Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/128

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



a very rare natural gift—such simplicity as we find in the people—or else it is merely the result of lack of experience in theater-going. But we maintain that the people are used to going to the theater, or that they soon will be; it is therefore futile to count upon their simplicity: in this year of 1903, the simplest public is that thronging the boulevards, night after night, to see a comedy of M. Capus. After all, I am not so much opposed to the use of scenery and elaborate costumes as to the scandalous and useless excesses they entail, which no well-organized society should tolerate, and which have nothing to do with art. My People's Theater shall have nothing but a large hall, like the Salle Huyghens, or a public meeting-place like the Salle Wagram—preferably with a slanting floor, allowing every spectator a full view; at the end of this hall there must be a high and wide platform.

As I see it, there is but one primary physical requisite for a real People's Theater: the stage and auditorium must be large enough to accommodate large masses of people.[1] The other requisites are

  1. The people's performances and festivals of Switzerland deserve further study. Many useful things may be learned from them, in particular what they call the "chemin de cortège." This is a long and winding pathway, which leads from one of the large doorways on either side of the stage (and off-stage), and comes down, outside the proscenium. This is where armies enter, combats are fought, and cavalry charges introduced. In this way large mobs of people can easily be manipulated without confusion and the illusion is the better preserved. In outdoor performances this "chemin de cortège" is often an ordinary country road, and leads in