Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/125

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THE NEW THEATER

107

sons from living works (a stupid thing to do, for the keenly alert will immediately scent the bait and avoid it), and mere impersonal dilettantism, whose only purpose is to amuse the people at any cost—a dishonorable thing, with which the people are not always pleased, for they can judge those who amuse them; and often there is a mixture of disdain in their laughter. No moral purpose, then, and no mere empty amusement, in and for itself. Morality is no more than the hygiene of the heart and the brain.[1] Let us found a theater full to the brim with health and joy. "Joy, the abounding strength of nature … joy, which turns the wheels of the world's docks; joy, which revolves the spheres in space; joy, which brings forth the flower from the seed, and suns from the firmament!"

Such are the moral requisites—moral in the sense I have just indicated—of our new Theater. We must now consider the very important question of physical requisites.

Regarding the architecture of the hall, Morel is in favor of the trapezoidal form, like the Bayreuth Theater and the Maison du Peuple at Brussels. M. Gosset, an architect, proposes a series of semicircular steps in the form of an amphitheater, divided into two or three floors. I myself have no preference. The essential point is that all the seats be equally good. This is why none of our old theaters, so odiously aristocratic, could be used as People's

  1. "The ineffable joy we feel when we are perfectly healthy timid and spirit," (Schiller to Goethe, Jan. 7, 1795.)