reigns in the theatre. He does not paint one." and Mr. diffi- man brings him the real and original thing. and will say " Oh capital capital that's most 107 : ! ! ! ." And his customers gasp. in A Midsummer Nighfs Dream. and his ! . if it is an accident.<^ THE BUSINESS MAN o The business man employs one or two people who know what a tree looks like as distinguished from a cat. That would be risky risky and No. forest. They gasp at the innocence All they can politely say to him is of the man. and says to all his " Walk up. his man brings him one. for the people are ever polite. By Jingo. tree by tree. And so when the business man wants a tree his workman How simple When he wants a brings him one. " There you are. Mr. or falling off a chair. Manager replies. and of course that is very useful. gentlemen relations and customers come and look at the scene which I have prepared Have you ever seen a scene like that ? for you I flatter myself that Nature can't do better. of ! course not cult. It is " very realistic " ! And Not only does the manager demand a forest and " supplied with one. but he says to his actors : Why don't you walk about and talk like ordinary beings ? Be natural Be natural Be natural ! " And is ! ! he will applaud any little mistake like tripping over the carpet. say. having first put on his celluloid cuffs. there's your forest " for you.

The idea of makeget believe seems to him a preposterous idea when he can get the real thing. In England when he wants an army he sends one of his assistants to bring him half-a-dozen men from the so-and-so regiment and puts them into the armour of the Barusch period. that falling." Anything to a sense of chance there. And now one turns to the real thing to find what we have to copy. " What's the at all. and that everything which art detests.^> natural ! ART AND REALISM o Put that in every evening. that it is not healthy. We look carefully a building. We gaze long at a face. but keeps on repeating : way good of imitation when you can get the real article? And what is the good if you want the real Realism does want the real article. and to possess other actual qualities. Let us say that when we make a realistic production we aim to put into a semi-real shape that which is already quite real. are people who hold that realism on the stage is not the bringing of real things in front of you. " We aim to invest it with something lifelike. we are struck by the quantity of 108 . what is it ? Let us try to state. and article? There art has nothing whatever to do with realism. He never thinks of training all his men to appear He doesn't reason in that military as soldiers are. If it is not this. at that it is half a skeleton. it so that appears to have a pulse in it. flesh and blood. We look closely We see it is in decay. that the leaves are at a tree. it is it is not strong. We see it is not beautiful.

! ! and defect^ are charming is a platitude. Something may be done by the younger men. perhap: make a work of art more interesting ? I think noi One may say only that they are a trifle comic. They ma or may not be. Anarchy ! Ariel is dc stroyed and Caliban reigns. but not in art. " they began doing things they would probably only make matters wors instead of better. if not terrified. theatre. for the comic its realism is caricature. an that is all. Affectation would be added t are emerge ujiaided in due time. is to be terrified by what w look closely at reality How unreason see and. Do they. saddened. Down it goes until we reac the depths. but alway tends downwards. 109 bu . but there is nc very much to be done at present by the people wh will now in power. And then. And I do not really believe there is very much t be done not that I am at all a pessimist in regar to the art. because I know well enough that thi .REALISM IS CARICATURE bricks used and overcome by the thought of th labour and pain it must have cost to put all th And so we find that t bricks in the right place. with realism. able it is to say that the artist exists to copy th How ridiculou defects and blemishes of Nature to say that man is gifted with vision in order t To say that faults are beautifi chronicle faults . will end in the Th musk realism cannot go upwards. for if vulgarity. And so in time realism produces an ends in hall.

but bondage to strike the first new note in honour of their own To expect what but the Muse of 110 . because they would all be in unison and in harmony. but the influence of is Jugend and Simplicissimus and Business men too throng there. but the influence of the author is too strong there.x> WHAT IS BEING DONE o not if they are under the influence of their elders. Besides. Something is being done in England at the miniature Court Theatre. the two solitary efforts of Paris but how little is achieved can be gauged by some of the last . ought to happen. productions there. no longer to remain in to the Muse of Literature or Painting. because then you get an old young man. then some little good might be expected. that theatre shows signs of the borrowing fever at a dreadfully high temperature. Then there is Antoine's Theatre and the Theatre des Arts. and the old-fashioned theatre with its plays and its scenery and its real actors would certainly be improved. full of energy. If all these little theatres were moving forward in the same direction. to expect the managers of these theatres to meet in council and to take an oath of allegiance to serve no other Muse their art. in the Something is being done Deutches Theater in Berlin. Then there is also the little Art Theatre in Moscow. loving realism so well that they even turn realism itself into a joke. an author who uses the theatre for purposes of reclame. all of them having one common idea and following one code of laws.

it wanders.o for Til BLACK . or to make A great vanity and a petty selfishness tie our tongues and our brains. Laws have not been because of this. OF FORM o Goddess. because neither the priests nor the worshippers know the Laws. is this which makes the difference between the work To say that it of the Theatre and the fine arts. How then can it obtain this form ? Only by developing slowly under the laws. this ideal hope can only remain a dream. Not what each of us personally takes to be the law. We can come to no disappointment by finding out. man is vain and selfish and besides. Ill . It form. but what it actually is. because the inscribed. and I believe I money. where there is no form there can be no beauty. it has no form. but everyone wants to force his own ideas. If all of us fail to find the thing and one comes along who makes it clear. who will there be to deny him ? The worst of it is that no one wants to find the law nowadays. that all action is useless at The Laws must be discovered and present. What the Art of the Theatre (or rather we must call it the Work of the Theatre at present) lacks is It spreads. the Laws And it is of the Art have not been inscribed. In art. And these luws ? I have searched for them. upon the rest. am finding some of them 1908. trumpery or the reverse. recorded. lacks form is to say that it lacks beauty.

" to all this.PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS PICTURES AND PAINTERS IN THE THEATRE I WHEREVER the people may unintelligent : go and however intelligent or be. sets his me that when a man hand to a work he should not take by the wrist another man's hand and use it to do the work in question. sometimes nicely put Do you want to the plays out of the theatre ? Do sweep away find the idea of the poet in the theatre offenyou sive ? Please say what is the meaning of this extraordinary idea of yours. the eternal question comes back over and over again sometimes aggressively put " to one. and then call it his has become the obvious with work. and see every the pictures which the others 112 see. I must remove myself from the picture before me. line in And if I try to . The whole thing is so obvious to me that. and how- ever carefully they have read what I have written upon the Theatre. is suddenly to be difficult let It is exceedingly difficult and as it is exceedingly to reply us so clear It try to do so. Of course to me the whole question is that it ceases to be a question any longer. that that which has all been good for hundreds of years held as bad. in order to be able to reply carefully and sensibly to those to whom it is not obvious.

which but if the question are ob\ious to most of us . the grim absurdity of the whole thing. theatre." " It is such a great play. Besides. Let us take the whole front row of the London pit. especially the man who takes the arts I have more than a large appreciation of easily. it is We don't know why we come. it to the act. his good sense. (Excellent judge !) The second will tell you that. that it is the extraordinary sense of the impossible. and the other eight will give us several elaborate and conflicting reasons for their presence. which fascinates him. giggle I like to hear so much. it is body of people who will 113 . One will say. consisting of twenty people. but we think such fun. Ask them the reason why they have come " I come to see Mr. I have a horrible dread of proving people to be wrong. has to be gone into at all perhaps this is inevitable. Five reply.A FRONT ROW IN A LONDON PIT do that I shall have to see some very dull things. after having spent the day among dull quite interesting to find a and matter-of-fact people." from a sense of duty both to the actors Two are there of the play and to the audience. Three reply. no matter what his reason is." Two and " reply. I do not want to prove that the man who goes to the pit to see Richard the Third is wrong for going there. and discuss some very dull points.

one who goes to a theatre because he must. because somehow he feels that the thing would be incomplete without him he is one of the men who . while actors and scenery are pretending on the stage. I believe. sex. and that " " classical the Kemble family were of the school. " sitting a young lady. is always the one who is most deeply moved by what he sees. is ready to see all that is there and more (or and yet indeed she leans towards less) if required " " and is ever the champion of the more the is . and having read a history of the stage which skips over the first couple of thousand years in two pages and only begins to go into detail when it comes to the Shakespearean era this man will be there.o sit still THE CRITICAL MAN o . with the intelligence which is natural in her who. and who. nothing real about them. Yet when the curtain is once down he will tell you that was not the way to do it at all. Then there is the third. the actors are so many sticks. the critical man one read how Edmund Kean illuminated who having Shakespeare by sudden flashes of genius." He draws our attention to the flapping scenery and grumbles about the incidental music which he says spoils the effect. know has he not read Then next to him all about it ? " Why. and that Charles Fechter was a romantic actor. more " when she finds it. which he 114 . Next to her sits the grumbler. and he detests all those flashing lights." he " says.

the first five who came to hear Shakespeare more or less admit that they for came to see it performed. because the first on our list. and in this way hear it in their mind's ear with all its amazing and wonderful accompaniment. far as to say that the entire twenty have come go so : to see something. that is to say. They cannot keep away from the theatre. I will even fifteen have come to see something." One thing is irrefutable. a single idea that audience which the actor always looks on as one man. The rest destroyed of the row say that it is very nice indeed. it together So we can say somewhat surely that all have come to see the play. or joined those who read in societies. and they all applaud heartily. while he continues to grunt " that and mumble.THE GRUMBLER But what illusion is the illusion. had they wished they could have joined the many thousands who sit at home and read it silently. sees the thing in a different light. and keeps on repeating that says spoil isn't the way to do it. Only when seeing doe* 115 ." And so we see that very nearly each single man or woman is come there for a different purpose. And another thing which we must admit is this that out of the twenty. he is totally unable to define. and which we must accept as " the ideal spectator. This desire is as fierce as any in the nature of man. and composes " what we can term an "audience.

and go to the theatre to find. should be given to them. He continues his prowling. The servant. Therefore I hold that properly to satisfy their eye. Behind him. reasonable to ask that that which the people desire." 116 mean : . a servant moves. holding a trembling light. looks at him. when my drink is ready. being left quite alone. bid thy mistress. by pounding at the same time at their ears with music or with words. and he Once more he begins to pace looks back again. dark corridors of his castle. I and shaking their Let us take something as an example of what that part in the play of Macbeth where he prepares to nerve himself to rob King Duncan He is roaming about in and out of the of his life.MACBETH a man thoroughly believe. They go it. they pass and repass a window. to see something . . it is and many occur to you at this moment without my mentioning them. the corridor. and through that their being. . There are innumerable will proofs of this. . like his shadow. and then rests upon a stone bench. and I think I see him gazing out a long time towards the heath. which is most delicate. So now. She strike upon the bell. He thinks of his wife. nor by attacking their minds with problems bodies with passions. then becomes more afraid of " Go. we should not confuse them or confuse their sense of sight. he is afraid to be left alone. Only by showing them will they should be shown they be satisfied.

" Is this a dagger that I see before me. now . . " Get thee to bed. And such an instrument I was to use. fatal vision. it steps leading to the basement now became a streak a streak. witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate"s offerings and withered murder. the wolf. He continues to roam up and down. : 117 . Whiles I threat he lives suits with it. Art thou not. In his agitation the figure of his wife takes the place of his servant. for fear The very stones prate on my whereabout. Whose howl's his watch. startling him for an init. . . which way they walk. thus with his stealthy pace With Tarquin's ravishing strides. He feels particu- he seems to take he has an audience and his desire warms in him. towards his design Moves like a ghost Thou sure and firm-set earth Hear not my steps. Thou marshalPst me the way that I was going. There's no such thing. He will do courage The servant returns. Or else worth all the rest. down the a flame at first. and wicked dreams abuse . larly fine . It is the bloody business. I see thee still And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood Which was not so before. : The curtain'd Alarum'd by sleep . his sentinel.HIS VISION The servant departs. let me clutch thee F have thee not. and yet I see thee still." He watches the flame stant. Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses. And Which now take the present horror from the time. sensible To feeling as to sight ? or art thou but A dagger of the mind a false creation Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain ? I see thee yet. in form as palpable As that which now I draw. of the torch as it dwindles and dwindles. The handle toward my hand ? -Come. Now o'er the one half world Nature seems dead. which informs Thus to mine eyes.

Hear it not. can read the speech three. We wander up to the top of the castle with Macbeth. these same visions.) I go. and he will be as fatigued as though he had walked twenty But he will have felt some of that which miles. we gaze across the rooky woods and across the hills.ONE APPEAL RATHER THAN MANY to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives. And having read this speech three. can be better brought before the eye and so into the soul of the if audience the artist concentrates on that which appeals to the eye. though by no means all. is making simultaneous confusion. we can descend with him into the cellars. the bell invites me. five times let anyone continue to read the entire play. Duncan .' Words Now same for what I mean. to see the play performed in the When we read those lines we are not cramped within three walls. (A bellringt. for it is a knell 1 That summons thee to heaven. It is difficult to read this one speech of Macbeth slowly. four. we may pass out and among 118 . This same idea. and that which appeals to the ear. and get the full value of what Shakespeare has put there. or to hell. and it is done . four or five times. these figures. than if that which appeals to the brain. Shakespeare intended him to feel. is some of its worth caught by us. That which he feels we shall not feel We and then only when we go theatres. when other sounds and sights are exterminated and we are quiet in our rooms.

creeps continually the to-morrow and to-morrow and so. above us in the room over our head. losers. it is little short of sacrilege to destroy that which produces those ideas by confusing us and our other senses by appealing to those other senses at the same time. It is not people and things. Pity. We morrow and to-morrow.o READING THE LINES o the the bushes which bank themselves at the foot of damp castle of Glamis. And when art is so great and so perfect that it can bring us on the mere reading such priceless magical things. in our room reading. And if we only went so far with Shakespeare I should not have reason to object to the cramping in between three walls which we are subjected to in the theatre. it seems to prowl round the room. the entire time we are reading. in the air before us. we see the terrifyhangs ing figure of "wither'd murder" with Tarquin's ravishing strides passing before us. we are great . losing all this in the theatre. we ride with Shakespeare upon the sightless couriers of the air. Later. the bell time after time booms " to-morrow and toout in the distance. But when we read. for we should not be great losers. 119 . but ideas which so surround and possess us as we sit and read. creeps in this petty pace from day to day. like a naked new-born babe." Round our room. outside the window. hear the bell which strikes and As we sit rings the knell at the death of Duncan.

though it does not matter what his name is) may be seen passing through all these doubts and fears a figure in action." for. A man (we may call him Macbeth. NOT THINGS. Suppose we look at a picture by Signorelli. Supposing we are listening to the Pastoral Sym- 120 . and round him other figures in action and though we may not receive the superb impression which a master (which Shakespeare) . as they ever do. they would confuse. alobvious this all should be. the famous one of the Berlin Gallery. instead upon at the same time to of assisting. the same impression the same beauty and philosophy. And there is another reason why I would not it is How have them there. Birth of Pan reciting to us simultaneously the would bring out the qualities in the picture. POSSESS US And so. and it is this the same idea. It " " would only confuse.IDEAS. if you wish can be put before the eyes of an without at the same time confusing their audience : ideas through an appeal to their other senses. that on the stage we lose them. gives us. we shall through our eyes receive a clearer impression than if the other senses were called " assist. absurd to talk hopefully of the possithough bility that in a short time these plays may not be put on the stage. for the reason I have suggested. I fail utterly to believe that a string quartett playing hard at the same time would assist our eyes or that some one . I would have them there but seldom.

and it has been annexed by any one who wished to make use of it. I do not believe that a panorama of hay-makers making hay. and I claim the Theatre for those born in the Theatre. Then Wagner took a fancy to the vineyard. or in a hundred years. ! The playwrights made use of it once Shakespeare. have protected theirs well. and we will have it To-day. the man who has been given innumerable myriads of acres. : the painter. The theatre painters men have left their vineyard. but first because I hold that the plays are spoiled in the theatre. And I am here to tell of this. and so the annexing goes on. or a reading to us from Spenser's Calendar would add in any way to Shepheards the understanding or the enjoyment of those It would qualities which are in the Symphony. The Has it ever been tried ? No. indeed The musicians have protected their garden well. Until to-day we find that the painter is actually making eyes at the little place. a little patch of which he had But now both cultivated till now so exquisitely. Moliere and the rest. each with his vast possessions. or to-morrow. and secondly I hold that the plays and the playwrights are ! 121 . pleasant voice only confuse.THE INTRUDERS phony by Beethoven. painter and musician. as well as the writer. but we will have it! So you see I do not wish to remove the plays from the Stage from any affectations. have grown discontented.

and as my mind leaves me no rest until these designs and ideas are put into one form or another.A WRONG STATEMENT o is spoiling us. But as I have not yet this theatre of my own. gentlemen. they follow up their statement that I wish unreasonably to drive out the plays and the playwrights from the Theatre without reason. even where they are at times particularly intelligent. to have What leads them to surmise this is. He only wants to oust our plays from the stage so that his pictures may come there instead. and instantly the " Ha. and if I possessed a theatre of my own I should not convey on to the paper the designs which are in my mind. but I should place them directly on to the stage. that I happen made very many stage designs on paper. In Germany and in England. that self-reliance to say are robbing us of our in Holland. I assure you. by adding that I wish to introduce the painter in the place of the author. And so judged by what is seen on paper and am acclaimed as Maler (painter) ." But. ha we have unthoughtless scream out am : ! earthed this terrible conspiracy. In my time I have produced many pieces on the and in stage. this man is only arguing from a little standpoint. I have been forced to make studies of these ideas with the limited means at 1 my disposal. and our vitality. most cases when doing so I have not previously produced designs on paper. you have 122 made .

or painting. let them keep to their kingdoms. who. and one so universally beloved. because and very difficult a stage-manager this first man does not demands a playwright. naturally say to yourselves : what is he ? He can't be a stage-manager. movements in thought to our eyes." I see How can you underdifficulty perfectly well. silently by religion will be religion will visions. Only when these last are once more re- them keep united there shall spring so great an art. believe in the heart of their minds that which they see Let me repeat again that it is not only the writer whose work is useless It is the musician's work which is in the theatre. just as it has nothing to do with the 123 . So you see now I hope you see that the Theatre has nothing to do with the painter. because you " If he is not a painter. and let those of the theatre return to theirs. That preach no more. It will not show us the definite images which the It will unveil sculptor and the painter show. that I prophesy that a new found contained in it. Let is useless there.A another mistake. stand that which has not been ? how can you believe in that which you have not seen ? Oh. and demand a playwright. your 1 to their preserves. and it is the painter's work which All three are utterly useless. but it will reveal. useless there. for a few such men. seeing with the mind's eye things which are visionary. MISTAKE A mistake very easy to make to avoid making.

will run off with the bone. and then it will become the more modern theatre. that is . modern theatre will retain its place and will go on being the modern theatre until the painter shows a little more fight. to say the third dog. 124 . and we. Very harmless. because you see that I am entirely free from antagonism towards the poets or the dramatists. You also see that my proposition is a very harmless one some of you will say a very foolish one this of restoring our ancient and honourable art. it will be a beautiful little tussle. and what feeling I have about the matter is so slight that it The will influence the modern theatre but little. and then some other artist perhaps the architect will have his turn and then the two will fight it out. the men of the Theatre. Eccola ! 1908.A HARMLESS PROPOSITION playwright and literature.

To write to you about the Art of the Theatre I don't intend. because the Art of the Theatre positively does not exist. England and Russia. to the foremost position in Europe. and this combination is going to bring the German Theatre in twenty years me where in the Theatre Germany. and now that I am in England I see that it is absolutely necessary to delay no longer. and by what have seen princes lending their name and giving 125 . and if you ask it is is most active. MY DEAR SEMAR. I I hear. I judge this is what I see and not by what I have seen in Munich.THE THEATRE IN RUSSIA. I reply The German activity is not only impulsive but systematic. but one can write about the activity and inactivity of the Theatre. On getting as far as Amsterdam I wanted to send you more news. GERMANY AND ENGLAND TWO LETTERS TO JOHN SEMAR On leaving Florence you asked me to send you some news of the theatres that I should see in Germany. and I had no sooner arrived at Munich than I wanted to send you news enough to fill three numbers of The Mask.

THE THEATRE IN GERMANY & ENGLAND their money to the furtherance of the Theatre. England. I myself tried to obtain a seat for the evening's performance. that it is not a foolish affair with several balconies one over the other. 126 . it was impossible to do so. It is quite out of the ordinary in every way. the only thing that I shall draw they your attention to at all is. the people support it. They were is unlike others that I have seen. Professor Littmann. with unnecessary gilt or marble columns. and yet you see princes support it. and this is nothing short of disgraceful. they are receiving support. entirely original. I have been over this theatre. without calling it eccentric. that although they are entirely new. and I can assure you that it is first class. and not a sort of timid support. but the whole-hearted support of the city of Munich then I arrive in England to find not one city giving any support from its heart to any original idea which may be in the heads of the younger generation in . Through the courtesy of Professor Littmann I was able to go on to the stage during the day. and although it was at the end of the season. and. or with the ordinary orchestra boxes and the ordinary stage. and into the auditorium. The not whether they were good or whether question were bad. with unnecessary draperies of plush or silk. and I was shown the scenic devices and those for lighting. I have seen a new building which has been erected in Munich by the architect. or with some vast chandelier. what is more.

to whom that there is something Before I left England. the Theatre will not revive until the day when the English gentleman finds he has lost money. my stay in Germany of about four years. country that is to blame. be insulted by a lot of it has never occurred better than sleeping. the beauty of England is extraordinary. and in despair he looks round for some one all his 127 . my visit to Russia and to Holland.THE THEATRE IN GERMANY as cfe ENGLAND In England we have. and then on the top of it this last stay of two days in Munich. the beauty of its people at rest. but its energy seems a little bit I can imagine that they or shooting pheasants. it is the rich gentlemen of England who are to blame. I suppose. one waits. as much intelligence. as in other lands. Beauty. inquires. my dear Semar. wonders. and suddenly it becomes quite clear and right . and perhaps as much genius. looks. One sees and realizes these things in a flash. I fully believe that all the artists are playing golf is amazing. putting aside the coat of the snob and assuming the coat of the gentleman. but the actor-managers are not entirely to blame. to themselves they would rather be in the open say air than sitting in a room to rich titled dormice. What It is the have I for saying this ? Why. The former seemed to me a most wicked people. I thought it was the fault of the actor-managers and the men in the theatre. unless the gentlemen of England wake up. much taste. that it has been taken by a foreign nation.

my dear Semar. there of is something alarming. To a certain section of English artists. or Cervantes. which they other work " ! I commence at six o'clock in the evening in order that they should not be obliged to cut it. muttering to them- Thank God ! father left ! me well Now will me a have no more worry " But they certainly have a great deal more worry. " " not allowed to have a capital as well as any A have seen War with a capital " " W. but it is sufficient to speak here of Faust. but it no longer contains swaggering lords with their swaggering ways." But this Art is theatre. they creep up and down the off. perhaps the best section. and it seems to I am not in a way they don't expect.THE THEATRE IN GERMANY & ENGLAND who can help him. I shall Carlisle. which means the Artist's Theatre of Munich. No ! ! Socialist. I Then he and the workers. something what they would call an Art-y incidentally " Art with a capital A. not yet Now a word or two more about the Munich theatre the Mnnchner Knntsler Theater. am will look to the artists not a Socialist. they are all somnambulists. of Das Wundertheater. by that little-known writer. or Die Deutschen Kleinstadter besides these. . of the May Twelfth Night 128 . the play which possibly many people have not heard of. towns from Dover to " selves. whitefaced. white-bearded. I love the idea of the swagger lords of England." and what is against Art with a capital A ? I cannot tell you all the plays that they produce.

seemed to be all out of the way. also of the Little Dance Legend. I did see the stage. were all hung up. From such a combination in England we could expect as much. and other interesting works. They are the actors of the Royal Theatre. It was very small. The scene was set for the evening. nor actors who call themselves independent. there were found a man an Art Theatre in theatres would lend their actors ? The Orchestra in the little Munich theatre is not merely a scratch one. lights. but I cannot describe how they were hung up. it is the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra Now from such a beginning. Nothing seemed to have been left to chance. and very excellent because very thorough. but they are not unknown actors. from such a combination of actors. These productions are the work of the painters and the actors. how well done. that is to say they are if what is called conventional actors. and of that I will tell you something.THE THEATRE IN GERMANY A ENGLAND Queen. scenery. how cleverly done. Herr Peter Squenz. put The scenes which were in use into the cupboard. much is to be expected. chairs and tables 129 . excellent. everything seemed to have been. as it were. who are the best that can be obtained). generous enough to build England. but very complete. whether the chief speak of the stage-managers. Ropes. Although I was unable to see the perI know that it must have been very formance. musicians and designers (not to ! ! I wonder.

it would be very interesting to note whether it is a committee which produces all this system. so well nursed. showed no sign of wear whatever . I think it must be the " national training. it said this one whether a genius is coming into the theatre or a fool but we are determined that. or a genius. or whether it is the national training. Everything seemed so good. " We Germans are thing to me so clearly it said. to refuse nothing if he thinks it will be of use. we are not prepared to say : together seemed to be as fresh as the day they were made. even the corners where two pieces meet covered. and he shall have nothing to complain of as to our arrangements." would be something to find out the way the Germans set about such a task.THE THEATRE IN GERMANY & ENGLAND The scenery. It beautiful in appearance it would take too long 130 . for this is the German characteristic. although it had been in use for several months. Quick Right-about Turn ! March ! Eyes Right " ! Something of this. whetheritbe a fool . The appliances on the stage of the theatre seemed to me to have come from all parts of the earth. Unless we give him a good machine (not necessarily an elaborate machine) the work will fair not have a It chance. or whether it is dependent upon a man's personality. I was enchanted by what I saw. . not prepared to say whether the performance will be a work of art or not . I have not told is you of the building itself. he shall find everything in perfect order.

P. finally." Streng Sprechen " Speaking Strictly Forbidden. but here again its beauty is secondary importance. under their foremos leader. 131 . First. There is much more to be said. that the may be called upon to fill the beautiful and systematic theatre with beautiful things.S. and I will write you again about this and other theatres. what part he artist is to play. ENGLAND. a sort of label on the wall. and straight in front of you is the box building. 1908. They have given ICnglanc a lesson in theatrical administration and modern theatrical art. which means Verboten. the words indicating the direction you are to take being made part of the decoration. what is paramount being You enter the its practicalness and its usefulness. Since writing this the Germans. that the shall understand the part that English gentleman he is to play then that the organizer too shall learn to describe of its . By the by. then." The first moment " I thought At last I thought I was in heaven." they But no. have discovered the Art of the Theatre. in going through the stage-door of the theatre I saw there the following words. have invaded England and showr that what 1 wrote in J908 ivas correct. they have not got so far with the Art. office. and let us hope that soon some united action will be taken in England in this matter of a new theatre. not. On each side are steps leading to your seats.THE THEATRE IN GERMANY A ENGLAND charms. Professor Iteinhardt. Queer but the clue is in tht very Sprechen slreng " ! verboten. Note. as in England.

especially Fraulein Kooneu. Ballif. Luschski. new ideas each minute. . quite delicious. Perhaps one of these days I may be inspired to fill in a picture post card with the few necessary expressive words. Leonidof. Wischnewski. they are great fun.THE THEATRE IN RUSSIA & ENGLAND II MY DEAR SEMAR. but to-day words fail me to express all I feel about the Theatre I in England. and with this to go on you can form for yourself If whatever impression you wish. who show promise dramatic force. You see I've seen it and the jolly fellows who I could write perpetrate it. magnificent when she wishes some of the actors in The Blue Bird very clever. and. Moskwin. such a company could be conjured into exist182 . of forming a powerful let and united and me tell you they are one and enthusiastic about their work. . besides being admirable hosts. they are admirable actors. Artem. Frau Knipper. Adaschef Frau Lilina. have been intending to write you about the Theatre in England. who are some of the most splendid fellows in the world. you books I of am now : in Moscow feted Russia and lodged in the vivid city by the actors of the first theatre here. about them and their genial amiabilities. all intelligent. Katschalof. working continuously new plays each day. Add to these the hundred other actors and actresses Soulerzitsky.

intelligence : Seriousness. believe in it. This is not the place to discuss the : wisdom or folly of this theory : in the dust jewels are sometimes found. silver with a spoon in its Their theatre was born it is now only ten 183 mouth : . although they do not omit to attend to this. labour. is possessed of character and intelligence. these two qualities will guide the Moscow Art Theatre to unending success in Europe or elsewhere. It is quite enough to say that what these Russians do upon their stage they do to perfection. money. They give hundreds of rehearsals to a play. has director. inventing detail upon detail with consummate care and patience and always with vivid Russian intelligence. by looking downward the sky can sometimes be seen. they change and rechange a scene until it balances to : their thought they rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. As it is he is merely a stock-in-trade. The Art Theatre here (about which I write) is alive. achieved the impossible he has successfully established a non-commercial theatre. He believes in realism as a medium through which the actor can I don't reveal the psychology of the dramatist. They waste time. character. Its Constantin Stanislawsky. brains and patience like emperors like true emperors they do not think they have done all when they have merely spent a lavish sum upon decorations and machinery.THE THEATRE IN RUSSIA & ENGLAND ence in England Shakespeare would again become a force.

and dare not rebel or they would lose : matters. spread wings and soar by the two wings of imagination into that vaster and more open path which has no name and leads nowhere beyond itself. the idiocy of that section of the Press which calls every courageous attempt to revive life their bread-and-butter. The English actors have no chance. that lust for twopence at all costs. and must certainly not wed her.THE THEATRE IN RUSSIA & ENGLAND years old : it has a long life before it : when it comes of age it will be a firmly established institution. the death-like complaisancy with which London thinks it is active and intelligent about these before in life. the utter stupidity of every one connected with the Arts in England. their system of management is bad they get no chance of study or experience. but when it reaches man's estate it will awaken to a new consciousness. and whether they touch a play of modern life and modern feeling 134 . All their performances are admirable." that lack of comradeship in London. And I am perhaps more miserable than ever because I realize the hopeless inactivity of England and its stage. the hopeless vanity and folly of its stage. The Russian actors of the Kuntslerisches Theater at Moscow give me the impression that they experience a keener intellectual enjoyment during their performances than any other actors in Europe. that is to say. my and art " eccentric. so they laugh their life away as best they can. It must take care not to court poetry. grimly.

we find a clever actor laughing at his part and himself. In England the is is mockery is the same force as it was thirty years ago when E. is the marked quality of this Russian theatre. Here in Moscow they risk the blunder and achieve the distinction of being the best set of actors upon the European stage. and winking all the time at the audience. To horrified least he may be taken seriously. is You are not to imagine that this actor cold or stilted. serious. the touch always sure. grace. W. A simpler technique. his performances are all remarkable for their I can find no better word. they most In England naturally fear to be merely earnest. EveryNothing slipshod. his acting difficult to find. thing is treated seriously seriousness.THE THEATRE IN RUSSIA & ENGLAND or a fairy tale. as I have said. a more human result. I have been most pleased by the performance 185 . it would be a blunder. masterly. always delicate. Godwin drew attention to the The managers and actors are afraid to be fact. is most realistic. Less of a spontaneous whirlwind than Grasso. commit himself would be more than a crime as Alexandre says. yet he avoids nearly all the brutalities. would be A master of psychology. they might be laughed at. Earnestness is never apparent coming from England this seriousness is possibly more apparent to me than if I were a resident here. This is not to be misunderstood. their first actor Stanislawsky is more spirit of intellectual.

although this company is able to handle any play admirably. but never does a coarse we are used to in the English Moscow. the time that they are to tears. all and without being comic or The audience smile not being moved roar go up such as theatre.THE THEATRE IN RUSSIA & ENGLAND of Onkel Wanja. 186 . In The us " Enemy to act of the People Stanislawsky shows how Dr. theatrical " Stockmann without being dull. 1908.

4 Woodcut. 1908. .PLATE Suzanna.


YOU together with the stage. and have seen its general construction. and talk a while Tell me. the apparatus for lighting. the machinery for manipulating the scenes. it seems that Acting is the Art of the STAGE-DIRECTOR Is a part. Do you. for then the VberMarionette and the unspoken Drama will be with you. It is reprinted here under its original title. equal to a whole ? PLAYGOER No. The day after to-morrow can safely be called the Future a newer. The little book soon went out of print. mean that the play is the Art of the Theatre ? 1 This First Dialogue was published in 1005. let us rest here in the auditorium. and have also heard what I have had to say of the theatre as a machine . " The Art of the Theatre of although I should like to call it To-morrow" for it fairly represents that theatre. Of that I have written elsewhere in this volume. and the hundred other things. do you of the theatre and of its art. know what is the Art of the Theatre ? PLAYGOER To me Theatre. 137 L . and for the last three years copies have been unprocurable. then. of course not. then. better theatre will then be needed than is here indicated.THE AKT OF THE THEATKE a THE FIEST DIALOGUE l AN EXPERT AND A PLAYGOER ARE CONVERSING STAGE-DIRECTOR have now been over the theatre with me.

perhaps. PLAYGOER of these Action.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR A play is me. which are the very heart of the : scene . which are the body of the play. line. which is the very spirit of acting. Action 188 . the Art of the Theatre is neither acting nor the play. In one respect. rhythm is all -important to the art ? ! And which STAGE-DIRECTOR One is no more important than the other. which is the very essence of dance. it is not scene nor dance. is it not ? Tell art can possibly be another ? PLAYGOER Well. if you tell me that the Art of the Theatre is neither the acting nor the play. then. how one a work of literature. colour. STAGE-DIRECTOR No. or one note more important than another to a musician. rhythm. words. no more than one colour is more important to a painter than another. action is the most valuable part. Yet I cannot think you will tell me this is so. words. but it consists of all the elements of which these things are composed action. then I must come to the conclusion that it is the scenery and the dancing. line and colour. then.

It will not help the the poet shall add gesture to his recita- tion or to his song. sung or recited. that is clear to me. STAGE-DIRECTOR This is the common belief. but consider it for a moment. and all is done. But would you apply the same argument to dramatic poetry ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Certainly I would. in fact. through our imagination.> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o same relation to the Art of the Theatre bears the as drawing does to painting. That poetry. The two things are separate things. The Art of the Theatre has sprung from action movement dance. and that the poet was the father of I always the theatre. for if them. Remember I speak of a dramatic poem. he then either recites or sings these words to us. not of a drama. I quite understand that the addition of gesture to a perfect lyric poem can but produce an inharmonious result. A dramatic poem is to be 139 . and melody does to music. and. it will spoil all. beautifully chosen. PLAYGOER was led to suppose that it had sprung from speech. The poet's imagination finds voice in words. matter is for our ears. PLAYGOER Yes.

STAGE-DIRECTOR Again you are wrong. first and that is what every his who has not learnt the nature No. line.o THE read. colour. gesture and poetry. Do you know who was the father of the dramatist ? PLAYGOER No. dramatic poet. And now. but to be seen upon the stage. FIRST DIALOGUE is o A drama not to be read. the dancer. piece 140 . neither must you confound the dramatic poet with the dramatist. and it is useless to a dramatic poem. The father of the dramatist material the And now tell me from what dramatist made his first piece ? PLAYGOER I suppose he used words in the same way as the lyric poet. or listener. just as you must not confound the dramatic poem with the drama. but I suppose he was the STAGE-DIRECTOR You was are wrong. one else supposes of dramatic art. It is absurd to talk of these two things. ears by a dexterous use of these five factors. Therefore gesture is a necessity to a drama. as having anything to do with one another. and and making his appeal to our eyes and rhythm. words. the dramatist made by using action. The first writes for the reader. I do not know. the second writes for the audience of a theatre.

141 . but always in action . go on. PLAYGOER I am very interested. He knew that when he and his fellows appeared in front of them the audience would be more eager to see what he would do than to hear what he might say. Even the men and women sitting so far from him that they would not always be able to hear what he might say. He knew that the eye is more swiftly and powerfully appealed to than any other sense that it is without question the keenest sense of the body of man. he spoke either in poetry or prose. seemed quite close to him by reason of the piercing keenness of their questioning eyes. eager and hungry. The modern dramatists are not. To these. The first thing which he encountered on appearing before them was many pairs of eyes.^> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER is And what dramatists ? of the first dramatists the difference between this work and that of the modern STAGE-DIRECTOR The first dramatists were children of the theatre. : in poetic action which is dance. go on. The first dramatist understood what the modern dramatist does not yet understand. and all. or in prose action which is gesture.

I only wish you to understand that the poet is not of the theatre. or that he has a bad influence upon the theatre. am that a very slight one. No longer is a play a balance of 142 . and that only the dramatist among writers has any birth-claim to the theatre and only. And this is all the more extrato hear. and cannot be of the theatre. that the people still flock to see. plays. and not to hear things ? Indeed. the dancer's son. modern audiences insist on looking and having their eyes satisfied in spite of the call from the poet that they shall use their ears And now do not misunderstand me. and knows only how to reach the ears I And yet in spite of his listeners. of this does not the modern audience still go to the theatre as of old to see things. I not saying or hinting that the poet is a bad writer of plays. My point is this. nothing else. not the child of the poet. has never come from the theatre.e> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR -rather let us pull up and examine our have said that the first dramatist was No ground. They Only that the are there with their thousand pairs of eyes. just the same as of old. not But what does that prove ? audiences have not altered. But to continue. ordinary because the playwrights and the plays have altered. that is to say. the child of the And I have just theatre. said that the modern dramatic poet is the child of the poet.

o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o actions. are a very different thing to the less modern miracle and mystery made plays. we should find them incomplete when we read them. dance. made for the theatre the Masques the Pageants these were light and beautiful examples of the Art of the Theatre. in Shakespeare's That they were acted day proves nothing. that they can but lose heavily when presented to us after having undergone stage treatment. that is not Shakespeare's Hamlet" When no further addition can be made so as to better " " a work of art. and for us to add to it by gesture. which were for the theatre. yet there are many who will feel sorry after witnessing a performance of the play. what at that period was you. Hamlet and the nature of other plays of Shakespeare have so vast and so complete a form when read. for instance. is to hint that incomplete and needs these additions. " No. scene. no one will say that they find Hamlet dull or incomplete when they read it. Had the plays been made to be seen. Hamlet has not the entirely a stage representation. it is 143 . Shakespeare's plays. it can be spoken of as finished Hamlet was finished was comit is complete. words. but it is either all words or all scene. when Shakespeare wrote the last word of plete his blank verse. or dance. and scene. I will tell on the other hand. costume. Now. saying.



PLAYGOER Then do you mean to say Hamlet should never
be performed


To what purpose would it be if I replied " Yes "


Hamlet will go on being performed for some time yet, and the duty of the interpreters is to put their best work at its service. But, as I have said, the theatre must not forever rely upon having a play to perform, but must in time perform pieces of




And a piece for the



that, then, incom?

when printed


a book or recited

STAGE-DIRECTOR and incomplete anywhere except on the boards of a theatre. It must needs be unsatis-


when read or merely heard, because incomplete without its action, its colour, its line and its rhythm in movement and in scene
fying, artless,
it is

This interests me, but



at the


Is that, perhaps, because it is



new ?


me what

it is

especially that dazzles you. 144




the fact that I have never

stopped to consider of what the art of the theatre consisted to many of us it is just an amusement.



to you ?

Oh, to



has always been a fascination,

amusement and half intellectual exercise. The show has always amused me; the playing of
the players has often instructed me.

In fact, a sort of incomplete satisfaction. That is the natural result of seeing and hearing something


have seen some few plays which seemed

to satisfy me.

obviously mediocre,

by something not be that you were searching for something less than mediocre, and you found that which was just a little better than you expected? Some people go to the theatre, nowadays, expecting to be bored. This is natural, 145

you have been

entirely satisfied




When you

have been taught to look for tiresome tell me you have been satisfied things. at a modern theatre, you prove that it is not only the art which has degenerated, but that a proporBut tion of the audience has degenerated also. do not let this depress you. I once knew a man whose life was so occupied, he never heard music other than that of the street organ. It was to him the ideal of what music should be. Still, as you know, there is better music in the world in fact, barrel-organ music is very bad music; and if you were for once to see an actual piece of theatrical art, you would never again tolerate what is to-day being thrust upon you in place of
for they

The reason why you are not given a work of art on the stage is not because the public does not want it, not because there are not exceltheatrical art.
lent craftsmen in the theatre


could prepare

it for you, but because the theatre lacks the the artist of the theatre, mind you, not artist

the painter, poet, musician. The many excellent craftsmen whom I have mentioned are, all of them, more or less helpless to change the situation. They are forced to supply what the managers of the theatre demand, but they do so most willingly. The advent of the artist in the theatre world will

change all this. He will slowly but surely gather around him these better craftsmen of whom I

and together they

will give



to the

art of the theatre.


for the others ?



The others

others, But I will say one thing for them. I believe they It is not are unconscious of their inability.

The modern theatre is full of these these untrained and untalented craftsmen.

ignorance on their part, it is innocence. Yet if these same men once realized that they were
craftsmen, and would train as such I do not speak only of the stage-carpenters, electricians,

wigmakers, costumiers, scene-painters, and actors (indeed, these are in many ways the best and most I speak chiefly of the stagewilling craftsmen)
If the stage-director was to technically director. train himself for his task of interpreting the plays in time, and by a gradual developof the dramatist

ment he would again recover the ground lost to the theatre, and finally would restore the Art of the Theatre to its home by means of his own
creative genius.

PLAYGOER Then you place the stage-director before the
actors ?

Yes; the relation of the stage-director to the

precisely the


as that of the conductor

to his orchestra, or of the publisher to his printer.

And you

consider that the stage-director
artist ?



craftsman and not an



he interprets the plays of the dramatist
of his actors, his scene-painters,

by means



other craftsmen, then he

a craftsman a master when he will have mastered the uses craftsman; of actions, words, line, colour, and rhythm, then he may become an artist. Then we shall no longer need the assistance of the playwright for our art will then be self-reliant.

Is your belief in a Renaissance of the art based on your belief in the Renaissance of the stage

director ?

Yes, certainly, most certainly. Did you for an instant think that I have a contempt for the stage-director ? Rather have I a contempt for any man who fails in the whole duty of the stagedirector.



are his duties ?


What is his craft ? I will tell you. His work as interpreter of the play of the dramatist is some148



thing like this he takes the copy of the play from the hands of the dramatist and promises faithfully
to interpret

as indicated in the text


speaking only of the very best of stageHe then reads the play, and during directors). the first reading the entire colour, tone, movement, and rhythm that the work must assume comes clearly before him. As for the stage directions, descriptions of the scenes, etc., with which the author may interlard his copy, these are not
to be considered by him, for if he is master of his craft he can learn nothing from them.


do not quite understand you. Do you mean that when a playwright has taken the trouble to describe the scene in which his men and women are to move and talk, that the stage-director is to take no notice of such directions in fact, to




difference whether he regards or them. What he must see to is that disregards he makes his action and scene match the verse or the prose, the beauty of it, the sense of it. Whatever picture the dramatist may wish us to know of, he will describe his scene during the progress of the conversation between the characters. Take, It begins for instance, the first scene in Hamlet. 149

makes no


and you seem consider it :> an offence on his part if he does so ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Well. Long live the king Fran. and very dark. Bernardo ? Ber.s> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o Ber. ? Well. Ber. 'tis bitter cold. Have you had Fran. And Ber. Not a mouse quiet guard stirring. Francisco. 'Tis now struck twelve . bid them make haste. Any additional stage " irections by the dramatist are trivialities that it is PLAYGOER r rite Then you do not think that an author should any stage directions whatever. For this relief much thanks. I am sick at heart. answer Fran. The rivals of my watch. that the guard of some astle is being changed. He. Ber. Who's there ? Nay. that it is very cold. 150 . ! stand and unfold yourself. You come most carefully upon your hour. me . leatre ? is it not an offence to the men of the PLAYGOER In what way ? STAGE-DIRECTOR First ive to tell me the greatest offence an actor can a dramatist. good night If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus. very " uiet. Fran. Ber. He athers from twelve o'clock at night. Fran. get thee to bed. That is enough to guide the it stage-director. bat it is in the open air.

PLAYGOER do with the stage directions of the playwright. and when it is done it does not go uncensured.^> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER his part To play badly ? STAGE-DIRECTOR No. that may merely prove the actor to be a bad craftsman. PLAYGOER Then is all the stage direction of the world's plays worthless ? 151 . so is an offence to tamper with the art of the stage- director. and in what way does the playwright offend the theatre when he dictates these this to But what has stage directions ? STAGE-DIRECTOR He If to it offends in that he poaches on their preserves. STAGE-DIRECTOR The greatest offence an actor can give to a dramatist is to cut out words or lines in his play. then." It is an offence to poach on what is the sole property of " " in the playwright. or " to insert what is known as a gag. PLAYGOER Tell me. It is not usual to gag Shakespeare. gag or cut the poet's lines is an offence.

King Lear. Romeo and Juliet.. some of the masterpieces.. what do you find ? are the scenes described in Hamlet f How PLAYGOER " My Act copy shows a I. scene i. Scaena prima." STAGE-DIRECTOR You by a are looking at a late edition with additions certain Mr. and except in of the historical plays which contain descrip- any tions of possessions. A It has platform before the Castle." . His words are Actus primus. Go through Hamlet. A public place. scene i. look at say ? PLAYGOER It says " : Act I. clear description. Malone. Elsinore. Othello." 152 . Verona.^> THE FIRST DIALOGUE STAGE-DIRECTOR ^> Not to the reader.. etc. stage-director. And now let us What does your book . Romeo and Juliet. PLAYGOER But Shakespeare STAGE-DIRECTOR Shakespeare seldom directs the stage-manager. but Shakespeare wrote " nothing of the kind. . but to the and to the actor yes.

. PLAYGOER enough. Scsena prima." STAGE-DIRECTOR And the third scene PLAYGOER It says house. A ? street. it is speare relied . A room in Capulet's STAGE-DIRECTOR And now. Evidently Shakeupon the intelligence of the stage-men to complete their scene from his indication." And not another word as to act or scene throughout the whole play. I see now. would you directions like to Shakespeare actually hear what scene wrote for this play? PLAYGOER Yes. STAGE-DIRECTOR He wrote " : Actus primus. But is this the same in regard to the actions ? Does not Shakespeare place some descriptions " Hamlet leaps into through Hamlet. M . And now for King Lear. .o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR And the second scene ? PLAYGOER It says " : Scene ii. such as 153 No." " : Scene iii.

are the tame inventions of sundry editors. supposing any ing his very intentions. Capell. Mr. Theobald and others. for which we. not one word. PLAYGOER you call them. PLAYGOER How is that ? STAGE-DIRECTOR of us reading Shakespeare mind's eye some other combination shall see in our " " of of movements contrary to the instructions these gentlemen. and suppose we represent our ideas on the stage. who accuses us of altering the directions of Shakespeare nay more. of alter- Why. know that Shakespeare wrote no stage directions ? But do not the " knowing ones. and they come out of the grave " ? STAGE-DIRECTOR No. to judge from their indiscreet criticisms. All the stage directions." as STAGE-DIRECTOR One can only guess that to be the case. Anyhow. what 154 . we are instantly taken to task by some knowing one. have to suffer.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o " Ophelia's grave. The attendants part them. the men of the theatre. from the first to the last." " Laertes grapples with him." and later. Malone. and they have committed an indiscretion in tampering with the play. Mr.

we can continue to speak of the way the stage-manager sets to work to interpret faithfully the play of the dramatist. he is surrounded by an atmosphere which he proposes to test. Therefore. rhythm. At the end of the second he will find that his more definite impresreading 155 the thing.^> I THE FIRST DIALOGUE e> wanted to show you was that our greatest modern poet realized that to add stage directions was first of all unnecessary. me what each part STAGE-DIRECTOR Quite so. We can therefore be sure that Shakespeare at any what was the work of the theatre craftsman the stage-manager. tasteless. begins to see the whole colour. and secondly. And now that we have disposed of the error that the author's directions are of any use. time. action of then puts the play aside for some mixes his palette (to use a painter's expression) with the colours which the impression of the play has called up. I have said that he swears to follow the text faithfully. and you were telling consisted of. and in reading. as I have said. and that it was part of the stage-manager's task to invent the scenes in which the play was to be set. and that his first work is to read the play through and get the great impression. on sitting down a second time to read through the play. and in his mind's eye He . rate realized PLAYGOER Yes.

in line and colour. will be the way to preserve the unity of that spirit ? Will it be best if B does all the work by himself ? or will it do to give the work into the hands of C. sions PLAYGOER But that part of the play the scene painter ? I thought the stage-manager always left the scene designing to STAGE-DIRECTOR So he does. generally. do you think. but this is more likely to be delayed until he has re-read the play at least a dozen times. which. PLAYGOER How This is it a blunder ? STAGE-DIRECTOR way : A has written a play which B promises to interpret faithfully.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE & have received clear and unmistakable corroboration. First blunder of the modern theatre. D and E. In so delicate a matter as the interpretation of so elusive a thing as the a play. each of whom see or think differently spirit of surest 9 to B or A ? 156 . some of the scenes and ideas which are filling his head. It is possible that he will even now commence to suggest. and that some of his impressions which were less positive have disappeared. He will then make a note of these.

and which are necessary to be seen. with enough doors and windows in picturesque places. he must. and rectify the blunder 157 . then. a bed his design. the stage-manager does not call in a scene painter and ask him to design a scene. a fountain. is to unity. sit down and draw a pretty or historically accurate design. He then weaves into a pattern certain objects an arch. and each costume. That is the only be obtained. using the chosen object as the centre of Then he adds to this all the objects which are mentioned in the play. several mistakes in his pattern. and gradually each movement of each character.*> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER Of course the former would be best. but he designs one himself ? STAGE-DIRECTOR And remember he does not merely Certainly. one by one. each character which appears in the play. unpick the design. rejecting other colours as out of tune. To these he adds. as it were. But is it possible for one man to do the work of three men ? STAGE-DIRECTOR way the work can be done. PLAYGOER So. if the one thing vital to a work of art. but he first of all chooses certain colours which seem to him to be in harmony with the spirit of the play. He is as likely as not to make If so. a balcony.

slowly. but the difficulties have but commenced. perhaps. STAGE-DIRECTOR Well. actual work can be commenced. PLAYGOER by the sense and the What actual work ? It seems to me that the stage-manager has already been doing a good deal of what may be called actual work. By the actual work I mean the work which needs skilled labour. so that the eye of the beholder shall be While this pattern for the eye is being satisfied. I will . own scenes and and sews them together ? STAGE-DIRECTOR not say that he does so in every case and for every play. and the actual making of the costumes. the designer is being guided as much by the sound of the verse or prose as And shortly all is prepared. PLAYGOER You his are not going to tell me that the stagecuts manager actually paints his own costumes.^> even THE FIRST DIALOGUE o if he has to go right back to the beginning and start the pattern all over again or he may even have to begin a new pattern. or spirit. such as the actual painting of the huge spaces of canvas for the scenes. must the whole design develop. devised. harmoniously. At any rate. but he must have done so at 158 No.

but it is what should be seen to by a stagedirector such as I describe. the actors and actresses would STAGE-DIRECTOR is No. and the costumes upon the actors. But even when once the scenes are placed upon the stage. the difficulty of the work is still great. must have closely studied all the technical points of these complicated crafts. as you may guess. the parts are distributed to the different actors.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o or one time or another during his apprenticeship. who learn the words before a single rehearsal (This. I will not tell you the amount of interesting but laborious work it entails to prepare the play up to this point. His scene is set and his char159 . Then will he be able to guide the skilled craftsmen in their different departments. And when the actual making of the scenes and costumes has commenced. to.) Meantime. the stage-manager's most interesting work now beginning. takes place. is not the custom. the scenes and costumes are almost ready. What do you mean ? PLAYGOER I thought now that the scenes and costumes ! were all seen do the rest. PLAYGOER The stage-director's work is not finished then ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Finished Well.

but the manner the business of the stage-manager. o acters are clothed. in short. Then do you electricians PLAYGOER actually mean that he has made so close a study of nature that he can direct his how to make it appear as if the sun were shining at such and such an altitude. two. If the word " harmony " held no significance for him. just as he has devised a special way of painting the scene and and costuming the leave to figures. and he begins the scheme of lighting these figures and the scene. one listens to them. has. as I of is to them. ? ' " 160 . is not this branch left to the discretion of the master electrician and his men ? 1 STAGE-DIRECTOR The doing of doing it Being. he has devised a special way of lighting his scene for this play. or as if the moonlight were flooding the interior of the room with such and such an intensity ? 1 " Why waste time talking to so stupid a man as this Play* asked a charming lady and would not wait for an goer The reply is obvious : one does not talk to wise people answer. he would of course it the first comer. a kind of He clears the stage more characters who are to commence the play.o THE dream picture FIRST DIALOGUE He in front of him. it is left have said. or PLAYGOER What. of all but the one. a man of some intelligence training.

Neither should he attempt such an impossibility. Not to reproduce nature. and that the manager should be the only one to know how to preserve this harmony which he has commenced to create ? 161 . and the sense of the play.^ THE FIRST DIALOGUE STAGE-DIRECTOR *> No. the one with the other all goes smoothly what simpler. A stage-manager may well aim to be an artist. but to suggest some of her most beauti- my ful and most living ways attempt. that it should so continue. shall that is what my stageThe other thing pro- but it ill becomes him to attempt celestial honours. All these things. then. This attitude he can avoid by never trying to imprison or copy nature. I should not like to suggest that. manager claims an overbearing assumption of omnipotence. the scene and the costumes. because the reproduction of nature's lights is not what stage-manager ever attempts. and the verse and the prose. PLAYGOER in what way does he set to work ? What him in his task of lighting the scene and guides costumes which we are speaking about ? Then STAGE-DIRECTOR What guides him ? Why. for nature will be neither imprisoned nor allow any man to copy her with any success. have now been brought into harmony. as I told you.

in 1812. What do you want PLAYGOER to know ? Well. why are they put on the ground ? STAGE-DIRECTOR is one of the questions which has puzzled the theatre reform gentlemen. The only thing to do is to remove all the footlights out of all the theatres as quickly as possible and say nothing about it. there never will be an answer. went to Drury Lane Theatre.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER Will you tell me some more about the actual ? way of lighting the scene and the actors STAGE-DIRECTOR Certainly. and none have been able to find an answer. will you tell me why along the floor of the stage them. There never was an It all answer. for the simple reason that there is no answer. and her father tells 162 . It is one of those queer things which nobody can explain. I believe ? they put lights all footlights they call STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. PLAYGOER Well. footlights. Little Nancy Lake. and at which children are always surprised.

Said she : " And row of lamps. PLAYGOER mine an actor once told me that if there were no footlights all the faces of the actors would look dirty. and in some ways it is opposed If an actor of intellito the very life of an actor. and would end by becoming 163 ." there's a ! How Rejected Addresses. It is this simple kind of thing which never occurs to those people who will not devote a little time to even a slight study of the other branches of the craft. friend of A STAGE-DIRECTOR man who did not understand that in place of the footlights another method of lighting the faces and figures could be adopted.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o us that she also was astonished at the footlights. my eye they do blaze I wonder why They keep them on the ground. That was the remark of a PLAYGOER Do not the actors study the other crafts of the theatre ? STAGE-DIRECTOR As a rule no. That was in 1812 ! and we are still wondering. were to devote much time to the study of gence all the branches of the theatrical art he would gradually cease to act.

for common sense could not have dictated such an artistic blunder. Remember how little artistic virtue is in the box- 164 . that it would be a blessthe theatres were not only without footlights but without any lights at all. whereas the box-office receipts may easily have done so. and M. I believe this theory to be correct. STAGE-DIRECTOR Had Henry remark Irving or Elenora Duse said so. chandeliers. The ordinary actor's face is either violently expressive or violently inexpressive. siecle. the would have had some meaning. les mise en-scene au XVII.^> THE FIRST DIALOGUE <> a stage-manager so absorbing is the whole art in comparison with the single craft of acting. The of lighting the stage was by means of la circular or triangular. PLAYGOER My lights friend the actor also added that if the footwere removed the audience would not be able to see the expression of his face. an excellent theory of the origin of the footlights is ing if advanced by M. and therefore placed tallow candles on the floor in front of the stage. which above the heads of the actors were suspended and the audience. Celler is of the opinion that the system of footlights owes its origin to the small plain theatres which could not afford to have chandeliers. By the way. Ludovic costumes usual large et way Celler in Les Decors.

pressed astonishment that the acting that is to say. and some have none whatever. But let us theatrical throne return to a more serious and a more interesting topic than this lack of expression and this footlight matter. but will you not show me the aetor can spoil the pattern ? more exactly STAGE-DIRECTOR for I do not Unconsciously spoil it. mind you an instant mean that it is his wish to be out I harmony with his surroundings. But even those whose instincts are of 165 . instincts in this matter. Would you have that which has already grown into a certain unified pattern. suddenly spoiled by the addition of something accidental ? PLAYGOER mean ? I understand what you How do you how suggest. costume.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o When we have time I will tell you some about this same powerful usurper of the things the box-office. interest- lighting and we had come to the most ing part. that of the manipulation of the figures You exin all their movements and speeches. We had passed in review the different office ! tasks of the stage-manager scene. but he does Some actors have the right so through innocence. But consider for an instant the nature of this work. the speaking and actions of the actors was not left to the actors to arrange for themselves.

prepared scene and costume. killing each* other. PLAYGOER And them ? is that understood and appreciated by STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. lighted both. It horrifies us that in this white little 166 . Let me illustrate The play to be presented is We have studied the play.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o in the pattern. and now our rehearsals for the actors commence. swearing. is and appreciate and the right and the all-important just interpretation of the play. fighting. appals us. this point to you. The first movement of the great crowd of unruly citizens of Verona. without following the directions of the stage-manager. most keen cannot remain PLAYGOER Then you do not even permit the leading actor and actress to move and act as their instincts and reason dictate ? STAGE-DIRECTOR No. Romeo and Juliet. thing in the modern theatre. but only at the when they realize same time that the play. rather must they be the very first to follow the direction of the stage-manager. so often do they become the very centre of the pattern the very heart of the emotional design. cannot be harmonious.

^ THE FIRST DIALOGUE o city of roses and song and love there should dwell this amazing and detestable hate which is ready to burst out at the very church doors. He must move across our sight in a certain way. our Romeo. his head at a certain angle. and not (as is often the case) in tune with his own thoughts only. even if he were a fine actor ? 167 . there comes strolling down the road the son of Montague. and even while we remember the ugliness which larded both faces of Capulet and Montague. the pattern carefully prepared by the spirit or PLAYGOER Would you have the stage-manager control the movements of whoever might be impersonating the character of Romeo. For his thoughts (beautiful as they may chance to be) may not match the so which has been director. his feet. or in the middle of the May festival. his eyes. his whole body in tune with the play. who is soon to be lover and the loved of his Juliet. and these out of harmony with the play. passing to a certain point. Quickly following on this picture. or under the windows of the house of a newly born girl. whoever is chosen to move and speak as Romeo must move and speak as part and parcel this design which I have already of the design pointed out to you as having a definite form. in a certain light. Therefore.

PLAYGOER But are you not asking these intelligent actoi almost to become puppets ? STAGE-DIRECTOR which one would expec uncertain about his power* A puppet is at present only a doll. and you wil 1G8 . Yet that is the feelin sensitive question felt ! A from an actor who which some actors have about with the their relationshi stage-manager.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE STAGE-DIRECTOR ^ Most certainly. I easily controlled. delightfi enough for a puppet show. STAGE-DIRECTOR And cannot you also understand that they shoul< be willing to be controlled ? Consider for a momen the relationship of the men on a ship. and resent it. and the finer the actor the fine his intelligence and taste. and therefore the mor In fact. speaking in pai am ticular of a theatre wherein all the actors are me of refinement and the manager a man of peculia accomplishments. PLAYGOER I can understand that. They feel they ar their strings pulled. But for a theatre w need more than a doll. and shoi having they feel hurt insulted.

And who else ? PLAYGOER The man who controls the steersman. and what else ? PLAYGOER who holds the wheel The steersman STAGE-DIRECTOR of the rudder.o THE ship ? FIRST DIALOGUE o understand what I consider to be the relationship of men in a theatre. STAGE-DIRECTOR Well. and what is it that guides the ship ? PLAYGOER The rudder ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. and the crew. the is the captain. and so on. STAGE-DIRECTOR And who N controls the navigation officer ? 169 . the comsecond and third lieutenants. the navigation officer. A ship ? Why. there first. Who are the workers on a PLAYGOER mander. STAGE-DIRECTOR And who is that ? PLAYGOER The navigation officer.

they should not be. is that not called discipline ? PLAYGOER STAGE-DIRECTOR And discipline what is that the result of ? 170 . STAGE-DIRECTOR Willingly ? PLAYGOER Yes. are any orders which do not come from the captain. STAGE-DIRECTOR And Yes. obeyed ? And PLAYGOER No.o THE The FIRST DIALOGUE PLAYGOER STAGE-DIRECTOR o captain. STAGE-DIRECTOR And can the ship steer without the captain ? It is its course in safety PLAYGOER not usual. or by his authority. as a rule. STAGE-DIRECTOR And do the crew obey the captain and his officers? PLAYGOER Yes.

unlike the ship. and demands like management. by imprisonment. in clear and unmistakable voice. by dismissal from the service. Mutiny has been well anticipated in the navy. PLAYGOER But you are not going to suggest such a possibility for the theatre ? STAGE-DIRECTOR The theatre. The navy has taken care to define. And it will not be difficult for you to see how the slightest sign of disobedience would be disastrous. but not in the theatre. and STAGE-DIRECTOR And is it the not ? first of those principles is obedience. then. that the captain of the vessel is the king.*o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER willing subjection to rules The proper and principles. PLAYGOER It is. is not made for 171 . and is put ship down by very or severe punishment. and a despotic ruler into the bargain. STAGE-DIRECTOR Very well. It will not be difficult for you to understand that a theatre in which so many hundred persons are engaged at work is in many respects like a ship. Mutiny on a is dealt with by a court-martial.

and as willing to lower the standard as to raise it. but sometimes their judgment is at fault. the theatre people have not yet quite comprehended is the value of a high standard and the value of a director who abides by it. the lower public opinion. and so for some unaccountable reason discipline is not held to be of such vital importance. What PLAYGOER that director. and ignorTo these our " officers " wish us to knuckle under. They are enthusiastically willing. why should he not be an actor or a scene-painter ? And 172 . my dear friend. whereas it is of as much importance as in any branch of service. vulgar display. there never were such glorious natured people as these men and women of the theatre. scene-men. Our enemies are ance. As for nailing the flag to the mast this is seldom dreamed of for compromise and the vicious doctrine of officers compromise with the enemy is preached by the of the theatrical navy. But what I wish to show you is that until discipline is understood in a theatre to be willing and reliant obedience to the manager or captain no supreme achievement can be accomplished. PLAYGOER But are not the all actors.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE ^> purposes of war. and they become as willing to be unruly as to be obedient. ? and the rest willing workers STAGE-DIRECTOR Why.

But you will not find it easy to assure me that no mutiny was heard of under their rule. and then let him handle the him guns and the ropes ? No the director of a theatre . He will pay less heed to the play than he will to instinct will lead of everything. him to make He will feel his to look and he will. that is so. This is not the way a work of art is to be produced in the theatre. own PLAYGOER But might it not be possible to find a great 173 . part. Right away from all this question of positions there is the question of the art. He must be a man who knows but no longer handles the ropes. If an actor assumes the management of the stage.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR pick your leader from the ranks. gradually cease upon the work as a whole. exalt to be captain. a natural himself the centre that unless he does so the work will appear thin and unsatisfying. and if he is a better actor than his fellows. the work. in fact. And this is not good for the work. PLAYGOER But I believe it is a fact that ? many well-known and stage- leaders in the theatres have been actors managers at the same time STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. Do you must be a man apart from any of the crafts.

surrounded Now. but. that you would allow no one to rule on the stage except the stage-manager ? STAGE-DIRECTOR The nature of the work permits nothing 174 else. then. it is against nature of an actor to do as you suggest. . he could not be in two places at the same time. neither is it the practice in large orchestras. but who manager would always handle himself as actor. that he may view it as a whole. secondly. Of course we have sometimes seen the conductor of a small orchestra playing the part of the first violin. and it is the place of the stage-manager to be in front of this. it is against the nature of the stageto perform. just the same as he handles the rest of the material ? STAGE-DIRECTOR the All things are possible.<o actor THE FIRST DIALOGUE o who would be so great an artist that as he would never do as you say. firstly. it is against manager all nature that a man can be in two places at once. in a certain position. and thirdly. but not from choice. PLAYGOER I understand. of the actor is on the stage. So that you see even if we found our perfect actor who was our perfect stage-manager. the place by certain scenes and people. ready by means of his brains to give suggestions of certain emotions. and not to a satisfactory issue.

himself to the Weimar theatre. generally know little of these crafts. costume. of feudal baron in his castle. the owner of the theatre. the leading lady would never have self made the 175 immortally ridiculous. But playwrights. when he linked greatest of stage-directors. scene-painting. he forgot to do what the great musician who followed him remembered. that is to say. Wagner was careful to possess himself of his theatre. who have not been cradled in the theatre. theatre and herand Weimar would . Goethe. for had Goethe held the keys of the doors that impudent little poodle would never have got as far as its dressing-room. and dance. Goethe permitted an authority in the theatre higher than himself. was in many ways one of the But. not otherwise. and become a sort PLAYGOER Was Goethe's failure as a theatre director due to this fact ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Obviously. lighting. whose love for the theatre remained ever fresh and beautiful.o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER Not even the playwright ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Only when the playwright has practised and studied the crafts of acting.

unless. with the hope that the shock may cause And our Western it to leap to its feet again. much respect STAGE-DIRECTOR it would be easy to say a number of hard about the theatre and its ignorance of art. theatre is very much down. When that is accomplished. The East still boasts a theatre. perhaps. in of the development of the craft into a 176 self-reliant . and through the reform of the theatre as an instrument. when it has invented a technique. it will without any effort develop a But the whole question creative art of its own. when the theatre has become a masterpiece of mechanism.> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o have been saved the tradition of having perpetrated the most shocking blunder which ever occurred inside a theatre. Ours here in the West is on its last legs. Well. things But one does not hit a thing which is down. PLAYGOER The traditions of most theatres certainly do not artist is held in seem to show that the on the stage. But I look for a Renaissance. How will that PLAYGOER come ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Through the advent of a man who shall contain him all the qualities which go to make up a master of the theatre.

dancing. costume. . PLAYGOER That is to say. renaissance of the Art of the Theatre depends the extent that this is upon the realized. in the same The whole theatre. The Art of Theatre. reforming all the other crafts. There are already some theatre men at work on the building of the theatres some are reforming the acting. not PART reform is needed . singing. as I have already told you. has a direct bearing upon each of the other crafts in the theatre. uneven reform. but only from a systematic progression. But the very first thing to be realized is that little or no result can come from the reforming of a single craft of the theatre without at the same time. one craft. and that no result can come from fitful. that it must be realized at the commencement that ENTIRE.. Therefore. and it must be realized that one part. your ideal stage-manager. STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. : carpentering. And all of this must be of some small value. lighting. You will remember that 177 at the commencebelief in the ment of our conversation I told you my .o THE FIRST DIALOGUE o and creative art would take too long to go thoroughly into at present. the reform of the Art of the Theatre is possible to those men alone who have studied and practised all the crafts of the theatre. etc. is divided up into so many crafts acting. scene. some the scenery.

. and no longer as an interpretative PLAYGOER Yes. and by means of these had mastered the crafts of interpretation. craft. as a creative art. I do not quite in my mind's eye see the stage without its poet. STAGE-DIRECTOR Shall anything be lacking when shall no longer write for the theatre ? poet ? What the PLAYGOER The play will be lacking. Then strength developing I said the Art of the Theatre would have won back its rights. this last out of all the rest. and at the time I did not quite understand what you meant. he would then gradually acquire the mastery of rhythm. the play will certainly not exist or playwright is not there to write it. and though I can now understand your drift. and that when he had understood the right use of actors. costume. line. if the poet 178 . colour. and words. . . STAGE-DIRECTOR Are you sure of that ? PLAYGOER Well. lighting. and dance. scene. and its work would stand self-reliant action.^> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o Renaissance of the Art of the Theatre was based in my belief in the Renaissance of the stage-director.

Where you to take for granted. is not an idea something ? PLAYGOER Yes. STAGE-DIRECTOR Well. but it lacks form. what is this something which is not words. as if it were a law for the Medes and Persians. that that something must be made of words. PLAYGOER Well. There PLAYGOER But you propose to present something to the audience. STAGE-DIRECTOR Certainly.^> THE FIRST DIALOGUE STAGE-DIRECTOR will *> not be any play in the sense in which you use the word. but for presentation to the audience ? STAGE-DIRECTOR First tell me. but is it not permissible to give an idea whatever form the artist chooses ? 179 . and I presume before you are able to present them with that something you must have it in your possession. you could not have made a surer are at fault is remark.

THE FIRST DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER Yes. Is it not very simple ? And when I say action. I mean both gesture and dancing. STAGE-DIRECTOR Very good follow what I have to say for the next few minutes. as well as the scenery. costume. and VOICE. Out of ACTION. STAGE-DIRECTOR Then we to an idea in whatever material are permitted to attempt to give form we can find or invent. I am now going to tell you out of what material an artist of the theatre of the future will create his masterpieces. 1 asked you to permit. STAGE-DIRECTOR And is it an unpardonable crime for the theatrical artist to use some different material to the poet's ? PLAYGOER No. I mean all which comes before Ihe eye. SCENE. When I say scene. Since you have granted all . and then go home and think about it for a while. the prose and poetry of action. such as the lighting. 180 . provided it is not a material which should be put to a better use ? PLAYGOER Yes.

I mean the spoken word or word which is sung. And now. in contradiction to the word the which is read. for the word written to be spoken and the word written to be read are two entirely When different things. though told I have but repeated what I am you at the beginning of our conversation. BERLIN : 1905. I delighted to see that you no longer look so puzzled.s> THE FIRST DIALOGUE o I say voice. 181 .

Besides. Where have you been ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Abroad. then STAGE-DIRECTOR I all ? have it keeps one in good health. PLAYGOER What have you been doing Hunting. where you have been hunting STAGE-DIRECTOR and what you have bagged. PLAYGOER I AM glad to see you again after so long an absence. PLAYGOER Tell me about it all. and is far more wary than a 182 fox. for the beast that has occupied me is not caught like a rabbit or a hare.THE AKT OF THE THEATEE THE SECOND DIALOGUE A PLAYGOER AND A STAGE DIRECTOR SPEAK. the . I have bagged nothing. all this time ? STAGE-DIRECTOR PLAYGOER Have you turned sportsman. recommence. It exercises the muscles. I shall do better work when I .

188 . the sport lies in the difficul- which must be surmounted to get at the beast. I was really a little frightened at his roar in England. They are the composite parts of an absurd monster called and I have Theatrical. Certainly. and there is no danger at all after you have found him I have been hunting the monster of a Fable. Which one Hippogriff All of ? ? PLAYGOER The Chimsera. tracked this terrible creature into its The 1 thousand-and-one caverns and conquered him. .o THE SECOND DIALOGUED sport ties is not in the kill . PLAYGOER Was there any need for you to have gone abroad to do this simple piece of by-play ? STAGE-DIRECTOR was only abroad that I found out the poor thing's weak spots. PLAYGOER You have destroyed him ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes I have made friends with him. the Hydra or the STAGE-DIRECTOR them in one. and the reports of his cave and its collection of dry skulls were But when I got abroad certainly most terrifying. 291. p. for it 1 See note.

" as your Dramatic Critic of The Times said to the Censor Committee. only the poor dear would never forgive me and I should never forgive myself. must live. I PLAYGOER I don't I know what you it's all right. and the third day he invited me into his cave. and found him one day dancing. one cannot merely and so I exist on the spoils of other people's wars took to sport and have not known a day's disillusion . another day making imitations of me. STAGE-DIRECTOR But why didn't you say so years ago ? I should never have dreamed of foreign lands if you had but " One signified your desire for me to stay at home.^ THE SECOND DIALOGUED began to hunt cautiously. but would amuse me much would stay at home and produce a few you plays instead of wandering about Europe pretending suppose if It better to hunt. since. STAGE-DIRECTOR Why. PLAYGOER And I have never before felt so disillusioned. Naturally I accepted the invitation and took I can now bring him down when I will bearings. are talking about. what is the matter with you ? 184 .

Etching. 1914. " 5 Hamlet he is " " now might praying". "Drama". .PLATE Above. T do it pat Woodcut. 1911. now Below.


THE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER I hate the theatre. Come now. remember you once asked me all sorts of questions about the Art of the Theatre. STAGE-DIRECTOR exaggerate you used to love it. Well. and we had no end of . only helped told You me 185 . you 1 a talk. cannot alter the Theatre in a day or during your lifetime. you want me to be your doctor. and that has to make me discontented. I can't cure you. STAGE-DIRECTOR Why That is that ? PLAYGOER is what I want to know. reports. PLAYGOER that a long time ago. for . paragraphs. PLAYGOER I hate and the never go inside a theatre now. STAGE-DIRECTOR Oh. You are hungry for the Theatre and you can't swallow it as it is you want a cure. announcements and it now I interviews make me laugh. but if you would like to know what your old love the Theatre is going to be one day I will I tell you.

leave me. I don't know how it is. but whenever I see you coming an awful dread seizes me. it isn't you say about it all that I don't believe every word what chokes me is to see you . PLAYGOER anything more about the Art. must be 6000 years old before it comes. for all that is more awful to me than your Chimaera Hippogriff monster seemed to you it is Don't tell me . shall PLAYGOER I feel better already. my hopes " " " I think. my eyes dilate. I beg of you. 186 .oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED STAGE-DIRECTOR That is what I hoped. or how its three component parts are Action. pass my lips Not a word on that awful subject till you permit it. so say nothing STAGE-DIRECTOR Agreed. too enormous. but now if you will only be patient I believe I can do something else. Will he begin ? will he start telling me about the Art of the Theatre of the my ? Future " You see. I so enormous. or the Temples which are to contain the Art. teeth chatter. and impossible. and I must all change all my beliefs and customs more about that. Scene and Voice.

STAGE-DIRECTOR The Gaiety Theatre. Yes. when you have told me your idea. I would do much to assist in the realization of your dream. and now that I have promised not to touch on the Art of the Theatre I propose to amuse you with the affairs of the Theatre. STAGE-DIRECTOR That is not my intention. two stalls. PLAYGOER I have not been inside a theatre for two years. is the impression you leave STAGE-DIRECTOR I can only apologize. that was due to your last talk with me. and now you propose to talk me round again into the Gaiety. but I see nowhere to begin. Now until I to begin and try and not interrupt me have done. it has been realized you leave no one anything else to do.o THE SECOND DIALOGUED taking it all so quietly. To-night you will buy two stalls for a musical comedy. is it. PLAYGOER Maybe not. and you seem to believe that. that third row. near the end of the row. years ago I told you about some giant's Some 187 . but that with me.

: STAGE-DIRECTOR For instance ? 188 . you would give your head for some good reason for going there again. even at the risk it of boring a good friend. Since then I have shown more. who is less of an artist than an administrator. You shall have no less. also the very least. SECOND DIALOGUED talked about the Theatre. in short. and I am going to give you a reason. I cannot give my reasons without giving offence to many of those who have formerly given me much pleasure. complaint to make against me. : You PLAYGOER Maybe but it no longer interests me. love the Theatre. You love the Theatre still. But now I come to earth and shall talk to you like an ordinary stage-manager. Now I shall show All this has disheartened you. and the proI work we showed you too much. you portion of my suggestions staggered you. It needs you. The ideal to be realized needed artists there were none in the Theatre. and artists have the same stuff in them as aviators they can fly.o Til E . When I spoke to you before was as artist. The fact of your not one for a couple of years proves it. I shall speak practically to you. going inside You had a new ideal and you never found it realized there.

nor protest as I do to you. PLAYGOER Perhaps. and owing to this I am. at what are you dissatisfied ? I am neither the actor nor the producer. however much I may protest. STAGE-DIRECTOR the cause of your discontent could be removed your interest would revive ? If PLAYGOER Immediately. STAGE-DIRECTOR Ah ! then it is you that have changed. STAGE-DIRECTOR Tell me.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER Well. not the theatres. 189 . perhaps. the actor and the producer are unable to change I can neither applaud as formerly their methods. whom I know Besides. PLAYGOER No. if I call the actor at the . entirely without interest. personally. but to express it make me feel like a traitor definitely at all would to all I once loved. Lyceum theatrical he will be offended if I find the production at the Elysium vulgar I offend the producer. as I tell you.

Good Then undergo another. You admit that the to 44 And now stale. Look at the matter sensibly. whereas one's outlook may have changed entirely. I do not mean change back again.o THE SECOND DIALOGUED STAGE-DIRECTOR And you have developed your sense of what is me Is it possible. I beg of you. not so ideal as all that . flat it is yourself only that has undergone a change. but change forward. that I see before beautiful. did to Hamlet. not that . the ideal spectator in person that you have become one of that audience which London has " " been for so long trying to educate ? PLAYGOER No. The plays and the players cannot have altered so enormously in two years. and what you 190 . that PLAYGOER Explain to me what you mean. ! stage has not altered. STAGE-DIRECTOR you everything on the stage looks as and unprofitable " as the world weary. but maybe you are right that I have developed. But be practical. STAGE-DIRECTOR You have of view see : looked at the Theatre from two points ascend to a third and better point of view shall see. then.

and you are thrown into a state of despondency. can I ? 191 become one of the . not knowing what to do. An Imperial- once belonged to some Let us say you were a Conservative.<z>THE That SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER me. You thought little about the real Conservatism. Idealists. and soon you began to weary of the methods You naturally don't wish to be of your leaders. You are in the position of a man who dislikes the present government. You theatrical party or other. and that does no harm. but you called yourself a Conservative. But above and beyond all cals. At present your interest in is on a small scale. at any rate. and even Suffragettes are an established part of our institution. something like the interest every Englishman takes in his country. We have the equivalent Radithe Labour Party. PLAYGOER Well. of the Conservatives. ist is an Idealist. Socialists. that is all. parties there are the Imperialists let us call them by this name. These parties take themselves all very seriously. interests STAGE-DIRECTOR Follow me. a turncoat. Progressives. Liberals. I can't veer round and opposite party. The Theatre as an the Theatre institution is composed of as many parties as are the Houses of Parliament. then.

Tell me how STAGE-DIRECTOR Well. you shall book stalls for Twelfth Night at His Majesty's Theatre. are becoming positively interested. become an Imperialist. and though I am quite uncertain what the term you but will you be so good as to accept want of a better) as the best name I can apply (for to that universal party. You cannot court a second disillusion. or brotherhood. 192 . But there is nothing in the way of your becoming an Imperialist. a bench for the Elizabethan Stage Society's production of Samson Agonistes. STAGE-DIRECTOR My You dear fellow. Bear in mind that I use this word to express the highest ideal. of people holding or tolerating many and opposite. views ? PLAYGOER Well. which is implies to it . stay here and go on talking. I am to become an Imperialist. We PLAYGOER to No. composed different. then. Tell me how to do it. had and look for those seats at the Gaiety at better go once.o T HE SECOND DIALOGUED STAGE-DIRECTOR You cannot honourably become Certainly not. a member of any other party. you already look yourself again.

if you have the time. nor fail to attend one of the British Empire Shakespeare can do all Society's performances. I PLAYGOER knew you could not all this. but do you not see it is all through you ? years ago you showed me a visionary picture of what the Theatre might become with its blessed 193 Some . ! help me. and a rehearsal of a Drury Lane drama. James's. a meeting of the Actors' Association if you can get an invitation. Henry Arthur Jones's lectures on the Drama. see the worst and best of every- in the daytime. and in the afternoon to the Cinematograph Neither must you omit to go in Oxford Street. I knew you would tell me to do I did all this two years ago Why. the next evening to the Empire. In short. you Mr. Arthur Pinero's last play at and go to the pit at the Court Theatre John BulVs Other Island. STAGE-DIRECTOR You are in a bad state indeed.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED upper to see circle for Sir St. man. could attend one of and thing . and I promise you that you will begin to love the Theatre once more. see all sides of this work. to visit the suburbs to see our great actress as Portia. You this in ten evenings. to-morrow to hear Bach's Passion Music at St. Good-bye. To-night to the Gaiety. PLAYGOER Yes. Drama Paul's.

PLAYGOER Why do you think so ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Because without its being a temple. since it makes use of the same artificial material as that used by the Opera House in Paris is or His Majesty's in London. I can relish neither. of what systematic reform can Plays. have been to me like deep sea and devil. scenery. footopera glasses. STAGE-DIRECTOR Come abroad. do in a theatre. as in any other theatre. There are two kinds of Theatre possible natural and the artificial. so I avoid both.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED temples and its beautiful art and all the rest of it and that on the one hand. actors. and this modern Theatre on the other hand. actresses. managers. I can show you a theatre in the north of Russia that will enchant you. Besides this their administration different is from that of other European theatres. with this difference just lights. The difference in the use. The European theatres are artificial. limelights. . and this theatre in the north is also artificial. that it beats all other theatres at their own the game. realism. and all that you seem to dread so in my programme. it is the It is an example best ordered theatre in Europe. 194 . all is there.

blank verse. footlights and other artificial lights. STAGE-DIRECTOR With pleasure. scenes painted on canvas and stretched upon wood. This theatre is better than others both in the work of the stage and in the manner of the administration. PLAYGOER In what does the work of the stage differ ? You say they do not use different material from that employed by the other theatres ? STAGE-DIRECTOR No. They use actors who paint their faces. and so they 195 .&THE SECOND DIALOGUED Men the are the administrators just the same as in England. phonographs and all the rest of it . and yet the results are different. the same. Stop theatre giving me any more vague notions and tell me in detail something of this of its method. for men have remembered something which PLAYGOER our administrators have never learned. PLAYGOER But do none this? of the other European theatres do STAGE-DIRECTOR Other European theatres make only a casual study of this strange artificial material. but they make use of these things with taste.

Take. Is there no technique shown in the use of these materials there ? STAGE-DIRECTOR If this were so I should not have said no. the matter of 196 But I what I mean. for example. What do you mean ? If instead of a casual study they give serious and thorough study to their material it stands to reason I don't understand that their technique is more perfect. PLAYGOER But consider the performances at the leading London theatres. things which in themselves are not interesting. . though why you ask so obvious a question. of will give you an instance for example. scenic mechanism.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED are unable to express with any distinction. PLAYGOER I able to use their material suppose the workers in the Russian theatre are more tastefully because ? they have more technical knowledge STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. and the canvas and the paint appear as mere canvas and paint. PLAYGOER Then is there no other theatre where they use these things with taste ? STAGE-DIRECTOR No.

especially a good idea for reproducing some effect in Nature. it is never forgotten. of course. Bottom and . will best. technically. And this sixth way I be the far exceed all other which ways seen mean. We Quince introduced their moon we know how the sumptuous revival gentlemen manage it in England we know how the opera manages it. PLAYGOER can you make such a statement not even half a century old. Those are 197 . after the ten different ways have been carefully studied by the workers in the Constan Theatre they five of will find six other ways. and art is not what we are talking about here. but when a good idea has been found in the theatre. for naturally art has nothing to do with the reproduction of moons on the stage. has seen for centuries. how ways in Professor Herkomer manages it. But in every other way this moon will be more like actuality than any other moon which the theatre of Europe in Europe.o T HE SECOND DIALOGUED There are at of bringing a least nine or ten professional ways moon on how the company to the stage. How ? You are STAGE-DIRECTOR No . know of actors of Messrs. Now. and we know . will reject will them and adopt the sixth. All these differ in so far as one inventor has been more careless than another in studying the exact way which the moon performs its part.

your question is answered.&THE SECOND DIALOGUED the things by which the greatest I store is laid. am not holding a brief for the Constan Theatre in any way except in the production of plays in which they desire to bring realistic effects. that they have more independence and are freer in rejecting traditional tricks you have not proved to me that . and I state that for the first time realistic effects are actually produced. I can but tell you it is more like Nature. You have what they do is in better taste. PLAYGOER But how do the workers in this theatre arrive at this technical perfection which enables use their material with such taste ? them to 198 . that to be like Nature is in better would you say that to be like the Theatre in better taste ? PLAYGOER Certainly to be like Nature. or is Well. then. that there is no slipshod work " and no avoiding the difficulty by doing what was done last time." PLAYGOER only proved. STAGE-DIRECTOR Very well. Remember. however. STAGE-DIRECTOR Would you say taste.

you did not ask whether they had a superficial knowledge of their craft. The Constan people study and experiment more carefully. save for a few weeks' holiday in the summer. but who study badly. but are these the only theatrical workers in all Europe who do study ? STAGE-DIRECTOR I think we are speaking of technical perfection ? Well. then. is a thing PLAYGOER Have they anything at Constan a school in which to study ? in the nature of STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes.&THE SECOND DIALOGUED STAGE-DIRECTOR How do you arrive at a technical knowledge of ? anything PLAYGOER By study. of course. as you know. talent Possibly. In England you can go into a theatre on many days in the year and find no one there except the carpenters 199 . their theatre is a school. They are in the theatre from morning till night all the year round. There are plenty of people who study. me PLAYGOER And perhaps they have more talent ? STAGE-DIRECTOR And. which develops by study.

each one as good as are about star in any Europe. Not 200 until he has gone . They are all students. There twelve of these. certainly not. In Constan the place is crowded all day and night. but watching every movement and listening to every . PLAYGOER What not ? If moved up to the an actor shows especial talent first rank at once ? is he STAGE-DIRECTOR No. there of Then are actors and actresses what are served their apprenticeship long enough. There are the two directors to begin with (the third director occupies himself only with affairs). only they have not Europe. students as any one else Then come the : leading actors and ictresses." included in the first category. and these two directors are as much all they are studying the time. and if there is a rehearsal the students are there to witness it and not giggling and playing the fool. much in I saying ? Each one is a better actor or actress than the greatest stars But what am about twenty -four " called secondary Many of these are brilliant enough to be parts. PLAYGOER Whom do you mean by the students ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Everybody. word.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED and the stage-director and a few other officials.

PLAYGOER But an actress's looks are surely a ? matter of importance STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. but. but they have the talent by which they can make themselves 201 . to make themselves look nice. of great importance. They are most of them men and women from the universities. are far from perfect. and a part which needs great talent and application. PLAYGOER Is this not so in other lands ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Most certainly not. with the men. There are about twenty of these. and the girls are not chosen just because they look pretty. and should form part It has never occurred to the English of her studies. Some of your most talented actresses in England are by no means what are That is to say. their features called pretty girls. no matter how talented he may be. actresses that it is a part of their work.&THE SECOND DIALOGUED through the same experience as the others. there are the very young students. Half the girls on the English stage are chosen because they look pretty. their complexions are not so fresh as that of an Irish girl on the lakes. are selected for their capabilities. Then. besides these whom I have named.

fable for And the examination of the candidates 202 . PLAYGOER Who They are they ? STAGE-DIRECTOR young people who apply to be admitted They are told that they must work for a certain time I believe one or two years in order to become candidates for the school. Just as it is a part of the actor's talent and study to be able to make his face into actress's talent a grotesque mask. Then after an examination before the directors and stage-managers and actors some of them are selected and put into the school. so is it part of an and study to make herself look fully ladies will cease putting their looks reason for obtaining an engagement. PLAYGOER What kind of examination do they undergo ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Each candidate prepares a poem and a recitation. or the other. to return to the number of workers at Constan. or that. will beautiful realized when she wishes. Besides and below these are the probationers.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED look this. be less overcrowded and better But now. We had got as far as the students. When this is young forward as a and the stage filled. are to the theatre as students.

in which they work daily for a term of years. and not the Russians.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED at this theatre proves conclusively that it is the directors of the theatre. On passing their examination they are put into the school. that they may be offered a small engagement by the theatre in which they are working. PLAYGOER What do you mean by a standing company ? STAGE-DIRECTOR The same as is meant by a standing army. a standing company of about one hundred." Thus. PLAYGOER Then do not the engagements ? actors leave to take better 203 . foreign languages. for these candidates are no from any other stage aspirants in regard talent for dramatic expression. art and science. you see. So that here we have. many of them having a considerable knowledge of literature. that are so remarkable. and in the evenings they may be required to fill those parts known as "walking on parts. They are to their different from other students only in that they are different more educated than other theatrical aspirants. or nearly certain. while they are studying at the school they are in the midst of the acting nearly every evening. and at the end of a few years it is possible.

but it would take him some time to get into the particular atmosphere which has been created by this company. PLAYGOER Then the work there differs entirely from that in other theatres. and in order to do this he would possibly have to take very small parts to begin with.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED STAGE-DIRECTOR No. PLAYGOER Would a very talented actor from another theatre apply for membership in this company ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Maybe. and any one entering would feel very much at sea ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Precisely. they do not train stage-directors J STAGE -DIRECTOR Before you can be a stage-director you must have 204 . To be a member of the Constan Art Theatre is the ambition of every actor in Russia. for there can be no better engagement. PLAYGOER Then. PLAYGOER Are all the students training to be actors ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes.

La Locandiera by Goldoni. among the plays students selected were the following plays. he can show his talent by the use of what is at hand. nothing Each stage-manager has at short of remarkable. in opinion. though of course it is impossible to paint new scenes. together with the company. and the performance affords an opportunity of revealing any talent for stage-management or for acting which may be latent in the students. The performance takes place in the afternoon. When We Dead Awaken by Ibsen. the directors of the theatre. still. my his disposal all that the theatre has to offer him. are also present. last of all. different These scenes are in each case represented by members of the school. The relations of the students are invited.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED first been an actor. La Cilia Morta by D'Annunzio. produced Their stage-directors are only After they have been several years acting it may be that one or another will show some talent as stage-manager. : which the Elga and Hannele by Hauptmann. The talent displayed in 1909 was. and about three or four plays by Russian authors. a play by Sudermann. VAvare by Moliere. 205 . This talent is given an opportunity itself in for showing itself and developing the following manner At the end of each season the school performs certain scenes from about ten or twelve different In 1909. and a different stage-manager is selected for each.

Do you find any such in Constan ? STAGE-DIRECTOR could. but I still do not expect you to understand entirely what I mean. so far to explain to you something of the system. designer. who could rehearse the actors in their parts who work which the poet. now. the formation of dance.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER You spoke talents. that the rdgisseurs there cannot There are all PLAYGOER many people who would say that after nothing very different in this theatre from other theatres except the difference of its is there greater thoroughness. and the sense of rhythms . with his brain. and I admit that it would be utterly impossible to explain the chief reason of this theatre's superiority till you 206 . finish that own I find the nearest approach to There do. in short. had left in an unfinished condition. . for all stage purposes. to stage-manager. scene and costume who understood the lighting of the play. is very little such a man. me once long ago about an ideal a man who would combine all the who had been actor. I will try and show you wherein the I have been able essential difference really lies. I have tried to show you how superior the Russian method is to any other. STAGE-DIRECTOR Then.

There lies the secret. but even then you still could not lay his secret bare to any practical advantage. PLAYGOER And what is it ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Passionate love for the Theatre. and it will be buried with him." PLAYGOER But do they not love the other theatres ? stage in this way in the 207 . with the man who has trained them the director. for the reason that it is those simple things which no destroy. above all. that a man lay down his life for his work. but I could not make any one one of of coaxing understand it. and no amount of antagonism can and no amount of explanation explain.^> Til E SECOND DIALOGUED men who have have come into touch with the trained in the theatre and. You would understand what I have been telling you if you were to see him. and I can say to you without any fear of being thought profane : " Greater love hath no man than this. amount can create. PLAYGOER Do you who have secret ? seen him understand their STAGE-DIRECTOR 1 understand else it .

Do you think I am severe upon the They are only other theatres I ? am not. is And now to tell you a few things about the Administration. in Europe and I see It is quite possible that there are many theatres unknown to me. I am prepared to tell any theatre what working for and to point out the difference between its aim and that of the Constan Theatre. financial lives before their work . to do the best work. very other theatres to be as good as the Constan Art I but Theatre. There are other things for which they would far sooner give their for social success. whom them I in speak only of those theatres known to me. They are supposed to be the first In my opinion they are the theatres in Europe. it is I call to clearly mind the best theatres what it is they want. if willing to devote their lives can get either of these things in exchange. 208 . that to say. they do not they do not. and that in those theatres there are men to do a great injustice by seeming to include this accusation . Yet it would be quite possible for the last. in the first line. success. PLAYGOER That is what I want to hear about.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED STAGE-DIRECTOR No. they In Constan they have but one desire that is. by merely of the same passionate love for the being possessed Theatre.

five members of the board. and advise the production of more popular pieces. 209 . which would bring more money into the box office. like other stock companies. having found that the expenses exceeded the income. There is the president. and the secretary. and. they would probably change the management. the money and affairs are administered by a To begin of board of directors. and The capital is five out of these seven are artists. vested in a stock company composed of merchants of the city of Constan. and. the administration is in the hands a board of directors. PLAYGOER Then so far it does not differ from other theatres ? STAGE-DIRECTOR then for artists to be in the on the board of directors ? I think you majority have overlooked this. ? No Is it usual I am a man posing I had me to put down fifty thousand pounds to establish an Art Theatre in England what would be the feeling exhibited on the last day of the year when the report was read out to the shareholders showing that there was not a penny of dividend ? entirely innocent of business.&THE SECOND DIALOGUED STAGE-DIRECTOR with. But now tell me something. Supfound people to have enough faith in PLAYGOER The shareholders would examine the books.

then. knowing that there had been a deficit on the first year ? PLAYGOER I should want to examine the STAGE-DIRECTOR situation very thoroughly. you would not entirely back out of it ? PLAYGOER I should look into the matter thoroughly first. or even three years. what would you say.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR Why would they do this ? PLAYGOER Because they put their money into the theatre with the idea of making more by it. but as 1 am a business object would be to make money. and I were to point out to you that this thing could not possibly pay for one. that you had become a shareholder because you were interested not only in the making of money but in the work itself ? I should take PLAYGOER Yes. then. Oh. two. STAGE-DIRECTOR it. 210 man my primary . STAGE-DIRECTOR Suppose you were yourself a shareholder.

And really. if I were an extremely wealthy man myself 1 should look on that as a luxury or a hobby. explain to me as a business man how that there have been business men found in the of town Constan who are content return for their to wait for ten years f to see the first money PLAYGOER But I suppose that the It is inexplicable to me. I should not. 211 . making of money must to them have been a secondary consideration to the furthering of art. STAGE-DIRECTOR Well. to go on supporting such a first paid no dividend for the four. and you are a wealthy man. and one which I could take pride in being connected with.THE SECOND DIALOG UE STAGE-DIRECTOR o Would you think move on your part theatre if that it would be a practical three. then. But first of all let us see whether. in is you told me you were losing your interest the drama. STAGE-DIRECTOR it is Well. or five years ? it PLAYGOER No. I now see the more clearly that you are the very man it needs. You will remember that I told you a little time ago that the Theatre needed you. Here a way to revive your interest. Connect yourself with such a theatre.

both encouraging and inspiring. . but is not peculiar to any enterprise. is rather unusual. ? When was the dividend declared STAGE-DIRECTOR At the end of ten years. PLAYGOER But that might happen in any theatre bad business. but the fact that original list after ten years we find the of shareholders unchanged. Do you not find it so ? PLAYGOER Yes. and not only unchanged but increased. is it not ? and certainly most encouraging. you might not gain in every way without losing your money.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o should you take such a charming step. PLAYGOER Yes. first But tell me one thing. it sounds particular STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes . I really do think that what you tell me is quite splendid. Let us return to the theatre at Constan and see what happened there. But could it be done anywhere else ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Have you any good could not be done ? reason for thinking that it 212 .

dimensions. STAGE-DIRECTOR Has the test ever been made ? PLAYGOER Probably not. what is the New Theatre in New York but such a theatre ? Do you think that its founders want to see a return for their money in So the first two years ? PLAYGOER They might wait for two or three years before 218 . for as I doubt in you describe as of such men the Constan stock forming if anybody company could be found England. Surely you must be wrong passions. Besides. STAGE-DIRECTOR I think not . organs. senses. STAGE-DIRECTOR Then hath not an Englishman eyes. think. PLAYGOER because the drama also in all over Europe. hath not an Englishman hands. affections ? in what you say ? in England and America has become merely another commercial means for the making of money. But if it is all over Russia can find thirty or forty such men in Russia you you can surely find thirty or forty in England.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER The fact that like propositions have failed in England.

although I do not think that the making of money is their primary object. But tell me. or will they say that the work is less perfect because the theatre has failed to return a dividend ? PLAYGOER they realized that the public was satisfied they would continue. STAGE-DIRECTOR Well. why do you think these millionaires have put their money into this theatre ? PLAYGOER Because the realization that drama think they have been brought to a something has got to be done for in America. yet the directors know that there has been no profit. then. But you must 214 it . if the public was satisfied would not that mean that the theatre had been full every evening ? If STAGE-DIRECTOR Not exactly.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o receiving a dividend. STAGE-DIRECTOR And if at the end of. though fairly full been very might mean that it had every evening. will they continue to support it. but they are not likely to wait for ten. the public agrees that the work being done in the theatre is perfect. five years. and being men in a leading I position they feel they are expected to do it. let us say.

it This Russian theatre has had full houses. it is the first theatre in the land. but its expenses exceeded its income. PLAYGOER Do you not call that bad business ? STAGE-DIRECTOR let I cannot give an opinion upon business. had very nearly full houses for nearly ten years. Do you not call that good business ? PLAYGOER Yes. STAGE-DIRECTOR Would you call it good business to have built up a reputation which is second to none in Europe ? to be able to command a vast public and the enthusiastic support of staunch shareholders ? PLAYGOER Yes. But me put it to you more clearly. it has done what it set out to do. has produced plays which the public has said are perfect. I do. STAGE-DIRECTOR You would agree that the shareholders have in their possession something by means of which they can now realize what money they like ? 215 . and do you then decide. I suppose I should. The Constan Art Theatre.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE e> not forget that the expenses of running such a theatre are very great. for instance.

When you ask me to say how. I can only refer you to the work of the last ten why years. and by making this they of the English. 216 . PLAYGOER Where is the money coming from when you say that they have only just begun to realize a slight dividend ? STAGE-DIRECTOR be found.^> T HE SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER ? How By can they do so STAGE-DIRECTOR building a second theatre. of people less interested in art than any In this their reputation resembles that There is a general idea also that are a kind of savage race. them from doing what they They will build this theatre. they continue to give the public the best works in the best way. and by touring round the world. a large theatre. the belief in Europe that the Russians are so costly when you think of composed one else. and they will set an example to the rest of Europe. PLAYGOER Rather a costly example ! STAGE-DIRECTOR Not It is it for a moment. Nothing daunted the workers in this theatre. It will or seemed to deter wanted to will do.

and we shall shortly see the fruits of it. but looking at it in that light. least of all and gentlemen who are obliged to go and 217 is We are going That in my opinion all. New Theatre in Now nobody wants the ladies Q very much what America is a society theatre. the best sense of the word. STAGE-DIRECTOR Not the at Theatre. will no doubt visit the centres of Europe. and at each visit the refinement and culture and courage of Russia will be made manifest. takes it right away from the commercial theatre. a society theatre. This theatre. STAGE-DIRECTOR I was speaking it does. for the shareholders have the interests of their nation at heart. In short. of the theatre as an asset of the nation. as I have said. of course Why. it is a very clever commercial stroke on a very large scale. Money that has been sunk in this theatre is not wasted money. and English men could do worse than follow their lead. Don't you think that is so ? PLAYGOER it Yes.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o demonstration through the artistic theatre they have shown clearly that they are nothing of the In a way this is really a national theatre in kind. PLAYGOER Yes ? Well. I think so. we are going to have a National Theatre in England. to have a Society .

if you had a theatre theatre method which method would you yourself employ ? PLAYGOER The Russian method if I had the type and the same point of view. Such society theatres bore and impoverish every city of Europe. There is the Opra in in Paris. Now the Russians commence founding their national theatre by first founding an artistic wits and it is theatre years. the most regular ? Which seems to you the rightest ? In short. and of testing its honesty of purpose for ten Which of these strikes you as the better obtaining a finely organized national the English or the Russian ? Which is the most economic. these theatres. scriptions. It has no asks for subscriptions on the The committee may force sub- but no amount of forcing can raise the wits and taste that we want in our Theatre. in Vienna. it theatre for programme. The proposed " national " London is national in name only. If they are to be expensive they must not be a bore. The men who will make a national theatre in England are the same kind of men as those who have made this theatre in Russia. and yet strength of one. Munich.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o sit in their boxes and stalls while they are bored to death by the dull performances which take place on the stage. 218 of men . the Schauspielhaus in Berlin. They are not national Theatres in the real sense of the word.

yes . find as clever and as enthusiastic is less fellows and if there sympathetic underis standing of each other's wishes there of discipline in Englishmen. how quick you are to see it and to acquiesce If I were to say that that it has been DONE what I had been telling you was but an idea of 219 ! . and two or three such theatres.& THE SECOND DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR of Their point of view differs very slightly from that any of the English managements. And is it not practical ? PLAYGOER I should say absolutely practical. more sense PLAYGOER Then a theatre such as the Constan Art Theatre could be founded here ? STAGE-DIRECTOR A theatre. PLAYGOER That would indeed be an excellent STAGE-DIRECTOR thing. for we must believe the English managers when they assure us that their aim is to do the best possible work. Perhaps the men are of a different strain. STAGE-DIRECTOR now Ah. But you could over here.

but. which implies that in such matters they are sometimes very much support which is lacking in moral courage. many spirited ideas which only need the right support to bring them into the plane of actuality. would that convince you as to its practicality ? You are one of the dearest good fellows. by Jove." Well. when you are asked to believe in that which does not yet exist you are as coy about the whole thing as though you were a woman. so in existence you believe in it and cry out that it is " absolutely practical. The Constan Art Theatre has been for over ten years. And now tell me again. 220 . but isn't it ? PLAYGOER And how can you ask any one a scheme which has not in his senses to believe in been tried ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Caution is never bad : it is the English habit of being over-cautious that blights so many.^>THE SECOND DIALOGUED mine. And it not only in withholding monetary support that Englishmen are over-cautious it is their moral is : so often absent. which I believed in entirely. Do you method perfectly practical ? find the Russian PLAYGOER Yes. I think it is perfectly practical.

there is even a more practical method of pursuing the study of the Art of the Theatre. They have to keep their theatre open night after night it is one of the difficulties with which they are always conIf they could close their theatre for five tending.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR should say that though it is a very practiof carrying on a modern theatre. I And if cal method what would you say ? PLAYGOER I should say But explain more STAGE-DIRECTOR fully what you mean. very far-sighted. I mean this : their directors the object of all Ideal Theatres is to excel in the art which and it is their privilege to serve. . they must ever aim to in the pursuit go beyond. less so where the art is concerned. and spend that time in making nothing but years 221 . and therefore they must be very. not far-sighted ? Are the directors at Constan STAGE-DIRECTOR Very far-sighted where their theatre is concerned. which has to open its doors to the public night after night. Am I right ? PLAYGOER I suppose you are. They must be unceasing of the ideal.

which we have put down as being the object of all ideal theatres. but this theatre in Constan is the exception. but farther than before. and it might just discover the heart of the mystery by so doing. STAGE-DIRECTOR remember with each adthe position of the vanishing point vancing step alters. how serious is the PLAYGOER But no one can see farther than the vanishing point at any time. five years would be STAGE-DIRECTOR Very serious. Most theatres in Europe might be closed indefinitely all the year round for fifty years and make experiments all the time without any valuable results. and we are thus enabled continually to see Perfectly correct. and I presume that point to be the limit which you set to the sight of any director it is the farthest he can see.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o experiments they would have more time fc* the pursuit of the Ideal. 222 . PLAYGOER To close such a theatre for a very serious step to take. And I think we should be just so far-sighted as to see present position of the Theatre. just so serious as the occasion demands.

STAGE-DIRECTOR What. and thereby be enabled continually to achieve but ever-changing desire to advance. no matter how slowly he may do so. Do you agree with me ? will his ever-fixed PLAYGOER I do. certainly twenty times less.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER That is true. STAGE-DIRECTOR And if he advance five hundred steps he will see a hundred times more than if he advance but five steps ? 223 . And if he advance five steps he will see less ? than should he advance a hundred steps PLAYGOER Yes. is practical to him ? All that lies PLAYGOER before him and all that he can STAGE-DIRECTOR see. STAGE-DIRECTOR Therefore an art director of a theatre who strives to surpass his last achievement will keep his eyes fixed upon this vanishing point on the horizon. then.

with caution and deliberation . They his . STAGE-DIRECTOR Then. STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. say that art delays. Now we must see it we proved that of reaching a spot which is visible to ? us. that there is would you advise forwards to advance without hesitation much time to spare in those who are searching ? PLAYGOER The latter. practically speaking. but you will remember that for a man that which which is the best method is was entirely safe to advance provided he went towards was visible to him. there is no limit to achievements provided he can only see far enough ahead and in order to see very far he must have advanced almost as far as he can see. Do you believe.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER Yes . then. Do you 224 think it by going backwards . or is long and life is short. STAGE-DIRECTOR And he will therefore be able to achieve degrees more than by advancing seeing five degrees farther ? a hundred five steps and PLAYGOER That is true. but with caution. there is no doubt about it.

for caution's sake ? PLAYGOER None of these ways would serve. STAGE-DIRECTOR Or moving No. STAGE-DIRECTOR Has this method ever been put ? into practice with success PLAYGOER Yes . nearly always. in a circle. When you have seen something the best way to reach it is to go straight towards it. perhaps ? PLAYGOER No.^ THE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER Certainly not. How could it be ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Or by going sideways. STAGE-DIRECTOR Why not ? PLAYGOER Why. of course not. they would be absurd. STAGE-DIRECTOR In a hundred cases has been successful ? how 225 often would you say it .

the Theatre. Will you tell me whether the eyes are generally used for tell me seeing with ? PLAYGOER Why f yes . but may I beg you to what this has to do with the Theatre ? STAGE-DIRECTOR I must ask you to follow me back to that point. in order to see. save much time. of course they are. STAGE-DIRECTOR say that. in a straight line and without any delay. The hundredth time I waive the right as acknowledgment to the Goddess Fortuna. as we have said. PLAYGOER That is also true. It is also reasonable to suppose that by doing so he will.^THE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER I should say in ninety cases out of a hundred. STAGE-DIRECTOR I should think you are right. and should myself be inclined to say that a man can reach that which he can see in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred by going straight towards the object. 226 . it is more practical to open the eyes than to close them ? And would you PLAYGOER The former seems to be more sensible. a point which you have perceived.

and seeing farther on a second spot. STAGE-DIRECTOR And would you say that to look in the direction where you have seen something a while ago is to stand a good chance of seeing it again ? Would you say that it is practical ? PLAYGOER I should. would it be practical to advance farther in the same direction. Therefore. STAGE-DIRECTOR And on arriving at the spot seen. STAGE-DIRECTOR Very well. Is it also PLAYGOER It is. my dear fellow. .^> THE SECOND DIALOGUE STAGE-DIRECTOR not answer ^> You do practical ? my question. PLAYGOER What is that ? 227 . and entirely practical. you have only now to tell me one thing more. You have said that an artist with imagination is justified. so as to reach it ? PLAYGOER It would. then you have told me what I always suspected to be the truth. in advancing towards that which he has once seen in his imagination.

STAGE-DIRECTOR have seen something it is quite Therefore if possible that there are many people who have not seen the same thing. it is possible for all people to see the PLAYGOER It is very unlikely. Yes. allowed to show it to you PLAYGOER Certainly STAGE-DIRECTOR If I do not show it to so practically speaking. and if it has interested me it is quite likely that others will be curious to see it I also ? PLAYGOER It generally is so with people. show you. it may be 228 . for instance ? PLAYGOER STAGE-DIRECTOR if Do you think I may be I am able to do so ? you may.&THE SECOND DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR You must tell me whether same thing. STAGE-DIRECTOR You. until I said to belong to me ? you you may never see it.

STAGE-DIRECTOR You are right. but intention was to ascertain whether you con- 229 . Why do you ask ? STAGE-DIRECTOR You must my forgive me for the assumption. your you wish to avoid all accidents. STAGE-DIRECTOR practical And by practical you mean what ? PLAYGOER The meaning is of the word practical is that which possible of accomplishment. STAGE-DIRECTOR It belongs to me. there is generally more than one way. and as it is not likely that I should desire to show you something which belongs to damaged condition I must be very careful of the method I employ to transfer I must be it from its situation to your presence. then. And is there but one way of accomplishing everything ? PLAYGOER No. in a me practical ? if PLAYGOER method must be essentially Yes.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER We may admit so much.

PLAYGOER Yes. STAGE-DIRECTOR Of course we admit the supposition that I cannot take you to see it." " " PLAYGOER Most certainly not. if I wished to bring it : to you without in any way damaging it. that I have seen the North Pole you are no more enlightened than if 1 told you I had seen Heaven. or an idea and to all intents and purposes the North Pole is nothing more nor less than an idea. but to confuse the meaning the of word "practical" has become so usual lately. the phrase. I was saying that if I had something proceed which belonged to me and wanted to show it to you I must take great care. If I tell you. STAGE-DIRECTOR Again forgive me. The North Pole. for instance. " matter-of-fact way." or with a third. 280 . PLAYGOER True.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o with another fused the phrase the practical way " the usual way. and there are some things which are so situated. Let us especially when speaking of the Theatre. for instance.

and though this will give you no exertion whatever. what would be enough to prove enough. But to demand proof of great things only and to accept the little is a sign of the smallest intellect. it must be brought to you with great care.^ THE SECOND DIALOGUE STAGE-DIRECTOR *> Whereas if I tell you I have seen a church-steeple you have something familiar to go upon from which you can construct an actuality. For instance. or an idea. But. whereas the mere telling you that I have seen a church-steeple is 1 Now. my proof of the existence of the North Pole must be made quite clear to you. it will give me exactly double as much as if you had gone with me to search for those proofs. is something to which I cannot take you without considerable exertion on your part as well as my own. as we agreed. PLAYGOER How You is that ? STAGE-DIRECTOR remember that we agreed that the mere telling you I have seen the North Pole is not sufficient proof that I speak the truth. but I can convey an idea to you or a proof that the North Pole exists at a certain spot on the globe. The North Pole. proof valueless ? The question has never been answered. Is If demonstration is at all valuable it is entirely valuable. 1 To demand sign of the little 231 . to you I had seen the North Pole ? will proof of all things great and small is always the mind.

and yet stranger than you suppose. could I not prove it to you ? PLAYGOER Well.o Til E SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER to prove You would have experts and vations. strangest part of it all is that man should be so lacking in natural instinct and moral The 282 . you stand you. yet it seems strange on thinking about STAGE-DIRECTOR Not so strange. STAGE-DIRECTOR And you. no. it is the test they go upon. STAGE-DIRECTOR have any interest for you ? could you have sympathy with what you could not understand ? But would my tale PLAYGOER Oh it. scientists by means before a group of of certain obser- STAGE-DIRECTOR Would that prove the truth of my statement ? PLAYGOER I suppose so . etc. yes . my only chance of being in sympathy with your tale would be to trust in the experts before see I should not be able to under- whom you had laid your proofs.

. 1918.PLATK Yorick. " ti Hamlet " series. Woodcut.


in order to bring back minerals. being as it is. plants. and such-like things which will prove my story I shall have to be very careful. which rely let us get on. PLAYGOER May I ask you STAGE-DIRECTOR But come. where Nature seems to defy one to pluck out the heart of her 233 and one in . we would not ask for those actual proofs and we would believe and understand great truths the more easily. we become the children of those who can both believe and understand that courage. To believe in the idea you (this North Pole idea) you will upon the judgment of the wise men before I bring whom I lay the proofs. To travel into the unknown is to court disaster. it is amusing as it is. crew. Where we do not understand or believe. In order to take observations and soundings. very well equipped and well assisted. certain birds. Those proofs are our little difficulty. and few set out without carefully organizing their equipment. Anyhow. is as it should be.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o If we had preserved both. instruments. On such a journey through an unknown land. Therefore ship. all these things are selected only after the most cautious consideration. which so-called natural conditions so powerfully play the part of enemy. Neither too much nor too little of anything must be taken.

few visible proofs of the known. 234 .o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o mystery. Now that we are ready to instant start. follow it to the end. while for at the same time seizing the fresh opportunities as plan. That is once made we must they present themselves. but only its fringe for to return from the unknown with the idea itself would certainly make you think we were mad. threaten the We much. still Even when we have prepared everything with the greatest care accidents will safety of our expedition. We are about to expedition make a dangerous and very difficult into the unknown to bring you back a . whereas to bring back hints of the idea satisfies you as to our sanity. consider for one what it is we are setting out to do. We make these provisions after we have made our the most difficult part of the work. We are not to bring back the idea itself. PLAYGOER But what has this to do with the Theatre ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Patience for a little and you will see. everything must be done to anticipate all emergencies. shall therefore need enough of everything and not too it is not a matter of money although enough money is certainly necessary.

it . PLAYGOER Will you speak to some practical purpose ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Only so. which a beautiful poet " lain hid under the well described to me as having roots of the Pyramids for two thousand years. and what it should mean again. you want the pretty it is little shall have whole difficulty. for the Theatre." Give me leave to speak again of this. so solemn it is. first a request. PLAYGOER You will not merely tell me what this art once meant to us. much And now that fringe although to obtain which presents the it. but you will show me a practical way of bringing it to us once more ? 235 . let us accept fringe you that costs so .o THE SECOND DIALOGUE PLAYGOER o What a strange paradox ! STAGE-DIRECTOR Well. But PLAYGOER What is it ? STAGE-DIRECTOR You asked me not to speak any more about temples or about the Art of the Theatre which I once told you was lost.

oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE STAGE-DIRECTOR That is ^> my intention. It is based upon the methods 230 . PLAYGOER I have not forgotten. I will not do so. PLAYGOER You will not propose to destroy all the present theatres of the world in order to do this. carried out swiftly and without unnecessary expense. the Gaiety. into the realms where it lies hidden. PLAYGOER A good intention. it would be no longer STAGE-DIRECTOR No. for a practical proposition. ? But now your practical plan STAGE-DIRECTOR My proposal is to discover or rediscover the lost Art of the Theatre by a practical expedition. And your method ? STAGE-DIRECTOR The very simplest. 8 o'clock ! Remember. How delighted I am to hear you express the wish that the present theatres It shows me that shall in no way be injured interest in them is reviving and that I have your ! already nearly cured you. for then I should not listen to you.

in the unknown. both are shrouded in all much mystery. So it was with Nansen's project. relating to the plans and preparations for his expedition in 1893: " If we turn our attention to the long list of former expeditions and to their equipments. which I have just been reading. by of mystery and beauty. this art is the exact counterpart of the discovery of the North Pole. they have generally 237 . Let me read you an extract from his Farthest North. it cannot but strike us that scarcely a single vessel has been built specially for the purpose in fact. been in preparation for over six years. the very home we first expedition (for expect to shall make several) we shall follow the method First we shall take time take three or four years to make our we preparations. In preparing for our reports. and the scheme itself has already employed by Nansen. The fact been in such a hurry to set is.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o The discovery of employed by Arctic explorers. Both are situated in the same position. the majority of explorers have not even provided themselves with vessels which were originally in- tended for " ice navigation. This is the sums of the more surprising when we remember money that have been lavished on the equipment of some of these expeditions. both realms are themselves. We possess clues as to the whereabouts of both .

Fresh improvements were constantly being The form we finally adhered to may suggested. out that there has been no time to devote to a more In many cases. and we shall get it. financial as well as moral. PLAYGOER How do you know this ? 288 . but that it is well adapted to the ends in view I think our expedition has fully proved. however. PLAYGOER Yes.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o careful equipment. seem to many people by no means beautiful. one model after another was prepared and abandoned. indeed. while the scheme was conceived thrice three years earlier. as I suppose it will be for your scheme STAGE-DIRECTOR Certainly we shall need support. and if the voyage itself took three years the pre- parations took no less time. could not be equipped in so short a time. and also much money was ? needed. The present expedition. pre- parations were not begun until a few months before the expedition sailed. " Plan after plan did Archer make of the projected ship ." " Here you see what long and careful preparation was made before the setting out of the expedition.

instruments will be purchased for the study of motion. photoor registered on the cinematograph or graphed gramophone for future reference. are necessary for our experiments. furnishing it with what is necessary. It will have to contain two theatres. together with the instruments for producing these artificially. and open. I shall come to the matter of expense in due time. closed air and one roofed-in. drawn. sometimes on both. and on one or on the other. and some will be especially invented for this purpose. will be written. 289 . not be will be only for the use of Other instruments for the study of natural sound and light will be purchased. and will lead us to the better knowledge of both sound and of light. but they will These records made public and members of the college. To this equipment we shall add a printing-press. In addition. one openThese two stages. every theory shall be tested and records made of the results. We shall build and equip a college. When we have our scheme 5000 a year guaranteed for well supported and we shall put five years will be all we shall require the following plan into action. and also to the invention of yet better instruments through which the purer beauty both sound and light may be passed.&THE SECOND DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR Patience a little.

Secondly. So now. It will consist of a head. in short. are you clear as to these two points ? First. Light and Motion or. are to the leader being selected by election. as I have spoken of the college.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE all e> kinds of carpenters' tools. a body and its members. With these materials and instruments we shall pursue the study of the Stage as it is to-day with the intention of finding out those weaknesses which have brought it to its present unfortunate condition. that we shall have a college of experiment in which to study the three natural sources of art Sound. exactly in the same pupils experiment animals. We shall. experiment upon the body of the modern theatre in our roofed-in theatre (for you will remember we have two). voice. that we shall number in all thirty working-men. them elsewhere. way upon as surgeons and their the bodies of dead men and of administration the In selecting its method college will follow the ancient precedent of Nature. scene and action. and all things pertaining to modern theatres. Is that clear to you ? 240 . In all there will not be more than thirty men in There will be no women. a well-stocked library. Those who compose the executive body are less difficult to decide on. who shall singly and together pursue the study of the three subjects named and the other experiments to test the principles of the modern theatre. as their task is undoubtedly less difficult.

when they have fully explored them and collected sufficient evidence. is necessary. e> But how does your actual work resemble ? that of an Arctic explorer STAGE-DIRECTOR In this way. We shall have to select a centre from which search-parties shall be sent in different our object being to explore within reason any part of the theatrical world which is unknown to us. so will our investigators push for- but an examination sible we shall ward their studies into certain regions from which. We shall at the same time go over much old ground in the belief that it has never been thoroughly examined. in which case we shall have to stay where we 241 are. .o THE SECOND DIALOGUE PLAYGOER It is. may prove to be more difficult. we shall advance to a new position at which to establish If this it our base within the first year. work proceed as rapidly as we hope. On the other hand. entertained of finding there anything of great value. certain direction with instructions to sound and make observations and then to return to the point selected as a base. As soon as posforward in the direction of the push Just as search-parties are sent in a unknown. No great hopes are directions. they will return to the point where they had separated from us to make known the result of their observations.

but to those who when we may be obliged abandon it. PLAYGOER Then you think meet with all it likely your efforts will not the success you could desire ? 242 . more practical one. and I cannot think of a will You you must remember that a plan guarantees continual sucacting on such Call to mind how cess of one kind or another. and with sufficient supplies. for observations and records were made. At the end of a year our books will hold the records of things hitherto undiscovered. but by those who searched even in those latitudes into which many men had travelled many important before. By this method. understand that our reason for pushing forward our base is to facilitate communication in the event of our search-parties pushing far into the unknown. dates and results of experiments of incalculable value not only to us in our future shall resume the search to efforts. It is the only method which suggests itself to me. not only by those who went farthest north. we can make attempt on attempt to compass our end.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o Above all I wish to emphasize this point that no change of base shall ever be made until every one is fully assured of the practicality of the next : position.

you mean ? PLAYGOER Yes. is in harmony with that for which you search. to begin with. Sir Charles Wyndham. find the support of the leaders of the Theatrical Profession ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Whom do you mean ? PLAYGOER Well. does On my you plan and ? its method of execution appeal to PLAYGOER Let me try to say what I think. Weedon Grossmith.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o STAGE-DIRECTOR the contrary I think we can be sure of exceptional success. Now tell me. for finality is something which probably does not exist. but I had not finished my list of names. as to any final success. which includes not only all those connected with the arts in England and even some of those con243 . and. as your quest is ideal. But will you find support ? Will you. The plan is an ideal one. Sir Herbert Tiee. Arthur Bourchier. Cyril Maude STAGE-DIRECTOR The actor-managers. it is a rare thing to achieve. to be outspoken.

about whose ideals I have heard so much ? And then the Americans ? You see. or the Munchen Art Theatre ? Holland what can Holland do ? and Sweden. You have mentioned some of the best-known names in the theatrical world. tre STAGE-DIRECTOR You have put me an easy question to answer. I want to know on whom you rely for support. Europe support you the French theatre. will the Theatre in artists abroad. either the Comedie Fran9aise or one of the smaller representative theatres such as those directed by Bernhardt or Antoine ? Will the German theatre you any support? The State theatres. For all instance. amongst those you have named are possibly a few men of decidedly ideal tendencies. for that is the first requisite to make your scheme practical. for instance. I think we have their support. I think she would never refuse ? hers.&THE SECOND DIALOGUE o nected with the State. The directors of the Constan Art Theatre are un- doubtedly such men. opposed to it. or Eleonora Duse. Such a scheme is one which is certainly not opposed to his interests. Then there is Reinhardt of Berlin. Russia or Italy ? The Constan Art Theagive about which you have told me. And that Sir Herbert Beerbohm244 Madame Duse . But If the proposed college is their interests they will not support consider whether this is the case. but also certain names of For instance. or Reinhardt.

and already their reputation for generosity has been too often imposed upon. though everything is not making a practical use of it. but no practical use can be made of them. if they read and PLAYGOER And will these ? do no more than give you their moral support STAGE-DIRECTOR Why. than likely to applaud our proposals and are more Tree's more to guarantee them as practical understand them. If they will give us their hands and bid us God-speed dream of asking for.> THE SECOND DIALOGUE o name will be found in such company is far than that he should join issue with likely those weary gentlemen whose love of adventure Madame Bernhardt and Antoine has left them. STAGE-DIRECTOR You may valued shall by be right. . what else can they give ? They are hard workers in a very different profession. We expect to receive practical support from the '245 State. but your capital where is that coming from ? A bundle of God-speeds are pretty. it is all we should ever PLAYGOER Well.

have to prove to the State before it will accord you Your its support. that the advantage . which would you say was the more instructive. the mean ? And which would you 246 . are It either affects the people in two different instructs or it amuses. you will State would benefit have to show clearly that the secondly. STAGE-DIRECTOR Very well. the noble or prehension. first consider how the The Theatre ways. then. STAGE-DIRECTOR say was easier of comthe beautiful or the ugly.^ THE SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER confidence inspires me to believe you are But there are two things which you will right. Now. would exceed the cost. let us State would benefit. STAGE-DIRECTOR What are they ? PLAYGOER First. There many ways to instruct and to amuse. something heard or something seen ? PLAYGOER I would say the latter.

Yet is amusement in it? for we smile. there not something of and a smile is the whisper of laughter. STAGE-DIRECTOR Perhaps we may call it the very best part of amusement ? 247 . PLAYGOER You are right. causes you to feel smilingly from top to And ? toe PLAYGOER The beautiful truth oh. something which it is quite beyond us to explain. STAGE-DIRECTOR I think so too. if we seek for amusement the ignoble and ugly immediate in its effect.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE & PLAYGOER If we seek for instruction it is easier to comprehend the beautiful and the noble. ? STAGE-DIRECTOR what is that which. when you see and yet hear it. is possibly more STAGE-DIRECTOR And is the beautiful and the noble more amusing PLAYGOER I think it is not. for it is that which we are searching for.

we have said that the instructs or amuses. vhich for want " have called smiling from top a good or a bad feeling ? word I PLAYGOER I should say it was the very best STAGE-DIRECTOR feeling. Yet we see that it acts in both ways. with the and the noble. STAGE-DIRECTOR Would you say of the right to toe. you would say ing that they felt happier than if you saw those faces strained and weary-looking ? In fact. therefore the very best amusement is akin to the best part oi is instruction. PLAYGOER True. if 248 . PLAYGOER It seems so." is that this feeling. STAGE-DIRECTOR beautiful part of connected. it and amuses when it is noblest and most Theatre either sometimes both instructs beautiful. STAOE-DIUnCfuR Now. as we have seen.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER for the sake of We may And this argument. in short. you saw hundreds of faces in a gatherof people wreathed in smiles.

Now you told me just now that something seen instructs us more than something heard. would you faces such as I have described PLAYGOER Happy ones. would STAGE-DIRECTOR \Vhy would you prefer it ? PLAYGOER Because then I too should feel like smiling. if rather see happy gloomy ones ? you were a king. May I take it that you mean that what we see is more swiftly and more easily comprehended ? 249 . prefer that they smiled. STAGE-DIRECTOR And or tell me.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER Why. of course. STAGE-DIRECTOR Another question : Would you prefer ? to see them smiling or thoughtful Smiling or thoughtful PLAYGOER ? The thoughtful and yet I face is not necessarily the gloomy face. certainly I should. STAGE-DIRECTOR A good answer.

no description would convey the right impression to us so swiftly as does this seeing him. be so I think much it might confuse us. PLAYGOER Yes. had never seen a horse before. STAGE-DIRECTOR And yet they say that instruction is obtained 250 . that is very true. He gambols. it would rather irritate than assist. We see a finely bred horse let loose in a field. STAGE-DIRECTOR Then you would not be prepared to hear anything about it in addition to seeing it ? PLAYGOER No. looks around splendidly with his eye. arches his If we neck. that is *> what I mean. STAGE-DIRECTOR Let us take an example. STAGE-DIRECTOR And would a delivered at the same time verbal description of the horse as it became visible to us assist us to understand better what we see ? PLAYGOER No.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE PLAYGOER Yes. for we should occupied in gazing at the creature.

our senses would be delighted. it is very likely. PLAYGOER Yes.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o through the sense of hearing as well as through that of sight. STAGE-DIRECTOR us put it differently. and you would smile through your understanding. STAGE-DIRECTOR You would say then that you had been perfectly instructed. the horse in his gambols before us should give expression to his joy and pride by neighing what let then ? PLAYGOER That would assist us to compreAh. ! STAGE-DIRECTOR The neigh of a horse. is more illuminating than a learned discourse ? Would you smile on hearing it ? PLAYGOER Yes. Suppose Well. for you had seen something noble and you had heard some playful expression proceeding from that which seemed so noble. would you ? 251 . then. then. You would not become thoughtful. but the two impressions are likely to confound each other if they come to us simultaneously. that's true hend.

should instruction without you would be merely And if would result poorer state of mind received amusement without you a much instruction. and the faces of the audience at the Lyceum are very much drawn during the performance of King Lear or Hamlet. bear in mind that I have all along spoken of true amusement in a high sense and true instruction in the same sense. where instruction and amusement spring from the contemplation by eye and ear of the beautiful. A poorer state of mind would be the result amusement be instructed. offered you. PLAYGOER Yet they are separated.o THE SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOEK No. and that is precisely the state of mind you achieve in a theatre such as I mentioned. STAGE-DIRECTOR You would. for the music-hall echoes with shrieks and howls of the loudest laughter. I have will You spoken of them as two things which it is possible and desirable to connect. You would be enchanted. that is to say. STAGE-DIRECTOR Yes. I should be enchanted. and therefore have indicated that they are very much alike and indeed hardly divisible. that is precisely what 252 I am wanting to talk . no.

that the State will be benefited before we prove can hope for its support. loosen the muscles of the face. and the faces at the tragedies are less strained and more thoughtA perfect theatre would neither tighten nor ful. for in . All would be set at ease and to produce this state of mental and physical ease in the people is the duty of the Theatre and its Art. Well. in much too great. it is the most perfect theatre in the world that we shall offer to 253 Bravo ! And now .^> THE SECOND DIALOGUED The division is about. far fewer bursts of rough laughter. PLAYGOER You look so like that horse you were describing that I do so to avoid your heels ! STAGE-DIRECTOR that it is agreed that it is a perfect theatre here in England possible to create You say we must let us see how we may do so. and would neither contract the cells of the brain nor the heart-strings. STAGE-DIRECTOR What do hear ? What we are in England no ? I is it I you say ? I think think you are an Eiiglishman am I right ? and I think you will withdraw that last remark of yours at once. PLAYGOER But a perfect theatre is impossible. especially a music hall in Germany we hear England.

000 possibly seems to you a great deal of money. The expenses of our first five years would be. though. Nansen's expenses for his Polar Expedition. what it really represents. and is not that a benefit ? will be created after some years of toil for you. It represents the cost of one picture in the National Gallery.000. It represents F. Now. 1893-96. Let us see. the most perfectly organized and conducted theatre in Europe. as I said before. STAGE-DIRECTOR words as possible . 25. and only in the tentli year did it commence to return a dividend.&THE SECOND DIALOGUE o the State. which will than the advantage only be benefited if the less gain exceeds the expense. I cannot bring all the proof to bear upon this and other points that I could do if the matter should be taken up for more serious inquiry by a committee appointed for the I will do so in as few in a short conversation. 254 . This theatre l by following the method of search which I have sketched out PLAYGOER But you have not shown me that the this cost of " " expedition will be to the State. has taken ten years to achieve its present perfection. 25. It represents the cost of about three to five 1 The Constan Art Theatre. purpose. however.

*> THE SECOND DIALOGUE *> productions at His Majesty's Theatre or Drury Lane. do you think 25. It represents the London than half the sum spent on and improving the Lyceum Theatre in enlarging It represents less 1881. 255 . 312. p." See SYMONDS : Shakespeare's Pre- decessors. * BRERETON : Life of Irving. It represents about a third of the sum paid for " " 1 a single Triumph in 1634. It represents one quarter of Sarah Bernhardt's profits for her tour in France. average takings of a hundred theatres for one night. You may say that nearly every production in London and the provinces is to-day an 1 " The Triumph of Peace. It represents about the cost of a single Pageant in England. also. p. 27. STAGE-DIRECTOR Now to pay consider. how much the public has for the many theatrical experiments made every year. It represents a fifth of the profits of one single 2 Irving tour in America. Now tell me.000 a large sum to pay for the expenses of so important a work covering five years ? PLAYGOER I do not think so now after what you have told me. 1880-81. 1908.

to cover the expenses of experiments are finished works of art. as it is doing to-day.000. Theatres remain open for over two hundred nights in a year. taken from the public in the 1 * * six times that number. 25. Let us say that there are one hundred theatres in England.000 (two millions and a half sterling). rather than to continue for ever to part yearly with the sum of 2. or even the public itself should pay such a small sum as I have indicated. for experiments ? made in a hurry and without method PLAYGOER Does the public part with so great a sum yearly ? STAGE-DIRECTOR Let us see if I am correct. The public is led to believe that these public if the State. Now would it not be cheaper for the whereas honestly blunders. and it still reaches a colossal total of two millions and a half sterling. but just intended.500. 2 and let us say they take this for one hundred nights as representing a year. they are not works of art at all. There are more than The Lyceum in 256 .& T HE SECOND DIALOGUE experiment less ^> an honest if incomplete and methodexperiment towards bettering the craft of stage work. though shockingly perpetrated. a millionaire. 1 Let us say each of the hundred takes 250 a night from the public. 1881 could hold 328 in one evening. some one five years' serious and practical experiment by picked men. 3 We place the whole calculation as low as possible.

a men group of perfectly drilled to execute any given order regarding the lights on the Stage. (5) the chief difficulties of the The training of a group of original scene-painters. as any visit to a special staff in a light rehearsal will show. derived by the State would exceed the cost. (2) The improvesimplification of many of the mechanical appliances of the modern stage.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED course of one year for rubbish. The State will receive from the college at the end of five years the results of their labours. then? PLAYGOER asked you if the advantage to be Hardly. and in a manner (1) deemed impossible. These will include: A practical demonstration of the best method to be employed for building and directing a national theatre as an ideal theatre.managers and of the staff employed to hitherto ment by shift the scenery. (4) The training of actors to speak and to move average actor. but you have yet to show me that the State will reap its 25. 257 . Have I answered your second question. for at present. (3) The training of stage. You have only shown me that the cost is exceedingly low in comparison with other State and private expenditures. I STAGE-DIRECTOR Let us look into that at once. the lighting is theatre always at sea.000 worth of advantages.

it must be admitted that the electricians have many unnecessary difficulties to contend with.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED There are three main reasons for this the . created too often by the director of the theatre . actresses and supers. A college is the only place where such training can be received and given. first is that a stage-director does not know what he wants. does not know the names or uses of the machines employed or of their parts or what these machines are capable of. and have received but the barest training as to their duties. " He utterly ignorant of how to leaves it all to accident and is chance effect. 258 ." The second reason that the majority of men who work the machines at evening performances are employed on different work by day. the stage-manager but his opportunities for this of study are few. to train. Still. and can afterwards be given authority and opportunity to train his staff. If he attempts to improve things every one loses their When the stage-manager can have time heads. and is obtain a result. for his time is occupied in having to attend to and straighten out awkward situations. The third reason is that the machines are designed without knowledge of the use to which they should serve. which would be removed if the whole craft of the modern stage were to be studied afresh with a view to readjusting its component There is only one man to whom we lo'ok parts. theatres will take a small step in the right direction. and by the actors.

The search for the lost Art of the Theatre must be made only after passing through the region? in which the modern theatre shall ? is situated. by the members. raising standard which should not be lowered under any for the subsequent training of the staff all excuse whatever. 259 . will be PLAYGOER And will will you not enter for election ? ? What the college be without you STAGE-DIRECTOR Everything.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED In short. more question. what we should tender to the State ol in return for its support. You see then that the college. with its eyes fixed on the future and its ideal firmly established) would keep its hands and fingers busy with the present. would be the nucleus an Ideal Theatre on a practical basis. nothing. or leader. Are you to act as the head of this college ? STAGE-DIRECTOR No. one I think you have made it clear. as I tell you. with a college from stageto an ideal manager to electricians. With me. do you understand PLAYGOER And now. In passing we re-establish its order. elected The head.

so as And reasons to study there whenever I wish to. PLAYGOER What will you do. then ? STAGE-DIRECTOR I shall give it its existence. and shall then ask to be permitted free entrance to the college. PLAYGOER But you yourself will give it more than this you will make experiments and ? lend your gifts to the work STAGE-DIRECTOR My little gifts are few and cannot be lent. body or member. I shall never be absent from the college.^> THE SECOND DIALOGUE & desert the very PLAYGOER What do you mean ? Will you scheme you have created ? STAGE-DIRECTOR No . but I believe I can be of more use to this college at a distance than connected with it. them to But you ma v f that they are not lazy reasons. but I shall not act as either head. To explain you take feel would take many years. I should honoured to be a member of such a college. my for desiring this are fully it many. I would willingly make experiments if asked to do so. 260 .

you somewhat take my breath away. I can point to the right direction. as you have called it. but I have its existence depends of that. to some one else. but not I little know very about it. and for this reason I believe I am not altogether valueless to the efforts In their search. I shall be ever with them. idea. but I shall not lead them. for any fixed occupation.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOER And one this this lost art. nor must I be expected to follow them. else. PLAYGOER Well. no fear because 261 . probably. more than any know most about ? is STAGE-DIRECTOR but possibly I know where it is situated better than the others. their experiments. of the college. You that you know as much or more than the rest of the world about this Third Art. plan. you give up everything in your life for it and you propose to plan out the college up to a certain point and then you hand over your college. Whenever called upon I shall be at their service. Have you no fear that the whole thing will become much changed when it leaves your hands ? STAGE-DIRECTOR It will certainly change upon this fact . how you would propose to discover which you. and you talk about it to me for prove to me hours.

STAGE-DIRECTOR that is quite different. and then 262 . will only lead us towards our ideal. PLAYGOER But the modern theatre which you despise resists profess to the attraction of the ideal. It will not do so. There will be men with us who will from time to time become depressed and tired. But these resistances. We shall hear the call and feel the pull. making disWe shall finally coveries all along the way. as I said. But the mistakes will never be wilfully made from some selfish motive. attraction has already commenced. and then mistakes are likely to occur and with the mistakes discoveries. it is in resisting this that we shall make our discoveries. but with slow deliberation.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUE o PLAYGOER But have you no personal desires in relation to Will you not be a little pained to this college ? see it moving in a wrong direction ? STAGE-DIRECTOR The magnet of the ideal is fixed. and can but be the result of too great a strain. and we shall go straight ! Ah fear . They resist through we shall resist through courage. discover what we look for and what attracts us. onwards.

move forward.oTHE SECOND DIALOGUED PLAYGOEB What then ? STAGE-DIRECTOR convinced that there am thoroughly never be an end to our journey. impelled to 1910. question. 268 . A And for my part I will beckoned. that will never change. Attraction shall never cease for us. we shall ever be invited.

fact of their presence precludes a realistic treatment of the tragedies in which they appear XJL The Shakespeare has made them the centre of his vasl dreams. as with these. with the human crowd is a crowd of unseen forms These 264 . spirits set the key to which. not extraneous parts of the drama they are the visualized symbols of the supernatura world which enfolds the natural. in the crowded street or market place or theatre. controls and condition. as in music note of the composition must be harmonized every they are integral. every hair's breadth of the circumference. science of life. as of t circular geometrical figure. but which blend with the tone? which are heard and make all the difference between the poorest instrument and the supreme " " so in the note of a violin . there are unseen presences. for. exerting in the actior " the science something of that influence which in " " those of sound is exerted by partial tones which are unheard. or wherever life is. there are partia Side by side tones.ON THE GHOSTS IN THE TKAGEDIES OF SHAKESPEARE A a * VERY curious indication as to the way in which the producer should treat the Shakespearea* tragedies on the stage lies in the appearance ir those tragedies of the ghost? or spirits. and the central point of a dream.

had he been preoccupied with gauze ai limelight. and they abide there. ai for their coming some of them are swept ai garnished. They enter in beings that are seen. in his Witch." he did not have in his mind merely player clothed in a piece of gauze. haunted by spirits me wicked than themselves. 265 . Nor had done so. Possibilities. ." l fofces. . they treat of simil enter the ghc For when Shakespeare wrote. would he ever have created the Ghost j " Hamlet." yet realized even then as domina It is confines of despair. sometimes malefic. li Middleton themes. at times impalpable as the a shadow. on t contrary. sometimes beneficer that Shakespeare achieves results which surpa those of his contemporaries even when.PARTIAL TONES Principalities and Powers and These are unseen but not unfelt. the houses of the human " by the necromancy of these partial tones by the introduction of influences felt even wh " shadow unseen. or. even to t : . for that ghost of Hamlet's father. and the last sta of these human beings is radiant with a divi light and resonant with an added love . of Banquo. the last state of such bein is worse than before subject to a violence a abhorrent even to themselves impalpal tyranny and inevitable as it would seem. wl moves ^ aside the veils at the beginning of the gre J Short house. it may be that.

in is . dramas ar< Shakespeare's poetic creations and must be presented and treatec as such. or A Mid summer Night's Dream as they should be produced he must first of all woo the spirits in those plays for unless he understand them with his whole beinj he shall but produce a thing of rags and tatters 1 Hevesi. Thus if a man of the theatre shall produce Mac Richard the Third. armour. Julius Ccesar beth. slumber. 266 .SHAKESPEARE AS SCENOGRAPHER not a joke he is not a theatrical gentlemar He is i is not a farce of a figure. Antony and Cleopatra. they are the loftiest achievements of i lofty poet. for al on the stage pretending to illusioniz< a must necessarily fail in their effect or caus< disillusionment. and carry to us the clearest statement: we can ever receive as to Shakespeare's thought: about the stage. " The pictures reality suggestive shall predominate." 1 advice which should be especial!] borne in mind by all who set themselves to inter pret those of the plays in which the supernatura element is introduced. For the appearances plays are of all these spirits in th< not the inventions of a pantomim< manager. Hamlet. visualization of the unseen forces whicl momentary dominate the action and is a clear command fron Shakespeare that the men of the theatre shall rous< their imagination and let their reasonable logi< play. The Tempest.

for we present j nothing of spirits. \ is at the roots of the whole world. Enter a ghost sudden panic of all che a< of all the limelights. In fact. that he the is at one with 1 seen their propo spirits. the idea of something spiritual. the right atmosj has not been prepared. for did he do so he would adopt a different method for the interpretation of scenes in which the ghosts appear. on the stage the audience may be said t< ghost that something best not spoken about has passed over. disbelieving in them. of life and d that fine theme ever productive of so much be 1 moment he has and from which Shakespeare weaves his vei slurred over. in that moment is master of the art of producing a play by SI speare. For what is it makes the ghosts of Shakesp which are so significant and impressive whe read the plays. of all the music and o Exit the ghost intense entire audience. however. We We We We like children and wrap ourselves 267 in a table- . But this the stage-manager never seer realize. giggle when we are ask< bogie will do. and moved to their rhythm.SHAKESPEARE AS SCENOGRAPE The moment. avoided as with an apologetic c< thi are children in such matters. And so the mighty question. appear so weak and uneonvii on the stage ? It is because in the latter cas tap is turned on suddenly. with the exit c of* the whole theatre.

" " the uncertain dolorous footsteps of the point out as he approaches. wow. intangible faces of which. glimpse.THE SUPERNATURAL ELEMENT and say "Wow. and render audible to the " the solemn ears of the soul if not of the body uninterrupted whisperings of man and his destiny. his truth. that give the its play its mysterious beauty. or wanders from. although. to the psychological. But let him introduce. lies its depth and immensity. sideways. the whole action ruled by an invisible power. in its splendour. and such a play is robbed of half majesty and all its significance. and which primary tragic element." Yet consider such plays as Hamlet. we find nothing there ? In Macbeth the air is thick with mystery. Richard the Third. just those figures which seldom shape themselves more definitely than a cloud's shadow. 268 . wow. without travesty. and it is just those words which are never heard. that blending of the material and the mystical as that sense of waiting figures of mysterious featureless death. on turning fully round. What is it gives them their supreme mystery and terror. Let the stage-manager concentrate his attention and that of his audience on the seen things which are temporal. murder. the supernatural element raise the action from the merely material its . madness and defeat ? Is it not just that supernatural element which dominates the action from first to last. Macbeth. which raises them above mere tragedies of ambition. we seem to catch a . being.

cowardly villain. and gone. in which more in detail. underlying " King Lear. for instance." and show how." Consider. Macbeth and Hamlet. a sharp. nor yet is he to my mind the 1 Maeterlinck. Instead of a sleep-walker dragging his feet heavily he becomes an ordinary man startled from a dream to find the dream true. Later on in the play the places are changed. It almost seems to be a new r61e. shrill echo quickly growing fainter. 2 Hazlitt. the play of the overwhelming pressure of preternatural agency urges on the tide of human 2 The whole success passion with redoubled force. seldom moving. He is not the man some actors show him to be. fainter. the trapped. but. filling Macbeth. 269 . moving as a sleep-walker. ironical as* a seem to see him man who is echo of Macbeth's whole life. In the last act Macbeth awakes. to that merism which masters Macbeth and friends. " of its representation depends upon the power of the stage-manager to suggest this preternatural agency and on the capacity of the actor to submit to the tide of the play. when he does so.MA C BETH beauty or his God. and Lady Macbeth's sleep-walking is like the grim. is the murmur l and he will be fulof eternity on the horizon." his the poet's intention instead of turning his majestic spirits into sepulchral-voiced gentlemen with whitened faces and robes of gauze." I mysterious mes" his troop of in the first four acts of the play hypnotized.

Behind it all I seem to perceive the unseen forces already spoken of. Perhaps this is so but seems to me that behind all this there is much more than evil ambition and the idea of the hero in us. understands nothing but the facts before him. he will only. and he tells us that this sight. courageous villain as other actors play him. puzzling all the fight. and even of these understands the external meaning He sees the army in front of him. moved them.MACBETH He bold. Occasionally he relapses into his state of somnambulism. and he prepares to do so. While his wife lived he was not conscious of his state. things of this earth. he acted the part of her medium perfectly. this human passion of ambition. instekd of irresistibly detracting from the evil ambition Nietzsche. time about the meaning of his dream. writing of Macbeth. and she in her turn acted as medium to the spirits whose duty it ever is to test the strength of men by playing with their force upon the weakness of women. is as a doomed man who has been suddenly awakened on the morning of his execution. those spirits that Shakespeare was always so fond of hinting stood behind all them apparently evil. and. in the sharpness and abruptness of that awakening. sees only the ambition of the man. mad augments it. and moved to these great deeds for good or In Macbeth they are called by the old grand- 270 . rather it . and the villain.

moments that we should this felt. comparing them to certain figures in the Greek tragedy and writing of them far more profoundly than I can do. or who see him acted.o THE 'THREE WITCHES o 9 mother's title of name which the the Three Witches. I should need to bring to it an understanding different entirely from that which the student brings when he has only himself You to consider as he sits reading it in private. I know that the students am have written about these spirits. not for those who take part in the presentation of his plays. does not concern me here. But their writings are for those who read Shakespeare. that elastic public in the theatre may either laugh at or be serious about as it wishes. force of these unseen agencies how to make it clear hypnotic the overpowering and how to make actual. may feel the presence of these witches as you read the play. whether or not they gain by being acted. and yet not 271 . when you saw the play acted ? And therein lies the failure of the producer and the In Macbeth it is. I speaking entirely in relation to the of Shakespeare on the stage and not interpretation merely as his student. during the feel . But if I were asked to present this play of Macbeth upon the stage. to my mind. Whether the plays were ever intended to be acted or no. Now when I speak of this hypnotic influence of these spirits as though I were mentioning something quite new. but which of you has ever felt their presence actor.

Macbeth and his Lady. then this to the audience. We feel it as the presence of the French Abbe was felt in Shorthouse's romance of The Countess Eve. or any other such The chief difficulty lies with the two reason. though not because of the difficulty of purchasing gauze which should be sufficiently transparent. neither are we conscious of their influence. yet as we read the play On we " are not only conscious of the influence of these " . not because of the difficulty of finding machinery capable of raising the ghosts. it also rests with the actors of the witches.THE CHIEF DIFFICULTY is the problem of the stage-manager. the scenes of the stage the spirits are never seen during Lady Macbeth. and above all with the stage-manager. and to achieve this would be one of the most difficult tasks which could be set the stage-manager. with the actors of these tt/o parts. spirits performers of the roles of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. for if it is admitted that this spiritual element which Shakespeare called the Witches and Ghosts is in any way connected with the pain of these two beings. 272 . To me it seems that the play has never yet been properly performed because we have never yet felt these working through the woman at the man. to bring these two characters must show it But. while rests these spirits and their mediums into effective harmony. we are somehow conscious sightless substances of their presence.

THE CHIEF DIFFICULTY Are there not moments in the play when one its of these three spirits seems to have clapped skinny hand upon Lady Macbeth's mouth and answered And who was it. in her stead ? who drew her by the wrist as she passed into the room of the old king with the two daggers in her hand ? Who was it pushed her by the elbow as she smeared the faces of the grooms ? Again. what is this dagger that Macbeth sees in the air ? by what thread of hair does it hang ? who dangles and whose is the voice heard as he returns from the chamber of the murdered king ? it ? Macb. we forget altogether when we see the play presented upon the stage. Didst thou not hear a noise? Lady M. Did not you speak ? When? Macb. if not one of them. I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Now. I've clono the deed. As this ? I descended ? Who is that was heard to speak as he descended gaily And who are these mysterious three who dance this without making any sound around miserable pair as they talk together in the dark We know quite well as we after the dark deed ? read. and in other scenes we see the same man. Macb. Lady M. having found that the same ambitious 278 . There we see only the weak man being egged on by the ambitious woman who is assuming the manners of what is called the "Tragedy Queen".

" but rather picture them to ourselves as we picture the militant Christ scourging the moneiyHere we have lenders. enamoured of destruction. whispering to her of her superior force. the fools who denied Him.^> WHAT WE SHOULD SEE o lady does not assist him. who become sublime from their exemption from all human sympathies and contempt for all human affairs. whispering to him of his bravery. : flattering her beyond measure. not as Hazlitt imagined them. selves the idea of the supreme God. We see in this instance the God of Force as exemplified in these witches. and we should recognize the witches as spirits. more terrible because more beautiful than we can conceive except by making them terrible. half-existences. of her superior intellect. abortive. the supreme Love. calling upon some bogies and having an interview with them in a cavern. is We should realize that this hypnotism transmitted to him through the medium of his wife. hags of mischief obscene panderers to iniquity. and it is that which has to be brought into Macbeth on the stage. 274 . " unreal. . What we should see is a man in that hypnotic state which can be both terrible and beautiful to witness. because they are themas . We should see them. malicious from their impotence of enjoyment. placing these two pieces of mortality upon the anvil and crushing them because they were not hard enough to resist consuming them because they could not stand the fire offering the woman a crown for her husband.

as in the old Durer picture. here that 275 . but their meeting is like the cautious approach of two animals. But note the moment when these two come together. inexorable to spirits are the many the weak. should these spirits appear so horrible when a moment ago we were speaking of them Christ? as beings so divine as to resemble the militant and the answer seems obvious. fearful.THE MEETING See how persuasively the spirits can work upon the man or the woman when separated and alone ! to the flow of their language. they are drunk with the force of these spirits though unaware listen of their presence. It is here that are and down from. and so there is no outpouring of speech here. But now let us come to the appearance of Banquo at the feast. on the defensive. that before or felt that which I now see ? " Each becomes furtive. is whispering in the ear ? Yet \hy. yet obedient to those who obey. one wonders. this pronounced the most is words heard during the play. or. terrible leads up to. Is it not as many forms possible that the spirit may take as the body. In each other's faces they see. as it were. The whole play point. something so strange that they seem to be " Where have I seen surprised by a reminiscence. . What is it they see ? the spirit which clings round the feet or hangs upon the neck. as many forms as thought ? These souls of nature. alert.

that strangely despised thing. to see the . 276 . and the little mosquitoInstead. put-on-your-boots atmofor this is a matter of fancy.BANQUO most amazing impression for the eye. artistically. the which we ought to see. we see of all this nothing on the stage. We should see the horror of the spirit on perceiving the triumph t>f this influence. but we never see the God. We must open this play high up in an atmosphere than that in which we generally grope. for then a great truth will appear lie. the beautiful spirit. that We should be conscious of the desire of the spirit woman utterly annihilated herself rather than submit to the influence which this spirit brings upon the flesh as a test. and which is a matter-of-fact. that is to say. do not know why the witches are worrying these two people. we feel that it is rather unBut that is not the feeling which should pleasant. and pitchforks. that is to say. order to reach this moment decently. Spirit. stern being who demands of a hero at least the heroic. be created in us. a matter of sphere . intelligently. the imagination which we call the spiritual. We like beings of the pantomimes. the figures offered the in And must not walk about on the ground for the first two acts and suddenly appear on stilts in the as a great loftier third act or line. We see bogies and imps of the cauldron. Banquo's ghost as nothing. that patient.

arid if that is the beauty and unmistakably it is a great beauty it is the beauty of and not the supreme beauty. let the stage-manager return to the material and determine to shake the 277 . such as moving figures which he can shove here and there and place 1 in this or that light ? Is this material for so subtle a thing as imagination to work with ? Perhaps it is. we are left to ourselves and our own contemplation. then. but so much has also been said that nearly all is indicated. for much has been left unsaid. perhaps all depends upon the manner of the use. Lady Macbeth is perhaps the weakest of them all. and each will add that thought which Shakespeare left to be added by each. perhaps it is no worse than marble or the material used for erecting a cathedral . But look at the unwieldy material which is What can he do with rubbish tossed to him such as scenery. such as costumes. Therefore when a stage-manager happens to have imagination he must also set before the people the fruits of this imagination. Well. There is great freedom permitted disease to the reader. admitting this.o UNWIELDY MATERIAL o Shakespeare's characters are so often but weak beings. and to the imaginative brain these spirits are clearly implied and the fruits of the imagination are always welcomed by the unimaginative. Having read of these characters. who devour them as Eve must have devoured the forbidden fruit.

Yet how can we show this thing properly if we take as the main and primary point for our consideration Macbeth and his wife. then the whole of It is all ! of this so revealed as in Macbeth. for we want nothing which can be called strange and unnatural We want something we in the twentieth century. and in no modern play do we see the truth tremendously very well for some people to talk about Shakespeare living in a curiously superstitious age. Banquo and his horse. and let these things blind us to the real issues of the drama ? Unless we see these spirits before we begin our work we shall never see them later on. for the foolish appearance of a spook is not a very understandable thing. the life of the imagination. and that is this life of imagination. and we should hastily burn most of his works. Shakespeare is strange and unnatural. or choosing a theme from an age and a country which was soaked in superstition. is the idea of a spirit. these plays are not clear to understand. Good heavens is the idea of a ghost. can clearly understand. 278 For who . that is the real is in art. so strange ? Why. and. as represented upon the stage. For there is only one real life in art.IS THE SPIRITUAL SO STRANGE!! . that dust out of it until he wakens it to real life to say. The imaginative. though the reality of the me to be a which all ordinary intelligences should be thing presence of spirits around us seems to reminded of. and the thrones and the tables.

I would extract some spirit. And on the faces of the actors. by line. for the beholder would then come up against something thick and impenetrable and have to return to that swinging rhythm which flows not only in the words of Shakespeare but in his very breath. But to speak more practically in conclusion. by movement. I to teach a young man who would venture to achieve this I would act as follows I would take him through each portion of the play. the spirit which is there. in the sweet aroma which lingers round his plays. or sound. might wish them to be shown must invest every particle of them with a sense of the spiritual . by the light. and on the scene. by colour.A PRACTICAL WORD OR TWO spirit can see a by looking for it behind an act these plays drop ? No. I would repeatedly and repeatedly bring upon the stage some reminder of the presence of these spirits. each thought. so that on the arrival of Banquo's giggle. ghost at the feast we should not commence to but should find it just and terrible. perhaps. that is material. and from Had : eSch act. on their costumes. action. should be so keenly expectant. and to do so he must entirely avoid that which rather. the man who would show as Shakespeare. voice and every means at our disposal. merely rational. each scene. or which exposes only its material shell. . so attuned to the moment of its coming that we should be conscious of its presence even before we saw 279 it there.

from the scenes. 280 . until nothing lay upon the stage but the body of Macbeth. a handful of ashes left after the passage of a devouring this fire.'' 1910. the natural conclusion. means the scorn which the appearance By of a spirit arouses in us would be averted. and from that point until the end of the play I would remove spirit by spirit from the faces. philosophy. a spirit-world would once more become a possibility. from the dresses. Horatio.IN It CONCLUSION would be the natural climax. and before the public was aware of it. earth. our minds would again open to receive the revelation of the unseen and we should feel the truth of Hamlet's " There are more things in heaven and words. than are dreamed of in your .

.PLATE 4 7 'Electra ". Drawing.


" this forces him to circumscribe Goethe comes to conclusion. p." as they are called. and therefore have occasion for passing in review the " many different editions. It seems many hold this opinion.SHAKESPEAKE'S PLAYS a little book. 1 I ventured to agree with those who hold the opinion that Shakespeare's plays were written for the Reader and not for the Stage. I still remain of the same opinion that Shakespeare's plays are not for representation." " Shakespeare's whole method of proceeding is one which encounters a certain amount of imof poetry . not at the beginning of his life but at the end of it. 137. and must be. more especially because I am myself now working on several Shakespearean representations. which I published in 1905. after his experience in the theatre has shown him that literature and the stage are. independent one of the other. U 281 . practicability " upon the actual stage." The very contract edness of the stage himself. Yet it was a satisfaction to IN me " to come later across the following and other sentences in Goethe's writings Shakespeare belongs by rights to the history in the history of the Theatre he only appears casually. of 1 Reprinted here.

they say. these words. the actor-manager is not going to improve matters by cutting out large portions of the text. me. that managers should " be permitted to say what does or does not help " of Shakespeare. removed because the managers hold that they are indelicate or they hold that the audience would Cut the passage between consider them indelicate. theatrical art cut passages : and then to mutilate a manager wishes to cut it.HAMLET Shakespeare. who says that " it does not help the play." Now this is a most extraordinary state of affairs. and it is this that the people who hold that Shakespeare was a master of : away from these plays lines. were written for the stage. In Hamlet it is usual for that long passage com" Now all occasions do inform against mencing. Drama is if ever an art was for the people." to be removed by the manager. and Shakespeare has not made himself clear to the people of all time. especially the stage editions. whole scenes sages and scenes which. saying it will be better understood by the public if he does so. and I am struck by one fact. after Shakespeare has the plays Other passages in the play are himself decided. peculiar. scene ii. when he Ophelia 282 . pasnay. it is permissible provided he does not at the same time say that Shakespeare thing is To say a is perfect If most for the people if was a perfect master of dramatic art. a play. and Hamlet in Act III.



lying at her feet, and you rob the character of of very much of its force. Ophelia, instead of being a woman of intelligence, becomes an
early Victorian debutante; being a man of his time

and Hamlet, instead of and suggesting a period which was more than a period of manners, becomes
a kind of preaching curate. Of course the Censor would object to this and other passages in Shakespeare, and he would be
perfectly right, for the plays were not written for the stage; they were written to be read. If you

wish to act them act them in their entirety or do not act them at all. 1 It is as ridiculous to say that the omission of a small passage is not going to harm such a work as to say that the omission of so small a portion of the body as the eye does not injure
the whole.

This liberty with great plays is no sign of civilizaAnother tion; it is barbarous in the extreme.

argument advanced for acting in this way is that the performance must not last longer than a certain time. Time has nothing to do with a performance.
If it is


good we do not mind how long it takes if bad it must be cut short, and therefore to

of the

advocate a short time is to imply a fear on the part manager that the play is going to be badly

very glad to find that I can endorse Tieck's himself to be a zealous upholder of the unity, indivisibility, and unassailableness of Shakespeare's plays, and insists on their being performed in their entirety and without revision or modification of any kind." GOETHE.



when he shows



Can one have too much
it is



of a

Then, too,

quite possible to perform

a play of Shakespeare in its entirety in an evening provided the appliance for shifting the scenery is not so absurdly elaborate that it takes twenty minutes to change each act, and provided that the actors do not pause too long over each syllable, but exercise their brains to think a trifler faster. It is this slow delivery of Shakespeare's lines which

made Shakespeare a bore

to so




in the plays of Shakespeare we have passionate scenes of an amazing description, more passionate

than in the Italian plays, and yet we drawl them and crawl them and are surprised when a Grasso comes to England and shows us how we should speak, act and reveal the suddenness and madness of passion. We seem to forget this fact,
that passion is a kind of madness. to a logical attitude and we deliver


bring it with the

voice of the judge or the mathematician. It seems to have something to do with the totting up of
it is a shopman, not Othello, Desdemona. The emotional throttling actors in England ought not to be content with themselves for not waking up and sweeping all these too deliberate and stodgy actors off the stage and



thus with us


out of the theatres. Would the plays of Shakespeare be then interpreted as they should be ? No, not even then. Not if the finest and most passionate actors in


the world were to come together and attempt to perform Hamlet could the right representation of

Hamlet be

given, for I fear to represent


an impossibility.

Note. Yet since this was written, and since this book was first published in 1911, I have myself attempted to produce Hamlet at Moscow. the Hamlet of Shakespeare Knowing it was imThere are many reasons : I possible, why did I attempt it ? wanted to strengthen my belief / wanted people to realize the and 1 wanted to truth. Also, I wanted to "face the music" exercise my faculties as stage director (for I had not produced a play for many years). Added to this, 1 wanted to do what my

friends wanted

as they do in music. If you ask me whether the Moscow Art Theatre did well, I reply, Very, very well but that it abided faithfully to principles, the principles which govern our Art, is not
tr$ case.

me to do. 1 more thoroughly convinced than Yes. satisfied ? that they are a ever that the plays of Shakespeare are unactable bore when acted but also that the crowd loves nothing so well as a good confusion of principles in a theatre as they do in architecture,

Was I




been true




zvould have closed



three years ago,

when 1

told its directors that this


Still right course open to it. Europe it reigns in Hell.


the first

the only theatre in



ask me if I consider Realism in acting to be a frank representation of human nature. Yes. Realism is exactly this : a frank representation of



The modern


and painters

by what they write of and paint, and the way in which they write and paint it. by And because the realists attempt to represent Nature so frankly (which frankness they call truth
attest to this

and which generally borders upon brutality), and because this frankness is no fruit, no blossom, but merely the roots of a new growth, so I believe that the actor will never ask for the same liberty as the writers and painters of to-day, that he may give
these brutalities their
counterfeit presentment with all accuracy of detail at command. I can call to mind no actor so lacking in intelli,



gence as to desire to present with all its actuality the moment of death as expressed by the modern realist in literature and painting, or the moments of love as expressed by these same frank and most,

most blind leaders. The realists may claim that they are not concerned so much with the subjects they treat of as with the manner in which they treat these subjects, If so, then, is it a most extraordinary fact that the realists only concern themselves with what is ugly or brutal, and always with what the idealists have
given so

much thought

to veil?


The question you forgot to put me is whether the public would allow the actor to express the same feelings and the same incidents as both idealistic
realistic writers

have somehow or other won

the right to express. What is the difference between the picture and the word, and the living, breathing actuality ?

Why, even the public that sits in the pit of a theatre feels the difference and would refuse to
the actor reveal what it allows Milton and Rabelais to reveal. Then how can there be a shadow of doubt that the actor not only should not be permitted the same liberty as the writer or

painter, but actually is not permitted that licence ? Realism is a vulgar means of expression bestowed

upon the


Thus we have the

Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty that know on earth, and all ye need to know." fcs all ye The blind are heard croaking: " Beauty is Realism, Realism Beauty that is all I know on earth, and



I care to


don't cher

know "



is all

a matter of


He who

he is a the incomplete god transforming by knowledge into the complete. He can heal the lame and the sick, can blow courage into the weary, and he can even learn how to make the blind see. The
loves the earth sees beauty everywhere

power has always been possessed by the artist, who, in my opinion, rules the earth. It is quite likely that Realism may appeal at one 287

period to the public and not at another period. The public is not concerned with the quest of knowledge; no, not even with the wisdoms of wisdom, that simple everyday atom of truth which waits,

unseen, everlastingly everywhere. The public is concerned with the quest of money and, with money, that fat and brutal power to revenge which it can bring that power to give like a lady a handshake when a kiss is too little; that " po'r power to give like a lord ten pounds to a beggah," and that power to give a little charity when only love is enough. And so long as the public is made up of this class of monstrous meanness,

instead of

which gives half or three-quarters so long will it love its Realism, which the short measure or meanness of the artist.
of that

Anyhow, there

playgoers anxiety; there

feel depressed not a whit for Lhe limited section of playgoers who love beauty and detest Realism is a small minority of about six million souls. They are scattered here and there over the earth. They

nothing which need cause is no need for them t& furious, if you like, but depressed ?



if ever, go to the modern theatre. That I love them, and intend to unite them.




seems to

ITalways longed


to be

that the Theatre has nearly " natural," that the playscene-painters,

always struggled to free

have nearly themselves from being

in the eighteenth century, gloried in a sumptuous artificialthings ity gorgeous in silver gilt, there appears a master


when most

who attempts




things "natural" again;

and yet Moliere's plays seem to us to-day anything but natural, and their ancient manner of representation strikes us as very

one but for many centuries men have crowned their chosen playwright for that he was " " than his fellows, yet the plays more natural " " natural of^Shakespeare no longer strike us as even Robertson with his Caste and Ours, which were looked upon as very natural a few years ago,




manner of representation quite like life, to-day seem antiquated, somewhat artificial. There are some who go so far as to say that the earlier plays of Sir Arthur Pinero and the later plays by Mr. Shaw have grown artificial.

hundred years ago ClarkScene-painting, too. in England was painting scenery son Stanfield " " which amazed the critics by its natural appearance,


and that, too, after they had known the work de Loutherbourg; and soon Stanfield was looked 289



on as unnatural, for Telbin the Elder gave them what they asserted was very Nature itself and yet hardly have they said so before they eat their words, turn their backs on Telbin, and find true Nature in Hawes Craven, only to put him away a little later " at last paints Nature for us." for Harker, who Nor is it any better with the acting. The Kembles and their grand artificiality had to make room for Edmund Kean, who in thirty years from then was looked on as anything but natural, for " was not Macready more natural " ? And in a few years' time all of these actors seemed to us stilted and artificial when Henry Irving appeared. And

now we

talk of Irving's artificiality

by the

side of

"It is Nature itself," Antoine's natural acting. the critics, and soon Antoine's natural acting cry


become mere


by the

side of the acting

of Stanislawsky.


What, then, are all these manifestations of this " Nature ? I find them one and all to be merely examples of

the artificiality of naturalism. artificiality Dramatists, actors, scenic artists are under a do you remember the story of the Sleeping spell Beauty ? and the spell must be broken before they can awake. To break it will be at once most hard and most easy most hard to those who were

a new

born to sleep, most easy for one born to awaken; but most assuredly until this spell be broken, utterly and entirely destroyed, all the plays, acting and 290

such as the arts or philosophy. my purpose here is to put a question to you." .) lies in the pretty " and of us love the fun of the . not to answer one. But where the question takes us outside that . the home which theatrical. ization. My Do you feel place in question is this that the Open-air Theatre is the right which to present the people with that We most sham." and that the answers must be made in the same spirit. and when we enter into discussion of those things which emanate from the spirit.first actor of the realm to the last callboy of the provinces. radius. we love. It might be borne in mind that I have put my question to you without any thought of what is " called its practicality. 1 Here we have to acknowledge that a certain charm (the very essence and reflection of that Romance which comes to us or swaggering artifice of the . we might do well to consider them in as ideal a manner as they deserve we can later on return to earth and attempt their symbol. powder and rouge but all of us in the Theatre.& theatrical. admire the playfulness oi' tinsel. and when we discuss economic or hygienic questions it is as well to be as practical as possible. There is always a very natural desire in man (born of a sound caution) to keep things on a practical basis. in Books . 1 A'CTORS Europe must and will & remain scenes on the stage of I do not think the time has arrived when I can give you a hint of how to break this spell which lies over the European Theatre besides. 291 . from the. are longing with iill our hearts for the whole spirit of Nature to take possession of this.

the seconc with artificial conditions.THE QUEST ION call the Art of the Theatre. which we 292 . feel 1909. or do yoi that a roofed-in theatre is better ? The firs supplies us with natural conditions.

MOREOVER. ARE ACCOUNTED THE NOBLEST WHICH CAN THE BEST RECOGNIZE SYMBOLICAL WORTH." CARLYLE. and cannot be really quite proper. called theatrical if by theatrical it is we mean something flashy. CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY. but it is difficult to discover why. systematic use of symbols * WEBSTER. it is sane. It universally employed. For not only 1 is Symbolism at the roots .* " IT SYMBOLISM : a IS IN AND THROUGH SYMBOLS THAT MAN. Symbolism is it delicacy itself. explain how it is that they make use of symbols to tell us this. AND PRIZE IT HIGHEST. 1 is SYMBOLISM orderly. LIVES. a symbol a 293 . ploughman or sailor as in high places." But they cannot is the excuse they put forward. " Symbolism : A visible sign of an idea. 1 of all . is We so incomprehensible. yet it is the very essence of the Theatre if we are to include its art among the fine arts. WORKS AND HAS HIS BEING THOSE AGES. nothing to be afraid of it is is understood as easily by the Some by kings and other men there are who are afraid of symbolism. nor how it is that all their lives they have made use of this same thing which they find ism is because there " harmful about it. and these persons sometimes grow very indignant and insinuate that the reason why they dislike symbol- something unhealthy and live in a realistic age.

and is symbolic in its All forms of salutation and leave-taking essence. are full of symbolism Chinese. All the coins of the world are symbols. Music only became intelligible through the employment of symbols. who should quarrel with 294 . artists since the time of Constantine have understood and valued the symbol.SYMBOLS art. Greek. The numerals are symbols. it is only by means for us. I think there is no one Symbolism nor fear it. . and chemistry and mathematics employ them. The works of poets and painters. of architects and of symbols that becomes possible sculptors. Roman. it is at the roots of life all life. and business men rely upon them. Egyptian. 1910. employ The letters of the alphabet are symbols. used daily by sociable races. The crown and the sceptre of the kings and the tiara of the popes are symbols. and the to the dead is to last act erecfc a symbol over them. and the modern are symbolic of affection rendered and employ symbols. we them all the time.

do not care whether the pearls are appreciatec because they are so rare and so costly all th< better that they are so or because they look sc Either reason is good enough. ourselves. This has at acknowledged certainly by the majority. coars* wooden boards. I would like more precious materials t< be employed: Poetry. Thus we see that to b< nefir the precious and the exquisite is to beconu more It exquisite. is neither exquisit< nor precious. the things are sure to be handled tenderly and the wearer will probably hold her head mor< charmingly than before. canvas. is more a pity that the Theatre precious. for th< lovely. more exquisite expression o more precious emotions and ideas. The majority of people known to us appreciate pearls. result is the same. papier mache an< powder. or even that far mor precious Silence ebony and ivory silver an< gold the precious woods of rare trees exquisit 295 .THE EXQPU. such as prose. therefore the majority may be said to appreciate that which is both exquisite and I precious.ISITE AND a THE PKECIOUS SWINEbecome a well-known fact. last cannot appreciate pearls. I want. paint. in place of violent expression of violen emotions and ideas. In place of vulgar materials. Wonder and excitement ar< aroused.

still worthy of judgment pronounced upon its essentials. honour the honour of believing that it is still rouse us open to noble criticism. So then. . and not alone upon its non-essential details. gentlemen. so that with your assistance once again the flower and fruit of it may be found to be both exquisite and precious. And thanking you for past criticisms. it prefers silk and ivory any day to wood and canvas. I ask you to consider the imitation Lily of the Theatre and to compare it with that more precious species.MATERIAL OF silks T *l E THEATRE and unusually dyed marble and alabaster fine brains. A critic who denies : The public coal this is a duffer. * If a criticize fig-tree should bear thistles would you the prickly result ? Would you waste your time protesting against the quality of the and write it down an indifferent specimen and ask for better ? thistle Then why do you our noble art I pray ? criticize the false product of of the art of the you to study the Nature Theatre. If you do so even with tolerance you will all to a state bordering upon exquisite but you will confer upon the Theatre an rage. with her of the field. I ask you to criticize justly the present material of the modern theatre. it will not value a lump of is no fool above a diamond.

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