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Theatre Of Today - The Gathering Of The Forces

( Originally Published 1914 )



TEN years ago this book would have been written entirely about dramatic literature. At that time we thought of the institution of the theatre as being a collection of printed plays together with a few necessary buildings to present them in. The tremendous stimulus given the literary theatre by Ibsen kept our attention working overtime and blinded us to the fact that this dramatic literature a wonderful literature when we come to look over the whole territory —was being presented under the conditions created for the cramped, conventional, and unreal plays of half a century ago.

Now all this is changed. From an institution of one art the theatre has become, in the space of less than ten years, an institution of all the arts.

Not that the theatre suddenly found its possibilities and became a complete art in place of an incomplete one; not that it has yet found these possibilities and absorbed them. But the realisation began to spread that the theatre was not merely an affair of spoken words and accompanying gestures. And suddenly, almost overnight, the thinkers saw the possibilities of universality in the theatre, and set out to develop them slowly, tentatively, but in a spirit of consecration which has given the theatre a largeness and dignity perhaps beyond any other art of today.

The peculiarly universal nature of the ideal theatre has caught hold of our imaginations. We begin to see dimly that a drama is far more than characters speaking words and imitating, or attempting to imitate, literal facts. It is a series of pictures; why not give them the beauty which painters have, after centuries of study, given their canvases? It is a series of architectural designs ; why not make use of the fine art of the architect? It is often rhythmic spectacle; why not apply to it the fine art of the dance? It is a kaleidoscope of colour; why not make use of the art of colour as the painters have mastered it? It is, in one way and another, a collection of blending sounds; why not mould these sounds together with the art of the musician? Further, the theatre, which is essentially a performance for the crowd, is the most democratic of all the arts; its subject-matter can come from all departments and planes of life, its art can be and always has been greatest when it presents that which is common to all men in such a way that it can be understood by all men ; why not organise it so that it shall be the property and the servant of all men, rather than the "cinematograph of the idle rich," or the pink tea of the literary select? The theatre, alone of the arts, can concentrate all the arts in the service of all men. It is this dream which has taken shape and commenced its incarnation in the last ten years.

In a way all this was in the theatre before. The theatre used stage pictures and architectural designs, music, dancing, and colour. But these arts were the merest accessories, not arts at all. The theatre was a thing which, while using all the arts, cultivated only one. It felt itself under obligation to be beautiful in only one small part of its immense territory, and, as we know, it generally failed in that.

Yet all the arts needed in the ideal synthesis had been highly developed by themselves. All that was needed was waiting patiently at the stage door, ready to enter and make the theatre a palace of wonders in place of a gallery of disillusionment. To let the artist enter and make the stage picture beautiful in design and colour; to let the architect enter and teach the stage how to build instead of imitating; to let the musician enter and make the stage sounds a symphony in their own right; to let the social organiser enter and make the playhouse over from a place of the money-changers into a public institution of service this was what was needed, and what has begun to come to pass.

This, and one thing more. For the artist, the architect, the musician, the dancer, and the social organiser, are none too good friends, one with the other. They are inclined to be selfish and narrow, to demand all for their own art and neglect the other arts ; they are likely to forget that when they use their art in the theatre they must apply it to a new set of materials. There must be some intelligence, some direction, some new artist, in short, to make these men work together toward their new end. This new artist, almost unknown since the days of ancient Greece, is the regisseur or the producer. He must know his art as an art in itself, and must be able to use all the other arts to his purpose. He must be the chief executive of the art of the drama. This regisseur, as yet only feeling his way, is the great artist whom we shall meet time and again in the course of this book.

But this great synthesised art of the drama is as yet only in its first beginnings. The theatre is in a state of transition. We have in it many interesting experiments, and a few results which seem to our limited imaginations to be relatively complete, but on the whole we cannot study the subject as an art. We must see our contemporary theatre as a conglomeration of forces, coming from all directions and roughly centring in one spot, or we shall think falsely about it. The purpose of this book is to trace and describe these forces individually, especially as they are at the present time, and then to indicate what direction they are taking in their common march, and to suggest what may conceivably be their future.

There used to be a conventional structure for the stage from which few theatres, large or small, departed. This structure was a division of the stage by lateral lines or grooves into sections which were the basis for all scene-setting. Scenes were made, almost without exception, by dropping painted canvas from above and by projecting painted "slides" upon the stage along the lateral lines. Nine out of ten scenes were thus constructed entirely of flapping canvas dropped from above and flapping canvas poking out from one side or the other all in set positions and in parallel lines. There were usually six or eight entrances and exits in the ordinary room, and enough chairs and sofas to seat more or less comfortably the whole court of England. Occasionally there came a "set scene," in which the usual canvas slides were lashed together to represent three sides of a room, and a similar canvas roof, perhaps, was let down from the "flies." This was used only for a small enclosed space, and was far from favourably regarded, both because large open scenes were considered more romantic and because the small ones involved a set of movements slightly• unfamiliar to the stage-hands.

Some fifteen years ago the "set scene" became common in America, and, within its limits, was greatly improved. We now rarely see an old-fashioned "drop" scene, and have almost forgotten how absurd it looks. The "set" scene developed its own rules, and has produced some beautiful results. In its way the setting which Belasco gave to "The Return of Peter Grimm" has seldom been surpassed in America or in Europe. Partly under the stimulus of Belasco's undoubted originality American producers made a solid wall to look like a solid wall, a stairway to seem to be made of hard wood, the furniture believable, and the curtains, doors, and properties tolerable in taste and efficient in the creation of illusion. Indeed these producers often represented a hard wood stairway by a hardwood stair-way, and went to much pains and expense to make their stage settings "like real life."

The stage settings of David Belasco may very well be taken to represent the point of departure of the European stage producers whose work this book will chiefly describe. They represent on the one hand an ideal of close imitation of life which was common in the theatre when the new generation began to make itself felt; on the other hand they represent the mechanical stage resources upon which the recent improvements have been built.

These stage resources some ten or twelve years ago were the usual set of "drops" from above, a clear stage with its set of trap-doors, etc., its footlights and corresponding border lights, both white and coloured, together with the usual spotlight apparatus, and a considerable skill in building solid-seeming "sets" with canvas stretched over wood frames, made not according to set rules, but with much flexibility and adaptation to the needs of the scene. Thus the prison scene in "Faust," or the exterior of Macbeth's castle, could be made in sections (of canvas over wood) and literally built, one section upon another. Ordinary walls would be made of "flats" especially constructed for the scene in hand, made in sections and lashed together behind by ropes. Trees were not merely painted on canvas, but built of wood and cork and supplied with appropriate foliage at considerable expense.

It is evident that there is no science required in all this beyond the adeptness of a carpenter and the ordinary cleverness of the general handy-man. But the last ten years have brought to the stages of Germany and Russia (and in smaller measure to those of America) highly trained mechanicians and long-needed mechanical inventions which are now permanently at the disposal of the drama. The revolving stage, permitting five or more complete sets to be built at once and changed in the space of a few seconds ; the sliding stage, permitting one scene to be built on one-half of the stage while the other half is being used for the play; the rolling stage, by which any number of scenes can be set up more or less completely at leisure and quietly rolled before the proscenium when their turn comes; the gigantic sunken sliding stage which has been installed in the new Royal Theater at Dresden; the Fortuny Lighting system by which our former flat and unreal lighting is replaced with soft, reflected glows of real beauty; the new types of theatre architecture, which are solving, the question of the most appropriate and practical forms under particular conditions all these are only a part of what applied science has begun to contribute to the art of the modern theatre.

It is hard for the layman to realise how far the "stage picture" of fifteen years ago was separated from the picture, in the artist's sense of the word. To the old producer any required set fell into a traditional classification palace, drawing room, forest, and so on and was put together from the materials at hand in the store-room of every theatre, or ordered by number, so to speak, from the scene painter. A palace had a back-drop showing columns, panels, and stucco, an imposing set of stairs, perhaps, and an abundance of furniture of one sort or another, all embellished with coarse paints in gold, blue, green, yellow, purple, orange and white. A drawing-room had a back drop representing a highly decorated wall, with panels and stucco, canvas sides, innumerable doors and variegated furniture, the whole scene embellished with a similar colour scheme. A forest had a back drop representing a forest, side sets or drops, representing more of it, and perhaps in the foreground individual tree-trunks of canvas, the whole set in waving motion whenever the stage door was opened permitting the entrance of a breeze from the street; for purposes of "realism" some of the important tree-trunks were constructed of wood and cork, which thus emphasised the unreal nature of the rest of the scene. The colours of this scene were usually the one stroke of originality in it, since they were chiefly flat blues and ugly greens such as were never yet seen in a forest and were a pure effervescence of personality on the part of the scene-painter. If the producer made these sets roughly to imitate the thing to be represented he was satisfied. This was the whole "art" of the old stage setting.

To the painter, of course, the art of picture making is something very different. Every artistic canvas is not merely a representation of nature a room, a forest, or what not but also a design within a limited space. The artist is never content merely to imitate what he sees for anybody can go into a room or forest and see the thing itself. The artist sets himself to select these things in beautiful proportions, and place them beautifully within his oblong frame. An interior by Vermeer, for instance, is an arrangement of lines and masses, balancing or contrasting with one another, and of colours which harmonise, supplement, and contrast. The painter does not permit himself to take his subject in the way it first happens to hit his eye, nor to pile on his canvas any or all the colours of his palette just because they happen to be in the object painted. It is precisely in selecting out of the prodigality of nature or of his imagination the few simple elements which fit his present purpose, and in arranging these with great care upon his limited canvas, that he finds his greatest joy. Many a painter regards his canvas almost solely as an exercise in pure design or in colour.

The modern theatre has brought to its service painters who regard the stage picture as a picture in their own sense, who give to the design within the stage frame the same care in the placing of lines and masses, the selecting, harmonising and contrasting of colours, that they give to their canvases. Modern producers have begun to see that it is foolish for the theatre to plod along in its old way, when the immense art of the painter is waiting to be applied to its service to make its stage a thing of real beauty.

In the same way the stage set has been architectural in that it was made in three dimensions, using contrasting lines and solid masses, physical perspective, and so forth. Yet it made no use of the art of the architect, who knows how out of these materials to make a building not only useful and safe, but also beautiful. The stage space is necessarily an architectural design, good or bad. And the modern stage has brought to its service the art of the architect to make this design a beautiful one.

The stage has always made use of movement. The gestures of actors and the action of mobs have always been necessary parts of the conduct of a drama. But movement, besides being a realistic accessory of dramatic action, can be a thing of beauty in itself. The love scene in Romeo and Juliet, for instance, involves movements of the arms, head, and body. As we become familiar with this scene we begin to feel that these motions have a beauty of their own, apart from their immediate significance. Without in the least conceiving the scene as a symbolic dance, or anything of the sort, we come to see that the rise and fall of these movements, the rhythm of the bodies, the tensions and the relaxations, have a beauty of their own. Hedda Gabler, throwing the manuscript into the fireplace, is a posed figure. Exactly like Vemeer's interior, she is at once a representation of life and an exercise in pure de-sign.

Now the art which has worked out the principles and beauties of human poses and movements is dancing. The drama necessarily uses the elements of the art of dancing in its work. Why not call upon the art of dancing to make its use of these elements beautiful? There is also much dancing, in the stricter sense, demanded in drama, and this can be made not only beautiful (which most of our theatre dancing is not), but also appropriate to the dramatic significance. There is also in the drama as a whole, or in its individual scenes, something of the rhythm and motion-design which it is not easy to put into words, but is felt by every one who has much to do with the theatre the rise, climax, and fall of the plot, pulsations of emotional intensity, alternations in the tone of the lighting, and so on. These values can be regarded as problems in a sort of rhythmic motion, can be refined and directed, without in the least making of our "Hedda Gabler" a symbolic ballet. All these values, totally ignored by the old producer, can be used for beautiful results by applying, wisely and with discretion, something of the art or the instinct of dancing.

This is what the stage of the last ten years has begun to do. We have recently developed a new feeling for the dance. The Russian dancers from the Imperial Opera House in St. Petersburg, the various solo dancers, such as Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, and others, and many troupes of national dancers from various lands, have shown us something of the possibilities of dancing in expressing life. Folk-dancing, especially in England, has gained a new popularity, not as a fad, much less as an archeological study, but as one more instrument for the joy of life. Even "society dancing," which with the "Tango," the "Maxixe" and the rest, has become a craze in all large cities, is a genuine phenomenon of our reawakening sense of the beauty of rhythm. This joy in motion must necessarily be reflected in our drama, and the theatre has accordingly begun to draw into its service a feeling for the art of dancing at its best.

Just as the drama uses movements it also uses sounds. It is here that the culture, if not the art, of the musician has been called into its service. The tones of the speaking voice, the stage noises (thunder, rain, etc.), and of course incidental music in the strict sense, can be regarded not merely as necessary accessories to the conduct of the drama, but as sounds that can be organised into a beautiful whole. Again, without trying to make our drama a musician's symphony, we can approach it with something of the musician's instinct and see to it that the sounds which we must use shall be refined and harmonised into some relation with each other and with the whole. Our play of "Macbeth," for instance, can be made not only a ,representation of life, but also something of a pure design in tone.

In the case of the dancer and musician, of course, the application is by no means so literal and direct as in that of the painter and architect. Still it is very literally the fine arts of dancing and music which are being called into the service of the modern theatre to make all its rites beautiful in themselves and appropriate to their end.

The most obvious enrichment of the modern theatre has been in its literature. The good native play of thirty years or so ago has become so outmoded that the most uncritical provincial audience will laugh at much that used to pass for high dramatic art. The old play of the better sort say of Bulwer-Lytton or of Dion Boucicault was a strangely constricted affair. If its love pangs and poetic justice seemed thrilling happenings to the audience they were the merest routine of calculation on the part of the writers. It was necessary that the hero triumph and the villain be brought to punishment if the piece was a "play," and that the hero suffer innocently and the villain triumph wickedly if it was a "tragedy." All plays were classifiable by tradition as comedy, romantic tragedy, comedy-drama, dialect comedy, society drama, and so on. They could almost be and often literally were ordered by number. The characters were even more strictly traditional. There was the first lead and the second lead, the female lead, the soubrette, the coloured lead, the villain, the adventuress, the Irish dialect comic, the Swedish dialect comic, and so on. An author was scarcely allowed to write a character unless it fell easily into one of the traditional rôles. We know now (after being painfully taught by some of the best brains of the age) how unreal all this stuff was. We can see that people never made love as the stage-folk did or triumphed over their enemies in the stage tone of voice.

The subject-matter of these plays, especially, seems to us now to have been strangely limited. It was sup-posed that men and women could act only from certain traditional motives ; that under given conditions every person in the world would become amorous, revengeful, jealous, or what not. Love was the almost universal subject of the theatre, but only in its most superficial and unreal aspects. It used to be an axiom of the theatre that drama ceased when married life began. It was another axiom or rather a religious tenet that people went to the theatre "to escape from the realities of life." Indeed they did ! All that made the life about us (or even the life of a previous. age) real and thrilling, was banned from the theatre, "that last sanctuary of unreality."

Through Ibsen and those who felt his spirit all this was changed. Besides bringing something like the science of logic to the technical work of play construction, they widened its scope so that it could use as subject-matter almost anything that was of importance and dramatic interest in life. To get a suggestion of the range of modern drama we have only to recall the subject-matter of some of our most famous modern plays : the labour and capital struggle in "The Weavers" and "Strife"; parental authority in "Magda"; prostitution in "Mrs. Warren's Profession"; traditional religion in "Rosmersholm," "The Devil's Disciple" and a host of others ; venereal disease in "Ghosts" and "Damaged Goods"; the psychology of repression in "Hedda Gabler" ; the psychology of the modern business man in "Business is Business" and "The Lion and the Mouse"; the psychology of adolescence in "The Awakening of Spring"; feminine jealousy in "The Girl with the Green Eyes," and so on through hundreds of plays which have revealed to us the forces and meaning of our modern life.

And yet these realistic plays, which we think of first, are only a part of the riches of modern dramatic literature a literature which is entirely the product of the last forty, and for the most part of the last twenty years. Within that time we have been given romantic dramas, such as "Cyrano," "L'Aiglon," "Francesca da Rimini," which are assured classics ; the elaborate symbolism of the plays of Maeterlinck, opening up to us a whole new world of delicate tempera-mental states; the brilliant comedies of Shaw, and Oscar Wilde, the fiercely vital Russian plays of Tolstoy, Andreieff, and Maxim Gorky; the tenderly cynical come-dies of Schnitzler; the poetic dramas of many sorts represented by such works as Hauptmann's "The Sunken Bell" and Karl Schönherr's "Faith and Fire side"; and a group of individual plays which are not to be classified, such as "Salomé," "Caesar and Cleopatra," "Peter Pan," and many others.

And this extensiveness does not indicate yet the wide range of our modern drama. There is an intensiveness which is still more wonderful. For modern authors have been able to bring into their works a set of values a thought content as contrasted with the obvious lifecontent which were hardly hinted at in any previous drama since the Greek. The abstract forces which run through our modern life ideas of individualism, personal freedom, cooperation, compromise, and so on; philosophy of many kinds (in the strict sense) determinism, free will, animism, life as the interaction of forces; experiments in the drama as an exercise in logic and pure design, as in Hervieu, or in the waking of delicate shades of temperament, as in Maeterlinck; the exploiting of popular ideas of religion and the super-natural; sincere attempts to reproduce the original values of the Greek and Elizabethan classics this wide variety of subject and form has begun to reflect some-thing like the height and breadth of contemporary life and thought.

So the theatre has brought to its service, in place of the rude mechanic writers of forty years ago, much of the best genius and literary ability of the age. It seemed in the early "Ibsenistic" years to be interested solely in the intellectual presentation of contemporary life by the realistic method, and this repelled much talent of the romantic and imaginative sort and kept the theatre still a kind of special cult. But the last ten years seem to have broken down any such exclusiveness. Imaginative and poetic drama is again beginning to have something like free play. There is a wide road open for experimentation in new forms and new subject matter. It is hard to say whether realistic or romantic, verse or prose, modern or classical, "propagandistic" or "aesthetic" has the dominance in the theatre of today.

In short, modern drama includes, potentially if not actually, every style and genre, every sort of subject-matter, physical, spiritual and philosophic, and every kind of element which exists in the age and which must be contained and reflected in a mature art.

But theatre architecture has been a long way from such an ideal state as that foreshadowed by dramatic literature. All of us who are obliged to take cheap seats in the theatre have realised many times that most theatres of the old style are built in utter contempt of the man with a small income. One feels that the architect thought he was doing us a favour to let us in at all. Many seats in the ordinary "horseshoe" theatre make the stage partly or wholly invisible. Very frequently the back of the balconies is so ill ventilated that the evening is torture. The acoustics of such caves are often wretched.

This method of theatre building is both bad ethics and bad art. It prejudices the effect of the drama among the rank and file, whose approval the Greek tragedians held equal in value to that of the rich. To build theatres in which cheap seats are acoustically, optically, or hygienically bad is an insolence in a democratic age.

Professor Littmann, of Munich, is revolutionising Germany with a new style of theatre in which, he says : "There shall be no bad seats; there shall not even be any worse seats." His "amphitheatre" playhouse has all its rows practically parallel with the proscenium and its floor rising at such an angle that every spectator can look clean over the head of his neighbour in front. The galleries, which are always excellent, are few and short. He is experimenting with many different problems, applying his principle to different demands and working out the formulae for the maximum economy of space, of money, and of artistic effect, on a basis of "a good seat for every one." He is giving Germany a native democratic playhouse to replace its Italian aristocratic theatre.

At the same time the architects have constantly tried experiments in the large form of theatre for grand spectacles. These experiments go back somewhat to the Greek form, semicircular or even circular. The "Theatre of the Five Thousand" which is being built for Professor Max Reinhardt in Berlin, is such a structure. It must of course be kept for a certain sort of production which demands none of the "intimacy" of our modern realistic drama. In fact, the conditions are so different that we may expect a totally individual style of drama to develop under them. The spread of the idea will mean an enriching of our dramatic life.

There is much, also, to be hoped for the simple out-of-door theatre, to be developed either from experiments in the Greek style or from the local pageants which have become so popular in America and England.

But the most profound change of all is as yet only in germ. This change, if it really comes to pass, as conditions seem to indicate, will mean the complete democratisation of the theatre in its economic organisation. The theatre as we know it in America and England is almost entirely a commercial venture. We can look for no spirit of experimentation from it, nor for any truly artistic impulse except so far as that is likely to pay dividends. Since it is a private business we have nothing to say about it; its directors can justly reply: "If you don't like what we offer, you can stay away."

The royal or municipal endowed theatre in Germany and France is only a modification of this commercial theatre. It is essentially the same in structure and in its relation to its audience, except that it can prosper on more modest returns. Without disparaging the fine democratic results of the endowed German theatres their excellent, cheap and varied productions we must remember that they are essentially the private aristocratic theatre adopting commercial methods in their operation. Admirable as their results often are, they are in general a bureaucratic rather than a democratic institution.

We should not think of criticising this bureaucratic theatre if our eyes had not been opened to something of far finer promise. The germ of this new form has been developed in two large stage societies in Berlin the "New Free Folk Stage" and the "Schiller Theater." These, with a membership of many thousands each, aim to give good performances of their own at the lowest possible price. They have developed slowly from very modest beginnings and have created a system which in its physical magnitude and its social influence is immense. Besides maintaining excellent stock companies in theatres of their own, they have obtained low rates for their members at the best commercial theatres, and have established lectures, recitals and concerts unsurpassed in quality in Berlin. The members are largely workingmen who have built up the institutions with their contributions of a few Pfennige at a time. Only a knowledge of the economic structure of these societies and of their marvellously varied programmes and high quality of acting can give an adequate notion of the essential soundness of the idea.

In this democratic organisation, when we look at it together with the forces operating in the theatre to-day, we may reasonably feel that we are seeing a type of the theatre of the future. Here we find none of the forcing of the market, none of the speculating and immense waste, which are the characteristics of the commercial theatre in America. The organisation is sound because it gives at cost price a good product for which there is a genuine demand. The effect of this organisation upon the audiences can hardly be too highly estimated; the members, feeling that they are paying their own bills and with their pennies are making a real sacrifice for an artistic article of real value, participate in the performances to a far greater extent than is possible where the rich and self-satisfied come to while away an evening. Art is no mere ornament to these working people; it is very closely bound up in their lives.

The economy and social utility of these organisations make the spread of them practically a matter of certainty. They offer the solution of many of the problems which are puzzling us in America. At the same time we do not deny certain limitations and dangers in their form or organisation. Such an institution can never rise much above the artistic capacity of its owning audience, and in America it would be a long time before we could hope for the brilliant results of the German experiments. A theatre on a large and democratic scale cannot be depended upon for radical experiments (and there is no reason why such institutions should be expected to usurp the place of the private experimental theatre). In the third place, there is always the danger (though we believe it to be remote) of a sort of narrow mob censorship in such organisations. In a period of social stagnation or mental indifference the prejudices of such a body might counteract the best efforts of the wisest directors. It must be admitted that these dangers have not shown themselves seriously in the Berlin experiments, but if we are to get the best out of their lesson we must be equally open-minded toward their advantages and their defects.

In Berlin these organisations grew up out of the labour unions and the proletarian unrest of the early nineties. In America it might be a different germ that would develop the institution. We cannot tell; we must look around, for no institution can be transplanted bodily into a different environment. But the germs of such growth certainly exist in America, and it is fair to believe that the economy and soundness of the idea will make headway against all opposition.

The immensity of the institution of the theatre, if such an organisation as this or anything like it eventually supplants the present one, astonishes the imagination. Instead of a place of amusement to which the people go, the theatre becomes one of the great sacraments of life growing up in their midst. It entwines itself in their minds and spirits in a way we can hardly imagine at present. The exterior fact becomes an inner force. The best brains of the age, the most beautiful visions of the artist, become mingled with the people, from the top to the bottom of society, in their daily life. Probably no institution in the world, excepting only the Christian church, will have had such a universal and personal power in moulding society. With a brilliance and force which the novel can never achieve it will show to men and women themselves and their age. It will bring the thoughts of the philosophers and the visions of the prophets into the homes of men, as Socrates brought philosophy out of the skies into the streets of Athens. All that is hidden, in the facts of life and the meaning of life, will be revealed, and all that is dumb in the souls of men and women will find joyous expression.

Nor need we fear that such an institution will become rigid and dogmatic, the instrument of powerful men for blinding vision and suppressing thought. The whole system is too vast and flexible; somewhere its audiences will demand self-expression, and the flame will spread. Nor will such an institution of the "mob" suppress the voice of the individual iconoclast or heretic. The artist is the last man in the world to be effectually gagged. It is only where an institution is under a central authority that such suppression is possible. The theatre of which we are dreaming will be a collection of independent interacting units. And if the individual voice is smothered in one part it will speak in another and wake the sleeping into new life. All the world can never be gagged at once, nor is all the world ever at one time asleep. Because men need to know themselves and their world they will always, in the long run, listen to the individual artist or thinker, providing that artist or thinker has a fit instrument to transmit his message. And this theatre of ours will be one of the most complete, flexible, and noble instruments ever conceived by man.

At least we can have this dream. The forces tending toward its realisation are many, those against it few. From all directions, from all departments of life, these influences seem to be concentrating toward a universal democratic institution which shall draw upon the best that men have yet achieved in all the arts.



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