Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/30

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these things. But we must be careful to distinguish the peoples of various nations, if I may believe what was told me of a popular production of Georges Dandin in Russia. The play aroused the ire of the peasants, who sympathized with Dandin and were indignant at the tricks played upon him by his wife. We are not quite so bad as that; for Le Mariage forcé is one of the greatest successes at our People's Universities. At Gérardmer I saw a performance of Le Médecin malgré lui under the direction of Maurice Pottecher; and though the actors were only the young inexperienced boys and girls of the village, the play seemed more appropriate than as if it were on the boards of the Théâtre-Français. The experiments with Le Bourgeois gentilhomme and Le Malade imaginaire, under the auspices of the Coopération des idées and in the outlying theaters, were no less successful. These works seem to be of the people, by reason of their broadness, their robust light-heartedness, and their Rabelaisian spirit. But let us not hasten to conclude that this is all that is required. I once saw a production of Le Malade imaginaire, offered by the Trente ans de Théâtre; it was successful—though the sentimental declamations of Musset the same evening were received with more applause. Never before had I realized the monstrousness of the play, not only because certain actors saw fit to exaggerate their already exaggerated sense of comedy, but because when the play was exposed to the