Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/98

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"You must all march at the head of the people. Give them that glorious instruction which was the whole education of the cities of antiquity: a theater truly of the people. On the stage of that theater give them their own legends, and show them their own deeds. Nourish the people with the people. … The theater is the most potent agent in education and goes far to establish closer relations between man and man; it is, I think, the fairest hope of our national regeneration. I mean a theater universally of the people, echoing every thought of the people, and extending to every hamlet. … Before I die I wish to see a spirit of national fraternity in the theater … a drama simple and vigorous played throughout the countryside, where the energy of talent, the creative power which lies in the heart, and the youthful imagination of an entirely new people shall do away with mere physical adjuncts, sumptuous stage-settings and costumes, without which the feeble dramatists of this outworn age cannot take a step. … What is the theater? It means the resigning of oneself, the abdication of egotism and aggrandizement in order to assume a better role. Ah, how much we need this! … Come, I beg you, come and find your souls again in the people's theater, in the people themselves."[1]

Michelet suggested certain subjects from our national epic literature which lent themselves to treatment in people's plays: Jeanne d'Arc, La Tour

  1. Michelet, L'Étudiant (lecture-course of 1847–48).