Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/134

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The people must not of course see only themselves represented in their drama, but they ought to be raised from the humiliating position they have so long occupied on our stage. They must no longer be depicted as skulking valets, spying out their masters' secrets. Let them participate as citizens of the universe, in the great spectacle of the universe! Let all classes be shown on the stage, just as all should be in the auditorium, but as brothers and equals, and not as rivals. Let the people be shown the great men of the world, kings, ministers, and conquerors—not because they were the people's masters, but because they represented the State—the

    in the action, or that popular dramas require actors from among the people. This is a most complex question, involving not only esthetic but moral problems. In the case of exceptional festivals there is nothing more natural than that the people should participate—as in Switzerland, where all the rôles are played by the people or the bourgeois of the Canton without distinction of class. In a case of this sort, the dramatic action is a real action, and participation in it is no more than the duty of a citizen. But in the case of a regular theater, participation on the part of the people is in many ways inconvenient, and more trouble than it is worth. It keeps them from their work, or else imposes an unreasonable amount of it on them; but above all, it is likely to render them vain and insincere. Art gains nothing; or if it did, it would be at too great cost. Here I agree with Maurice Pottecher, who uses actors from the people for extraordinary festivals, but is opposed to using them for a Parisian People's Theater. "Why go to the trouble, in a city which has already so many professionals? At best you would have only a few mediocre amateurs, and increase the number of cheap actors." (Le Théâtre du Peuple, in the Revue des deux Mondes, July 1, 1903.)