Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/153

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and jealousy. Music and poetry are two wings of the lyric drama. He who neglects either, can fly only with great difficulty.

And why relegate pantomime, which is pure action, to the circus? The spectacle of action is a powerful spring to action, good as well as evil; it is absurd to neglect it. The circus at Rome kept alive the pleasure derived from action—a pleasure we know little about nowadays, but one which is a fundamental need of all great nations. The Greeks cultivated bodily as well as mental exercise. Let us give the body its proper place in art. Our Theater must be a Theater of men, and not merely of writers.

How many are the new types of drama which might flourish in our People's Theater! But it would be a vain task to describe the shadows of the future.[1] Nothing counts but actual achieve-

  1. Just a word on another type of drama which is dead in the France of today: the Improvised Comedy. In the provinces, where the mind is quicker and the spirit wider awake, it is not necessary that the plays be written down in their entirety. It might even be well to allow the fancy a little free play, and let the people act at their ease round a given theme or story. This is what the Italians do in their Commedia dell' arte, which is still in existence among the peasants. To those who consider improvisation outside the province of art, let me quote not only Michelet—who declares that "it would be a pity to let the Southerners have complete texts, because a theme alone suffices"—but Goethe, who remarked of Wallensteins Lager that "this sort of play demands the introduction of something new at every performance, in order to hold the attention of the spectators." (Goethe to Schiller, Oct. 5, 1798.)