THE PEOPLE'S THEATER
appeal to only a few among them, the radicals, the leaders of future revolutions. It is absurd to imagine that such pitiful spectacles could assume a place in the repertory of a people who have cast off the shackles of slavery. They are the nightmares which it is hoped they will shun. As for Anzengruber, it seems that he wrote for a popular audience, and he has at least created a few popular types. Some of his plays are up-to-date by reason of their anti-clerical protest, but on the whole they are better adapted to the lower Bourgeoisie of Vienna than to the masses, for Anzengruber lacked the necessary genius to carry his local observations into the realm of the universal. He is an interesting example of a dramatist who avoided excess, and addressed the people without flattery and without contempt, exhibiting to them the spectacle of their own lives.
And finally, we come at the end of the century to the imposing name of the mighty Wagner. Wagner, the greatest composer since Beethoven, was at the same time the greatest dramatic poet since Schiller and Goethe. He has depicted unforgettable characters of superhuman dimensions, comparable to the heroes of antiquity: Siegmund, Siegfried, Brunnhilde. With one stroke he gave us a model play for a People's Theater in that brilliant fresco Die Meistersinger, a work overflowing with strength, humor, color, and movement. The people
- ↑ See M. Auguste Ehrhard's articles on Anzengruber in the Revue d'art dramatique, July-August, 1897.