PRECURSORS OF THE THEATER
selves. They refused to be merely the people. They said to M. Beaulieu:
"People yourself! We're as good bourgeois as you!"
I presume that if he had wished to force them to go to his theater he would have had to call it Theater of the Bourgeoisie!
Here we come to the most difficult part of our problem, one which threatens to destroy all attempts to establish a people's art at Paris. The people of Paris seem to have lost all sense of class distinction. The demoralizing atmosphere of a city rolling in luxury, pleasure, and business, appears to have debilitated all the inhabitants. Or, to be more exact, there are two peoples in Paris: the one that has just emerged from a state of downright poverty, and is at once taken into the Bourgeoisie. The other is vanquished by its more fortunate brothers, and is in a state of abject misery. The first will not have a people's theater, and the second obviously cannot attend one. The Bourgeoisie tries to annihilate one and assimilate the other. But it is our political and artistic ideal to bring together these two peoples and give them a collective sense of their party. And in this respect we agree with the aims
- ↑ Perhaps it will not be amiss to state the extraordinary effect of some of these plays on the audiences of the Batignolles. They were frankly hostile to Thérèse Raquin; they misunderstood La Vie publique; the irony of Boubouroche was too much for them. On the other hand, they enjoyed La Robe rouge, Honor, Le Dépit amoureux, and, above all, The Weavers and La Fille Éliza.