Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/107

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he gave at Louis Lumet's Théâtre civique, under the auspices of the Nouveau Théâtre, a people's performance of Danton, for the benefit of the tulle-making strikers. The play was preceded by an address from Jaurès. A year later, on the 21st of March, 1902, the author of Danton produced at the Théâtre de la Renaissance-Gémier, Le 14 Juillet, a "people's play." This was inspired by the artistic and civic ideals of the men of the Committee of Public Safety. "To revive the forces of the Revolution," the preface stated, "to awaken once more the heroism and the faith of the nation when it was in the midst of the republican struggle, in order that the work interrupted in 1794 might be taken up and completed by a people of greater maturity and more conscious of its destiny: such is our ideal."

The tentatives of the Revue d'art dramatique found an echo in the Chamber in M. Couyba's report on the Fine Arts budget for 1902, and in his speech of the 5th of March during the same year. But it was easy to see how Minister Leygues and his clever delegate, M. Bernheim, were laboring to direct the forces of democratic art into the coffers of the State. The plan was classic—like their repertory. But in spite of their political game, which was upheld by the bourgeois press, I very much doubt whether they will have the last word against the irresistible power of a movement which increases in proportion as it is opposed. The people can no longer be deceived. No one who is really concerned about the people's art will allow himself