The Autobiography of a Play (Google eBook)

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Dramatic Museum of Columbia University, 1914 - Drama - 53 pages
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Page 41 - He is an Englishman! For he himself has said it, And it's greatly to his credit, That he is an Englishman!
Page 43 - ... a rather sharp artistic trick on our English audience. In the American version, I assume that, if a plucky young American in France insults a Frenchman purposely, he will abide by the local customs, and give him satisfaction, if called upon to do so. So would a young Englishman, between you and me; but the laws of dramatic construction deal with the sympathies of the audience as well as with the natural motives and actions of the characters in a play; and an English audience would think the French...
Page 13 - Submit yourselves truly and unconditionally to the laws of dramatic truth, so far as you can discover them by honest mental exertion and observation. Do not mistake any mere defiance of these laws for originality. You might as well show your originality by defying the law of gravitation.
Page 27 - America, the death of a pure woman on the stage is not "satisfactory," except when the play rises to the dignity of tragedy. The death, in an ordinary play, of a woman who is not pure, as in the case of FrouFrou, is perfectly satisfactory, for the reason that it is inevitable.
Page 27 - The wife who has once taken the step from purity to impurity can never reinstate herself in the world of art on this side of the grave; and so an audience looks with complacent tears on the death of an erring woman.
Page 22 - Maternal love, thruout the history of the world, has had triumphs over all the other passions; triumphs over destitution and trials and tortures; over all the temptations incident to life; triumphs to which no other impulse of the human heart not even the love of man for woman has ever risen. One of the most brilliant men I had ever known once said in court; "Woman, alone, shares with the Creator the privilege of communing with an unborn human being"; and, with this privilege, the Creator...
Page 33 - ... other version, where the little girl runs in, and, in her innocence, saves the mother from herself. Here let me tell a curious experience, which illustrates how stubbornly persistent the dramatic laws are, in having their own way. We were all three of us manager, literary attache, and author so pleased with the original ending of the second act, the picture of the little girl in her mother's arms, and the lover bowing his head in its presence of innocence, that we retained it. The little...
Page 46 - The public will be your jury. That public often condescends to be trifled with by mere tricksters, but, believe me, it is only a condescension and very contemptuous. In the long run, the public will judge you, and respect you, according to your artistic sincerity.
Page 5 - Shenandoah' dealt broadly with the forces and feelings behind the Civil War; the 'Henrietta' with the American passion for speculation the money-madness that was dividing families. 'Aristocracy...
Page 20 - The art of breaking the tenth commandment thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife has reached its highest perfection in France. One of the most important laws of dramatic construction might be formulated in this way: If you want a particular thing done, choose a character to do it that an audience will naturally expect to do it. I wanted a man to fall in love with my heroine after she was a married woman, and I chose a French count for that purpose. I knew that an American audience would...

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