The Spoken Drama
( Originally Published 1922 )
I. The Place of the Drama in Education
The right kind of education is that which fits one to get the best out of life for himself and to be of the most service to the world. We sometimes forget in our schools that a great part of a man's life is his spare time, and that our education fails if it neglects to prepare students to spend it well. Some one has well said, "What we earn while we work, we put into our pockets, but what we spend during our leisure time we put into our character." The high school has no better chance to train its students for leisure than in the field of spoken drama. Since the Greeks first began to put their national traditions and ideals into their great dramas the play has been a real force in the lives of all cultivated peoples. It has ever been popular as a form of entertainment, and never more so than just now in America. Sometimes it has been a good, sometimes a bad, influence, depending largely upon the taste of the audience of the time. The Greek drama was religion, education, patriotism, and entertainment; the English drama of the early eighteenth century, on the other hand, was little more than mere entertain-ment, and, sinking to the level of the vulgar taste of the period, became largely a sordid appeal to the baser appetites and passions of men. Between these two extremes range the good and bad plays of all time. It is safe to say that the best plays have always been more than entertainment. Even The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare's nearest approach to the mere fun of slap-stick farce, does not fail to meet the requirements for a good play set by the Master Dramatist himself, which is, he says, "as 'twere, to hold the mirror up to nature." The good play paints a picture of human life; it has, in addition, the material for the study of the customs, the history, the ideals, the thought life of a people. Because it presents life and ideas in the most telling way possible, that is, through the words and acts of living men and women in a vivid representation of life itself, it is probably the most powerful instrument for good or evil in the world today.
II. The High School Stage and Better Drama
In America there is being waged a great conflict between good and bad drama. And in spite of the fact that there appears in our popular playhouses every week much that is but cheap, tawdry trash, and much that is low and vulgar, like the bed-room pajama farces, of which one lover of fine drama wrathfully tells us there were eleven on the boards in the 1919–20 season, informed students of the drama tell us that the stage is growing better.
"I believe," said the veteran actor, Forbes-Robertson, recently, "that the stage of today is vastly better than it was a half century ago. Some of the universities have courses in dramatic art, which, I think, were started by Professor Baker at Harvard. Many plays of today which are successes could not have been successful in my earlier days because then the audiences were not educated up to the higher type. The educated classes have realized that the drama is a great educational force. It used to be said that the mission of the stage was merely to amuse. But its function does not stop there. It attempts to realize something more." And that something more is to inspire to larger living, and to educate by giving men and women through stage interpretation a deeper and more intimate understanding of life. George Broadhurst, long a worker for worth-while drama in America, speaks hopefully: "On the English-speaking stage it is the clean play that brings the great rewards both to the author and to the manager. The bedroom farce, the vulgar comedy, the sensational drama, all of them may have their day, but which of them can compare in longevity or receipts with Ben Hur or The Music Master?"
The high school stage is with us; it has come to stay. The problem is, what kind of stage shall we make it? Shall we permit dramatics to be considered, as one superintendent put it to Miss Gene Thompson, "merely a necessary evil in the school," shall the class and occasional play forever be looked upon merely as a means of making money for the class or the school, or shall we fall in line with the forward-looking spirits of the day in our effort to make the most of school dramatics as one of the most useful and fertile of our educational resources?
There is throughout the country more and more demand for the clean, wholesome play that not only amuses and enter-tains, but inspires and instructs. The college dramatic course deserves much credit for this change. The new interest in the study and staging of the best plays by our numerous college dramatic clubs growing out of these courses has probably had even greater effect. A great deal has been accomplished by the Drama League of America. As a result of its activities there have sprung up almost countless study clubs and Little Theatres, each one the friend to the good play, the foe to vulgarity and trash.
But if the college and the Little Theatre have done so much, how much more could the high school accomplish? Twenty times as many people go to high school as to college, it is there that national taste is largely molded. And it would seem that if our audiences as a whole are ever to develop more than a musical-burlesque dramatic appetite the work being done by the college and Little Theatre must be supplemented by the widespread influence of the high school in the direction of better taste. Some of our high schools are already doing splendid pioneer work. Every year they put on some fine things from the older and the better modern dramatists. Here the boys and girls learn a few of the secrets of fine plays and something of the noble art of acting them; here the fathers and mothers and friends come and learn to like good plays, too. But how unfortunate that so many of our schools are still in the dark ages of the cheap, trivial claptrap of The Detective's Adventure and Minnie's Beau!
It is too bad that before leaving school every boy and girl should not have a part in a play. The spoken drama is a form of recreation. It furnishes something for leisure hands to do. The student who has learned to act has acquired an art just as surely as if he had learned to paint or to play the violin. Hereafter he may in his spare time not only find entertainment in hearing good drama, but he may do that which is always better, enjoy recreation by giving expression to his play instinct by acting good drama for others. Who could, if he only knew, afford to miss the splendid chance to develop the self-control, the steady concentration required of the actor? Consider, too, the value in training to purity of speech and command of language, to bodily poise and control, and to facial expressiveness. Then there is no better way under the sun to come to an understanding of human nature. The spoken, acted drama is a translation of a dead book play into life itself. To imagine oneself into the character of a person in a play, to live the life of another, to think his thoughts, feel his emotions, just once, just for an hour, should make one better, more sympathetic, more kind to his fellows the rest of his life; should lead to greater success in business and more power in the professions for is not much of the secret of full living to know and love your fellow man?
III. The Play-Reading
Objection is often made to dramatic work in the schools on the ground that it takes too much time, and detracts from studies; yet in English classes months are sometimes taken in the study of one play, which at the end remains a thing of ashes and dead bones, because the one real way to study a drama has been neglected. The finest words of the most real characters in a drama thrill to life only when intelligently spoken by some one who for the moment takes the place of the person in the play.
A plan has been well tried out which meets the requirements for the right kind of study of a drama and for the best kind of drill in oral expression, with a minimum of time used for each play. This is the play-reading.
In the play-reading there is little attempt to "stage" the play. The costumes and scenery are merely suggestive, and as few properties as possible are used. In fact, as sometimes carried out, the set consists only of chairs for those who take part, placed at the back or side of the stage. No costumes are used. To enter, a character rises from his chair, and may advance to the center of the stage; to exit he simply sits down — he is then off stage. But one may go further: Mr. Melcher tells of his scheme of having each actor come on the stage with a suitcase containing articles of clothing and materials for a suggested make-up. These are simple and are put on quickly where all may see. Mr. Melcher thus describes this part of the reading of Barrie's The Old Lady Shows Her Medals:
These suitcases were opened on the stage, and each character produced and added to his usual dress characterizing touches: a shawl and gray powder for the Old Lady, old "bunnits" and sacques for the other old gossips, a flat hat and vestments for the minister; while Kenneth achieved soldierliness by wearing a tan raincoat belted at the waist and as Scotch a looking hat as one could borrow.
In still other cases everything moves much as in a memorized play, but in a more simple way. The stage is set so as to suggest the scene portrayed, the curtain is used, and the actors, slightly made up, and in suggestive costumes, go through their parts, only reading their lines and confining their actions to such as may be easily performed with book in hand.
One-act plays are especially suitable for play-reading. There is at present available a growing list of short plays of genuine merit. The use of these will serve to introduce students to a wider range of dramatic literature than would be otherwise possible, with more chance for variety in character, action, and type of play. Longer plays usually need to be cut a good deal, and it is sometimes wise to use different people for different acts, part to be read one evening, part another. In general, a play-reading program should not be longer than one hour.
The play-reading is a delightful method of combining profit-able study with entertainment. The first thing for the actor is always the interpretation of character. Then he must work to express that character. He studies the play and his part for ten days or two weeks with the idea in mind of understanding the person he is to represent, and of presenting that character to the audience. The training in expression is of the best. The student prepares with a definite aim in mind. He must reach his audience, must make that audience know and feel all that he knows and feels. He must make use of his body in interpreting his character to them; he must make his face and eyes talk. His speech must be effective. Slovenly articulation and slipshod pronunciation will not do; the voice must be pitched and adjusted to suit the type of person portrayed, so attuned as to reflect his mood and emotion; only one's best in clear-cut, well-modulated utterance will serve in this business of giving to listeners the joy of real acquaintance with a new play.
High school dramatic clubs may be formed, putting on a play once a week, or once in two weeks, without serious inroads on any one's time. If the plays are well chosen and they should be selected largely under the direction of the English teachers with a view to literary and artistic merit a year's work in such a club would be worth more than any number of ordinary reading courses in the drama. There would be, in addition, much good practice in natural, effective speaking.
It is best to read in succession several plays by one author. There should be, along with these, some papers and talks by teachers and members of the club on the writer and his work.
This same work may be effectively carried on in a literature or public-speaking class. Indeed, it would seem that all class work in the drama should be conducted somewhat after this manner. Exercises are given later on in this chapter.
IV. Staging a Play
1. SELECTING THE PLAY
First select the right play. Many hours a day for several weeks are to be used in learning and repeating lines and in analyzing and growing into a character. If these lines are silly and trivial, if the character is weak and mawkish, untrue to life, so much time is worse than wasted, both for the actor and for the public — the public that has a right to expect and demand good things from its schools. Language of power, apt, vivid, forceful phrases, in the mouths of characters of fresh strength and vitality, set in a tale that reflects life in a vigorous, interesting way — be content with nothing less in your school play. And it is a pleasant thought that there is plenty of material of the right sort. All that is needed is the good sense and courage to choose something worth while. There is a popular misconception that good plays are difficult to stage, and do not please. The better-class plays, on the contrary, are often actually easier to put on than are the inferior ones, and, because there is more to them in plot and character, make a much better impression.' Do not be afraid to try the best things; shun trash like the pestilence. Do not overlook the one-act drama; splendid combinations of one-act plays can be made for full evening programs.
As will be pointed out later in this chapter, most of the best plays for young people can be acted on any stage, but there are a few that need sets too difficult and complicated for any but the best furnished playhouses. In general, better let these alone; high school players should first be concerned with the life and spirit of the drama, not with stage carpentry and scene painting.
Expense must always be kept in mind. The amount of money that can be spent on a play will depend upon the door receipts that can be counted upon, and these will naturally vary with local conditions. The better modern plays bear a royalty averaging from $25 to $50. If there is required besides this a large outlay for costumes, rental for a house, with perhaps a paid coach, the cost may be too great to consider. A rule that the writer has followed is to avoid, when using a heavy royalty play, one with expensive costuming, and vice versa. Many of the finest plays for schools, such as The Rivals, She Stoops to Conquer, and Twelfth Night, carry no royalty, but require quite elaborate costuming.
Time is an important item. There is much difference in the amount of time needed to stage different plays. The shorter the play, naturally the less time needed for rehearsals. As a rule, it is safe to plan on from forty to sixty hours of intensive work in actual rehearsal, covering a period of from three to six weeks. If there are character roles requiring subtle interpretation, more time should be allowed for actors to grow into the parts. This one thing, I believe, should be a fixed motto for all school players, "Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well." There can be no satisfaction in a shabby performance; worse, there can be in slipshod work no fit training for life.
Perhaps one should not say that there are plays entirely beyond the reach of amateurs. Personally, I rather doubt that there are; certainly we err all too frequently in picking on weak, spineless travesties of the drama in our effort to avoid too "heavy" plays. But it is true that there are many plays that it is not wise for school people, with the limited time and resources at their disposal, to attempt. There is Shaw's Candida, for example, and Maeterlinck's Blue Bird, the one with its very subtle characterization, the other with its over-elaborate stage effects, required to create atmosphere and charm. Amateurs will naturally do best with plays of much action and distinct characterization. That is one of the reasons why George Ade's The College Widow and Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew are nearly always so successful as school plays.
Unless there are students in sight for the cast with more than usual ability and experience, the so-called "one-man" or "one-woman" play should be avoided. The Merchant of Venice has to its credit long lists of dismal failures for the lack of an able amateur Shylock. The Comedy of Errors, on the other hand, with its more equal parts, gets along better. So, in general, the play with well-balanced parts has more chance to succeed.
The coach should know his play and should know his cast. Often the wisdom of choosing a certain play depends upon the kind of material to be had. It is not always that one would have a possible character for such a part as the Convict in The Bishop's Candlesticks, or as Galatea in Pygmalion and Galatea. May I say here that the English teacher or the dramatic coach should have more to say in the choice of our school plays. Pupils do not pick their own history texts, their own classics, their own science manuals; why is not the teacher's experience and judgment worth as much in matters dramatic?
2. THE STAGE AND SCENERY
Do not worry too much over the stage and scenery. When all is said, "The play's the thing." Good acting and expressive speech in an intelligent interpretation of character are the real needs in amateur dramatics. Careful settings, however, do help to produce the stage illusion, and, if not so emphasized as to draw attention, make the actor's work more effective; especially is this true where a certain atmosphere is needed.
But given a platform, a few willing helpers, and a little ingenuity, you can put on almost any desirable play. At the New York State Fair, in 1919, Professor Drummond of Cornell University converted a bare, shed-like building with a platform at one end into an attractive theatre with a good working stage. The writer has staged a number of plays with only a speaker's rostrum to begin with. Curtains judiciously used, a few strings of electric lights, some furniture, and a cast with the cooperative spirit did the rest.
It is a mistake to assume that the right setting should be either expensive or elaborate; it need only be fitting and suggestive. If attractive, all the better. Best results come when the scene in which the actor works fits so. well that it is entirely unnoticed by the audience. Anything less than this, anything more, detracts.
3. BACKGROUND AND EXTERIOR
Curtains, hung at the back and sides of a platform, in red, green, tan, blue, or gray, are the first step in making a stage. These may be in long strips hung from bars sixteen to twenty feet from the floor. These strips may be three or six feet in width so arranged that the whole appears as one piece. The spaces between may be used as entrances. If desired, these strips may be suspended from two semicircular bars, each swinging from the side and meeting in the center. This curtain arrangement is called a cyclorama, and may be used both for exteriors and as a background for interior sets. It is surprising how many effects may be secured through the use of the cyclorama, especially if some neutral shade like light tan is used. Played upon by different lights, dawn, sunset, dark night, noonday may be suggested; while, merely by setting the stage appropriately, a wood, a garden, or a desert, is indicated; with proper furniture the cyclorama may even serve as an interior.
For interior sets frames nine to twelve feet high and in any width desired, covered with red, green, or brown burlap, will do admirably. Doors and windows may be made as in conventional box sets. By using different colors, say, brown on one side, green on the other, these frames may be reversed and so serve for two sets. In this case the doors should be swung on reversible hinges. A still more simple interior set, and one with even greater possibilities, consists of three or four screens, each made in three sections with reversible hinges. Almost any interior can be suggested by a proper arrangement of these screens.
A great deal is being done nowadays with lights. Footlights are not so popular as they were, but if desired they can be easily put in by stringing a row of lights at equal intervals, taping and tacking the sockets in place and fitting reflectors to each. Better results are secured by lighting the stage from the sides and ceiling only. In every school there are boys who have enough skill to fit up in the wings strong lamps with reflectors so as to flood the stage with any light desired. Not only may a softer, more mellow lighting effect be secured in this way, but a variety of tones and shades may be had to give atmosphere to the scene. It will do no harm to experiment with your lights. Don't be afraid of something new. "Our Little Theatre" in the South Bend High School, the first high school Little Theatre in America, by the way, has hit upon the unique plan of installing part of its lighting system in the hollow of half columns, so constructed as to present a solid front to the audience, but conveniently made so as to serve various purposes from the stage side. Strip and border lamps for sides and ceiling should be used; often they may be so employed as to furnish all the light necessary.
6. THE THEATRE WORKSHOP
Whether the school has a stage or not, a theatre workshop is practical and economical. Here ingenious hands may make sets, paint scenes, may carry on lighting experiments, and work out all sorts of useful adjuncts to successful staging. As the same material may be used over and over, the expense is small in proportion to the possible results.
7. To THE AMATEUR ACTOR Here are a few simple rules for the beginner:
1. Learn the stage and stage terms. This is necessary in order to understand the directions given in play books and by the coach. For example, up stage is away from the audience, down stage, towards the audience. Right is always to the actor's right as he faces his audience. Right center, or R. C., is to the right near the center, etc. The diagram will make these things clear. For the usual play three entrances are sufficient, one to the left, one to the right, one center, but in some cases more are needed.
2. Remember that success in acting depends upon hard work. Care as to details, severe concentration, perfect attention to the thing in hand, thoughtful study of your part and of the whole play are what will count toward a good production.
3. Learn to cooperate with other players and the coach. You are a part of a machine; every part must work perfectly or the whole is ruined.
4. As soon as you get your part, study the character you are to represent. Use your imagination. If possible get in touch with some one living the life you are to portray. If you are Amanda or Celeste in 'Op o' Me Thumb try to spend some time in a laundry; if you are to play Ezra Williams in The Neighbors, try to acquaint yourself with some one of the country-town type and study him.
5. Do not imitate, or depend on imitating, the coach. Work out your character for yourself as far as possible; but place yourself absolutely under the director's authority in all else. A play must have one supreme head, and one only, whose word is final authority.
6. Keep out of sight while in costume both before and after the play.
7. Come on the stage in character; stay in character every second. Remember that your exits and your entrances are important parts of your acting; study to make them natural and effective.
8. Do not show yourself conscious of your audience. You are for the time being in a little world all your own, with all your interests centered in that world.
9. At the same time never neglect or ignore your audience. Give them every chance to hear and understand all you say, and to catch and read your every facial expression.
a. Learn to speak in strong, clear, distinct tones. The voice is a fine instrument, upon which you may produce beauty and power in proportion as you are willing to spend thought, time, and energy in learning to use it. At the same time be conversational; speak as naturally as if you were conversing in a like situation. Never be "dramatic."
b. Wherever possible, while on stage, keep a half front to the audience; that is, be sure the foot upstage is ahead of the other. Except in rare instances, when the action actually demands it, do not talk with your back to the audience.
c. Do not permit yourself, while talking, to be hidden from the audience by another player or by furniture; in turn, do-not cover another speaker from the audience.
d. Do not cross behind another player while you are speaking;
e. When you are the main actor in a scene, as far as possible work "down stage" and towards the center.
f. Unless the play specially provides for it, do not stand or sit in one position long.
g. Watch your lines. Suit your actions to the word and mood.
h. Note these suggestions :
(1) Rise or sit while speaking, usually where there is an idea or emotion to prompt the act. Make the manner of sitting or rising fit the thought and feeling of the speech.
(2) Cross another character only when you are speaking; cross on some energetic speech that suggests action.
(3) The person crossed should countercross; that is, should move in the opposite direction at the same time the speaker, who nearly always crosses in front, changes position. This simplifies the whole action, and helps keep the stage balanced.
10. Learn the value of grouping. Effective stage pictures help in any play. If there are seven people on the stage they will not be strung out or bunched without system, They will be careful not to line up either to the right or to the left, or up and down stage; they will not bunch in one corner. They will probably find themselves in, say, three natural groups — two to the right, three in the center, and two to the left. These three groups may in turn form a larger group in the form of a triangle or semicircle. There will always be many exceptions to this particular arrangement, but the general principle will hold. Another thing, keep the stage balanced; that is, there should usually be about the same number of people on each side of center.
11. Do not overact. Simply be the character you are playing; do the things which that character in a similar situation in life would do.
12. Don't imitate movie stars; some of them are absurd enough. It is well to remember that you have your voice and words to aid you; no need to overdo the actions and facial expression.
13. Do not overdo the make-up. Get some one with the most experience possible and turn the work over to him. In general that make-up is best which is least apparent.
14. While the play is on, maintain perfect silence behind the scenes. Find your entrance and stay there until it is time for you to appear.
15. Be sure you have any properties you will need when you go on stage.
16. Do not get excited and frightened; what you have done dozens of times in practice you can do still better with an audience to inspire you. So-called "stage fright" is a silly bugaboo, experienced only by those who are ill-prepared or who do not live their parts.
V. Suggestive Exercises for Class
1. Divide the class into groups of from five to eight. Let each group select a leader. Let each group, with the help of the teacher, choose from one to three plays for readings. (The number of plays handled by each group will depend upon the time to be allotted to this work.) The leader for each group will assign the parts and be responsible for the rehearsals. Work for a week or ten days before beginning the readings. It will help to use necessary properties and suggestive costumes. The stage may be the front of the classroom set with chairs for entrances. While preparation for the readings is going on the plays should be discussed in class. The best plays should be presented to the public.
The works of Shakespeare, Ibsen, Shaw, Yeats, Fitch, and any number of the best one-act plays, may be studied in this way. The work may be continued with profit for as long a time as can be devoted to the drama.
2. By way of variety, let each group be responsible for the presentation of a short original play based on some bit of local history or upon some school or town event.
3. Using some of the books and magazines suggested in this chapter take some time for special. reports on:
The Little Theatre movement.
The American stage of today.
The one-act play.
The stage of Shakespeare.
Costumes and scenery for amateurs.
Some great actors of today.
4. Every school that is interested in the drama should have a library of good plays and of the best books on the drama and the stage. Give a high-class play, the proceeds to go toward founding such a library. From the catalogues and helps listed in this chapter pick your titles for the first order.
5. Try putting into dramatic form for a play-reading:
One of Hawthorne's stories.
Any short story you know.
A scene from some good novel.
The book of Esther.
6. For bodily and facial expression try the pantomime. While one student reads the piece let others act it out:
a. Lowell's The Courtin'.
b. The combat scene in Sohrab and Rustum.
c. The parting scene in Ruth.
d. The last scene in The Lady of the Lake, Canto VI, stanzas xxiii to xxix.
e. Divide the class into groups. Let each group choose a scene from some familiar book or poem to give in pantomime before the class. Let the students guess the scene represented.
f. Carry on this work, using stories from history, Greek mythology, or even scenes from plays.
7. Working with one or two others in the class, write several 500 word imaginary dialogues. Use good colloquial English. Here are some suggestions. You will think of many other possible situations.
a. Beth and Mary discuss the new teachers on the walk home, the first Friday evening of the new school year.
b. A friend of the family, a middle-aged gentleman, who was engaged in war work in Europe, is calling. He finds John, high school junior, at home alone.
c. Hugh and Kate have been reading some of the latest novels. They have decided views. In the conversation they compare the new books with the classics.
d. Elderly Dr. Smith takes an automobile ride with his young friend James, a high school senior. They talk of James's future.
e. Aunt Jane has made up her mind that the photo play does more harm than good; she prefers one spoken drama to a hundred pictures anyway. Edward Jones does not agree.
8. Now tear up your written work and hold the conversation with your partner. If you like, impersonate your character.
9. Present-day writers of drama are usually careful to describe their characters. But often, especially in the older plays, one must get his idea bit by bit from hints dropped here and there throughout the play.
Study at least two long plays with the idea in mind of picking characters to fit the parts. Let each member of the class list the qualities for each character. To do this well one must watch every line in the play, every speech of each person, for hints as to the physical and mental make-up of characters. Working in pairs, cast your plays. Make a list of the qualities, physical, mental, and spiritual, of the characters in any two of the following plays: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Barrie's The Twelve Pound Look, Lord Dunsany's The Lost Silk Hat, Sutro's Carrots, Barrie's The Old Lady Shows Her Medals,Goldsmith'sShe Stoops to Conquer, Sheridan's The Rivals, Lewis Beach's The Clod, Sutro's The Bracelet, Gilbert's Pygmalion and Galatea, Kennedy's The Servant in the House, Gale's The Neighbors.
Now pick some one in your school or class for each part. A suggestion: In choosing casts for class work, experiment sometimes by picking just the opposite type of person from that which the part calls for — a very neat person for the slovenly type; a quiet, reserved girl for the talky girl; a noisy fellow for the bashful, tongue-tied lover, and so on.
Pick from the class or the school those who could best represent these characters:
Mr. Bill Snoddy, the stoutest citizen of the county, waddled ab-normally up the aisle.
One old man was stalwart and ruddy, with a cordial eye, and a hand-some, smooth-shaven, big face.
The other (old man) was bent and trembled slightly; his face was very white; he had a fine high brow, deeply lined, the brow of a scholar, and a grandly flowing white beard that covered his chest, the beard of a patriarch.
She was small and fair, very daintily and beautifully made. . . . "It ain't so much she's han'some, though she is that — but don't you notice she's got a kind of smart look to her?"— What stunned the gossips, however, was the unconcerned and stoical fashion in which she wore a long bodkin straight through her head. It seemed a large sacrifice merely to make sure one's hat remained in place.
At his side strolled a very tall, thin, rather stooping — though broad-shouldered — rather shabby young man, with a sallow melancholy face, and deep-set eyes that looked tired.
Scene: The kitchen of a farmhouse on the borderland between South-ern and Northern states, 1863.
Thaddeus Trask, a man of fifty or sixty years of age, short and thickset, slow in speech and movement, yet in perfect health, sits lazily smoking his pipe.
Mary Trask, a tired, emaciated woman, whose years equal her husband's.
George Coxey is a handsome, well-built, magnetic-looking youth of about twenty-five. He is dressed in the garb of a street-car conductor and carries his cap in his hands. He is inconvenienced by the novelty of his surroundings, but he is self-possessed and faces the unusual situation firmly.
Una is a charming, fashionable girl of twenty, with a suave blend of will and poise.
Maude, the florist's bookkeeper, young and fairly good-looking. Her voice drips with sympathy.
Grandma. She is very old. She is in bright-colored calico, with ribbons on her black cap. She does not leave her chair throughout the play.
U to the open door comes Peter. He is tall, awkward, grave; long, uncoered wrists, heavy falling hands; but he has an occasional wide, pleasant, shy smile.
VI. Helps in Choosing a Play
1. CATALOGUES AND SELECTIVE LISTS
1. THE DRAMA LEAGUE OF AMERICA: A List of Plays for High School and College Production. 736 Marquette Building, Chicago. 25 cents.
2. DRAMA LEAGUE OF BOSTON: A Selective List of Plays for Amateurs. Room 705, 101 Tremont St., Boston. 25 cents.
3. FRANK SHAY: Plays and Books on the Little Theatre. New York.
4. GERTRUDE JOHNSON: Choosing a Play. The Century Co., New York; or Gertrude Johnson, Madison, Wisconsin. $1.25.
Sensible suggestions for amateur producers; excellent bibliographies; lists for boys only, girls only, children and outdoor productions.
5. E. A. MCFADDEN: Selected List of Plays for Amateurs. 113 Lakeview Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts.
6. SAMUEL FRENCH: Guide to Selecting Plays. 28 W. 38th St., New York.
7. SANGER & JORDAN: Catalogue (listing plays, with casts complete). Times Building, New York. $1.00.
8. AMERICAN PLAY Co.: Catalogue (listing plays, with casts complete). 33 West 42nd St., New York. $1.00.
9. NORMAN LEE SWARTOUT: Catalogue, Advice Plays on Approval. Summit, New Jersey.
10. F. W. FAXON: The Dramatic Index. Boston Book Company. $3.50.
An index to all current dramatic literature.
11. Play List. World Drama Promoters, La Jolla, California.
12. Houses and Brokers Putting out Catalogues:
These catalogues are of doubtful value, as all plays, good and bad alike, are indiscriminately advertised.
Walter H. Baker & Co., 5 Hamilton Place, Boston. Dramatic Publishing Co., 542 S. Dearborn St., Chicago. Eldridge Entertainment House, Franklin, Ohio. Dick & Fitzgerald, 10 Ann St., New York. Penn Publishing Co., 923 Arch St., Philadelphia. The Drama, 736 Marquette Bldg., Chicago. American Play Co., 1451 Broadway, New York.
Agency for Unpublished Plays, 41 Concord Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Mitchell Kennerley, 32 West 58th St., New York. Stage Guild, 1527 Railway Exchange,Chicago. Brentano, Fifth Avenue and 27th St., New York. Alice Kauser, 1432 Broadway, New York. Rumsey Play Co., 152 West 46th St., New York.
2. BOOKS AND ARTICLES WORTH CONSULTING
1. GERTRUDE JOHNSON: Choosing a Play. Section One. The Century Co., New York.
2. BARRET CLARK: How to Produce Amateur Plays. Chapter One. Little, Brown & Co., Boston.