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you will not have to seek beneficence to keep your theatre floating. But, on the other hand, no National Art Theatre will ever lure the crowd to listen to the sort of plays it doesn't want. When a Progressive Stage Society is started, it usually damns itself at the beginning by giving a special performance of The Master Builder. How can it hope to uplift the crowd with a play that the crowd cannot with any effort understand? There is a wise maxim appended to one of Mr. George Ade's Fables in Slang: "In uplifting, get underneath." If the theatre in America is decadent, what it needs is not endowment: it needs great and popular plays. Why should we waste our money and our energy trying to make the crowd come to see The Master Builder, or A Blot in the 'Scutcheon, or The Hour Glass, or Péllèas and Mélisande? It is willing enough to come without urging to see Othello and The Second Mrs. Tanqueray. Give us one great dramatist who understands the crowd, and we shall not have to form societies to propagate his art. Let us cease our prattle of the theatre for the few. Any play that is really great as drama will interest the crowd.
One point remains to be considered. In any theatre audience there are certain individuals who do not belong to the crowd. They are in it, but not of it; for they fail to lose their individual selfconsciousness in the general self-consciousness of the multitude. Such are the professional critics, and other confirmed frequenters of the theatre. It is not for them primarily that plays are written; and any one who has grown individualized through the theatre-going habit cannot help looking back regretfully upon those fresher days when he belonged, unthinking, to the crowd. A first-night audience is anomalous, in that it is composed largely of individuals opposed to self-surrender; and for this reason, a first-night judgment of the merits of a play is rarely final. The dramatist has written for a crowd, and he is judged by individuals. Most dramatic critics will tell you that they long to lose themselves in the crowd, and regret the aloofness from the play that comes of their profession. It is because of this aloofness of the critic that most dramatic criticism fails.
Throughout the present essay, I have insisted on the point that the great dramatists have always written primarily for the many. Yet now I must add that when once they have fulfilled this prime necessity, they may also write secondarily for the few. And most of them have done so.
In so far as he was a dramatist, Shakespeare wrote for the crowd; in so far as he was a lyric poet, he wrote for himself; and in so far as he was a sage and a stylist, he wrote for the individual. In making sure of his appeal to the many, he earned the right to appeal to the few. At the thirty-cent performance of Othello that I spoke of, I was probably the only individual in the crowd. Shakespeare made a play that could appeal to the rabble of that Middle-Western town; but he wrote it in a verse that none of them could hear:
"Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
And no one cared but I!
The greatest dramatist of all, in writing for the crowd, did not neglect the individual.
The Legacy of
BY JAMES HUNEKER
CRITICAL estimates and guesses about a dead genius usually recall the afternoon of a funeral when friends and relatives begin to gossip over the estate and the heirs of a departed rich one. When the apportionments are known there are ejaculations of surprise, incredulous shoulder-shrugs and lifted eyebrows. Things are never quite as they should be. So is it when a great dramatist, painter, composer or poet dies; great in the universal sense, one whose work has gone across the borders of his own land. If he has made a school, terrible is the struggle for his place. Sometimes his genius has been so comprehensive that there is no inheritance to be divided; this was the case with Richard Wagner, who said all he had to say, leaving nothing for his disciples to develop. He closed his epoch, the Romantic in music. His personality was so overwhelming that he crushed all hopes of reasonable imitation. There is another sort of genius that breaks paths, blazes trails, and to him we look for a school, for genuine disciples. Franz Liszt is the most notable example of this class in modern times. He did not perfect a form, he inaugurated a new one, the Symphonic Poem; from him SaintSaëns, Tschaikowsky, Richard Strauss, the entire Neo-Russian school,
the Belgian, the new French and later German schools date their genesis. Without him modern instrumental music would be inconceivable.
Whether Henrik Ibsen will have a direct successor is of less importance than the question of his ultimate influence, and this influence during his lifetime was profound. It may be noted among the playwrights of all lands, without distinction of genres. We know that Ibsen was a severe formalist, yet it is not his form but his attitude toward life, his specific vision, that has worked upon the minds of his contemporaries, coloring their themes, their dialogues, their dénouements. This influence, none the less powerful because of its silent progress, extends to the lighter and more elastic varieties of plays. It gives to Bernard Shaw's farces and comedies their sub-acid flavor; it forms the somewhat sinister background for many pieces of the ultra-Parisian school:-Mirbeau, Hervieu, François de Curel, Eugène Brieux, Jules Lemaître, Georges de Porto-Riche; even the light-hearted Maurice Donnay has opened some doors through which the breeze blows from the North.
To Germany Ibsen has been a cruel master. He topsy-turveyed the old school of writers, and the new generation, headed by Hauptmann and
Sudermann, has held the boards ever since. Wedekind, whose Erdgeist has had such an inexplicable success; Max Halbe, whose Jugend we saw here and were horrified-nor was Der Strom any less Ibsenish; Kalbeck, Johannes Schlaf, Voss (Eva), Von Wolzogen, Holz, Paul Lindau a little old fashioned, as is Heyse-Heinz Tovote, Zabeltitz, Erich Hartleben-since dead-Felix Philippi, Wildenbruch and a host of younger men are all plastered with Ibsen's broad and pessimistic brush.
In Italy, in the country of Goldoni, where gloom is not supposed to have its abode, especially in the theatres, Ibsen has had a depressing
influence. The more hardy northerners sup their artistic sorrow with a comfortable spoon. After a black soul-racking drama the German restores the psychical balance by way of his healthy hunger and thirst. He knows that after all it is only a play. A sufferer from weltschmerz, Hauptmann nevertheless contrived to give a poetic quality to Ibsen's philosophy of individualism; witness The Sunken Bell, in which both Ibsen and Nietzsche struggle through the music of the verse. However, not so in Italy. With the characteristic exaggeration of the southern temperament the ideas of the Norwegian are transformed into
something ferocious. D'Annunzio, who at times is a wonderful literary chameleon, has played with the Ibsen dramatic and ethical counters, dipping them into the glittering dye of his own brilliant poetic speech, but deforming their meanings almost beyond recognition. Nor is Marco Praga very different. The late Sicilian dramatist, Verga, author of Cavalleria Rusticana, a man of dramatic ability, did not betray affinities to the northern school, though the realism of Cavalleria Rusticananot the opera-is potent. The piece is a small masterpiece.
Russia has her own national pessimism and does not need to import much. The gay days of Gogol's Der Revizor have gone; instead we are given the underground drama of Gorky or the powerful preachments of Tolstoy, whose Powers of Darkness is truly a symphony in black-its blackness has the ebon and poignant quality of Tschaikowsky's Pathetic Symphony. Gorky revels in cellars. His folk are generally used-up men and women and hurled upon the dramatic canvas. Vivid characterization, but no development, no plot, no beginning, no ending, is there in these impressionistic sketches. Gorky has read Ibsen and Nietzsche not wisely; his tramps spout philosophy at the most inopportune moments.
In Sweden there is Strindberg; in Holland, Herman Heijermans has the most promising talent. His Good Hope, Kettenlieder and kindred plays are anarchistic this far they show the narrow, toilsome lives of fisher folk, of the crushed proletarians in Amsterdam, with little comment from the author. Heijermans has been unquestionably
affected by Ibsen. He is an individualist; but he is also a humorist and his comedies with all their bitter tang are fresh and enjoyable. Hungary has first-class dramatic talent, but it has not been translated into other tongues, and it is the world-writers we must now discuss. But there are not many successors to Kisfaludy's Tartars in Hungary, Irene, and the rest; nor living poets like Alexander Petöfi or Vorösmarty. Francis Herezeg has written plays; yet it would seem that John Arany and Imre Madách still hold their own-the latter's epic, The Tragedy of Man, is Goethian in its ideals. Of Poland I can say little, with the exception of Sienkiewicz, because I know little. There is nevertheless a strong modern movement headed by the eccentric, gifted Przybyszewski, whose best plays are in one act-unlike his name. Austria succumbed to Ibsen from the first; that charming talent, Arthur Schnitzler, and the versatile Herman Bahr are among the best known of the younger men; the author of Eckerman is also an Ibsen epigone.
Spain among the elder men has José Echegaray to show that this Catholic country boasts fierce dissidents. El Gran Galeoto - which New
York saw in both its German and English garbs-is a strong study of jealousy, as are this Spaniard's recent efforts. Echegaray is realistic to the core and a first night with him is usually attended by demonstrations in the playhouse. England, ever disliking Ibsen-New York has seen more of his plays publicly performed-has been forced to listen to the great man in private, usually at the merciless hands of the enthusiastic amateur. We have been mildly reproached by an English critic for exhibiting enthusiasm over Ibsen-"he is vieux jeu for us in London." Precisely is he not an old jest, for he has never been rightfully performed in England. Long before Shaw wrote his brilliant challenge, The Quintessence of Ibsenism, there had been performances of A Doll's House and Ghosts and other plays in a public New York theatre by competent actors. This, while London was holding its breath at secret performances of the Norwegian by stage societies and deadly propagandists of various kinds. Little wonder the Ibsen cult was called morbid. The morbidity lay in the method of producing him, in the attitude of the public toward him. On the continent there was no such hypocrisy. And Richard Mansfield and New York accepted Bernard Shaw before London. But the Ibsen lesson was speedily apprehended by several English playwrights, though I do not agree with those who read Ibsen into every play of Mr. Pinero.
Pinero, Jones, and Shaw
Whatever else he is, Ibsen is first a poet, and poet-like he has strengthened his work by the artistic use of the symbol. Mr. Pinero is a man of intellect, of first-rate talent, but he is not a poet. Luckily he knows this. There are Ibsen passages in The Second Mrs. Tanqueray, in Iris and in that rather futile piece, The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith. But that is all. A general concision in the technique and a selection of subjects in sober middle class life may be set down to Ibsen's permeating influence; for example, Pinero's best comedy, The Benefit of the Doubt, is as caustic as Ibsen in its depiction of the bourgeois, in its unveiling of the pettiness of the pretentious. Yet it could be as well ascribed to Henri Becque as to Ibsen. And it is really Pinero's own. Henry Arthur Jones has written plays that are decidedly more Ibsenish than Mr. Pinero's. Mr. Jones admires the moral earnestness of Ibsen, for he is a morally earnest playwright himself. Of Mr. Shaw it is unnecessary to dilate upon in this gallery. He is all for Ibsen, though he