Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/89

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Theater was not the exclusive property of any one party, for we find men of opposite and antagonistic creeds united in an effort to establish a popular form of dramatic art. Mirabeau, Talleyrand, Lakanal, David, Marie-Joseph Chénier, Danton, Boissy d'Anglas, Barère, Carnot, Saint-Just, Robespierre, Billaud-Varennes, Prieur, Lindet, Collot d'Herbois, Couthen, Payan, Fourcade, Bouquier, Florian, and many another, defended the cause in words, on paper, and with deeds. Here is a brief summary of certain Revolutionary documents touching on the people's festivals:

In a report dated July 11, 1793, relative to the festival in commemoration of the 10th of August, David suggested that after the ceremony in the Champ-de-Mars—which was to constitute the chief attraction—"a vast theater should be erected, where the chief events of our Revolution shall be represented in pantomime." As a matter of fact, they performed a mimic bombardment of the city of Lille.[1]

But on the 2d of August, 1793, the Committee of Public Safety, "desiring to mould further the sentiments and character of the French into a truer form of republicanism," proposed a "regulation of dramatic performances," which was adopted by the Convention after a speech by Couthon. The Convention decreed that between the 4th of August and the 1st of September—that is, at the time when the

  1. A fortress was especially erected on the banks of the Seine.