Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/53

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



domestic and social problems, which are merely stated, and not solved. It is only natural that such works should have impressed the audiences of the day, and no less natural that they should pass away with their time, if they are good as thesis-plays and not as transcriptions of life: for a social reform can render the thesis devoid of interest. This sort of play may be useful to society, perhaps even to the public, because it forces them to think, but it is a form which constantly requires new material, suited to ever-changing conditions. Since it is the mirror of a society subject to unending evolution, since it is the auxiliary and counsellor of lawyers and law-makers, since it treats the sores caused by the vices flourishing under the present organization, and since cleansing brings relief, practically all the subjects about which thesis-plays can be written go out of date every twenty or thirty years. Very few of them are based upon eternal truths, and if one or two such there be, I have perceived no touch of the genius in them that makes for immortality. The thesis-play is essentially a work of transition; what constitutes its power today is its weakness tomorrow; and if our People's Theater were to throw open its doors to it, we should require an entirely new repertory; for what do the people care about bourgeois problems, limited as they are to the Bourgeoisie? If we would perpetuate the type, we must keep it abreast of the times by adapting it to the most recent developments.

If the poetic drama is wanting in common-sense