Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/101

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



the past few years these have been successfully revived.[1]

In France, the first man who was able to realize the ideals of a People's Theater was Maurice Pottecher. On September 22, 1892, the one-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the Republic, he produced a patois translation of Le Médecin malgré lui at Bussang, a little village in the Vosges. It was a great success. Three years later, on September 2, 1895, he inaugurated his People's Theater—Le Théâtre du Peuple—at Bussang with a play of his own: Le Diable marchant de goutte. The stage, which was fifteen meters wide, was constructed against the side of a mountain, at the end of a field. Two thousand people were present at the first performance. Every year the Bussang theater offers two "dramatic days," in August and September; admission is charged on one of the days, when a new play is performed; there is no admission for the other, when the play of the preceding year may be witnessed. The theater is assured a repertory, for every year M. Pottecher writes a new play, sometimes two; M. Pottecher also acts, together with his family, and a company of workingmen and tradespeople from the village. His talent, his artistic conscience, his marvelous persever-

  1. I do not here refer to the traditional performances, like the Oberammergau Passion Play, and the Maggi (May festivals) of Tuscany, which have continued without interruption from the fifteenth, and perhaps even the fourteenth century, to our own days. These are written and played by the peasants around Pisa, Lucca, Pistoia, and Siena.