Amazing articles on just about every subject...


The Director And The Play

( Originally Published 1938 )



The Dramatist

The dramatist was not the first of the theater workers to appear; that honor belongs to the actor who preceded him by centuries. He is not always the most important of the contributors to the play, for a poor play—through the efforts of director, actors, and stage artists—may be adapted into an acted play which provides the audience with a satisfactory experience. At most, the dramatist is only one contributor among several or many. The part he plays is similar to that of the architect who designs the building. In his written text are to be found the plans, the blue prints; the acted play corresponds to the actual building. And it is as unfair for the inexperienced director to judge a stage presentation on what he reads in the text (unless he reads into the text the full stage play) as it is for the untrained man to judge the finished building by the architect's drawings.

Yet, when he does his work well, the dramatist demands our highest admiration. The writing of a good play depends upon a dramatist who has a worth-while idea which, through his knowledge and handling of technique, he can evolve into a story expressed in dialogue and objective action; it depends upon a fertile imagination and a most practical use of the tools of writing; upon a knowledge of the psychology of the emotions and audience behavior; and it depends upon an infinite amount of patience.

As living has grown more complex, the presentation of human behavior in dramatic form has also grown more complex. The percentage of written plays that warrant production and are worth the attention of an audience is miserably small. Yet, despite the difficulties to be surmounted and the years of apprenticeship to be served, many of the world's greatest writers have accepted the challenge to master the dramatic form. That thousands upon thou-sands try to write plays is a commentary upon the persistency in man; that a few succeed is one more evidence of man's genius.

Nothing the director or actor will be asked to do in the course of the production will require the patience, the close study of the book of life, or the talent required of the dramatist. It is only just that the director, as he picks up the writ-ten play, shall do so with a sense of respect for its creator, shall appreciate that the writer knows more about the play than he, perhaps, ever can know, and that he shall study the play carefully for a thorough understanding of the purpose and plan of the author. To assume that his insight and intelligence can improve the play by a hasty revision or cutting is both unworthy and unwise.

Types of Plays

Definitions are often inexact or indefinite, or they admit of too many exceptions. Especially at the present time, when new forms are taking the place of old, are definitions questionable. Yet, since we wish to make use of a number of terms, we must have a common understanding of what those terms mean. The definitions which follow will endeavor to do no more than give comprehensive meanings to certain terms which we will employ hereafter.

By the written play we mean an action or story of a clash between human wills, or between a will and circumstance, set down according to a certain plan or order for the purpose, when acted, of giving an audience an emotional experience.

By the acted play (to repeat the definition of Clayton Hamilton) we mean the representation, by actors, on a stage, before an audience, of this clash of wills which is motivated by emotion rather than intellect and which is expressed in terms of objective action.

The word clash is important; without clash there is no drama. In the definitions, nothing is prescribed for the clash except that it shall be motivated by emotion and ex-pressed in action. The clash may be of a serious nature, arousing deep emotions, or of a light, inconsequential nature, arousing laughter. Whether the clash is serious or comic depends upon the way the dramatist sees and feels it and upon the way, through the emphasis he gives it in his writing, he wishes others to see it.

The clash may be between realistic human beings in a real world, or it may just as easily depart from actual representation and reveal the human wills in a world unlike the real, accepted world.

Lastly, within the clash itself are several factors: the action of the clash, the characters participating, and the idea involved. Here, too, the emphasis may be on one or another of these factors, according to the viewpoint adopted by the author.

Since the clash may be either serious or light, plays may be divided into two groups: the serious and the comic. But subdivision soon becomes necessary. As we contemplate the group in which the clash is serious and a deep emotion is aroused, we find one play in which the clash leads to the thwarting and, perhaps, to the death of the principal character; we find another play, again serious, in which the protagonist wins success after a bitter struggle; and we find still a third play in which there is a serious clash, impending disaster, and what we may think is deep emotion, the whole accompanied by thrills and excitement, and the action generally ending in a final triumph for the hero.

This subdivision of the serious yields us three types of plays. To the first, which represents the clash as motivated honestly, which proceeds logically from one situation to the next, and which ends in inevitable catastrophe, we give the name of tragedy. In it, man meets overpowering forces in nature or in his fellow men; in it, the emotions aroused are usually those of terror or pity. Such a play is Andreyev's He Who Gets Slapped, or Synge's Riders to the Sea, or Sophocles' OEdipus Rex, or Shakespeare's Macbeth.

To the second play, which again proceeds honestly and rationally, which awakens the emotions of fear, pity, perhaps of terror, but in which man, by great effort, overcomes the opposing forces of life or nature, we give no definite name; the best we can do is to call this play a drama or a serious play. It is a tragic play with a fairly happy ending. Examples of this play are found in Vane's Outward Bound and Howard's The Silver Cord.

In the third play we have a sequence of events treated seriously but without much attention to logic and motivation, the story ending or not ending in catastrophe. For three quarters of the way it is false tragedy, while in its climax and conclusion it often becomes a comedy. Through speed and excitement, horror and mystery, sensation in place of true emotion, it shocks and startles the onlooker rather than moves him. The name ascribed to this play is melodrama. It is represented by such plays as East Lynne, Archer's The Green Goddess, Belasco's The Girl of the Golden West, and Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus.

Among the lighter plays a similar subdivision becomes necessary. We go to one humorous play and find that the people appear real and reasonable and are placed in real and reasonable situations, yet the clash is emphasized for its comic values, and we laugh at (or with) the characters. In another play we find emphasis still on the comic, but now the characters have been caricatured beyond the point of reality or have been placed in situations which would not reasonably exist among sane people.

The first play belongs to the type which we commonly designate as comedy. In comedy, while the clash is emphasized for its comic values, the same logic and motivation are found which are to be found in tragedy. We can be sure of this play by asking ourselves if the people and their actions stand the test of reality. Examples of comedy are Behr-man's The Second Man, Jones' Mary Goes First, Shaw's Candida, and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

The second type of comic play we call farce. In farce there is an exaggeration beyond the bounds of reality. We have improbable people doing probable things, or probable people doing improbable things, or even improbable people doing improbable things. The test of reality fails in farce. This type of play occupies a relation to comedy much like the relation of melodrama to tragedy. Abie's Irish Rose, Charlie's Aunt, Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, and Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona are examples of farce.

These different types do not always appear in their pure forms. A play may be mostly tragedy with a melodramatic scene here and there; or part comedy and part farce; or a combination of farce and melodrama. The director has to be aware of the type with which he is working, in a particular scene, in order to know what attack and emphasis to give the scene.

A second discovery we make in our examination of the dramatic clash is that the action may be faithful to behavior in real life, or it may depart from the actual. That is, in one instance the stage action gives a complete illusion of what takes place in actual life; everything appears as "in nature"; the characters, as they go about their business of dramatic living, have for us a feeling of familiarity; and the whole play seems "untheatrical" in the sense that most of the plays of the Victorian period (Camille, for instance) are theatrical. We find such imitation of life and illusion of reality in Ibsen's A Doll's House, Hauptmann's The Weavers, Galsworthy's Strife, and Rice's Street Scene; and we call these plays realistic.

In another instance, the action and characters, while having some plausibility, may depart from actual behavior. There may be an extension of the good qualities of some character until the character is idealized far beyond the actual, or a heightening of the bad qualities until the character is a thorough-going, absolute villain without one redeeming virtue. Or, the story may be more exciting, more adventurous than the stories generally found in real life. Or, the play may take liberties with the laws of life and mold a story a little nearer to the heart's desire. A play containing such characteristics is known as a romantic play and is represented by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Ibsen's Peer Gynt, and Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac.

Here, too, the differentiation into the two types is de-pendent upon the attitude of the dramatist; upon how he looks at life and what he wants to do about it. The realist is, first of all, the observer-journalist, the romanticist is the sentimental poet; the realist beholds life and wants to be a reporter, doctor, lecturer, or social reformer in respect to it, while the romanticist wants to mold life, through the power of his imagination, into a world where dreams come true and wants to share his pleasant creation with the audience; the realist would claim to be a searcher after truth—his truth being the revelation and, perhaps, the interpretation of actual human behavior; and the romanticist, too, might lay claim to the same goal, though he would tell us that his truth is a truth to the life of the human spirit.

There are kinds and degrees of realism and romanticism, just as there are kinds and degrees of tragedy and comedy. Realism ranges from the play in which there is fine selection, editing, and emphasis in the representation of the actual, to one in which there is no more editing and elimination of inconsequential detail than in an untouched photograph. And the romantic ranges from an exaggeration in a vertical line (and the creation of characters towering far above the ordinary mortal state) to a lateral exaggeration, a creation of figures and events so far to the side of ordinary life that we are upon the borderland of dreams, as in such plays as Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird, to which we have given the name of fantasy.

Our final observation about the dramatic clash was that within it are several factors: action, characters, and idea. We may come upon two men fighting in the street. As we watch them, we may have no interest except in the fight it-self: in the blows exchanged, the falls and the dodgings about, the seizure of a club by one of the combatants and the hasty retreat of the second; or, knowing the two men, our interest may be in one or both of them, in who will win, and in how their disgraceful behavior is going to affect their standing in the community; or, it may be that a bystander has told us that the fight was brought on by an argument over a dog, or over religion, or over something else, and, as we watch the fight, our minds are occupied with such a thought as: "How absurd that two grown men should be fighting over a little dog"; or "How ironical to see two men defending Christianity by this most un-Christian behavior."

As we happen upon the fight, so the dramatist may be said to happen upon some dramatic material. As he thinks over his material, one factor generally becomes predominant in his mind. Perhaps it is the action itself, the story with its exciting and dramatic situations: the consequences of a door being locked and the embarrassing circumstance of Sophie Fulganey in the room of Lord Quex (in Pinero's The Gay Lord Quex). The dramatist sets out to write a play in which the situations are to be of primary importance. If he sticks to his purpose and subordinates character and idea to the situation throughout, he will write a play of situation. And the completed play will be (again, according to whether the emphasis is upon the comic or the serious) either a farce or a melodrama.

Then, too, the dramatist's interest may become centered, not upon things happening, but upon the people involved in the happening. Now, a different emphasis dictates another kind of play. Characters are not brought in just to move forward the action, but action is selected and devised to reveal or develop character. When one or several human beings are the factor which inspires the dramatist and directs his creation, he writes a character play—a play in which one or several characters will be the center of interest and in which the experience of the audience will be the experience of living with the characters. Most of Chekov's plays are character studies.

Or again, the idea involved may capture and hold the dramatist's interest. Perhaps he begins with the idea; perhaps it emerges as he studies his material. At any rate, it is the idea which obsesses him. He finds some idea—Should a criminal be allowed to reestablish himself in society? Can an accepted wrong ever be right? Are reality and actuality the same thing ?—and he desires to express this idea in dramatic form. Perhaps he has arrived at the answer to the question his idea has brought up; perhaps he has not; it does not matter so far as the play is concerned. Now, every-thing is employed for the exposition of the idea. The dramatist chooses situations and characters that will reveal and objectify it, and he writes a play in which the center of interest is the idea involved. One of the greatest exponents of the play of idea, in our times, was the Italian, Luigi Pirandello.

These, then, are some usable classifications of the play. One classification gives us tragedy, melodrama, comedy, and farce; a second yields us the realistic and the romantic play; a third shows us a division into plays of situation, character, and idea. These classifications mean more to the director than convenient names for the designation of the different kinds of plays. Each is of use when making a selection of a play for production, and each has its directional advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing a Type of Play for Production

In choosing one of these types for production, the director ought to consider his audience. The audience, as we have said, suggests the theme of the written play, and its treatment. A play that in theme or treatment is contrary to a strong belief of the audience often arouses antagonism. If the audience believes deeply in orthodox religion, it will resent Brieux' False Gods and might be outraged by Hurlbut's Bride of the Lamb, for, at such a play, this audience would not receive the theater experience it desires; and a director who produces a play of this sort, for this audience, defeats the basic purpose of the acted play and pleases only himself which, he will find, brings him cold comfort.

If the audience is not wide-awake mentally, it will not care for a play that makes it think. An intellectual satiric-comedy, such as Shaw's Pygmalion or Androcles and the Lion, would be unsuited to it. Such an audience would miss the playwright's outlook and would not comprehend the play; therefore, the play would be disliked, for an audience defends its ignorance through antipathy.

A play not in the fashion in theme, emphasis, even technique, while not arousing antagonism, will generally meet with a lukewarm reception. Many plays are little more than "news stories" for their own day of production. Producing these now would be similar to giving the audience a news-paper of the period and asking it to become enthusiastic over it. The audience may have a slight archaeological interest in such a play and find some amusement in it, but that is about all. Such a first-rate play as The Great Divide, a hit in 1910, would be laughed at by most audiences of today.

Note, we have never said that the director play down to an audience. He may have to choose a simple play, but never a cheap one; one with a theme that is accepted, but not a weak or ridiculous one. An audience will respond to any beauty of interpretation or setting the director may give the play; it is fairly catholic in its response to honest emotion; and, within reason, it will accept that which is novel and different. An audience, despite what we have said about it, often surprises a director in its response to the worthy and the authentically dramatic. It is capable of rising above itself. A knowledge of the personality of the audience is the director's guide in what he shall choose.

The director must also consider his actors. He must have the necessary acting talent for the play, otherwise how can he hope for an adequate interpretation? He may desire to produce a play in which the leading character is a lovable old eccentric of sixty-five; he may argue soundly that this is just the sort of play an audience will like; but if the interpretation of the play is dependent upon the clever, convincing portrayal of the old eccentric, and, if he has no actor capable of portraying him, he should, by all means, give up the idea of presenting the play. This is a very obvious admonition, but how often do directors, either because they are ignorant of the necessity for capable actors or because their love for the play blinds them to inadequate interpretation, make this unfortunate mistake!

And in choosing a play, the director should not leave himself out of the consideration. Of course, he should remember that he is giving the play to please his audience, not him-self; but there are two personal questions which do concern him. The first is has he enough sympathy for the play to enable him to work on it with honest enthusiasm? For example, if he has no sympathy for fantasy, he should not choose to direct Dear Brutus; if he takes no delight in farce, he should not select The Importance of Being Earnest.

We then come to the second question: Is he capable of directing the play? Most beginning directors would not attempt to direct Cyrano de Bergerac, because they feel their incapacity to build an adequately acted play from Rostand's remarkable text; but is the director any more capable of directing a sophisticated comedy by Noel Coward or a comedy of Irish life such as Synge's The Playboy of the Western World? Perhaps he is; more likely he is not. Unquestionably he has the background, training, and capacity for directing certain kinds of plays; it is unreasonable to sup-pose he possesses the capacity for directing all kinds. He ought to check his capacity when he is selecting his play.

Now let us return to the classification of plays we have made and apply this question of selection. We should remember that these forms are sometimes found together in the same play, and, also, that there are exceptions to most dogmatic statements. With these warnings, we take the hypothetical case of an inexperienced director who wants to give his audience the theater experience it desires, as he is about to consider a number of plays for possible production.

He first considers a tragedy. Now, whether he willingly admits it or not, the average American doesn't like to , see a tragedy. This may be due to something inherent in the American's nature, or it may be accounted for in his traditional habit of looking upon the theater as a place of light entertainment. A director cannot risk the presentation of a tragedy very often, and he always runs the chance of a smaller audience when he does.

Were it not for the attitude of the audience, a tragedy would often be a good choice. It generally contains good acting parts, is well motivated, and has strong dramatic scenes. Amateur actors do very well in tragedy, and most of them like it because they think they are really acting when they feel a deep emotion and use vigorous language! And a director finds real satisfaction in directing a tragedy, in building up scenes which have the power to move people deeply. But the rub, as we have said, is that the audience does not wish to be moved and torn as the director and actor wish to tear it.

The director looks at a melodrama. Now, as far as his audience is concerned, he is on safer ground. A melodrama thrills but does not move deeply; shocks and startles but does not disturb our thinking. It is, in fact, a pretense, a game in deception, an entertainment; and the American will go to an entertainment, even if it does make his eyes glisten, his nerves tingle, and his heart skip a beat now and then. Most Americans will admit that they like a good melodrama.

But when the director starts looking for actors to play the melodrama, he begins to encounter difficulties. Actors like to play in melodrama; they think they can act melodrama: but in the majority of cases, their acting is stagey and un-convincing. More technique and experience are required, since the characters are not so well drawn and the action is without sufficient motivation. The director finds it a task to get his actors to supply in their acting what the dramatist has omitted in his writing. The presentation may come off pretty well, but the sensitive director will rarely be satisfied with his actors.

In devising stage business, the job of the director is easy. He need not be so rational and painstaking as with tragedy; he can skirt the borderland of plausibility and use almost anything that will give an audience a thrill. Directing a melodrama does not usually require great ingenuity or imagination.

Next, he turns to comedy. The director soon discovers that comedy embraces many forms and that many different things are expected of it. He has two comedies before him. One seems to provoke to laughter by physical incongruities and behavior, and he laughs before he thinks about it, while the other amuses him, causes him to smile, but the means employed appear to be more mental than emotional; one seems simple, unrestrained; the other seems to possess, in its comic effect, some significance; one, to quote the oft-quoted Essay on Comedy of George Meredith, evokes "idle laughter"; the other awakens "thoughtful laughter." These two kinds of comedy are called low comedy and high comedy.

This distinction between the two types may appear clear through a quotation from Baker's The Development of Shakespeare as a Dramatist. The author states:

.. if one can appreciate only low comedy, one will enjoy in Twelfth Night, in the story of Malvolio, only the practical joke played upon him at the instigation of Maria; but if one has also the spirit of high comedy, one will get a keener and more delicate pleasure as one's thought recognizes steadily the delightful contrast between what Malvolio thinks himself and what he is; what he thinks the effect he is producing, and the effect he really produces on Olivia. . . . High comedy in contrast to low comedy rests then fundamentally on thoughtful appreciation contrasted with unthinking, spontaneous laughter.

The director, contemplating the presentation of a low comedy, may be assured that the less intelligent portion of his audience, which may well constitute the majority, will appreciate thoroughly this sort of play, and that even the intellectual minority will enjoy itself; he will find that his amateur actors can act in low comedy more easily and satisfactorily than in any other kind of play; and he will soon learn that a low comedy taxes neither his ingenuity nor his imagination in the matter of direction.

High comedy, which demands a certain mental effort on the part of the audience, is another story. Now it is the minority of the audience who will endorse it enthusiastically, while the majority is likely to accept it, but find only a modicum of amusement in it. For its playing, it demands good acting: acting in character and the fine shading of lines. For its direction, it requires sensitiveness, imagination, patience. A high comedy, clearly and intelligently presented, is a feather in the cap of any amateur group.

Now the director arrives at a consideration of a farce. He reasons, accurately enough, that Americans like to laugh in the theater; but he must also be aware that they may tire of laughing. If the audience has not been served too many farces, the choice of this type of play may be a good one. But farce acting is not so easy as it may seem. Farce acting requires a special aptitude, somewhat akin to clowning; farce should be played at high speed, and the majority of amateurs will not, or cannot, pace their acting fast enough. The farce actor has to be ridiculous but funny; he has to engage in exaggerated action and not be silly; he often has to fall back on his own personality, for the characterizations are thin and simple. Many amateurs trying to play farce succeed in being either silly or dull. The director, too, must have a sympathy for farce, an aptitude, an imagination which can create extravagant stage business and broad, swift effects; he must be able to work in a field which is beyond the bounds of reality.

Farce is deceptive; it appears simple and easy, and an audience accepts it without effort; but a farce acted by actors who cannot enter into the spirit of comic exaggeration and directed by a person who has no flair for farce is among the dullest and saddest of exhibitions.

The director next turns his attention to realism and romanticism, and, more than likely, he concludes that romanticism as a type of play for the audience of today is hardly worth consideration. He might point to the great number of realistic plays on our stage and then begin to contrast the many merits of these plays with faults of the so-called romantic plays of the last century. But he should draw a distinction between the sentimental, shallow, high-sounding pseudo-romantic plays of the Victorian period—which form his conception of the romantic—and the true romantic plays, such as King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Maeterlinck's Joyzelle and Pelléas and Melisande, D'Annunzio's Francesca da Rimini, Strindberg's Snow White, Sudermann's Children of the Strand, and Connelly's The Green Pastures; and he should compare the merits of the realistic plays to the merits of these.

True, realism has the stronger hold upon audiences at present, for realism expresses the will and temper of a scientific age. But a play which is idealistic and hopeful, which portrays life as exciting and admirable, may still find an audience. The mood for romance is not dead. Roman-tic plays, which are as soundly and logically built as the realistic plays, still succeed as every theatrical season proves.

Our director may ponder a moment and then ask: "Why, if romantic plays can be successful, are not more of them presented by amateurs ?" The answer is simple. Not only is the realistic play accepted as the "right" play by many people, but it is in realistic drama that both amateur actors and their directors have had their training. A different viewpoint, technique, and imagination are required of the director; a different acting style and approach to the character are asked of the actor. These are not within the experience or observation of the amateurs. Therefore, for the practical reason that he can do better work in realism, the director's first conclusion may be a sound one. The romantic play, however, shows signs of returning to public favor. It is not too early to become interested in it.

Lastly, the director considers the play of situation, of character, and of idea. The play of situation is generally a straightforward story which an audience can grasp without great effort. An audience may like some other kind of play better, but it doesn't dislike a situation play. Secondly, since situation is of supreme importance, the success of the play is not dependent upon the acting; since characterization is subordinated, subtle and clever acting is not demanded. So, from the acting standpoint the director's task is simplified. Third, since getting people to act is the director's hardest task, and since the situation play relieves him, to an extent, of this burden, the production of this type of play is less likely to invite failure than any other type.

A number of sciences dealing with man's physical, emotional, and mental life have become popular. Our interest in man is keen, and our theater audiences have grown interested in the character play. The number of popular plays that are primarily character studies prove this statement. However, acting a character play is not so simple as acting a situation play. The actor needs intelligence, vocal flexibility, and often a controlled, expressive body; and he needs experience. Fortunately, the amateur has had much training in characterization in recent years—courses in acting have stressed it, and stage and motion-picture plays have revealed it; and he often can comprehend the character and adequately delineate and project the representation demanded. He needs the director's help in this. The character play, like most others, means careful work for the director, proper coordination and emphasis, and much time spent with his actors.

The drama of ideas has evolved side by side with the growing interest in things intellectual, more especially in things scientific and humanitarian. There are audiences of today who will go to see a play of idea, who are willing to have their mental experience overmeasure their emotional experience. Most audiences, however, are interested in an idea only when it is not didactically handled and when it does not interfere with their emotional pleasure in the play. The surest way for a beginning director to lose his audience is to give it plays that are more mental than emotional.

Plays of ideas are often not easy to present in a manner which seems dramatic. An actor may deliver a scene from Shaw or Ibsen so that the idea is clear and understandable; but unless he endows the scene with a living quality beyond the exposition of the idea, unless, through his acting, the opinion on life becomes vital and dramatic, the scene is likely to be dull. The resources of the director are also severely taxed. Usually there are few moments of strong emotional appeal; there is no sweeping from situation to situation, no thrilling climax in action, such as are in plays of situation. The director must present, through his actors, a thesis; and he must present it so that the audience becomes interested, sympathetic, and finally thrills to the spectacle of life with which the thesis is concerned. The play of ideas is for the experienced, not for the beginning director.

The director, then, can make some decisions in the selection of plays from a knowledge of the types of plays. When he is selecting a play for production, this knowledge should be helpful. For instance, if he decides that a play he is reading is a realistic comedy of situation, he can conclude, with some degree of accuracy, that the play is likely to please his audience, will be reasonably easy to act, and not too difficult to direct. If he is considering a romantic tragedy of character, he is able to deduct that from the three viewpoints this would not be a good selection. If he has a scarcity of acting material, he will look for a play of situation. If his audience has had to listen to a number of serious lectures or plays, he will turn to farce, that is, if he has an aptitude for farce; if he hasn't, he will stick to comedy and its truth to reality. If his audience is of average intelligence and not theater trained, he will not try, as his first play, a play of ideas.

One or two other points on selection may be mentioned. The director should seek variety in the programs he offers. If he sticks to one type—comedies of manner, folk dramas, or propaganda plays—he restricts his audience to those interested in his particular choice and even runs the danger of wearying this restricted audience. There are so many kinds of plays and so many possible plays within each division that he can offer no excuse for his narrow choice. Variety expands rather than contracts his audience.

A beginning director wants to succeed. It is imperative that he shall succeed. Therefore, he is to be excused if he at first chooses plays which do not court failure with his audience. And what sort of play might be advised for a beginner ? If he does not know his audience and has worked but little with his acting material we would advise a play of story and situation rather than one of character or idea; a play which is light, rather than serious in mood; a play of our own times, rather than a costume play; one with a small cast, rather than one with many characters; and a play requiring one set, rather than several changes of set.

But the director should not be satisfied to continue giving this kind of play; and he should not lose sight of the fact that audiences can be changed for the better. After a short time, a higher type of play may be given; then, perhaps, a throwback to one not quite so good. The audience itself will begin to draw comparisons and will, in most instances, begin to ask for the higher type of play. If he is not too hurried, if he is tactful, the director can educate his audience without letting it know what is happening to it.



Home | More Articles | Email: info@oldandsold.com