Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/136

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The People's Theater is the key to a new art world, which art has hardly caught sight of. We have reached a parting of the ways, beyond which lies an almost totally unexplored land. Two or three more venturesome spirits have gone ahead. But the instinct of the people should have guided these artists. The people speak frankly, and their preferences leave no possible room for doubt. But what artist cares in the least what the public wants? They consider it contemptible not to feel contempt for the people.

Mocked at or disdained, little do the people care! For the last hundred years they have remained faithful to the entertainment so despised by the delicate: the circus, the pantomime, the burlesque, and the melodrama. That is, if not simple plays, these arouse simple emotions, simple pleasures—good and bad but—still simple, appealing to the soul through the senses.

In Greece the theater was popular. What were the plays of the Greeks? It has been fashionable