TYPES OF PEOPLE'S DRAMA
and Getting one's money's worth. The dramatist must think of this last point if he is in earnest, and wishes really to found a People's Theater."
First, then, the necessity for varied emotions: the people come to the theater to feel, and not to learn. Since they give themselves up entirely to their feelings, they demand that the emotions offered them be varied, for prolonged sadness or gaiety would be too great a strain. They seek relief from laughter in tears, and from tears in laughter.
Second, the necessity for true realism. One of the principal reasons for the success of a melodrama lies in the scrupulous exactitude with which such and such a well-known place is reproduced: a cabaret, a market, a pawn-shop, or the like.
Third, the necessity for simple morality. The popular public demands, not as a result of their simple-mindedness but as a sort of hygiene, some support for the innate conviction in every one of them that good will eventually triumph over evil. It is right that they should feel this, for it is a law of life and progress.
Fourth, the necessity for a square deal. There exists an implicit agreement on the part of dramatists and directors not to rob the public by keeping them shut up in a theater for four hours and giving them less than two hours' actual entertainment. The people come to the theater to see the play, and not, as in the ordinary playhouses, to exhibit themselves, to gossip, or to flirt.
Which of the two publics cares more about art?