Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/100

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Master Builder of Ibsen, Beyond Human Power by Björnson, Dawn by Verhaeren, Philaster, translated from Beaumont and Fletcher by Georges Eekhoud, etc. At Ghent, the Vooruit offered classical concerts on Mardi gras and in 1897 produced Tannhäuser, as a protest against the orgies of the carnival. At Liège, a miner named Alphonse Bechon wrote Le Bribeu socialists ou les Martyrs de l'Ideie, a democratic melodrama, "en treus akes et in apotheose," written in the dialect of the section. This was performed in 1902 at the Maison du Peuple de Flemalle Grande.

Switzerland has never abandoned the tradition of the great people's spectacles.[1] During

    sels, see Jules Destrée, Les Préoccupations intellectuelles, esthétiques et morales dans le parti ouvrier belge. (In the Mouvement Socialiste, Sept. 1 and 15, 1902.)

  1. As early as 1545 we find a Guillaume Tell performed at Zurich. The movement for people's productions which was so strong at Bâle, Berne, and Zurich during the sixteenth century, was practically abandoned during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but with Schiller's Wilhelm Tell it was revived and pursued with the greatest enthusiasm. Herr Stocker's book, Das Volks-theater in der Schweiz (1893), is a detailed study of this movement, which inspired the establishment of many Dramatische Vereine in the very smallest towns.—"The people's theater is one of the most vital and original traditions of Swiss art," writes M. René Morax. "Switzerland indeed never had any other theater. Neither national crises nor the nefarious blight of the Consistories could keep the Swiss from taking pleasure in these great spectacles, which included the plays of Ruff, the companion of Zwingli, the author of the first William Tell play from the beautiful tragedy of Theodore de Bèze, to the Charles the Bold of Arnold Ott." (Journal de Genève, May 5 and 8, 1907.)