Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/133

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the people as novels and plays in which the heroes are of the upper classes, because the description of a richer society makes them for the time being forget their own misery. This is possibly true, so long as the people are reduced to the condition in which they now live; but the moment they become conscious of their own personality and realize their civic dignity, they will blush at the thought of having read that servants' literature. It is the duty of those who love the people to develop their taste.

    Great masses of the people are used, as individuals are in our ordinary theaters. Group dialogues must be introduced, double and triple choruses, but care should be taken not to return to neo-classic archaism, as Schiller did in his Braut von Messina. Each group should also be allowed the greatest liberty within itself. Individual conflicts should little by little give way to mass conflict. Broad sweeping lines. Vigorous dramatic struggle. Large light-and-shade effects. It is impossible to describe the overwhelming effect of absolute silence succeeding a tumult. The Greeks realized this. The instinct of the Swiss peasant also.

    5. We are beginning to see experiments in this monumental and statuesque art, and a new dramatic art is emerging. It seems as if Diderot's theory of "double action" is at last being realized (see p. 66). The great size of the Swiss and Bavarian theaters (especially at Oberammergau) are such as to allow various episodes simultaneously on different levels of the stage. Here the Virgin in tears seeks her son, while there we see Christ in a street of Jerusalem, bearing His cross. Cæsar is seen going to the Capitol, while inside the palace the conspirators are making their preparations. These are different aspects of the drama, all happening at the same time. The play is immensely richer in effect, and the sight of Destiny reaching out for blind man is truly terrifying and magnificent.

    I do not mean that the people must necessarily participate