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THE THEATRE OF 
MAX REINHARDT 



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THE THEATRE OF 
MAX REINHARDT 



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THE THEATRE OF 
MAX REINHARDT 



HUNTLY CARTER 



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NEW YORK 
MITCHELL KENNERLEY 

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PREFACE 

Whatever we may think of the art value of the 
work of Max Reinhardt, one of the greatest masters 
of modern stagecraft, the comprehensiveness and 
optimistic tone of the whole are inspiriting. Its 
summary and revelation of the ideas which are now 
transforming the theatre in Europe, and its sugges- 
tion that the shoulders of the theatre will eventually 
be relieved of its present burden of ugliness, open up 
endless vistas on expansion which contrast curiously 
with the avenues of contraction now confronting 
the English theatre. Max Reinhardt has a genuine 
love for the theatre, and his attitude towards it is 
one of aspiration, whatever may be the peculiarity 
of his style. His optimism is not to be treated 
lightly, for, as it is the purpose of this book to 
show, it is not the optimism of inexperience, but 
of ""one who has travelled far in the theatre, has 
sounded its depths, has tried and tested its resources 
in all their width and variety, and who possesses a 
genuine passion for achievement and a belief in its 
artistic worth. 

As to the precise value of his achievements in 
modern stagecraftsmanship there is, of course, a 
divided opinion. And this is largely due to the 




2 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



I 

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fact that very few persons outside Germany are 
fully acquainted with the wide results which he 
has attained. How many dramatic critics are 
there in England who have surveyed the entire 
ground which Max Reinhardt has covered, have 
followed his daily experiments, have seen the 
definite plan at which he is quietly working In 
his own sphere of study ? As far as I know, not 
more than two or three. It is therefore not 
surprising that a misconception concerning the 
nature of his activities should have arisen. Hence 
some English critics do not view his work with 
any great favour. It has, they think, an effect in 
encouraging in this country a taste for mere 
spectacle, and discouraging a taste for the drama. 
Such critics emphasise, and very rightly, the 
importance of promoting the drama first, before 
all things, seemingly unaware that Reinhardt has 
been doing this from the very start, and that, 
strangely enough, a great deal of his popularity is 
owing to that circumstance. They are not aware 
that he has been searching for first principles, and 
that in reintroducing impulse to the theatre, in 
reawakening the quest for intimacy, in striving to 
attain rhythmical unity, and in seeking to lift the 
many and varied activities of the theatre out of the 
local into the universal once more, he is inviting 
the theatre to become that which it is fitted to 
become, viz., a refined and highly efficient instru- 
ment for receiving and transmitting the spirit of 
the drama. In short, he has served the drama not 
only by producing plays by all the most remark- 
able writers of the nco-Sturm und Drang period 



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PREFACE 

through which Europe has just passed, but by 
endeavouring to construct a theatre wherein he 
could recapture the first fine rapture of the eternal 
form of drama, and to restore that element which 
alone can seize the spectator, and bring him nearer 
to the profound secret of human existence. He 
has, in fact, sought to widen and deepen the power 
of the drama by preparing to give full play to its 
primitive, religious, and eternal elements, believ- 
ing, no doubt, that the dramatic spirit resides in 
the subconscious element in mankind, and finds 
expression only through that element. 

Probably students may derive the greatest advan- 
tage from the stagecraftsmanship of Max Reinhardt 
not by examining the strong evidences of German 
culture and scholasticism underlying it, but by the 
study of the personal element which it contains. 
Max Reinhardt himself has brought impression and 
impulse to our doors once more. His contribution 
to the current reform of the theatre and the drama 
in England cannot be overestimated when we 
remember that without impression to awaken 
impulse there can be no advance in the drama. 
Eliminate these two elements and the drama 
becomes as dull and wearisome as the literary and 
moral theatre has made it. 

It should be mentioned that owing to the un- 
avoidable postponement of the publication of this 
book certain facts call for revision, and they are 
accordingly dealt with in the " Supplementary 

^L Chapter." 

H HUNTLY CARTER. 



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CONTENTS 

INTRODUCTION ....... Q 

TH2 NBW DIKECTOR I^ 

HIS ORIGIN 33 

INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT ... 52 

HIS AIMS AND PRINCIPLES ifJS 

HIS MATERIALS I3I 

HIS RESOURCES I73 

HIS PRODUCTIONS I9I ^ 

FORTHCOMING REINHARDT PRODUCTIONS 264 
HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE CONTEMPORARY STAGE 

AND HIS INFLUENCE Zji 

SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER 29T 

APPENDICES 

I. LIMITATION OF THE CULTURE MOVEMENT IN 

THE THEATRE ..... 288 

II. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN ENGLAND . 29I 



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6 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

III. GERMAN INFLUENCBS ON ENGLISH DEVELOP- 

MENT 304 

IV. REVOLVING STAGE SET FOR REPRESENTATION 

OF FIRST PART OF FAUST 315 

V. TABLE OF PRODUCTIONS . . . . 316 

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF AUTHORS .... 326 

INDEX 329 



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Max Reinhanlt Fmm^ict 

Julius Casak (Rdnhudt setting) . . fadng page 54 
A MiDSUHHEK Night's Dkbam, Fifth Act 

(Produced by Max Reinhardt at the Kunstler 

Theater) » 94 

Genrud Eysoldt „ 180 

Hamlbt (Reinhardt setting) .... „ 240 
Ground Plan of Faust One on the Revolving 

St^ at Deutsche! Theater ... „ 314 



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INTRODUCTION 



In this book I propose to survey the process of 
Max Reinhardt's development, beginning with the 
forces which were waiting to receive him, and 
which had been developing from the first Sturm 
und Drang period onward. I reveal in these 
forces the tendencies of a nation impelled towards 
progress in the theatre rather by intellectuality, in 
the form of a literary and moral ideal, than by 
artistic intelligence. Thence I pass to the con- 
sideration of German and other influences on Max 
Reinhardt's living individual development, passing 
in turn from the naturalistic to the realistic move- 
ment, thence to the esthetic and symbolic. In 
doing so I seek to show that there is no real ground 
for the charge of plagiarism which has been so 
unjustly brought against the German producer in 
this country. From the outset Reinhardt has 
recognised the great potentialities of the theatre, 
and for a number of years he has sought to realise 
them. Many experiments have had to be tried, 
many systems tested, some things accepted, others 
rejected. His only crime has been that of working 
with time and patience, armed with sensibility and 
great concentration, towards one definite and practi- 



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THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

cal end — his "Theatre of the Five Thousand" or 
The Theatre of Actuality. In answer to the 
charge of plagiarism, I produce evidence showing 
that there is little or no relation between the 
work of Gordon Craig and that of Max Reinhardt. 
Each producer has his individual value, and that 
is all that matters. Whatever value they may have 
in common does not count. 

I then proceed to survey the effect of Max 
Rcinhardt's development in : 

1. His Aim. 

2. His conception of Drama. 

3. His conception of the Stage. 

4. His conception of the Player. 

5. His conception of Theatre Organisation. 
His principal aim has been throughout to bring 

the spectator into the action of the drama and to 
make him live the actor's part in the tiny world 
formed by the theatre, as he lives his own part in 
the greater social world. 

Reinhardt's conception of drama has been 
founded upon this aim. With no new form of 
drama to work upon he has been obliged to turn 
to forms of great drama, having old and obsolete 
structural purposes, and no relation or proportion 
to each other, as the only materia] available for his 
purpose — that of appealing through the primitive 
human passions to vast heterogeneous masses of 
human beings. In Max Reinhardt's view these 
"passions are the binding cords which the new form 
of drama must contain. They have been eliminated 
from the discussion drama. Some day he hopes to 
create a dramatist in whose work will be found these 



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INTRODUCTION 1 1 

elements of kinship, the essentials of the Reinhardt 
theatre and drama. And when such a dramatist does 
arrive, he promises us to build a theatre for him. 

This intimacy idea has also affected his concep- 
tion of the stage, which it has altered in character 
in two ways : 

(a) Formation. 

(A) Working. 
And thus we see Reinhardt's stage altering in 
form, and passing from one tradition to another. 
As the intimacy idea grows stronger, so the stage 
walks out of the enormous box with three sides 
in which the Italians placed it, and enters the 
arena which the Greeks bequeathed us. In this 
way it is seen encroaching upon the auditorium, 
first modestly, as the apron stage begins to project, 
and the earlier and simpler methods of Shake- 
spearean staging becomes apparent, and then more 
boldly, as it plunges across and occupies the whole 

Ifioor of the theatre. 
I The working of the stage is also affected by the 
I same idea, and this in three ways : 
L (a) Scenery. 

I (*) Lighting. 

P (c) Changes of scenery. ,-,, ■■:, .-^ , ,.■... 

^ As the scene steps out of the frame in response 
to the intimacy idea, so its character and materials 
change, /it passes from the age of extravagant 
and complicated scenery to that of broad and 
simple effects] ^^Paiated canvas yields to solid 
doors, walls, an J roofs. As the stage takes on 
spacious and ample proportions, so the " archi- 
tecture " of the scene becomes more or less a sub- 



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12 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



stantial embodiment of these proportions, possessing 
architectonic elements in its structure that suggest 
a return to the pre-Italian period of stage scenery. 
These proportions are attained (i) by the use of 
the entire stage buih out to the level of the first 
tier of boxes, and {2) by the use of the arena. In 
the latter case the main aim is to build in the 
audience, as at Olympia, so as to convey to 
each spectator the sensation of being a part of a 
great whole. 

^he new system of stage lighting is also bound 
up with intimacy. As the latter is largely based 
on emotional effects, so the main aim of stage 
lighting is to contribute as far as possible to the 
emotions of the dram^ Lighting has, in fact, 
become an embodiment of emotion] It plays 
its emotional part in the drama, focussing and 
accentuating the emotions as they make their 
entrance, mostly by means of coloured raysT] 
Colour is, in fact, fast deserting scenery and cos- 
tumes for the limelights, owing no doubt to the 
discovery that the conventional system of stage 
lighting is obsolete and stupid. The impossibility 
of obtaining the right colour values by this system 
is now fully apparent to artists who find they 
can do nothing with batteries of lights placed at 
the most unsuitable angles, and producing dirty 
tones that ruin their finest effects. Decorators 
are in fact convinced that they can attain a far 
better result by the use of neutral surfaces and 
some coloured limes served by intelligent opera- 
tors under their direction. To them it is more 
intelligent to prepare their palette with coloured 



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INTRODUCTION 

limes and to paint each detail of scenery, costumes, 
and accessories with a single ray, or a mixture 
of rays of light and their reflections. Colours 
have not, however, entirely deserted the reform 
stage, and occasionally satisfactory results are 
obtained by mixing the coloured rays with the 
colours worn by the players and the scenery. 

In short, the modern problem of costume, scenery, 
and light is being treated with special care by 
reformers like Max Reinhardt. 

c) In order to preserve the mood of the drama in 
the spectator, it is highly desirable there should be 
as little friction in the representation of a play as 
possible. This principle has led to the modem 
problem of the reduction of the act-interval, which 
Max Reinhardt has attempted to solve in various 
ways, but mostly by the employment of ingenious 

; mechanisms. [The two principal devices employed 
by him are the revolving stage in use at the 

iDeutsches Theater, Berh'n, and the sinking stage 
Ugcd in The Miracle. Beyond these movable stages, 
a further solution has been sought in the Eliza- 
bethan alternate stages and in the Greek device 
of intervals filled in by the chorus. The said 
devices are also used in the attempt to solve 
the modern problem of unity in variety of stage- 
setting 

In turning to Reinhardt's conception of the 
player, I show that he "had to do with a type 
that is intimately alive, a player in whom the 
intellectual rather than the artistic faculty has 
become sensitive and awakerj This awakened 
faculty is, as I indicate, declaring itself in a 

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W H THE T 



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14 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

psychological conception of acting and in a 
modernised idea connected with the drama, its 
significance and interpretation. /The idea is that 
.the actor should subordinate himself to the spirit 
or moo3 of the drama and aim before all things 
to convey that mood to the audience. That is, 
he should first assert the individuality of the 
play, and thereafter his own individuality. This 
ensemble idea also demands that all players con- 
cerned in a production shall submit to the direction 
of a producer.' 

Finally, with regard to Reinhardt's system 
of organisationj which falls broadly into two 
divisions — (a) the physique of the theatre, and (S) 
the mind of the theatre — I point out that it shows 
an intellectual ordering of the theatre and a com- 
prehension of the component parts of the circle of 
intellect necessary to its working.' The circle is, 
as will be seen, composed, comparatively speaking, 
of a new form, a body of co-directors animated by 
a full intellectual conception of the function of 
the theatreJ We see them united for the purpose 
of exerting the Will of the Theatre, as an in- 
strument for restoring a shapeless mass to something 
resembling uniformity and coherence. 




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THE NEW DIRECTOR 

There is no doubt that the theatre has reached 
the culmination of culture ; the co-operation of 
activities springing up are clearly towards a freer 
expression. I remember reading somewhere that 
" there has appeared during the last half-century 
a voluntary organisation — co-operation. It has 
accomplished remarkable results in diminishing the 
misery of a great number of hand-workers, and in 
laying the foundation of a new system of produc- 
tion, distribution, and exchange, while giving new 
hope of social and economical amelioration, pre- 
paring the way for a larger organisation." This 
social organisation has, no doubt, its advantages. 
Autocracy is suppressed. The whole of civilised 
communities are brought into intimate connection. 
The group spirit is awakened, and individuals are 
encouraged to unite for the manifestation of group- 
sentiments, or the genera! will of the group. Such 
collective sentiments play many important parts. 
For one thing, intellectuals have banded together 
for the ordering of other people's lives, while the 
heterogeneous elements of the mob have united in 
groups for the ordering of the intellectuals' lives. 
, Thus wc find one class of reformer united and 



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1 6 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

animated by a common purpose and desire, 
namely, the destruction of the obsolete machinery 
of government. 

Alarmists tell us that the danger to be appre- 
hended from this social exercise of ordering is the 
future ordering of the intellectuals by the mob : 
that is, the supremacy of the average common- 
place person. There is a danger of Demos being 
enthroned as Almighty. If so, it is no wonder 
that the rise of a certain section of society has 
become a nightmare to the intellectual mind. But 
it is a false alarm. The greatest " danger " likely 
to arise from the present shuffling of social units 
is a governance by aristocracy — an aristocracy of I 
intelligence. And this is as it should be. Intelli- 
gence belongs only to the highest order of mind. 
Intellect was a discovery of the Greeks. It has 
tyrannised the world ever since. Society should 
be ordered to suit the intelligent man. He is the 
exceptional man to whom scope should be given 
to experiment and create, so as to enable him to 
make the earth less of a rubbish heap than the 
intellectual and the average man would have it. 

This movement towards an aristocracy of intelli- 
gence is invading all forms of social life. It is 
finding expression in the theatre. So far the 
theatre has been in the hands of the commercials 
and the intellectuals. The latter, following the 
general tendency, have made frantic efforts of a 
sort at organisation. They have formed groups 
representing the collective not the individual I, 
and brought bodies of workers together for the 
aggrandisement of the latter. These intellectual 



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THE NEW DIRECTOR 17 

organisers are always divided among themselves. 
Each holds an exclusive point of view as to 
whether the function of the theatre is literary, 
moral, musical, picturesque, and so on. They 
never appear to agree that the theatre should be a 
house of vision only. Thus intellectual organisa- 
tion of their sort is really slavery. It ignores the 
fact that beyond organisation there must be liberty. 
The great thing in organisation is, indeed, the pre- 
servation of individual liberty. What is needed are 
groups of workers expressing the individual yet 
the collective Will. We do not want bundles of 
human episodes. 

There are signs that reformers are beginning to 
apply this conception of the collective volition to 
the theatre, which is equivalent to saying that we 
shall soon experience the unaccustomed sensation 
of the exercise of the Will of the Theatre. There 
will be a new rulership to exercise it, and the ruler 
who exercises it will be a collective body, composed 
of as many members as are required to produce 
the Will. Thus the theatre, like the Church, 
will promote association, and will draw together all 
classes of artists in one mutual endeavour, namely, 
that of making the theatre a house of vision, in 
which we may see the ideal Will in action 
unveiling Truth. But every reformer does not 
see the theatre in the light of social readjust- 
ments, arrangements, and combinations. Some 
who prefer the misinterpreted Nietzsche, demand 
the ruler-man, not ruler-men. Discussing the 
question of how to obtain unity in the theatre, Mr 
Craig explains how unity is lost. He says this : 



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1 8 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

" Let me make a list (an incomplete one, but it 
will serve) of the diiFerent workers in the theatre. 
When I have made this list I will tell you how 
many are head-cook, and how they assist in the 
spoiling of the broth. 

" First and foremost, there is the proprietor of 
the theatre. Secondly, there is the business manager 
who rents the theatre. Thirdly, there is the stage- 
director — sometimes three or four of these ; there 
are also three or four business men. Then we 
come to the chief actor and actress. Then we have 
the actor and the actress who are next to the chief : 
that is to say, who are ready to step into their 
places if required. Then there are from twenty to 
sixty other actors and actresses. Besides this, there 
is the gentleman who designs scenes ; another who 
designs costumes ; a third who devotes his time 
to arranging lights ; a fourth who attends to the 
machinery (generally the hardest worker in the 
theatre) ; and then we have from twenty to a 
hundred under-workers — scene-painters, costume- 
makers, limelight manipulators, dressers, scene- 
shifters, under-machinists, extra ladies and gentle- 
men, cleaners, programme-sellers — and there we 
have the bunch." This precise cataloguing of 
theatrical odds and ends is interesting, and Mr 
Craig proceeds : " Now look carefully at this list. 
We see seven heads and two very influential 
members ; seven directors instead of one, and nine 
opinions instead of one. 

" Now, then, it is impossible for a work of art ever to 
he produced where more than one brain is permitted to 
direct, and if worki of art are not seen in the theatre. 



THE NEW DIRECTOR 19 

tMi one reason is a sufficient one, though there are plenty 
ware." 

This looks as though Mr Craig is rightly asking 
for the organising inteUigence. But he explains 
still further the point, which he has selected from 
a former book, The Art of the Theatre : " Do you 
wish to know why there are seven masters instead 
of one ? It is because there is no one man in the 
theatre who is a master in himself : that is to say, 
there is no one man capable of inventing and rehearsing 
a play ; capable of designing and superintending the 
construction of both scenery and costume ; of writing 
arty necessary music ; of inventing such machinery as is 
needed, and the lighting that is to be used." 

Mr Craig is simply demanding whole theatres- 
full of da Vincis. Directors and producers must 
stop playing with decayed fallacies, especially those 
favoured by the intellectual mind. We must 
try to make an intelligent advance. We must 
leave thinking in pyramids to the misinterpreted 
Nietzsche, who, they say, was a philosopher, and 
as such was privileged to do much of his thinking 
in the Ark. Accordingly, he was entitled to get 
the world's wheels fairly stuck in the mud. He 
was privileged to talk about definitions and distinc- 
tions, and to reconstruct the modern world in the 
ancient form of a pyramidal tomb. It was his mission 
to sec that the civilised world got this form upon the 
brain, with the poor, mad ruler-man as a type of 
remorseless Force for an apex, and myriads of slaves 
for a base. It was a part of his insanity to demon- 
strate that all artists are not artists, but some of 
them are ruler-artists. 

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20 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

All artists are equal in the sight of Heaven. Art 
is simply art, and an artist is an artist, and nothing 
short of the re-creation of the system of the universe 
will make him different. All the talk about ruler- 
art and ruler-artist is drivel. If producers really 
desire to make an advance, let them study Reinhardt, 
not Nietzsche, and learn how to think in terms of 
a circle, not of a pyramid. Reinhardt's contribu- 
tion to the problem of the theatre is co-directorship. 
Except to the theatre, co-directorship is not a new 
thing to this mighty booby world, but outside the 
theatre dull persons are expounding it in the form 
of co-management and guild-socialism as the idea 
of the century. The new and significant thing in 
the theatre is the expression of the Will of the 
Theatre by co-ordinated minds, each artist taking 
the keenest interest in promoting the artistic work 
of the theatre, each artist desiring to attain the 
best effect, not only for his own sake, but also for 
that of his fellow-artists. This is what may be 
called the expression' of the Will of the Theatre. 
It is individual and collective striving of the highest 
degree. Each artist wills to attain his best indivi- 
dual effect, yet wills to attain the same end as the 
other members of his group, an end which only 
collective volition can assure. Thus the Will of 
the Theatre springs from a common action and 
a common sentiment, the love of the artists for 
the theatre, and its function is to give the widest 
expression to the Will of the author. Thus 
Max Reinhardt interrogates the alternative which 
Mr Craig puts forward. Apparently he has no 
sympathy with the Napoleonic tyranny, and aims 



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THE NEW DIRECTOR 21 

to replace Mr Craig's seven-headed director by a 
seven-headed group of sympathetic and efficient 
artists who will together produce something as 
great and individual as a Gothic Cathedral, with all 
Its parts so powerfully and perfectly willed that its 
infinite worth is apparent to the least of men. I am 
not aware that Max Reinhardt consciously values 
Will so highly in the theatre, or is promoting 
co-directorship because he knows how stupid and 
purposeless is its counterfeit, Wilfulness, which long 
ago gave the theatre to chaos. But I am sure that 
Max Reinhardt is an experimentalist. I imagine 
the impatience of an imaginative temperament has 
led him to conceive a nobler state of things in 
the theatre, and to try processes by which he may 
occasionally call fire from heaven. It may be that 
be has found the co-directorship cure by accident, 
and by accident has exposed the one-man system 
of directorship as one that cannot possibly promote 
unity. In any case he has not eradicated the 
prevailing disease of inartistic will-lessness, the 
dominant spirit in the theatre which becomes 
every year more intolerant and obtrusive. Instead 
of applying Will as an aid to art, the one divinely 
appointed means to progress and illumination, he has 
applied it as an aid to culture, and thus made it the 
last resource for a very desperate case. In doing so 
he merely emphasises the fact that culture cannot 
give the theatre that unity which art inevitably 
produces. Turn in all directions and we shall 
find striking examples of it. Many of the European 
theatres are well equipped and well organised to 
give a complete expression to a fairly complete 



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22 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

outlook upon a literary and moral drama. But 
nowhere is the theatre equipped or organised to 
give the widest expression to the drama of the soul. 
As it stands it is quite unable to serve as a house 
of vision. All that it can do is to show artistic 
intention, give hints, throw out suggestions, offer 
scraps of vision and imaginative interpretation, 
turn out pretty odds and ends of pictures, wonder- 
fully pretty bits of imagination, wonderfully ugly 
bits of so-called realism, wonderfully deft bits of 
stagecraft. But nothing it has done or can do 
in its present condition has brought it or brings 
it within measurable distance of producing the 
complete vision, the design of the poet filled in by 
answering minds, unified and vital in all respects. 
In fact, the theatre has never been constituted to 
produce anything of the kind, and this because 
dramatic authors have been accustomed fully to 
cover the delicate skeleton which sustains every 
precious work of art, instead of handing it over to 
co-operators to have its parts articulated and related 
and clothed in the flesh of the illusion of the 
theatre. Thus the finest play ever written has 
never escaped being butchered in some of its 
essentials, or been prevented from sinking into a 
shapeless heap. The demonstrable fact is that the 
theatre always has been, and is still, a vastly inferior, 
imperfect, and disjointed instrument of dramatic 
expression. In England especially is this true. 
There the surroundings of the theatre are grotesque 
and degrading ; its construction is bad, its form 
obsolete, its design and decoration serve neither to 
preserve the gravity, dignity, nor simplicity of 




beauty. Its auditorium is rudimentary ; its three- 
sided stage belongs properly to the Stone Age ; 
and its lighting, scenery, properties, and other 
mechanical aids, though effective on occasion, 
never escape the suspicion of being what they are 
— theatre stuff. And if the temple is imperfect, 
its priests, as Mr Craig rightly maintains, are im- 
perfect also. If the construction and mechanical 
contrivances of the theatre are crude and bad, the 
human directing, controlling, and interpreting force 
is not much better. It lacks unity. In short, 
the great number of units engaged in the work 
of the production of a play are not properly 
organised as a body to give that play the widest 
and most complete expression. They have not a 
vision in common, but they interpret each in his 
own way. As a rule they are a spineless and 
disjointed crew, without the faintest conception of 
2 possible unity. 

The system of Max Reinhardt reminds us that 
what is needed is a new harmonious and intelligent 
"body of interpreters in whose hands all the pro- 
cesses of interpretation are complementary and com- 
plete. Such interpreters may be briefly divided 
into seven classes — the artist-author, director-pro- 
ducer, stage-manager, musician, actor, decorator, 
and mechanician. As I am concerned here only 
with the director, it is not necessary to analyse the 
mental constitution of each member of the group. 
Broadly speaking, each should be constituted to 
form a related part of the complete interpretative 
mind. Perhaps the simplest definition of a director I 
^_is_a leader. When a number of persons come J 

^^^^fc ni,;iiP,-jM,Coo<;le ^B 




THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



together for an active purpose they usually select 
a leader. In the theatre the term leader has various 
offensive applications, such as shopkeeper. But in 
the new sense it means organiser. In the theatre 
the leader mostly chooses himself. Here, hitherto, 
he has mostly been a tyrant imposing his personality 
upon a number of persons gathered together for the 
purpose. Of recent years the theatre - leader has 
taken various forms — showman-impresario, author- 
producer, director, actor -producer, producer, and 
stage-manager. The impresario may be divided into 
two classes, the class which has an appreciation for 
the beautiful in the theatre (Astruc and Diaghilew), 
and that which regards the theatre as a means of 
satisfying an intense hunger after the commercial 
nourishment. The latter, of whom Frohman and 
Schubert are the extreme type, are distinguished 
by a love of compromise with base things. They 
are tradesmen dealing in contraband goods — con- 
traband because they are opposed to the highest 
spirit of the theatre. They import productions 
wholesale, regardless of the fact that such pro- 
ductions very often have a pernicious influence 
both in matter and manner ; and the great danger 
in them lies in a crude and tasteless treatment of 
vital subjects. The remainder of the theatre-leaders 
may be lumped together. Briefly, these modern 
types are the effect rather than the cause of the 
intellectual or literary drama, just as the Frohman- 
Schubert octopus type are the cause rather than the 
effect of the commercial theatre. The leaders in 
question are partly thinkers, partly men of action, 
though more frequently they are men of action 



^ by Goo; 



m 




first and thinkers afterwards. They are the proto- 
type of the interpreting conductor, just as the old 
leader was the prototype of the time-beating con- 
ductor. Thus, while the latter may be compared 
with Berlioz's picture of an incompetent butcher of 
masterpieces, either from a point of view of re- 
presentation or interpretation, or both, the former 
may be compared with those leaders of the modern 
interpretative school of music, Richter, Wood, 
Mottl, and Weingartner. Their business is mainly 
to interpret the " new " drama — a drama which 
is often an individual, intellectual, highly com- 
plex expression of human experience brought to 
the level of consciousness. They constitute the 
first element of the organisation of their hetero- 
geneous crowds of servile workers, and are expected 
to see that their human " orchestras " give a faithful 
reading — not of the author's intellectual, moral, 
or imaginative ideas — but of their own personality 
- — their leadership, in fact. Needless to say, such 
leaders are more often led than leading. They 
arc 80 obsessed by the idea of leadership that 
everything is subjected to it, and they become 
shackled to the false idea that they represent a 
supreme conscience to which their slaves should 
all do reverence. Thus their function becomes a 
superstition instead of a truth, and thus the four 
characteristics which this function presupposes 
continue to lie dormant. As properly balanced) 
leaders they should exercise, first, an instinct for 
Truth, the underlying truth of human nature in 
thought and action as perceived by the poet, 
^cood, an accurate intimacy with the mode of . 

a" [ 



26 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 




I 

I 

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expression of each particular truth. Third, a union 
of reason with sensibility, and the power to trans- 
mit their own feelings to the actors, and to be a 
directing, not a tyrannical, influence in the essential 
mode of expression. Lastly and pre-eminently, the 
gift of imagination in the highest and strictest 
sense of the word (the fullest comprehension of the 
power, charm, and interest of the harmonies of 
line, colour, and composition, the perception of 
the finest melody of a work). 

The English stage does not lack leaders who 
exert an influence on all concerned in a production. 
But the influence is always in the wrong direction. 
Take the author-producer, say Sir Arthur Pinero or 
Mr Granville Barker. Sir Arthur Pinero at work 
producing reminds one of a drill sergeant. Both 
he and Mr Barker leave no scope for creation. In 
their hands the actors are mummers. They 
dominate and tyrannise in all directions. They 
both desire real life on the stage, and in order 
to get it they kill off so much percentage of 
live actors. In plays produced by them, we 
can see the spirit of Pinero or Barker moving 
about directing the movements of the mummers, 
superintending the setting of the scenes, working 
the limes, doing everything, in fact, as though 
the theatre were a machine constructed to pro- 
duce nothing — but themselves. To them human 
material is simply a piece of clay to be moulded 
as they direct. To them actors are automatons. 
It is no doubt for this reason that The Mask con- 
demns the present type of English director-producer 
as a shopkeeper, a Whiteley or a Selfridge auto- 



byGooole 



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■ THE NEW DIRECTOR %-j 

matically directing vast bodies of workers. The 
use of Sir Herbert Tree is not of the true inspiriting 
kind. " For he is the worst enemy of the English 
Theatre to-day. Under the guise of friendship he 
undermines its very existence. When he should 
be feeling, thinking, and acting as an artist feels, 
thinks, and acts, he is instead performing like a 
shopkeeper." This is just of The Mask, though 
hardly generous, seeing that Sir Herbert carries 
on the tradition of Irving, the well-beloved of the 
forward journal from Florence. The position of 
the remaining classes of " leader " is similar ; and 
those who do not take it seriously enough are to be 
pitted. Seriously, these leaders are hypnotised by 
the power of a false tradition, according to which 
the methods of the Inquisition are employed to 
achieve certain ends. Both the actor-producer, 
the producer, and the stage-manager simply exist to 
assist the author with their stock-in-trade of stage 
technique. Their aim is to legahse a privileged 
position in the Inquisition. In short, this system 
of leader-producership consists of an individual 
placed at the head of a servile crowd that is unable 
ID dispense with a master. It is individualism run 
to seed. One individual Will does not make a 
theatre. 

Fortunately for the future of the theatre there 
are four new types of leader springing into 
existence — the poet-director, the director, the new 
actor -director, and the artist-director. A fifth 
type of leader should be mentioned for the reason 
that he has brought distinction and taste into the 
theatre, though he is no longer new. I refer to the 

ni,:ii.,-iM,C00t;lc 



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THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

literary type, the progressive German Intendant (Dr 
Loewenfeld, Leipzig), th e critic-director (Brahm), 
the literary-director (l)r Stanl, Professors Georg 
Fuchs, William Poel, Hagemann, Gregor, Dr Kilian, 
and Dr Alexander Hevesi. These follow more 
or less the example of Goethe, who gave his 
company of titled aristocrats a free hand. Three 
at least of the new leaders do not attempt to wield 
a despotic authority. They do not treat their 
fellow-workers as half-educated slaves, swayed this 
way and that by authority or flattery. They treat 
them as persons who, on the whole, know their 
own mind, and who are likely to do full justice to 
the director's discernment. Freedom rather than 
tyranny is the keynote of their leadership, though 
it is not quite clear in each case how this freedom 
is transmitted to others. In a conversation with 
Mr Herbert Trench (the poet-director), Mr T. 
Martin Wood slightly fogs this issue. He is 
considering the question of the staging of plays, 
and says : " So well known a lover of pictures, 
one so intimate with art as Mr Trench, participates 
in a painter's advantages in this respect, and by 
reason of his appreciation enters into the painter's 
belief in unity of effect and design when it comes 
to the task of realising in a plastic form the stage 
directions of a play. He is then fitted in almost 
dual capacity for his task as stage -director, as 
sympathetic interpreter of dramatic aspiration 
through the stratagem of stage device." This 
sounds as though Mr Trench, being a lover of 
pictures, understands the painter's business, and, 
having a sympathetic appreciation of drama, undcr- 

ni,;ni.t.dh,.G00^1c 



I 



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THE NEW DIRECTOR 29 



stands the author's business. Then comes a com- 
parison with Goethe. " It is not improbable that 
he is the nearest approach to an ideal director there 
has been since Goethe's time." But Goethe was 
not a dual-headed director. He was more like 
what follows. " His extreme practicableness comes 
as a surprise in a great poet, the combination of 
the rarest nature, and everything is to be hoped for 
from it — from the submission of every detail to 
illuminative mind. Every step taken in the pro- 
duction of The Blue Bird was personally attended 
to by Mr Trench. It is easy to understand how 
little of all the florid convention that overwhelms 
the stage was permitted to filter through. . . . 
Mr Trench was very anxious to put from himself 
on to Mr Lyal Sweete as much as possible of the 
credit of the success of staging The Blue Bird. . . . 
Napoleon's generals often won his battles for him, 
and his genius was in his preference for these 
generals, the noble '^ pieces' in the place of pawns. 
And the great man would use Murat and Ney 
together to produce an effect upon the field, as 
Mr Trench would use the art of Mr Cayley 
Robinson and Mr Sime to produce an effect upon 
the stage. He told me that he would go to one 
man for his statuesque and architectural qualities 
and another for his fantasy, and so on, seeking 
sometimes a possible combination." What are 
we to make of all this f Simply that Mr Trench 
is not the supreme dominating head, as Mr Wood 
would have us believe. He is the architect of the 
production, who draws up the plan and selects the 
noble pieces," not the pawns — the Neys aad 



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30 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Murats whose wills are equal to Napoleon's, but 
whose organising capacity is not so great — to fill it 
iQ to the best of their capacity. Mr Wood proves 
this in the next passage, where he says : " If I 
understand Mr Trench aright, instead of the 
painter-producer staging a play as if the stage was 
his huge canvas and the materials the recalcitrant 
ones we know, a director should stand again behind 
that painter, himself a super-painter, as it were, 
choosing specialists as he might choose his brushes, 
using one man's qualifications against another's to 
achieve a larger end. Such a programme obviates 
the likelihood of the presentment being one-sided 
and failing in the universality of appeal which 
the stage must make. In spite of this admission, 
however, all my own beliefs are with the ad- 
vantages of making use of a painter-producer whose 
scheme the play shall be from beginning to end, 
as once set forth, I think, by Mr Gordon Craig." 
Obviously Mr Wood prefers the autocrat in the 
theatre. But his conversation was recorded in 
191 o, and the world has moved since then and tied 
another knot in grandma Past's apron-strings. The 
artist-director will also obey the dictates of free- 
dom. If he has a true knowledge of art he will 
know that whenever art has been a ruling power 
in the world it has been the expression of freemen, 
not slaves. 

Art shackled is a contradiction in terms, and 
artist-directors and producers must understand that 
if their fellow-artists are denied full liberty of 
action they can no more produce works of art than 
they themselves can. Art will only be possible in 



,.,Go 




I 



the theatre when art is free. I believe Wyspianski 
demonstrated that. He was the Admirable Crichton 
of Mr Craig's dreams. It comes to this, then, that 
the new director is an individual multiplied by 
many individuals all working in harmony. This 
is the type of director that Max Reinhardt re- 
presents. He is a leader only in name. I imagine 
he asks for a balance of temperament, but no dis- 
cipline, recognising, no doubt, that when one 
temperament attempts to discipline another tem- 
perament friction is the result. He bears no 
resemblance to the leader- tyrant, he who believes 
in the divine rulership of directors. He suggests 
rather the director of the future, who will be the 
master-builder of the theatre, recognising that fine 
drama represents the lyrical impulse of the soul, 
and that its fullest expression should be the work 
of finely co-ordinated creative minds making their 
protest in spontaneity against everything disci- 
plinary and formal. When creation becomes the 
whole object of the theatre, discipline will cease to 
exist. Such a director will know that the theatre 
and drama have to make their fight hardest 
against the men who have their hands at the 
throat of art, the culturists. I cannot conceive 
of such a director surpassing his co-directors in 
Will and Spirit. Both Will and High Spirit 
will indeed be the hall-mark of the director, as 
well as of those that co-operate with him. This 
is precisely where he will differ from and be an 
advance upon the director, workers and slaves 
of the materiahstic and realistic theatre. For 
materialism and realism are always linked with 




THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

low-spirited endeavour. Thus the new spell which 
he will weave will be stronger than the old spirit, 
because it will call forth the joy of life in us. 
Max Reinhardt has both Will and Spirit, but he 
has borrowed the mechanical chant of culture, and 
that chant hangs like a dense creeper about the 
theatre, and, creeper-like, keeps creation out. The 
greatest thing a director can do is to create a 
creative poet. His line of advance is, however, 
strongly marked. As I have indicated. Max 
Reinhardt stands for the assertion of the Will of 
the theatre. He has also made an advance on 
the ancients, inasmuch as he is adding artistic 
impulse to the intellectual spell which the Greeks 
have cast over us moderns. It remains to be seen 
whether the theatre and drama will cease to try to 
advance through the cultural past and will be de- 
livered by the pure intelligence of the present. 
The advance that Max Reinhardt is making in 
the true direction may be seen in a survey of his 
progression, as well as in an examination of the 
influences which have produced him. 




rngtr-*"-^^"^; 



HIS ORIGIN 



1^^ spiel 



Most remarkable men live in their work. It is 
because Max Reinhardt gives us so much of 
himself in his work that it is not necessary to 
investigate either his spiritualism or his biology 
or his sociology. Even if there were a need, there 
is not much to help us. The plain matter-of- 
fact statements contained in various English and 
foreign Who's fF/io's and Green Room hooks are 
like geographically distributed peoples. They do 
not match. Even if one employs the police-court 
method of extracting the truth by comparing 
the statements of a number of witnesses, the 
result is meagre. This method reveals that Max 
Reinhardt was born at Baden near Vienna, on 
the 9th of September 1873. So that to-day he 
is forty years of age. He was educated at the 
Untergymnasium, and was in a banking business 
till seventeen. He studied for the stage under 
Emil Burde. In 1893 he made his first appear- 
ance at the Stadt Theatre, Salzburg. In 1894 he 
made his first appearance at the Deutsches Theater, 
Berlin. He founded a Cabaret (Schall und Rauch), 
and afterwards the Little Theatre, the Kammer- 
spielhaus^ then went to the Deutsches Theatre. 



by Google 




34 



THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



I 

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Has played Mcphisto, Philip II., Ohtrseer Striimer. 
Married Elsa Heins, etc. etc. This is a sample of 
the human budgets published for the guidance of 
the unsuspecting. 

Let me pump some blood into these anamic and 
slovenly details. Turning to German sources of 
information, I find that Max Reinhardt came from 
Austria, the birthplace of so many prominent 
artists of the theatre. As for his temperament, 
training, and physique, there is very little record. 
I may banish these subjects with a few words. All 
men have some genius ; and some men are gifted 
enough to appear all genius. One is never quite 
certain how much of this precious quality Max 
Reinhardt possesses. It is clear he has the ability 
to plan on the largest scale and in accordance with 
the most advanced ideas. He knows how to bring 
up-to-date grist to his mill. He has vitalising 
force, and everything he touches he vitalises so 
far as his peculiar methods will permit. To an 
extraordinary capacity for organisation he unites 
tremendous energy. Physically he is of the vital 
type. Somewhat below the average height, he is 
of conspicuous sturdiness and possessed of unusual 
power of endurance. His well-known portrait 
reveals certain notable characteristics, such as 
emotional intellectuality, strength of character, 
modesty, and restless ambition. There is an ex- 
pression of sensuality to which no doubt could 
be traced his tendency towards art, and especially 
his love of rich sensational colour. The dominant 
, note of the man is power. 

It does not matter greatly whether he set out 



Digni..>di.!i Google 




HIS ORIGIN 



35 



K 



consciously to pass through all the necessary stages 
to complete self-realisation, or whether he pro- 
gressed unconsciously stage by stage, seizing in- 
stinctively each point of advantage as it appeared, 
and assimilating the significant things of the 
moment as he went. All intelligent men assimilate. 
We can hear them saying, " There is something 
for me in the very latest achievement of that man. 
He is great enough for me to steal from. I see 
how right he is in what he is doing. I see some- 
thing that is a step beyond my own work. Others 
will see it, but will only seek to imitate it. I am 
intelligent and will try to build on it." Loftiness 
of aim justifies plagiarism. Coming to the true 
story of Reinhardt's career, we find that throughout 
and above all he is an actor. From first to last 
he has stimulated the acting potentialities of the 
drama and theatre. It was as an actor that Otto 
Brahm discovered him when, in 1890, that famous 
critic-director was hunting for talent in Austria, 
At the time, the latter was visiting the School 
of Acting of the Vienna Conservatorium, and his 
object was, no doubt, to watch a performance given 
by the students. During the course of the per- 
formance his attention was drawn to a student 
who was giving a remarkable interpretation of an 
old man. Brahm, with that profound perception of 
talent which has marked his directorship, noted 
that this short, somewhat stodgy actor had in him 
the material for a character-actor of the first order 
for his own school of realism. There was in the 
young man an unusual mingling of originality 
and force which promised interesting results. He 



ji,Gtx> 



& 



36 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

did not, however, engage Reinhardt at once, but 
waited till he had gained professional experience 
by a year's playing at Salzburg. In 1892 Brahm 
visited Salzburg and found Reinhardt interpret- 
ing old men with the technical skill of an old, ex- 
perienced actor — being dramatically effective yet 
naturalistically correct in every detail. As a result 
Brahm offered him an engagement at the Deutsches 
Theater, then, as now, the foremost German theatre, 
whose prestige among German actors is as great as 
that of the Comedie Fran9aise among French actors. 
The selection was fully justified. At the Deutsches 
Theater, Reinhardt soon made his strong person- 
ality felt, and in a theatre where all the actors 
were equal in the sight of the director, he was 
not long in satisfying his ambition. Reinhardt, it 
seems, is composed of that ambitious material which 
makes for success. Unlike so many professionals 
who sit down and wait for likely things to turn 
up, he knew how to prepare for opportunities, and 
to make the most of them when they came. On 
the stage it is the unexpected that always happens. 
In EngUsh theatres a great deal is left to chance. 
There is no organised system of promotion. It 
is to this element of chance that many of our 
foremost actors and actresses owe their position. 
They have patiently waited and watched for the 
right part, and persevered in choosing and mastering 
each suitable part that offered in readiness for the 
opportunity to play it. Possibly one of the wise 
habits of Max Reinhardt was that of closely 
watching parts which he felt he was suited to play. 
To practise this habit in a theatre presided over 

[ DigmzcdbyCooale 4 



HIS ORIGIN 



^7 



by a director who had an intelligent system of 
promoting the members of his company was to 
encourage happy results. So it was with Reinhardt. 
His chance came and he seized it. The story. 
goes that among the actors cast for the production ', 
of Gerhard Hauptmann's The Beaver Fur was \ 
one named MiiUer. Miiller, who was cast to play / 
the old skipper, committed suicide on the eve I 
of the production. Brahm was in a fix. The ; 
part was an important one, and no understudy hadJ 
been rehearsed for it. An indefinite postponement! 
entailing loss of time and money seemed inevitable.' 
At this moment Reinhardt came forward worn 
perfect and fully prepared to go on. Brahm per-1 
mittcd him to do so, and Max Reinhardt gavel 
Berlin a new sensation in acting. In one scene ofj 
Hauptmann's merciless satire on Prussian bureau- 
cracy, the old skipper has only a thinking part. ] 
Reinhardt endowed the interpretation with suchj 
remarkable silent by-play that it afterwards became 
the gem of the representation. From this moment) 
his progress was assured. He pursued his acting 
career with ardour and enthusiasm, broadening those 
characteristics which Brahm had noticed when, as 
a twenty-year-old amateur, he had appeared at the 
Vienna School of Acting, and afterwards as a pro- 
fessional at Salzburg. A sure instinct for character 
and philosophical types led him to develop 
along these lines, and to interpret successfuUv 
many well-known parts. Ibsen's old man Foldal,'', 
Hauptmann's Baumert in The IVeavers, Tolstoy's \ 
Akim in The Power of Darkness^ the depraved 
cabinetmaker Engstrand in Ibsen's Ghosts^ the / 

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\ 



38 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

philosophic Mortensgard in Ibsen's Rosmersholm, 
the old skipper in Hauptmann's The Beaver 
Fur, the moody headmaster Stormer in Dreyer's 
Probationers — these were some of the r6Ies that 
Reinhardt created. 

NaturaHsm wag^th^kfynntp nf >iig intprpr-^tat^"". 
It was just atout the time of his joining the 
Deutsches Theater company that naturahsm was 
making itself strongly felt in German acting. 
Brahm had promoted it in the Deutsches Theater, 
and the distinguished work of some of its exponents, 
Josef Kainz (the first to introduce psychological 
acting at the Deutsches Theater), Rudolf Rittner, 
and Agnes Sorma, served to fire Reinhardt's talent 
in this direction, and to give him rich impressions 
which he has never forgotten. Thus at the 
Deutsches Theater he fully assured his future as 
an actor. But his thirst for progress impelled 
him to seek a wider sphere of action. 

Accordingly we find him joining the " Freie 
BUhne," a dramatic institution answering in some 
respects to the London Stage Society. Here he 
remained, giving his naturalistic and psychological 
renderings of parts, and acquiring craftsmanship 
that was destined to carry him to heights. So he 
continued to interpret the naturalistic methods 6i 
this partTcurar"stage^oc1eiyV tin, finding that its 
naturalism h ad drif ted into a riit and was fast 
bcconiag mere photography, he broke away. 
We next find him Infected by the " Ueberbrett!" 
(or, so-called, " Cabaret ") movement which had 
suddenly sprung up, and was attracting the atten- 
tion of live exponents of the new spirit in drama. 



ni,;ni.rdbyG005tJ& 




art, and literature throughout Germany. An 
example of this " artistic cabaret " movement has 
just made its appearance in England. In " The 
Cave of the Golden Calf," London's first Cabaret 
Theatre Club, or midnight restaurant-theatre, are 
found many of the features in a revised form 
contained in the earlier German theatrical clubs or 
combined music-hall and Montmartre Cabaret. It 
is decorated by advanced artists, including Eric 
Gill, Spencer F. Gore, and Wyndham Lewis. Its 
object is " to provide throughout the night a 
refuge place, an atmosphere of vivid colours, 
music, and motion." Moreover, it provides repre- 
sentations and interpretations of high merit, and 
it is designed to promote a desirable intimacy 
between all artistic classes. As Mr Austin 
Harrison, editor of the English Review, explains 
somewhere : " Our stage is small enough to bring 
the artists into close and intimate touch with the 
audience, making it more of a social affair of the 
drawing-room than of the theatre." This is just 
the sort of intimacy between artists and the public 
that is needed to stimulate a much desired spirit 
of intimacy in the theatre, similar to that which 
is springing up in the German theatres. An in- 
crease of drama cabarets such as " The Cave of the 
Golden Calf" in England might help the dramatic 
movement in the theatre. But of*course the Inti- 
mate Theatre will be quite a different affair from 
the Intimate Cabaret. In the former there will 
be no feeding while the performance is on. 

Being badly bitten by this theatrical club move- 
, mcnt, Reinhardt, and a number of sympathisers. 



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THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



among them Christian Morgenstern, Friedrich 
Kayssler, Richard Vallentin, and Martin Zickel, 
met together jp a rg&taurant in _the._ X-essing- 
strasse, where they founded the ilBrille," much as 
Whistler and his confreres used to meet in the Six 
Bells at Chelsea, where the Chelsea Arts Club was 
founded. The "Brille"wasconducted privately, only 
members^ mostly comedians, and their friends being 
privileged to participate in the sing-songs and the 
Bohemian entertainments directed by Reinhardt. 
It^washere. that— Reinlianit_jirst_b_eeame possessed 
o^ the idea of intimacy. The " Brille " flourished. 
rr~gave Remh"ar3t full"scope for his original ideas, 
and its members grew in number and quality. 
Soon this tavern-born example of originality, sense, 
and imagination outgrew its design, and a larger 
and more ambitious one, equally instinct with life 
and motion, was outlined. It emerged under the 
title of " Schall und-Rauch " (Sound and Smoke) , and 
proved to be based on more solid qualities than its 
title implies. This choice of a larger design did not 
at first interfere with the private character of the 
entertainment. It removed to the Kiinstlerhaus in the 
Bellevuestrasse, continued to maintain its Bohemian 
aspect, and to keep the moods going from midnight 
to dawn. But fame will out, even Kiinstlerhaus 
fame, and if a company of amiable entertainers have 
anything good to give away they cannot expect 
the world to remain long in ignorance of the fact. 
Accordingly the Berlin world was soon knocking 
at the Kiinstlerhaus door, and as it refused to be 
argued into going away, Reinhardt and his confreres 
consented to come out and have popularity thrust 



rdbyCooalej 



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HIS ORIGIN 41 

upon them. So they departed for Unter den 
Linden, where they built one of those httle intimate 
theatres which are destined to be a form of the 
theatre of the future. The ambition of the " Schall 
und Rauch " grew. But its fresh outburst had a 
commendable practical basis. Beyond its expres- 
sion of vaudeville vigour of body and mind, in 
parodies of well-known authors — Maeterlinck, 
Ste^ii George, and Hofmannsthal — in one-act 
social satires, in grotesque song and dance — beyond 
these it had a discerning, understanding, and 
sympathetic eye for unknown players to whom 
the Berlin Theatre was a closed door. Among 
these was Gertrud Eysoldt, who made her en- 
trance upon the '* Schall und Rauch " stage one 
December evening in 1901, and swam into instant 
favour on some Danish gutter-songs. Her " star " 
has never set. A second appeared, also without 
engagement. This was Emanuel Reicher. A 
third was " discovered," the immensely clever Rosa 
Bcrtens. In this way Reinhardt gave to the 
German stage talent which otherwise might have 
been lost to it, as so much is lost in England. 

Throughout the " Freie Buhne," " Ueberbrettl," 
and "Schall und Rauch" period, Reinhardt had 
remained under the formative influence of Brahm, 
without which it is conceivable his activities would 
have suffered a certain lack. What had chiefly 
characterised him so far had been his steady pursuit 
of naturalism and culture. His naturalism and 
culture were, in their own way, ofi^hoots of 
Goethe's, who long ago had set the tone of the 
"crman theatre. Thus, as Reinhardt's person- 

I. ■■, iM,Coo<;lc 




I 



THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

ality unfolded, it was bound to take deep root in 
the literary movement to which Brahm had added 
a decided impulse. Vaudeville had played its 
essential part in the long course of preparation 
Reinhardt was undergoing. It was necessary that 
the comedic no less than the dramatic instinct should 
be fully developed in him. If he was destined to 
be a director-producer, one, moreover, aiming to 
revolutionise the culture theatre, it was necessary 
he should be an all-round man, able to touch the 
highest and lowest note of dramatic life ; able to 
navigate the variegated stream of drama from its 
source in time, through the past, present, and 
possible. So, having established a useful record 
of work in vaudeville, he began to turn to serious 
things, and exhibited an eager taste for literary 
drama. As his literary ambition grew, so the 
character of his entertainments changed, and we 
find him in igoi deserting the variety stage for 
the literary theatre. With characteristic boldness 
he marked his new departure by producing Strind- 
berg — whose greatness both as a revolutionary 
dramatist, as a power of the new movement in 
Swedish literature, and as a many-sided profound 
thinker, is only just becoming known in England, 
now that he is dead. Two one-act pieces by 
Strindberg were given, to be followed four weeks 
later by a longer piece. With the beginning of 
the new season the name " Schall und Ranch" 
was inurned, and the Kleines Theater sprang from 
the ashes. One of Reinhardt's first successes at 
this theatre was Strindberg's Rausch. This was 
followed by the Salome sensation. It seems ii 



ji,Gooale , 




had been arranged to give a public performance 
of Oscar Wilde's Salo?ne, but the censor banned 
it, thus proving that censorship is sometimes a 
sanctuary from badly behaved women. There- 
upon Reinhardt, seizing his chance, resolved to 
produce the piece privately, as it is now the 
custom to produce censored pieces in England. 
He did so, and with a remarkable cast, including 
Eysoldt as Salome, Kayssler, Louise Dumont 
(now intimately connected with the Dusseldorf 
Theater), and Reinhardt himself, who impressed 
everyone with the episode of the praying Jew. 
The first performance staggered even Berlin. 
It is curious to note that the production inspired 
Kicl^ard Strauss to write his Salome opera. From 
this we gather that, audacious as the production 
was, it contained the precious life-blood of artistic 
inspiration. Thehighest function of drama is 
to inspire art ; otherwise it is sapless and voice- 
1^1 ^ITpparently Reinhardt had conceived the 
notion that it was time the Berlin Theatre left 
the hospital for the sanatorium. Having given 
Strindberg, Wilde, and Wedekind immediate 
Berlin popularity and lasting fame, so to speak, and 
hung their culture with the votive offering of art, 
he began to search in wider fields for any author 
who gave evidence of intellectual force, in what- 
ever kind, above the average literary and theatre 
quality. .He did no^.seek jiames in the literary 
domain^that were only names. He sought authors 
whose, wo rk would keep one in the stalls or by the 
fire by their strength of originality and fullness of 
I Gonteot, if not altogether by the magnetism of die 



44 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

creative imagination. That he succeeded is fully 
shown by the list of authors and plays published 
at the end of this volume. 

He was now beginning to focus his energies. 
On the 1st of January 1903 he left the Brahm 
ensemble for good, in order to concentrate upon 
directorship and to continue his acting for a time. 
Beyond this he was beginning to work under a 
different sky. The spirit of style had taken posses- 
sion of him, and, as some persons contend, had 
carried him beyond Brahm to the point where he 
turned from the latter's form of naturalism {which, 
however, was not Brahm's distinguishing feature) 
to artistic realism or " style," as it is termed. 
According to the pubHcation Das Deutsche Theater, 
the naturalism which preceded this was no style 
(" stillos"). It may be mentioned here that for 
the last ten years, at least, a number of Euro- 
pean reformers have been actively engaged in the 
attempt to bring style into the theatre. Among 

/these are Reinhardt, Georg Fuchs, Professor Litt- 

j mann, Craig, Adolph Appia,Bakst,and Stanislawsky. 

' These enthusiasts agreed that the note of style was 
to be sought and found in coherence and uniformity, 
in simplification and synthesisation. Accordingly 
each play was to be given its own character ; its 
peculiar mood was to be developed and preserved 

.throughout. Of course the methods employed 
to attain style were different, varying from the 
relievo-stereoscopic ideas of the Kiinstler Theater 
to the deepening suggestiveness of Mr Gordon 
Craig. 

" 'ax Reinhardt's conception of " style " is said 



jb,Goot;lc 



I 



HIS ORIGIN 45 

to have appeared in his production of Gorky's 
lower Depths. But it is extremely doubtful 
whether Reinhardt produced this formless, incoher- 
ent piece of realism. Indeed, the wonderful points 
which characterised the production revealed the 
hand of the very highly gifted Richard Vallentin, 
who unfortunately died too young to realise fully 
the splendid promise he gave as a producer. It 
may be that Reinhardt learnt a great deal from 
Vallentin, who was the most original producer 
of his time, and is not known to have had a 
predecessor in his own line of realism. In any 
case, I believe I may safely say that Reinhardt 
had but an acting acquaintance with the Lmver 
Depths^ playing the part of the old pilgrim 
*' Luka." This synthesis of Brahm and Vallentin, 
of naturalism and realism, ran for five hundred 
performances, excluding imagination, and attracting 
the Berhncrs by the sheer force of unthinkable 
brutality. 

Owing to the long run of the Lower Depths, 
and in order to fulfil other contracts, Reinhardt 
was compelled to seek a larger theatre. In 1903 
he took over the " Neues Theater," still, however, 
retaining the KJeines Theater. Here he began to 
give full expression to his talent for play-production. 
He maintained and widened his Kleines Theater 
aim by abandoning his earlier naturalistic methods, 
taking part in the realistic revival in Berlin, and 
devoting himself to the application of Vallentin's 
realistic principles, while at the same time widen- 
ng their artistic bases. He now began fully to 
realise the importance of appealing to the eye of 

DigitizcdbyGOOQle J 



I 



I 



46 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

the spectator by unity of form, colour, and move- 
ment. He also felt the return to mysticism and 
symbolism inaugurated by Hofmannsthal and 
Stefan George, and sought to give the spoken 
word its largest significance — that of illuminating 
the soul of the drama. In this way he was led to 
add Maeterlinck's Peikas and Melisande, which four 
years previously had been a failure at the Theatre 
Royal, to his repertory of successes, thus claiming 
four victories in less than a year — Rausch, Salome, 
Nachtasyl, and Pel/eas and Melisande. That Rein- 
hardt was successful in following the author's 
intentions was admitted by Maeterlinck, when in 
1909 he wrote to Reinhardt congratulating him 
on his fine efforts on behalf of the art of the 
theatre — efforts which appeared to him to be the 
most remarkable in the world. He confessed that 
he owed Reinhardt a great debt of gratitude, 
because the latter alone had dared to produce two 
or three of his plays which were thought to be 
unplajable. 

It seems as though Reinhardt has never con- 
sidered a piece unplayable. The more difficult 
the play to be produced, the more boldly he has 
emerged. H e em bodies, in fact, the modern mili- 
tant spirit — a spirit marked by audacity and fighting 
force. No one in this century has expressed this 
spiritin the theatre more persistently and thoroughly, 
exhibiting a certain kind of unchained energy that 
made progress meteoric but certain. As a dynamic 
figure, as a revolutionary who has fired all cultural 
points in a vigorous endeavour to exalt the Will 
of the Theatre, where of recent j^^ears emotionless 



^^^ 



I 



i 



HIS ORIGIN 47 

intellect has alone been enshrined, in his effort to 
bring himself face to face with a new theatrical 
world, the elements of which he has eagerly 
absorbed so far as it is possible, and to justify the 
demands of his emotional nature, as well as to 
render himself master of a chaotic domain, by 
reducing its chaos to order, he probably has no 
equal in the contemporary theatre. In purely 
artistic endeavour alone, he has been surpassed. 

At the " Neues Theater " we find him actively 
engaged weaving the new spell out of the hints 
and suggestions of the old one. Realistic romance 
had touched him, and we find him adapting the 
methods of realism to romantic subjects. Thus 
he transforms Shakespeare into a blend of realist 
and Parnassian, and, strangely enough, the Bard 
stood the experiment very well. Shakespeare has 
the business merit of standing anything well. I 
believe if someone came along and bade him put 
on evening dress, Shakespeare would do it and 
walk down Piccadilly or Unter den Linden with- 
out being mistaken for a waiter. Mr Gordon 
Craig recently put him in dark grey trousers with 
side pockets, and still Shakespeare did not look 
like a shop-walker. Shakespeare has been treated 
80 often as a man who does not know his own 
mind that he can now adapt himself to any 
emergency. However, he had not much to com- 
plain of in his appearance in A Midsummer Night's 
Dream. If there is one thing that Reinhardt 
understands, it is the child-like spirit of fantasy 
which is contained in Shakespeare's comedies. So 
strong is the spirit in these comedies that I believe 



3dbyG00gIC 



48 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

they were meant for children to interpret. I am not 
alone in this belief ; Mr WilHam Poel profoundly 
shares it. He once produced one of Shakespeare's 
plays in which only East-End school children took 
part. Two things struck me about the representa- 
tion, the joy of life spirit with which the children 
invested their parts, and the wonderful preservation 
of the mood of the play throughout. The child- 
actors simply enjoyed the thing, played with perfect 
ease, and left one with the impression that the dull, 
gloomy old world was not so dull and gloomy after 
all. I have ever since been drawn by a mighty 
aiFection towards that representation of Shakespeare 
by children. The secret of Reinhardt's success in 
producing Shakespearean comedy lies in the fact 
that he enjoys himself. He certainly did so when 
staging A MUsummer Night's Dream. And he 
called in the aid of others who were also under the 
spell of its child-like charm. And so by means of 
appropriate music, acting, and decoration, this de- 
lightful fantasy took Berlin by storm, as we are 
usually bidden to say in trade terms. 

In this way Reinhardt continued his perfectly 
logical development, giving expression to the force 
that was working from underground into the light. 
He had passed in turn from the unnatural dis- 
cipline of the school of acting into the beginnings 
of a professional career where he began to gaze 
more clearly on natural methods of acting ; thence 
' to a new form of naturalism under Brahm and 
jthe Freie Biihne ; thence we turn from this, as 
(it lost its freshness for him, to the artistic realism 
\of Vallentin, the symbolism of Maeterlinck, the 



^^^Qo^g^^ 




HIS ORIGIN 

romance of Shakespeare, to an artistic naturalism, j 
and thence to the new aesthetic synthesis of move-/ 
ment, colour, and sound, upon which he got soundly J 
drunk without developing the usual theatre symfh/ 
loms of unlovely liverishness. | Throughout this 
period he encountered and gradually overcame the 
opposition of the Berlin press. By this time he 
was seeking even a wider field of expression, and 
his good fortune did not fail him. In 1905 we 
find Adolph I'Arronge seeking a new man for the 
Deutsches Theater. His choice fell on Reinhardt, 
who was no stranger to the house, having com- 
menced his Berlin experience there but a few years 
previously. But it was not the actor Reinhardt, 
but the producer Reinhardt, that I'Arronge chose 
for the Deutsches Theater. In the autumn of 
1905 Reinhardt transferred his activities to the 
famous Schumannstrasse playhouse. In doing so 
he relinquished the Kleines Theater and retained 
the Ncues Theater for a season longer. At the 
Deutsches Theater he continued to widen his 
policy, and gradually began to touch his highest 
development as a producer. He focussed on or- 
ganisation, made the theatre a cosmopolitan centre 
for English, Belgian, Austrian, German, Russian, 
Scandinavian players, and a centre for the plays 
of the younger Sturmer und Dranger of his time, 
including French authors, and thus estabHshed a 
Continental reputation for it. He widened the 
scope of symbolical representation and interpreta- 
tion, and provided a framework for plays which was 
intended to invest realistic forms with a symbolic 
meaning, such as, for instance, two empty thrones 




50 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

occupying an empty stage, and placed face to face, 
so as to suggest a universe divided against itself. 
And he stimulated the invention of mechanical 
devices, which have added materially to the re- 
sources of one of the best equipped theatres in 
Europe. Besides this, he laid a surer foundation 
for the intimate theatre. Finding the Deutsches 
Theater too large, and the distance between the 
audience and the actors too great to produce and 
preserve the essential mood of plays which by 
their nature can only appeal to a limited and 
highly cultured audience, Reinhardt determined 
to build a small theatre suited to the purpose 
of producing such plays. Adjoining the Deutsches 
Theater was a dance-hall which he converted into 
a small theatre, to which he gave the name of 
Kammerspielhaus. The physical features of the 
theatre are notable. The auditorium is constructed 
to hold only three hundred spectators, and but three 
feet separate it from the stage. Its warm rose- 
colour walls and ample red upholstered seats, its 
thickly carpeted floor, and its rich decorations tend 
to give it the air of a precious theatre. Here are 
produced literary plays, including a peculiar order 
of conversational pieces that do not lend themselves 
to decoration, but merely require a round table 
and some chairs so that (figuratively speaking) the 
audience may sit among the actors and take part 
in the dissections or discussions. It is a modern 
advance on the old condition, when the audience 
used to sit on the stage grouped round the actors. 
The Kammerspielhaus was opened in 1906. Das 
IkuUche Theater wrongly gives the date as 1896. 



DigmzribyCoOgle 



SL 




HIS ORIGIN 



Thus favourably equipped, Reinhardt found no 
difficulty in pursuing the various problems of repre- 
sentation and interpretation. His experiments in 
perspective, colour, and lighting, in the proper 
relation between the actor and spectator, the actor 
and scenery, do not exhaust the work of the 
Deutsches Theater. Throughout and above all 
his chief work here has been the splendid chances 
of development he has designed his system to 
afford to some of the most gifted authors, actors, 
and actresses who in the atmosphere of the 
Deutsches Theater have risen to unexpected heights. 
Reinhardt will always be remembered for his un- 
aizmpkd loyalty to the unknown actor. From 
first to last he has helped those who stand looking 
in at the window of the theatre for chances which 
no one will offer them. To-day his strenuousness 
is unabated. But it is in the direction of early 
and colossal Greek expression rather than in that 
of wideness and intensity of vision. He has taken 
to thinking in the arena. His first utterance was 
naturalistic ; his last should be mystic. I say last 
advisedly, because we can only survey his beginning 
as yet. 




byGOOQ 



i 



I 



INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 

Disparagement is the soul of levity. It is a 
common complaint of Max Reinhardt's detractors 
that he stands for many things of which he is 
not the originator. It is the common fault of 
remarkable men that owing to the peculiarity of 
their temperament and the uncontrollableness of 
the circumstances in which they are placed, they 
help themselves freely to whatever ideas happen to 
be lying about. In fact, they assimilate, in many 
instances, unconsciously, and thus set the long arm 
of coincidence waving in the face of their jealous 
opponents, who are not slow to set up a charge 
of plagiarism. There is nothing that is so often 
mistaken for plagiarism as coincidence. Perhaps it 
is because every individual is a potential plagiarist. 
Thus De Quincey's charge of plagiarism against 
Coleridge is as much a revelation of De Quincey as 
Gordon Craig's charge against Reinhardt and the 
whole of Europe and the United States of America 
is of Gordon Craig. Great and important men 
cannot help being responsive to the influences 
which surround them. And some have been guilty 
of conscious plagiarism. It breaks one's heart to 
think of it, but it's true. Some of Max Reinhardt's 



rd by Google 



^ INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 53 

critics go so far as to suggest that he is as " an un- 
conscionable plagiary as Byron." It is not my 
purpose here to answer criticisms, but one comment 
deser\'es notice. Herein disparagement reaches the 
point of levity. 

A signed article in the Sketch of June 19 12 
maintains that Max Reinhardt really stands for 
nothing. The sources from which he has helped 
himself arc endless, and apparently he has no more 
claim to any of his materials than Shakespeare to any 
of his plots. He has associated himself with the 
Saxe-Meiningen Court Company's crude ideas, with 
*' the uplifted hands and crinkling fingers used in 
Ben-Hur," with lighting effects that were ancient 
before Gordon Craig heard of them, with the 
novelties of the Greek, Morality, and Shakespearean 
Stages, and with the Craig notion of an autocratic 
producer. The writer concludes that Max Rein- 
hardt may have ideas of his own, but "after seeing 
several gushing articles about him, and seeing all 
the specimens of his art in London," he believes that 
Reinhardt may be dismissed with a kick. The 
reply to this sort of wind-bagging is that the writer 
has been reading "gushing articles" whose writers 
arc as imperfectly acquainted with Max Reinhardt's 
development as he evidently is, and that he has had 
the misfortune to witness samples of the German 
producer's work in London — that is, in theatres 
imperfectly equipped for their production. He 
has, in fact, proved himself to be " an uncon- 
scionable plagiary" in borrowing the opinions of 
others, and misrepresenting both Reinhardt and the 
aforesaid imperfectly housed productions. 

1 ^_ I. I ii,Google 



^^ 54 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

^H The truth about Reinhardt is that he is a 
^H sensitive. At every turn of his career he has 
encountered a flow of influences striking against 
him and producing various responses. Some of the 
influences he has rejected, some he has accepted, 
culled their essential features, broke from them or 
gone beyond them. If we examine the ladder up 

P which he has passed to his present position, we shall 
find that it is composed of an infinite number of 
stimuli and responses ; of attractions, acceptances, 
and repulses, of experiments and results. 

Let us begin with the lowest rung of the ladder 

I and pass along with Reinhardt to the position he 
has attained, noting as we go the influences and 
what he has extracted from them. 
Naturalism 
It will be remembered that Reinhardt was first 
discovered walking on at a school of acting, and that 
he afterwards played professionally at Salzburg for a 
year. He then passed under the direction of Otto 
Brahm. At this point he may be said definitely to 
have assumed the robe of naturalism which Goethe 
bequeathed to the German theatre some generations 
before. The influences that produced Reinhardt 
then seemingly began with Goethe, as well as with 
Schiller. Strictly speaking, they originated with 
^ Shakespeare, if we consider the English and French 
^H influences which influenced the work of Goethe 
^V and Schiller and resulted in the transference of 
supremacy in drama during the following genera- 
tions to Germany. This hardly agrees with Mr 
H. B. Irving's distinction, when he speaks of , 



u,-Go 



^INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 55 

the seventeenth century being noteworthy for 
great drama, the eighteenth for great acting, and 
the nineteenth for great stage-mounting. Though 
the nineteenth century had some noteworthy 
stage-mounting, the great stage-mounting has yet 
to come. Goethe reflected the naturaHsm of the 
Sturm und Drang period, he was also influenced 
by the nature-philosophy of Spinoza, Schelling, 
and Rousseau ; but he did not go to Rousseau's 
length of breaking with culture. Indeed, both 
culture and nature were equally important to him. 
His naturalism look the form of turning his face 
to the purely human aspect of mankind, and de- 
manding a naturalistic expression from the theatre. 
t^Schiller laid emphasis on the cultural or educational 
of the theatre. He saw the theatre as a 

dium of mental and moral development, as a 
leans of focussing the reading and thinking mind 

the nation and disseminating the academical 
wisdom of this said mind throughout the land. 

Both Goethe and Schiller were present at a 
transitional period in the literary and dramatic 
history of Germany, when men had found a new 
touch with nature and life and were setting forth 
in quest of new adventures, with vital theories of 
poetry, drama, and art, to urge them on. Some 
were accompanied by the ideas of J. L. Tieck, the 
two Schlegels and Novalis, the leaders of the new 
Romantic School ; while others were caught up 
later by the more positive and naturaUstic aspect 
of the " Young German movement." If we con- 
sider that Heinrich von Kleist, a dramatist of the 
romantic movement, and the German Shakespeare, 

^ I. ■■. iM,Coot;le 



56 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

as he has been called, left no successor, that his prin- 
ciples lay dormant till rediscovered by the Austrians 
and French some years later, we may conclude that 
the naturalistic movement soon took the lead. 

■ This naturalistic tendency found expression in 

the Freie Biihne movement at Berlin. The Freie 
BUhne was established to give effect to the move- 
ment towards a closer union of the theatre and 
literature which has marked the close of the 

■ nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth 
century in Germany, and which has found ex- 
pression elsewhere in, for instance, Antoine's Free 
Theatre and the Incorporated Stage Society. It 
was one of the earliest steps towards the formation 

I of that arena in which literary battles were to be 
fought out. Accordingly it became actively en- 
gaged in the propaganda of the work of what may 
be termed the Freie Buhne group, Ibsen, Haupt- 
mann. Max Halbe, and O. E. Hartleben. Its 
first production was Ibsen's Ghosts^ and this was 
followed a month later by Hauptmann's Das 
Friedensfest. In short, it stood for the production 
of unconventional plays acted in a naturalistic 
fashion which gradually became ultra-naturalistic. 
Thus it constituted a strong and beneficent break 
from stilted artificiality and cloying conventions. 
It drew its actors from the best sources and gave 
its performances on Sunday afternoons, that being 
the only time when the said actors were at liberty. 
The performances were given at different theatres, 
as is the case with the Incorporated Stage Society 
of London. The latter is, in fact, an imitation of 



I 



I 



jb^Goo; 



gte^ 




similar developments by initiating a Freie Volks- 
bUhne movement answering to that which was 
undoubtedly stimulated by the Freie Biihne. 

To-day the People's Stage Societies are 6ourishing 
in Germany, exerting an influence for good and 
stimulating progress, whereas in England they are 
still lacking. In London the Stage Society is still 
our sole example of a Freie Biihne. It resembles a 
respectable, highly educated parrot running round 
begging for a perch in unsuitable theatres, and 
interpreting *' masterpieces " in an inglorious 
fashion by means of a Home and Colonial assort- 
ment of actors. Generally speaking, it does not 
exert the influence of a parrot. It has been urged 
by way of excuse that the Stage Society has 
been killed by the Press ; that Germany possesses 
intelligent critics who work enthusiastically for 
the welfare of the theatre, while England has 
not yet given birth to a dramatic critic. The 
unfortunate person who is asked by his editor 
to attend a Stage Society festival invariably 
misrepresents the character of the entertain- 
ment. If he witnesses a thoughtful play he 
goes home and spills columns of ink in describing 
it " gloomy," " depressing," and so forth. And 
because he tells the truth, forthwith he is labelled 
fat-head. If it is uncertain whether we do possess 
dramatic critics, or only literary critics called forth 
by the literary " drama," there is no doubt that 
Germany not only does possess them, but helps 
some of them to a directing and improving position 
in the theatre. Thus it was that Otto Brahm was 
^Mromoted from critic to critic-director. 

■ 



THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Ensembleism and Psychology 

Otto Brahm came into active co-operation with 
the work of the theatre at a moment when Ger- 
many was beginning to manifest a remarkable 
hterary activity, and when the drama was once 
more beginning to command chief interest in 
Germany. The permanent repertory of the theatre 
was being enriched by writers of brilliant and 
suggestive ideas, and new forms of drama were 
springing up out of the experiments made by the 
older writers who were not content to rest on their 
successes. It was a moment made memorable by 
the names of Ibsen, Hauptmann, and Sudermann. 
Both Brahm and Schlenther started as critics and 
from critics became successful managers. Brahm 
was moreover fitted to take part in the literary 
movement in the theatre by his wide knowledge 
of German literature and foreign movements and 
literatures. He recognised that the future be- 
longed to the new-comers, and as a critic he 
fought for their interests, while as a director he 
practically promoted them. There is no finer 
proof of this than his amazing loyalty to Ibsen 
and Gerbart Hauptmann. Perhaps his loyalty 
was partly due to his whole-hearted love of the 
psychological drama. His contribution to the 
modern theatre was indeed ensemble acting derived 
from the Meiningers, and modern psychological 
acting derived from Josef Kainz, one of his pre- 
decessors at the Deutsches Theater. Soon after 
becoming one of the leaders of the Freie Biihne, 
he was appointed director of the Deutsches Theater, 



i>,Coot;lc 




INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 



where he remained ten years, till 1904, when he 
became director of the Lessing Theater. At the 
Dcutsches Theater he obtained full scope for 
applying his reforms. It was here that Reinhardt 
came under Brahm's influence, and through 
Brahm, under that of the Freie Biihne, thus de- 
veloping in this naturalistic school till he found it 
necessary to break fresh ground. From Brahm 
he also derived ideas of ensemble and psychology. 
Brahm succeeded Adolf I'Arronge at the Deutsches 
Theater. The latter was a playwright and critic 
and exponent of the classical school of drama of 
the 'seventies. Brahm did not continue I'Arronge's 
tradition, but occupied himself with the production 
of modern plays, in the interpretation of which none 
but the most cultivated players were permitted to 
take part. He persistently sought psychological 
uniformity, and had even the smallest parts played 
by thoroughly eificient players. Under his direc- 
tion every player was deprived of his mere stage 
personality and subjected to the will of the author ; 
all the subordinate instruments were tuned to 
accord with that of the master-musician. Thus 
he promoted the Will of the drama, while regard- 
ing his theatre as the highest culture-centre. 

Thus in time he surrounded himself with a group 
of modern and cultured men and women, who not 
only could play the parts allotted to them, but knew 
how to subordinate themselves to the main interest of 
the piece, and thoroughly understood the intellectual 
character of that which they were interpreting. 
As a contrast to this I may point to the London 
stage, where half the modern plays — c&pec\)&!i:] 



6o THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

those by Mr Bernard Shaw — are interpreted by 
actors who do not understand what they are doing 
and saying. The resuh is that, as many of these 
plays are on the level of consciousness and quite 
devoid of emotion, and the players are mostly in 
the subconscious region, we are offered amazing 
examples of cinc-gramophonitis. This distressing 
state of affairs seems to have impressed itself 
upon the brain of more than one person con- 
nected with the English stage. Though not 
possessed of vast erudition, and entirely lacking 
the artist-vision, Mr Charles Frohman has dis- 
covered that " if you can find an actor that looks 
a part, be thankful ; if you can find an actor that 
acts a part, be thankful ; but if you can find an 
actor that looks and acts a part, get down on 
your knees and thank God." Some day, when 
Mr Frohman has ceased from scraping in the 
shekels, he may pause to think. Then, may be, 
he will add the essential tailpiece to bis dictum. 
If you find an actor who illuminates a part, get 
down on your knees and worship his genius. But 
this will not happen till we have abolished a 
pernicious system whereby authors in this country 
select players with but one view, namely, to match 
parts, as women match pieces of dress material, and 
to speak and move automatically at the direction of 
the author. "All the activities of the theatre are 
group activities, and the Art of the Stage is the 
Art of Ensemble," says Carl Hagemann in his 
comprehensive Regie. It was on the application of 
these two principles, then, that Brahm rose to fame. 
Brahm has, in fact, reached a perfection of ensemble 

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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVEtOPMENT 61 

never before attained. He has gathered together 
a body of players who act harmoniously together, 
and act into each other's hands. They consider 
the play as a whole, and allow no part of it to 
protrude. In fact, they give it a collective indi- 
viduality and quicken it with the collective Will 
of the Theatre, so far as this Will can be expressed 
under the Brahm system. There is no over-em- 
phasis. Indeed, some critics say that Brahm has 
so abolished over-emphasis that the interpretation 
is too subdued. Be this as it may, the ensemble 
system is an immense advance on the one-man 
system in England — a system under which stars 
bulge over the footlights, players are taught to 
fight for the centre of the stage, and the limelight 
man beams incandescently on the leading actor or 
actress. Examine the centre of the stage of any 
of our London theatres and it will be found to be 
worn into a slippery hollow. The hollow worn 
in the centre of the English stage is the symbol of 
the Limited Individuality Company. It may be 
possible that Brahm was influenced in some direc- 
tions by the Comedie Fran9aise. To a great extent 
he answers the description which Georg Brandes 
has given of Edmond Thierry, the director of the 
Theitre Fran9ais : " A conversation with him was 
a regular course in Dramaturgy." And he suc- 
ceeded in making first the Deutsches Theater, and 
afterwards the Lessing Theater, centres to which 
actors went for their diplomas. He, of course, 
has given distinction to the German Repertory 
system, and has always been highly accessible to 
the demands of new talent. He never hesitated 



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62 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

to advance very small part people in important 
parts, and in so doing discovered many players of 
talent. 

But I think Brahm will live chiefly through the 
loyalty he has shown to Ibsen, and the great praise 
he has bestowed upon the Norwegian. Just as 
Turner praised nature as painter had never done 
before, and Ruskin praised Turner as critic had 
never praised artist before, so Brahm has praised 
Ibsen in a manner far above that of contemporary 
producers. It is not too much to say that the repre- 
sentation and interpretation of Ibsen in England 
has been and still is a disgrace to the civilised 
world. According to the English method, Ibsen 
is interpreted backwards, following a singular defect 
in Sir J. M. Barrie's method of working, according 
to which, as Mr Frohman is kind enough to inform 
us. Sir James begins to write his plays by entering 
at the back door, thus starting with the climax first. 
Leaving for a moment the consideration of this 
miserably ener^'ated and disjointed system of inter- 
pretation and the tendency of English players to 
treat Ibsen as a joke, let me return to Brahm. The 
latter's aim was to reach his audience through the 
psychology of Ibsen. Whether he did so in a 
manner to reach the collective intelligence of the 
audience so that it responded simultaneously is not 
a question to enter into here. It may be that 
psychological interpretations are not the most 
generally effective ones, seeing that what is one 
man's psychology is another man's poison. And 
though in a psychological world the science of 
mind makes its appeal, in a sensible world sense 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 

alone counts. All that Brahm strove for was to 
bring out the full psychological significance of the 
part and the whole of each of Ibsen's plays. He 
made everything direct and simple in its appeal. 
But the appeal was through the brain. All his 
players were chosen for this purpose, to make their 
appeal not through the senses but through the 
intellect. All the subconscious element of which 
Ibsen's plays are so full was left out. Perhaps 
Brahm made a mistake in interpreting Ibsen solely 
as a psychologist. We shall see. Perhaps Ibsen 
himself contributed to the mistake. We shall see. 
In any case, Brahm regarded Ibsen as worthy of 
his highest efforts. If he did not look upon 
him altogether as a musician, he got more music, 
more rhythm out of him than any other producer 
has done. But he did not go far enough. He 
was the first to give a complete and faithful 
rendering of Ibsen — according to modern psycho- 
logical conception and method. Such a conception 
and method did not enable him to bring out the 
finest shades of the dramatist's meaning. It is 
only possible to obtain this meaning by re-inter- 
preting Ibsen as a symbolist. When we come 
to understand Ibsen thoroughly we shall find 
that we should not concern ourselves about his 
meaning so much as about the manner of obtaining 
the meaning. On the stage the rule should be, take 
care of the manner and the meaning will take care 
of itself. It is a commonplace that wise men some- 
times do stupid things. All things considered, this 
is unwise of them, since stupidity is the thing that 
other men are apt to imitate in them. Ibsen was 




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64 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

no exception to the rule. He did stupid things, 
and fools rushed in and imitated them. One piece 
of stupidity was that, in breaking with a form of 
drama that had been degraded to talking waxworks 
and building a new one out of symbolic materials, 
and with enormous capacity casting his plays so that 
everything assumes its due place and proportion, 
and the whole mood of each play is expressed in 
perfect equilibrium, he smeared this form over with 
real realism. In other words, he buried his symbol- 
ism under a form of realism and became "purveyor 
of drama of the middlings." This stupidity not only 
robbed him of prestige, but it took the middlings 
of Europe by storm, and, as we are painfully 
aware, it sent the English middlings crazy. One 
of the middlings was Mr Bernard Shaw who, 
together with Oscar Wilde, has given birth to a 
deadly illegitimate drama of modern times that it 
will take centuries to stamp out. Mr Shaw saw 
his way to a cheap triumph by retailing Ibsen's 
misrepresentation of himself to an incompetent 
public. Accordingly, he proclaimed Ibsen as 
realist, social reformer, the master of miscarriages 
in drama, of a crude and superficial form of work 
that anyone can produce with a limited five-shilling 
camera and unlimited cheek. Mr Shaw's crowning 
effort in this direction is to be found in the obitu- 
ary notice of Ibsen with which he draped the 
memoriam number of the C/arion. In this mass 
of stupidity we get a fresh evidence of the extent 
to which the critical opinions of the so-called 
advanced critics conform to the public opinions 
which uphold the narrow prejudices of sects, 



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draped the 

n this mass M 

F the extent fl 

he so-called H 

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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 65 

societies, and nations. The article is a foolish 
attempt to throw a false light upon the origin of 
Ibsen's ideas and the nature of his technique. 
Speaking of Ibsen and death, he says : " What 
was worse, Ibsen seems to have succumbed without 
a struggle to the old notion that a play is not 
really a play unless it contains a murder, a suicide, 
or something else out of the Police Gazette." The 
italics are mine. He continues : " The great men 
born early in the nineteenth century were all like 
that ; they visited the Morgue whenever they 
went to Paris ; and they clung to Ruskin's receipt 
for a popular novel — Kill a baby." If this proves 
anything, it is that Mr George Bernard Shaw is 
one of the middlings. He views Ibsenism as a 
bit of real realism. It is not the reality of the 
visionary — that is, a reality which lies beneath the 
excrescences of life — but it is the unreal thing 
which lies on the surface all the time. It also 
proves that Mr Shaw is anxious to cloak his own 
incompetency. " Only professional playwrights," 
he tells us, "can realise how old-fashioned it 
(Ibsen's technique) was in its imitable and tradi- 
tional qualities." Those who are acquainted with 
Mr Shaw's early writings will know that in the 
above respect Ibsen is only surpassed by Mr 
Sbaw. Further, it was a confession that Mr Shaw 
did not understand the tragic significance of death. 
Being challenged by Mr William Archer in the 
Tribune to exhibit his knowledge of this profound 
subject, he forthwith set to work and produced 
a work called The Doctors Dilemma^ which not 
only showed that he was lacking the power to 

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66 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

confute Mr Archer's argument, but was lacking 
the dramatic sense on which to found a confuta- 
tion. In short, his attempt to express death on 
the stage was too silly for words, and all he 
succeeded in doing was that of pricking the bubble 
of his pretence to superiority. The stupidity of 
Ibsen, then, consisted in laying himself open to 
misrepresentation by dramatists with the Shaw 
mind. He had a vision, and saw more in the 
thing than the thing itself. Thus the thing 
became a symbol of what Ibsen really saw. But 
the symbolic side was never emphasised by him. 
For instance, he neglected the background and left 
it to be interpreted as a part of the physical man 
or woman. Thus the background became, in the 
hands of certain producers — the literary and moral 
ones, for example — simply an excrescence. By 
them it was composed not of those essentials spring- 
ing out of the inner necessity of the action and 
standing as a part of the spiritual man or woman, 
but filled with excrescences with which the physical 
man and woman love to surround themselves — 
that is, the odds and ends of an auctioneer's catalogue 
that look like wreckage littering a shore after 
the tide has ebbed. Thus it was the fault of 
Brahm to give Ibsen a local rather than a 
universal character. He emphasised the three 
things in Ibsen which have determined the trend 
of the modern drama — Ibsen's habit of treating 
apparently small everyday types as such and not 
as cosmic realities, his photographic realism, and 
his neglect to use the background as a means of 
giving the widest expression to the fundamental 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 



idea. But throughout, Brahm has upheld faith in 
Ibsen's greatness. He has contributed to that great- 
ness in bringing out the important fact that Ibsen 
was, before all, a patriot. Underlying Ibsen's plays 
there is a fierce burning love of his own country, of 
his own people, that will force him to reveal their 
fundamental defects even at the risk of banishment 
two or three times over. This was where Ibsen's 
political greatness lay. He loved his country so 
much that he would have sacrificed his soul for its 
liberty. It is because he was a visionary-patriot 
that, like Wyspianski, he towers above contem- 
porary dramatists. Unfortunately, we have not 
this spirit of patriotism in England. And it is 
because we lack it that our drama is crude and 
nasty, trivial and irrelevant. It is because Mr 
Bernard Shaw is not a patriot that he misses 
Ibsen's patriotism and exhibits Ibsen's apparent 
inferiority in the curious tone of complaisancy 
which is prevalent in suburban society. It is 
noteworthy that explorers are at work rediscover- 
ing Ibsen in other directions. Thus the Municipal 
Theatre at Diisseldorf, under the intelligent director- 
ship of Louise Dumont and Lindemann, is actively 
engaged with the symbolic staging of Ibsen. 
Soon there will be a general re-interpretation of 
Ibsen's ideas. For one thing, Ibsen will be taken 
out of the Morgue where Mr Shaw placed him, 
and his notion of death spiritualised. I think 
the deaths of Hedda and Lsvborg will be repre- 
sented as being the result of a spiritual compact 
between Hedda and Lovborg which can only be 
. realised through physical death. LOvborg has 



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68 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

degraded his work by collaborating with a common- 
place woman, Mrs Elvstedt. Some persons may 
call this new interpretation, spiritual eugenics — 
that is, individuals doing on the spiritual plane 
what scientists are endeavouring to do on the 
physical one — acting on the conclusion that you 
cannot have a perfect idea without a perfect union. 
If we examine Ibsen's plays closely, it appears as 
though he believed that the spiritually minded 
person is he who ought not to be born, but, being 
born, there is no need for him to make the best 
or worst of a material world. There is always an 
avenue for escape. Ibsenism maintains that self- 
effacement is self-realisation. Brahm never rose 
to this conception of Ibsen's ideas. Still, his failure 
to recognise the symbolist in Ibsen is atoned for 
by his recognition of the patriotic spirit which 
pervades Ibsen's plays and by the inauguration of 
Ibsen cycles. There was once a talk of Brahm 
conducting such a cycle at His Majesty's Theatre, 
London. But it was only a talk. There is no 
hurry in England ; England was made for the 
obsolete. 

To sum up. Reinhardt has learnt from Brahm 
the principle of the ensemble — no stars, no tricks, 
no incompetence, all the players guided by a central 
figure, the director, all the acting subordinated to 
a central idea, the author's. To study the poet's 
work, and give the poet his due, so far as experience 
allows ; " not to misunderstand the poet, or to falsify 
him for the sake of the vulgar mob," as the Blotter 
des DeuUchen Theaters says ; to understand delicacy, 
refinement, judgment ; to abolish all useless tradi- 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 69 

tions ; to promote talent and not eliminate it, 
as in England ; to promote acting, and to kill 
off ranting and melodramatic speech and action : 
all this he learnt from Brahm. There is, however, 
this difference noticeable in the work of the two 
men. Brahm's productions were distinguished by 
a most delicate intellectual refinement. Everybody 
was in tune. Reinhardt is not so delicate. He 
also seeks to orchestrate his instruments. But 
the instruments are sometimes of unequal value. 
Brahm sought to kill off the one-part actor. Rein- 
hardt goes further. He has produced the actor 
of forty or fifty different parts. It may be men- 
tioned that the ensemble is now growing hoary- 
headed in Germany. It came there to roost when 
the star-system of England was in its swaddling 
clothes. We know that only in recent years it has 
made its appearance in England, where it is begin- 
ning to exhibit the extravagances of a dying system. 
For one thing, it is seen that the intellectual en- 
semble does not allow players to project their 
imagination into the characters, but compels them 
to work to a rigid pattern set by the producer. 
For another, it is opening the door on abuse by 
encouraging authors to sketch out their plays in 
soulless talk, leaving them to be filled in by acting. 
Efficient acting is in fact giving rise to a glut of 
bloodless dialogue. 

Intimacy 

Reinhardt was no doubt influenced in his idea 
of intimacy by Goethe, who, with other critics, 
sought to attain a naturalistic rapprochement between 



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70 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

actor and audience. He began to develop it at 
the " Brille " and the "Schall und Rauch." The 
Ueberbretti cult (and " Brille") was initiated by the 
German troubadour. Baron Ernst von Wolzogen. 
The movement was associated with the well- 
known lyricist O. J, Bierbaum. For a few years 
it enjoyed extraordinary popularity ; it spread 
rapidly throughout Europe, and variety halls or 
combined music halls and Montmartre cabarets 
sprang up everywhere. In serving the purpose of 
bringing poets, actors, painters, and all sorts and 
conditions of men together, they were studio 
intimate theatres in the true sense. These places 
provided an entertainment which caught everybody 
simultaneously, and everybody responded simultane- 
ously. There was no exalting of psychology. The 
floodgates of feeling were opened, and everybody 
was engulfed. The following description of the 
inauguration of the " Schall und Rauch " illustrates 
how intimacy was quickened by the kind of enter- 
tainment provided. Under the name of " Schall 
und Rauch " the members of the Cafe-theatre 
Society removed their nightly meetings to the 
Kiinstlerhaus in the Bellevuestrasse. Here they 
invited guests, to whom they offered, between mid- 
night and dawn, their triple bill : music, colour, 
and motion. In the year 1901 they were led to 
give up the intimate evenings at the Kiinstlerhaus, 
and to transfer them elsewhere. They rebuilt for 
their purpose a hall in a hotel in Unter den 
Linden. This hall they hung with drapery and 
decorated with grinning Bocldin masks. Having 
commissioned Orlik to design a poster, they began> 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 71 

their " Schall und Rauch " performances in public, 
in spite of being warned " not to waste an abun- 
dance of good ideas having harmony and style 
upon an audience of snobs." 

On the first night (9th October 1901) the 
audience was received by attendants dressed in 
white pierrot costumes with black pom-poms. 
After a prologue written by Kayssler there came 
cabaret songs, caricatures of the products of culture 
and civilisation, and grotesque dances, followed 
by a satirical dream-poem by Max Reinhardt, in 
which the horrors of the Brettkiters HoUenfahrt 
(the cabaret manager's descent to hell) were de- 
scribed. Thus the entertainment rushed forward 
at high speed and in high spirits. Here the some- 
what crudely applied principle revealed is, that 
intimacy resides in high-spirited, not in low- 
spirited drama. 

Realism 

When I visited Moscow in the autumn of 191 1, 
I had an opportunity of learning a great deal about 
the aims, methods, and influence of the Moscow 
Art Theatre. I was received by M. Stanislawsky, 
the distinguished director, and by him handed over 
to the secretary, M. Michael Lykiardopoulas, who, 
in turn, introduced me to the working members of 
the theatre organisation, and also gave me some 
essential facts and figures. From him I gathered that 
there had been a logical development of the theatre, 
from its smallest beginnings as an amateur society 
to its present dimensions as a financial undertaking 
dearmg over j^ 1 0,000 profit yearly. One o£ the 



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72 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

facts that he sought to impress upon me was that 
for some years the Moscow Art Theatre has been, 
and now is, exercising a strong influence on the 
European theatre and drama. I received this piece 
of information with a smile, knowing that he had 
been understudying Mr Gordon Craig. Statements 
of this kind are certainly as numerous in Europe 
as the oft-mentioned flies round the sugar bowl. 
From Paris, Berlin, Munich, Buda-Pesth, Cracow, 
and elsewhere the claims to discoveries, initia- 
tions, and innovations in the theatre are unend- 
ing. But in most cases such discoveries prove to 
be nothing more than remarkable coincidences 
and correspondences. Ideas are let loose ; we 
are unable to say whence they come, and they are 
received in various quarters by individuals specially 
equipped for the purpose. It would be interest- 
ing to know how much the Moscow Theatre 
owes to the Theatre of Wyspianski, and to hear 
what is the forcible influence which Mr John 
Balance, writing in the Mask^ suggests that Mr 
Gordon Craig has exerted over the M oscovian 
management. In going through my notes on 
the stages of the development of the Moscow 
Theatre, I find these stages correspond to some 
of those of Max Reinhardt's career. There is 
the initial stage of the founding of a society by 
art and literary enthusiasts, answering to the Freie 
Btihne. There is the " Ueberbrettl " and literary 
movement, which spread to Russia, disseminating 
the idea of intimacy. There is the founding 
of a small theatre, the Moscow Kleines Theater. 
There are public and press prejudices to overcome. 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 73 

There is a passing from naturalism to artistic 
naturalism, to realism and ultra-realism, thence 
to artistic synthesis, symholism, and now to 
ultra-symbolism. From this it looks indeed as 
though Max Reinhardt, and the various move- 
ments in which he has been caught up, have been 
in Moscow the whole time. 

But, as I pointed out to Mr M. Lykiardopoulas, 
I had found there are more original art theatres 
in Europe than are dreamt of at the Moscow Art 
Theatre, and it is quite possible that these have 
evolved their own system of literary and artistic 
organisation without a great deal of outside aid. 
At the same time, it may be admitted that some 
outside influence has affected their originality. It 
may be possible that Max Reinhardt is indebted to 
the Moscow Art Theatre in small ways. When 
that theatre toured through Europe in 1896, it 
appears to have created a sensation by its realistic 
methods of representing and interpreting certain 
Russian plays. In particular, the extreme emphasis 
placed upon the minutely worked out details of 
characterisation in everyday plays of the Gorky 
class was followed with close attention, while the 
absolute reaUsm of the scene must have produced 
delirium in those who admire house-to-house 
duplication. In fact, the absolute realism of the 
Moscow Art Theatre, which culminated in the 
jf 15,000 production of Julius Casar — a production 
that sent the theatre staff to Rome for local colour, 
and brought down real rain, called forth real wind, 
especiaUy from the local press, and gave employ- 
ment to a host of persons who are accustomed to 

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THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

copy stage costumes with R.A.-like fidelity — this 
sort of realism, no doubt, greatly impressed the 
open-mouthed public. It may have impressed 
Max Reinhardt. But, in point of fact, it was 
not till some time afterwards that he broke with 
naturalism, and gave a realistic representation of 
The Lower Depths, wherein Vallentin's principles 
estabUshed themselves. It is possible, too, that 
some of the details of the organisation of the 
Moscow Theatre reached Berlin. But there is no 
evidence to prove this. Again, it may be thought 
that the idea of the revolving stage came from 
Moscow. But Lautenschlager of Munich was the 
first to construct such a stage in Europe, and we 
know there were revolving stages in Japan long 
before Lautenschlager's time. All things con- 
sidered, it is doubtful how much realism Max 
Reinhardt derived from Moscow ; it is clear, how- 
ever, that he derived a great deal from Wagner 
and the Saxe-Meiningen company. Indeed, as we 
shall see, Reinhardt was largely concerned in 
carrying on the improvement in the artistic 
technical and economic condition of the German 
stage — an improvement due, on the one hand, to 
the reforms introduced by the Duke of Meiningen 
in the Court Theatre at Meiningen, and, on the 
other hand, to the ideals realised at Bayreuth by 
Richard Wagner. 

Artistic Influences 

The artistic influence exerted upon the German ' 
stage by the company of actors in the service and 
under the direction of Duke George of Sax&< J 

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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 75 

Meiningen, at the Meiningen Theatre, was at its 
height between 1874 and 1890. The company 
created a great effect by its performances through- 
out Europe, contributing to the German stage 
improvements in crowd effects, speech, scenery 
and decoration, and above all attaining an extra- 
ordinary perfection of ensemble. The Meiningen 
Theatre was, and still is, a Court Theatre, and 
belongs to the reigning Grand Duke of Saxe- 
Meiningen, now in his eighty-fifth year. It stands 
in a town of 10,000 inhabitants. Franz von 
Dingclsiedt, the director at Weimar, and con- 
temporary of Duke George, also promoted the 
scenic reform. It was Dingelstedt who first pro- 
duced Shakespeare's historical plays upon the 
German stage. He startled the Weimarians by 
producing these plays in an unbroken cycle on seven 
consecutive nights. At the time of the said scenic 
reform the German " scene " was in a very primi- 
tive condition. Representation was, in fact, at 
such a low pitch, and speech so bad, that an 
audience with the best imagination in the world 
could make nothing of the caricatures that haunted 
them hke nightmares. Under the intelligent 
direction of the Grand Duke of Saxe-Meiningen 
this wretched state of affairs was altered. The 
Meiningen company began to reform the scene 
and the culture stage. Influenced by Charles Kean, 
it introduced to Germany the ideas of his revivals. 
Carefully organised by the Grand Duke, it sought 
to obtain effects by minute realism, and aimed to 
make the " scene " and everything in it a repro- 
duction of historical correctness. The scenic MtisX, 



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THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

the costumier, and the actor were faithful repro- I 
ducers of detail. In the opinion of some authorities 
the Meiningen company derived many principles 
from Charles Kean, who was occupied with the 
archeology of play-producing. " The Shake- 
spearean productions at the Princess's under Charles 
Kean's management were," as Miss Ellen Terry tells 
us, " the real beginning of a serious attempt to clear 
the air of anachronisms. Charles Kean had had a 
classical education, and he could not share the 
complacency of most actors at the sight of antique 
Romans in knee-breeches, and other inaccuracies 
in dress and architecture. Planche, to this day 
considered the best general authority on historical 
dress, was his right-hand man. I made my first 
appearance as Mamillius in the middle of an out- 
burst of care and erudition, of which it would be 
absurd to deny the importance, because the actresses 
of the time still loved their crinolines so much that 
they would not discard them when they put on 
their Greek dresses." The view that Kean preceded 
the Meiningen company in archseological reform 
is held by Dr Ernst L. Stahl, and is developed 
by him in a book Das engluche Theater im neun- 
zehnten Jahrhundert^ published by R. Oldenburg 
of Munich. We must not forget that Kean had 
reason for his reform. In his day there was a 
decline in passion and eloquence. He himself had 
no voice to speak of, and has been marked off accord- 
ingly. His example has been followed by managers 
who have substituted scenery to conceal defects of 
speech and action. Whether Kean did or did not 
greatly influence George II. of Meiningen, the re- J 

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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 77 

forms undertaken by the latter were conscientiously 
carried out. He thoroughly organised and managed 
his own famous theatre ; he gathered together a 
really first-class troupe of players ; he directed the 
productions and he designed the costumes and 
scenery ; he brought the acting more into harmony 
with the scenery ; in fact, he had a true appre- 
hension of scenic and acting ensemble, as well as 
the ability to do everything himself. In addition 
to the reform of the scene, the Melningers gained a 
great reputation for their reform of speech and the 
stage-crowd. In these two particulars at least 
they exerted a great influence over the European 
Theatre. Grand Duke George was one of the 
modern Old Masters who, like the famous actors 
IfHand and Schroder, introduced a more natural 
method of speaking, just as Macklin, Talma, and 
Phelps did in their turn. The Meiningers really 
formed a company of speakers. Every member 
was an artist in this respect. The dialogue of the 
drama was spoken by each so that it could be 
beard and understood. How different it is in 
England to-day ! Here the theatres represent so 
many voice tombs where the players come to bury 
the noises which they make in their throats, within 
the unholy precincts of the stage itself, what time 
the spectator sits watching with an indescribable 
air of foolish melancholy. Irving set the fashion 
of barking at the spectator, and we find this raw 
material of the Hyde Park school of elocution recast 
and subtilised in the speech of our distinguished 
players. There are but one or two leading players 
who do not belong to the voiceless band, among 



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78 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

whom may be mentioned Arthur Bourchier, Forbes 
Robertson, D. Lyn Harding, and Lewis Waller. 
But it was in the handling of stage-crowds that 
Duke George was pre-eminent. He appears to 
have understood the composition of the crowd and 
to have solved one at least of the problems arising 
therefrom. The two main problems of the stage- 
crowd lie in the manner of bringing the crowd on 
the stage and taking it off again, and the manage- 
ment of it while it is on. Again, there are two 
forms of stage -crowd — the crowd in the mass, or 
classical crowd, and the crowd composed of indivi- 
duals or Individualistic crowd. Like Wyspianski, 
Duke George was occupied with the classic crowd. 
His crowd indeed formed a Greek chorus. It had 
a mental unity and spoke and acted as one person. 
Such a crowd answers to the psychological crowd, 
whose striking peculiarity is described by Le Bon. 
Whoever be the individuals that compose it, however 
like or unlike be their mode of life, their occupa- 
tior)S, their character, or their intelligence, the fact 
that they have been transformed into a crowd puts 
them in possession of a sort of collective mind 
which makes them feel, think, and act in a manner 
quite different from that in which each individual 
of them would feel, think, and act were he in a 
state of isolation. There are certain ideas and 
feelings which do not come into being, or do not 
transform themselves into acts except in the case 
of individuals forming a crowd. The psychological 
crowd is a provincial being formed of heterogeneous 
elements, which for a moment are combined, 
exactly as the cells which constitute a living body 



I 
I 
I 

I 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 



form by their reunion a new being which displays 
characteristics very different from those possessed 
by each of the cells singly. It was this organised 
or collective crowd representing " a creature acting 
by instinct" that Shakespeare had in mind when 
he wrote the Forum Scene of Julius Casar, and 
the attempt to compose the Forum Scene crowd in 
detail instead of in mass is utterly wrong. Duke 
George must have been of this opinion, for he 
rendered unto Shakespeare that which is Shake- 
speare's. For the Forum Scene he formed a 
classical chorus, composed of intelligent supers, and 
thus obtained the best general effects. In so doing 
he went far beyond the London manager, who 
composes his crowd of half-baked walkers-on, who 
slouch on and off the stage and throw everything 
out of gear. 

The Meiningen company travelled about Ger- 
many and England, creating a tradition. In due 
course it came to London, and gave that city a 
taste of the finest example of a stage-crowd. 
Julius Casar, its greatest success, was staged at 
Drury Lane, transforming this theatre for the 
lime being into a source of inspiration. But it is 
curious to note that though, as Miss Ellen Terry tells 
us, " from that moment there was reform amount- 
ing to revolution," it was the Meiningen company 
that exerted the influence and not Kean. Appar- 
ently Kean, " who had admirable stage-crowds," 
did not go beyond or as far as the German com- 
pany. He merely gave a new life to classical and 
historical correctness and a fresh impulse to the 
iDodern " immoral " pruning of Shakespeare. Miss 



DigHi..xil.yG0.Qglei 



8o THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Terry is of the opinion that "the standard imposed 
upon us by the Meiningen company has not been 
maintained of late years." The classical standard 
has not been maintained at all. Though Max 
Reinhardt learnt a great deal from the Meiningers' 
methods of handling a crowd, he also followed its 
fresh courage in breaking away from tradition, 
Finding that of the Meiningers growing out of 
date, he broke away from it. Reinhardt then 
turned his attention to the so-called naturalistic 
and realistic methods of modern crowd manage- 
ment, the aim of which is to get " voices." Thus 
a voice starts at one point, is followed by another 
in an opposite direction, and this in turn 
followed by others, and so the cackle spreads like 
an infection. The individualisation of crowds 
no doubt legitimate and logical up to a certain 
point. Though there are psychological, organised 
crowds, possessed by one dominating idea, there 
are also crowds which are divided on the main 
issue. Such are, for instance, electoral crowds. 
The members of these do not act collectively, 
but indulge in individual cries, to say nothing of 
the face-scratching of rivals. The distinction 
among crowds is either not understood or not 
sufficiently applied, with the result that there is a 
tendency to travesty the individualisation of the 
super. Mr Louis Calvert is very successful with 
his individualised crowds, his best result being that 
attained in the Julius Ca:sar crowd scene which he 
produced a few years ago for Sir Herbert Tree. 
Mr Granville Barker's crowds are effective but 
blurred by exaggeration. His crowd in Votes for 



DigHi..>dl.yG0Q; 



ss 




Women had an essential political atmosphere ; but 
both the crowd in Strife and that of the Forum 
Scene, one of the items given at the coronation 
performance at His Majesty's Theatre, were dismal 
failures. The first was lacking in a proper con- 
ception of the behaviour of a working-class crowd 
moved by an issue in the hands of different 
*• leaders." The second was a ludicrous attempt 
to edit Shakespeare. Mr Barker practically re- 
wrote the Forum Scene. The parts were handed 
to the individuals of a crowd composed of all 
the leading Hghts of the London Stage. The 
learning and rehearsing of these parts put such 
a limit to the good nature of the individualised 
" supers," that towards the conclusion of the 
rehearsals they forgot to love and respect Mr 
Barker. Chaos flew down from the prehistoric 
flics, and Sir Herbert Tree took the conductor's 
chair. 

Stylisation and Synthesis or Unity 

As I have pointed out. Max Reinhardt was 
bom in Austria, where a powerful artistic de- 
velopment has been going on for some years. 
Government art schools for the enlightenment of 
the classes, and the art movement in the theatre 
have done much to produce in individuals a great 
accessibility to artistic ideas. It is possible that 
Max Reinhardt owes much to this renaissance 
both in and out of the theatre, and in subsequent 
years it largely helped him to feel the full force of 
the various currents of the artistic pressure and to ap- 
preciate their value. It is not surprising, therefore, 

h. 1. ii,Cooqlc 



8a THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



I 
I 



that style, or stylisation, as it is called, should make a 
successful appeal to him. It first manifested itself 
in his attempt to obtain coherence and uniformity, 
and it had characteristics similar to those which 
M. Meierholdt gave to it. M. Meierholdt, who 
was manager of Madame Kommisarzhevsky's artistic 
St Petersburg theatre, interpreted the meaning of 
the term as follows : " I consider it is impossible 
to separate the ideas of ' stylisation ' from the ideas 
of generalisation, convention, and symbolism. By 
the ' stylisation ' of a period or a phenomenon, 
I mean the use of all means that bring out the 
inner synthesis of the period or phenomenon, and 
that enable the latent characteristics of artistic 
works to be clearly presented." Simply stated, 
this is a demand for the representation of the soul 
of the drama by every means available. The 
secretary of the Moscow Art Theatre told me that 
this theatre was the first to realise the element of 
stylisation. The Moscow Theatre discovered it in 
TchekofTs Seagull. It consists, he said, In a subtle 
mood which cannot be transmitted by any medium, 
say acting, alone, but requires a unity of every 
means employed on the stage — and everybody, 
from leading man to " limes." Apparently, how- 
ever, Meierholdt was first with the idea that the 
drama is to be represented and interpreted in a 
" spiritual theatre " by means of an outer synthesis 
expressing an inner synthesis. Such an end 
Wagner had in view when he sought to transport 
himself and the spectator into the enraptured 
world of imagination of the Nibelungen, and the re- 
ligious world of Parsifal. To Wagner the operas 



INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 83 

of his time were unreal, presented in detached 
pieces, instead of in big, simple masses. There was 
no attempt made to preserve the spirit or mood 
which the poet-musician had created. So he set 
to work to change all this, and establish a new 
tradition. According to this tradition, music- 
drama was to be produced in a new style having 
unity and coherence. We know what that style 
was, and many of us know how antiquated it 
is to-day. But when Wagner first made known 
the theory of his synthesis of music, chant, 
and colour, it came as a revelation to most men. 
Here was a means indeed of realising the secrets 
of the spiritual world. Here was a way to express 
the subtlest nuances of the poetry of life. When 
chant failed there was music ; when music failed 
there was decoration to carry on the action. Or 
so it seemed. Gradually, however, reformers 
began to detect a serious flaw in the " Master's " 
scheme. It was found he had invented not a 
unified design, but a threefold one, composed of 
music, chant, and decoration running simultaneously. 
Then the complaint arose : " This is wrong ; 
you cannot hear the chant for the music, and 
you cannot enjoy academic scenery while the music 
and chant are going on. None the less, the Wagner 
synthesis has invaded and held the stage till to-day. 
The sins of the poet of the Nibelungen are still re- 
peated, and even Max Reinhardt repeats the fallacy 
of the Wagnerian threefold motive. He gives us 
music, song, speech, acting, dance, and decoration, 
repeating instead of expanding and supplementing 
each other. All that Reinhardt received from 

^ o,...,Goosl.ej 



84 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Wagner he has retained, except one particular. He 
has quietly buried Wagner's ultra-realism derived I 
from the Meiningers — his scenic aids and atrocious 
circus effects— in the dustheap. He prefers Bbcklin 
to Briickner. Now the Festspielhaus orchestral 
flashes of lightning wedded to the magnesium 
flashes are to be found at His Majesty's Theatre, 
London. 

The Impressionistic Scene 
Max Reinhardt's period of seeking and earnest 
effort led him in time to the reform of the scene. 
The Meiningen company called upon the scenic 
artist for interesting colour photography. Wagner's 
scene-painter belonged to the German Royal 
Academy, while his animated properties came out 
of the Ark. Reinhardt has gone beyond this in 
his search for a simplified scene. He was the 
first to call to the service of the scene the aid of 
distinguished plastic artists and painters, selecting 
with judgment those who are specially gifted for the 
work : such as Arnold Bocklin, with his wonderful 
sense of atmospheric form ; Emil Orlick, with his 
love of Japanese form and colour ; Edward Munch, 
the Ibsen of Norwegian painters ; Ernst Stern, 
with his mastery of bold colour. That painting 
could legitimately be called in to serve the scene is 
clear when we remember that the modern move- 
ment in painting is largely decorative. I use the 
word decorative in its old sense : that is, of decoration 
being an accretion. In the new sense it is not 
decoration, seeing that what we call decoration is 
something which is an essential part of character and J 



I 



¥ 



INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 85 

which is added merely to give the widest expression 
to that character. Reformers of the scene have 
recognised the value of the decorative movement 
in painting and have encouraged painters to serve 
the theatre. Thus the application of the principles 
of Neo-Expressionism was made both at the 
Theatre des Arts under the direction of M. Jacques 
Rouche and by the decorators of the Russian Ballets 
during their seasons in Paris and London, 1910- 
12. By the intelligent use of line and colour, 
the scene designed by the latter attained two 
qualities : unity and continuity. Costumes and 
scenery were designed to harmonise, and costumes 
were designed to harmonise with each other. The 
scene thus treated had a basis of fantasy, and all the 
hues and colours helped to build up and maintain 
the sensation of the fantasy. But the great aim 
of these decorators was to create the dynamic scene, 
in which everything is presented to the spectator 
as a moving whole and having one big effect. So, 
the scene became an outward synthesis of the 
inner synthesis of the soul of the dancers. These 
principles are not yet understood in England. Till 
they are we shall not rise above the scenic con- 
ceptions of the studio artist. Mr Charles Ricketts 
has treated Wilde's Sa/ome, Don Juan, and King 
Leaty in the latter calling forth Mr Craig's wrath. 
Mr Cayley Robinson and Mr Sime have made 
designs for The Blue BirJ^ and Mr Norman Wilkin- 
son, armed with designs, has followed Mr Granville 
Barker from theatre to theatre. But these painters 
have asked us to accept pictorial work which, 
chough admirable in some respects, is incomplete 



iM,Coc> 



& 



r 



J 

id 

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-THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

SB afcJ i ge decoration. With regard to Reinhardi 
I befievc that he has helped himself to the 
P ^rl p rions of mass-impressionism which the Berlin^ 
,p,rl Munich Secessionists have been creating. By 
ll^a,^ EDcans he has given the scene a "feeling" 
^M j_ instead of a " thinking " part in the play, and 
^^^Jylcd it to contribute to the general effect or 
jf iWi arinn in mass and not in w^earisome detail 
^^^^ he has come nearest to the newer unity ii 
r of stage-setting. 

Symbolic Staging 

Scylisation is a keynote of symbolic staging. 

credit of initiating this form of staging in 

GexVtto progressive theatres has been given 

4tao**ifr. ^ think, to Jocza Savits, who several 

— ^BfS »go invented and used a new Shakespearean 

^fftgt »t the Court Theatre, Munich. Herr Savits' 

^pOftVi Om the Aim of the Drama, reveals indeed that he 

^p^ not so much occupied (if at all) with symbolic 

^y ginp as with simplified staging. He would do 

A«my *ith scenery altogether. As Mr Archer 

^MS ia his contribution to the symposium on the 

pumirbr" Theater : " Herr Savits has written a 

^HV solid and very thoughtful treatise, which is 

^gtting but a systematic attack upon the whole 

MMfCtj^ and practice of caUing in painting to the 

j^Mintton or decoration of drama. Herr Savits 

rilh a special view to Shakespeare, and 

pctformances on the so-called Shakespeare- 

\ io Munich ; but if I understand him aright, 

t^COBdidcrs scenery the bane of all drama whar 

L lAd would not have the ear and mind 



i^A. 



byGOO' 



g^ 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 87 

tracted by any sort of appeal to the eye." Mr 
Archer then proceeds to examine Herr Savits' 
theory of non-stop Shakespeare, and puts in a plea 
for the act-interval. Having condemned the 
English practice of using this interval " to cumber 
the stage with ostentatious scenery," he comments 
on Max Reinhardt's employment of symbolic stag- 
ing. Let me quote his words : " I have seen only 
one of Herr Max Reinhardt's Shakespearean revivals 
at the Deutsches Theater, Berlin ; but that struck 
me as a model of good taste in mounting. The 
play was The Winter's Tale. Almost all the scenes 
in Sicily were played in a perfectly simple yet 
impressive decoration — a mere suggestion, without 
any disturbing detail, of a lofty hall in the palace 
of Leontes. For the pastoral act in Bohemia, on 
the other hand, a delightful scene was designed, for 
all the world like a page from a child's picture 
book. The grass was bright green velvet, spangled 
with conventional flowers. A blossoming fruit- 
tree shadowed a toy-cottage ; and in the back- 
ground some quaint masts and pennons showed 
the proximity of the sea. The whole effect was 
charmingly fantastic and admirably in keeping with 
the action of the scene." Following Mr William 
Poel's example, Herr Savits did Shakespeare in 
curtains only. Reinhardt, besides doing Shake- 
speare in curtains, added symbolic " decoration," 
while maintaining the simplicity of the " curtain " 
method. His vision of The Winter's Tale was that 
of a child, and he used such natural symbols to 
express natural objects, the masts and pennons 
suggesting ships and the sea, as a child would 

I. ■■. ih,Coo<;lc 



n THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

choose. I do not say this to depreciate Max 
Reiniiardt's ability as a producer. On the con- 
trary, I think that it testifies to his insight into the 
6rst demand of the spectator, namely, that there 
shall be a simple and intimate approach to the soul 
ol the play. 

It is more correct, then, to credit Reinhardt with 
being a pioneer of the modern form of symbolic 
staging, the old form of which really dates back for 
BHUiv centuries. This staging movement has spread 
IB Germany, and to-day there are many theatres aim- 
ing to abohsh the realistic representation of drama, 
coasisung of a hair-to-hair fidelity to materialistic 
iiMail&> Thus the very progressive theatre at 
Dftssddorf, under the management of Louise 
Dttinont and G. Lindemann, have replaced the 
imli'Tir frame by the symbolic setting or frame 
^Htgncd to emphasise the rhythmic mood of the 
pitce by broad outlines and symbolically applied 
KtWt o.^our, light, and shade. During my visit 
|i> Piisseldorf, I visited the Dumont- Lindemann 
iSc^uspielhaus and found it had several interest- 
■ innovations designed to preserve the artistic 
Mon throughout. One is the disappearance 

^tbe hack cloth and the substitution for this 
tftibciftl and stupid background of a more obvious 
au>rc useful decoration, namely, the white- 
wall. I failed to notice whether this 
^^v^^cs ponds to the round horizon in use 
bw IVulschcs Theater, Berlin. By the use 
^ thU wuU the silhouettes of the people are 
^«i«« more clearly than is the case before the 
fMiWtit^ ^mnorima of lawn and country scenes 



I 



i>,CoogIc 




to which we are accustomed. In fact, it adds 
to the importance of the characters. Again, it is 
claimed that many effects can be got from behind 
this wall that are not possible behind the ordinary 
painted cloth. Another innovation is the attempt 
to focus attention on the centre of the stage, not, 
of course, after the manner of the English actor- 
manager, who takes the centre of the stage and 
never leaves it, but in a much more artistic 
way. The management believes that the supreme 
point of the stage is the centre. This is the point 
from which movement should radiate, and also the 
point of visual attraction, and all decorations are 
made accordingly to lead to this point. In conse- 
quence, everything is given a direction of line leading 
to this one point of view. All lines, in fact, converge 
on the centre. By this means a feeling of immensity 
is created which is entirely lacking in the common 
or garden scene. But what struck me most about 
the Diisseldorf Schauspielhaus was the attitude of 
the audience. One of the pieces I saw was Ibsen's 
Hedda Gabler^ the artistic interpretation and the 
ensemble acting of which was only equalled by that 
of the Lessing Theater Company under Brahm. 
Throughout the performance the audience sat silent 
and still. There was no applause, no demand for 
curtains, no rush for refreshments. Though there 
was no music between the acts, there was no idiot 
gabble of the Stage Society sort which recently called 
forth a strong protest from a suffering member. 
Beyond this, there were no attendants buzzing 
about the auditorium with doubtful liquid refresh- 
ments and sealed sixpenny programmes. The pro- 

K '■ ■■n.Coo<;lc 



I 



THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

gramme made its appearance not in the unlovely 
guise of an advertising tout, but in an artistic get- 
up, and accompanied by a readable literary sheet, 
Masken. It should be mentioned that the silent 
audience, the no-music entr'acte, and the no-call 
system, are not confined to Diisseldorf. They 
are to be found at Moscow also. I believe the 
object of the Diisseldorf Theatre management in 
introducing these three reforms was in pursuit 
of its idea that the theatre should be a place of 
meditation, where that portion of the theatre-going 
pubUc who have the time and inclination for 
meditation might go instead of going to church. 
This is one of the many attempts towards making 
the theatre serve the purpose of the church in the 
matter of mental rest and enlightenment. 

Gordon Craig's Symbolism 

Of recent months we have heard a great deal 
about Mr Gordon Craig's influence on the artistic 
development of the German Theatre, and more 
especially on the work of Max Reinhardt. Mr 
Craig and his enthusiastic band of followers who 
contribute their opinions to that live journal. The 
Mask, contend that the influence exerted by Mr 
Craig has been considerable and not always 
Ijctnowlcdgcd. In fact, they support the usual 
of plagiarism. To deny a charge of 
tartsm would require a philosopher with a 
of an antique cast, and I am not going to 
ittnnpt it. I can only repeat that " divinely " 
uoointcd minds have the bad habit of "lifting" 
13)^ Other's goods, and, as we shall see, Mr Craig 




INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 91 

himself, being " divinely " endowed, has fallen into 
the same class with Coleridge, whom De Quincey 
accused of stealing Pythagoras' wretched dogma 
about beans. Perhaps the charge against Rein- 
hardc is not altogether just ; for, as facts can show, 
there is very little resemblance between his work 
and Mr Craig's, and there have been acknowledg- 
ments. In Germany it is generally admitted that 
Mr Craig's influence in the theatre has been felt. 
There are persons in Germany who would, no 
doubt, seriously consider the implication con- 
tained in the following note to a design for 
Hamlet published in his On the Art of tfie Theatre. 
Says Mr Craig: "It was this design which I 
carried over to Germany in 1904, when I first 
went to Weimar at the invitation of Count 
Kcssler, one of the men who have done most for 
the German Theatre. If we had even one such 
enthusiast of like culture and practical energy in 
England, the theatre would be in a more living 
condition than it is to-day. This design seems to 
have given pleasure to my few German friends — 
and I remember that their pleasure gave me more. 
I am not particularly fond of German art, except 
for its early music, but I am never forgetful of 
German enthusiasm and of the titanic energy dis- 
played from one end of the land to the other. And 
nowhere was there more promise in all Germany 
than in Weimar in 1904, when Count Kesslcr 
lent himself to the task of guiding the taste of the 
people who were eager to follow him. In fact, 
the success of Professor Reinhardt in Berlin is in 
a large measure due to the influence and enthusiasm. 

I. ■. ii>,Coo<;lc 



92 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

of Count Kesslcr." The implication underlying 
this note is that Count Kessler did much to pro- 
mote ideas, one at least of which Craig now 
admits to be out of date. For has not Craig 
told us that he has discarded the setting (with 
which he set Count Kessler in action), consist- 
ing of a set of curtains suspended from a great 
height with a narrow opening between, through 
which the moon peered, at a vast interior, in 
favour of a great grey screen for receiving light, 
against which the coloured limelights may move 
beautifully. A further implication is that Count 
Kessler pushed Max Reinhardt on. But this is 
extremely doubtful. I am more inclined to think 
that Reinhardt is made of the stuff that docs its 
own pushing. 

There was a great deal of artistic work going 
on in the German Theatre before Mr Craig arrived. 
As early as 1830 Goethe had conversations with 
Eckermann about the art of the theatre. Though 
Germans are ready to admit that there are some 
traces of Mr Craig in Reinhardt's production of 
The Winter s Tale, there can scarcely be any in 
Pelleas and Melhande, seeing that this piece was 
produced long before Mr Craig's aforementioned 
visit. As far as I remember, Brahm was the first 
German manager who tried to apply Mr Craig's 
ideas, but without success. The only two sets of 
scenery designed by Mr Craig himself for the 
German Theatre were done for Brahm, one of 
them being for Venice Preserved, by Otway, a 
piece adapted for the German stage under the title 
of Das Gerettete Vettedig, by Hofmannsthal ; the 

I. ■, iiwCoogIc J 




other being the scenery for he Mirage^ by Georges 
Rodenbach. Both plays were failures, and there- 
fore but few details of Craig's artistic methods and 
still fewer of his designs are likely to have in- 
fluenced the German style. Indeed, his influence 
docs not appear to have gone beyond the use of 
curtains, experiments in lighting, and inviting the 
artist to aid the producer. Of course this is a 
great deal, and may be the root of a very wide- 
spread reform. 

It is also true that his Hamlet has been pro- 
duced at Moscow and the production has set new 
ideas running round the universe. But Mr Craig 
had something to be thankful for. Had M. 
Stanislawsky and his co-operators been in a hurry 
and not able to devote three years to the work 
of the production, had he been an Irishman or a 
Turk, or someone with less patience, Mr Craig 
and his ideas might have still been waiting to be 
brought to earth. 

Having indicated to what extent Mr Gordon 
Craig has influenced Reinhardt and the German 
Theatre, it may be of interest to note the char- 
acter of Mr Craig's ideas, together with the 
sources of their inspiration. Mr Craig is a 
decorator of genius in search of light. The light 
is, of course, limelight disguised as daylight. For 
years he has concentrated on the problem of stage- 
lighting, and the nearer he gets to a working solu- 
tion apparently, the farther away he gets. It is 
for the light of the infinite he hungers, and he 
searches eagerly for the incandescent lamp that 
shall bear him towards it. Let there be daylight [ 

I i. ■. ih,Coo<;lc 




I 



THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

cries Mr Craig. And the pitying angels hear and 
weep ; for they know that the light which Mr 
Craig demands for the theatre will never be forth- 
coming, — unless indeed the theatre be born 
again as Mr Craig insists it shall be. Then Mr 
Craig asks for suggestion, not representation. To 
him suggestion is the only open door to the 
soul's liberation on the stage. Representation is 
more of a photographer's and less of an artist's 
ideal. He wants simplicity, but it is doubtful 
whether he has not confused simplicity with elimi- 
nation. Elimination is the taking out of details or 
uncssentials ; simplicity is seeing and putting down 
only the essentials. In the composition of his 
big, lonely, and sombre settings he eliminates the 
human interest. Man is made to appear impotent, 
feeble, a microbe. His mentality and vitality 
are eliminated. In fact, Mr Gordon Craig's stage 
is so much space for a design, whereas it should be 
so much space for the expansion of the mentality 
of man. It would be unfair to deny that there is 
something tremendously big in Mr Craig's settings. 
They are very arresting in their way, usually big 
in conception, though monotonous in treatment. 
He has an idea of getting a light here and 
there against masses of black or shadow. He 
searches for movement and gets it so far as 
stage mechanics will allow. He tries for mystery 
and gets mistiness. His " scene " is in conse- 
quence all mist and vague atmosphere. He is 
searching for a scene " with as many moods as the 
901." It sounds, coming from Mr Craig, indefinite. 
IRtinhardt is far more tangible. He believes in ■ 

ni,:iiP,-iM,G00slc I 



I 



INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 95 

massivcness, scenes carved out of solid blocks, as by 
sculptors. If he uses symbols, they are at least service- 
able ones. Mr Craig makes for atmospheric unity 
and gets style by the methods already described. 
Among Mr Craig's many ideas must be mentioned 
the famous Reckitt's blue background, which used 
to follow him about like Mary's lamb in the fable, 
and which he believed he had invented. Nature 
could, however, supply him with an improved copy. 
Perhaps it was Nature who obliged Max Reinhardt 
with a copy, and, if so, there is no need to deny 
it. We have all heard of Mr Craig's ideal stage- 
director, whose function is apparently that of a 
pattern-designer. 

" He does not merely sit down and draw a pretty 
or historically accurate design with enough doors 
and windows in picturesque places, but he first of 
all chooses certain colours which seem to him to 
be in harmony with the spirit of the play, rejecting 
other colours as out of tune. He then weaves 
into a pattern certain objects — an arch, a founda- 
tion, a balcony, a bed — using the chosen object as 
the centre of his design. Then he adds to this all 
the objects which are mentioned in the play, and 
which are necessary to be seen. To those he adds, 
one by one, each character which appears in the 
play, and gradually each movement of each 
character, and each costume." After pointing out 
that the director-designer is liable to mistakes 
and must not mind going back several times, the 
passage continues : '* Slowly, harmoniously must 
the whole design develop, so that the eye of the 
beholder shall be satisfied. While this pattern 

i D,g,t,..dbyGooQle 




THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

for the eye is being devised, the designer is being 
guided as much by the sound of the verse or prose 
as by the sense or spirit." 

In this passage lies the keynote to Mr Craig's 
old conception and method of production. In- 
stead of the scene growing out of the fundamental 
rhythm or note of the character or play, which slowly 
expands till it fills the frame and carries us beyond the 
theatre, the spirit of the play is to be matched with 
certain harmonious colours and a design outlined, 
into which every conceivable object is to be poured. 
Coming to the theatre, we found Mr Craig at one 
time busy with an entirely new form of playhouse, 
of which we were offered a glimpse in words 
which said ; " I see a great building to seat many 
thousands of people. At one end rises a platform 
of heroic size, on which figures of a heroic mould 
shall move. Scenes shall be such as the world 
shows us, not as our own particular little street 
shows us. The movements on these scenes shall 
be noble and great : all shall be illuminated by a 
light such as the spheres give us, not such as the 
footlights give us, but such as we dream of." The 
new theatre is indeed Mr Craig's great dream. 

He appears to think that we have already had 
a theatre, for he is repeatedly saying, *' The 
theatre must be destroyed." The truth is, how- 
ever, that we have never had a theatre and there is 
nothing to destroy. The institution I refer to else- 
where as the existing theatre is practically a stage, 
which I hope wiU develop into a theatre where 
the Will of the Theatre may be fully exercised. 
We have had stages, and we are still aspiring 




INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 

to a theatre by stages. This is Mr Craig's position. 
He will go a stage further. But this will be 
determined by his conception of a drama. At 
present Mr Craig and his followers are not clear 
concerning the materials for their new theatre. 
Ask Mr Craig what he is after and he will tell you, 
a new theatre, a new scene, a new kind of seven- 
headed director, a new electrician. Ask him what 
he is going to do with these materials, and he will 
reply perversely, " Wait and see." His words mean, 
*' I have invented a theatre, but have nothing to 
put in it, that I can talk about." He believes that 
in time something will come. But as his editor, 
Mr John Semar, says, "You who are sympathetic 
towards us must not assist this (aim) forward by 
hastily rushing at our pupils and ourselves and 
demanding what this new drama is going to be. 
Nobody on earth can know till it is here," 

From this it will be gathered that till this un- 
known and unheard-of drama arrives, Mr Craig must 
go on performing something, that something being 
Shakespeare. " Hamlet,^' Mr Craig tells us, " will 
go on being performed for some time yet, and the 
duty of the interpreters is to put their best work at 
its service. . . . But the theatre must not for ever 
rely upon having a play to perform, but must in 
time perform pieces of its own art." I wonder 
how Shakespeare likes being pasted in Mr Craig's 
scrap-book. Evidently Mr Craig is convinced that 
the drama must be born of the theatre. Some day 
he will say that the only drama is the Cosmic 
drama, and this is born outside the theatre, passes 
through the theatre, and carries the spectator out 

DigHP,-lM,GOOt;[C 



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98 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

of the theatre with it, reappearing in time in the 
form of an enlarged Cosmic consciousness. Then 
he will be nearer the truth of his words, " Why, 
there are tremendous things to be done. We 
haven't yet got near the thing. Uber-marionettcs 
and wordless plays and actorless dramas are the 
obvious steps to a far deeper mystery." In thus 
banishing plays and actors and scenery from the 
theatre, in specialising in masks and marionettes 
and imaginative space, and asking for nothing more 
than symbolic gesture, Mr Craig aims to reintro- 
duce art to the theatre. He is the one man in 
the world who is making art as accessible to the 
theatre as possible, and who recognises that drama 
is all a matter of impulse and movement. 

The origins of Mr Craig's ideas are many and 
varied. Mr Craig, like Reinhardt,isa sensitive. He 
receives every moment artistic stimuli to which he 
yields a certain number of responses. He assimi- 
lates as he goes. He is a blend of art and theatre. 
He was, in a sense, born in the theatre, and he lived 
at Chelsea for several years. For a time he shared 
rooms with Mr Martin Shaw, the musician, and 
it would be interesting to know to what extent Mr 
Shaw brought him into touch with the melody 
and rhythm of the beautiful music of the old 
English masters, Purcell, Byrd, and the rest, 
" rhythm which is the very essence of dance." 
Mr Martin Shaw, I remember, conducted the 
music at the performance of Mr Laurence Hous- 
man's nativity play, 'Bethlehem, at South Kensington, 
and was very successful in bringing out the religious 
Mr Craig's early impressions of theatre 



nigHL^dbyGoOalg 




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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 99 

reform were gained through his mother, Miss Ellen 
Terry. Her engagements with Kean, who started 
the archsological reform of the "scene," doubtless 
helped Mr Craig to a feeling for archeology, 
which, as time proceeded, changed its name to 
Craigology. Miss Terry also had a great admira- 
tion for E. W. Godwin the architect, who, like Kean, 
was deeply interested in matters that are included in 
the general term " archieology." Godwin designed 
the scenery and dresses for plays in which Miss 
Terry appeared. " The production of The Merchant 
of Venice" she tells us, " at the old Prince of Wales', 
ander the Bancroft management, in which I made 
my first appearance as Portia, was in the hands 
of Mr Godwin, and was, from many points of 
view, the most beautiful production with which I 
have ever been connected. It was all very stiff 
and stately, very Italian, and it necessitated what I 
may call a Renaissance interpretation of the play." 
This was in 1875. Holding this high opinion of 
Godwin's work (inspired by Greece and Flaxman), 
Miss Terry would not fail to impress its importance 
on Mr Craig. Godwin's scrupulous exactness, with 
which Irving and Sir Herbert Tree became bitten, 
may help to explain for us Craig's sense of thorough- 
ness, certain architectonic qualities of his settings, 
and the great part which Godwin has been playing 
in Tlte Mask. According to Miss Terry, Godwin 
laid down the principle " that if you don't have 
everything right, it is better to have nothing right 
— to have either realism in every detail or pure 
fancy applies to the garden, the heath, and the wood, 
wcU as the room." Mr Craig took the thorough- 



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loo THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

ness into the region of pure fancy. In a highly 
eulogistic " Note on the Work of E. W. Godwin," 
Mr John Semar places Godwin among the most 
remarkable of the "great men" of the modern 
theatre. He contends that Godwin " fathered the 
new movement in the European Theatre, and 
founded that race of theatrical artists of whom 
the theatre of the future shall be born. The 
services which he rendered by his earnestness, 
his thoroughness, by the talents which he brought 
to the assistance of the theatre, and the learning 
which he devoted to its cause, were incalculable." 
In pursuit of thoroughness " he searched in 
museums and libraries." Godwin then was of the 
learned type of mind. I was under the impres- 
sion that the theatrical artists of the future were 
to be creators. I hope I am not mistaken. 
Probably Mr Semar means to imply that what is 
considered theatrically artistic to-day will not be 
considered so to-morrow. Like Ibsen, be may 
have discovered that everything is liable to change, 
and youthful truths to-day are hoary-headed lies 
to-morrow. Nor is it different with naturalism. 
Once upon a time Kean's acting was regarded as 
fairly natural, then came Macready and gave the lie 
to Kean's naturalism, then Irving appeared, and his 
artificial stage-stalking took away the breath of the 
naturalistic student, and then followed Mrs Patrick 
Campbell, Eleonora Duse, Antoine, and others, to 
put Irving's " naturalism " out of court. Ellen 
Terry's long and close connection with Irving 
opened up another source of inspiration to Mr 
Craig. Irving's leadership and characteristics must 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT roi 

have exerted a tremendous formative influence upon 
Mr Craig's ideas of the theatre. It accounts for 
the exercise of big imagination in his work, for 
his ideas of directorship, for his conception of a 
synthesis of music, words, and colour, and for a 
certain pictorial sense. Mr Craig was further 
assisted in his conception of the new esthetic 
synthesis by Wagner, and it is conceivable that he 
derived something from Adolphe Appia's sugges- 
tions for reforming the Wagnerian background by 
means of carefully detailed and differentiated lighting 
effects. The designs for these backgrounds were 
published in 1899. Bbcklin too, who could make 
nothing of Wagner, may have led him into the 
region of pure fancy. Whether Irving afforded 
Mr Craig an insight into the problem of stage- 
lighting is not clear. It is possible that Mr Craig 
accepted the problem in his own way. Or he 
may have consulted da Vinci, who emphasised the 
value of lighting figures from above, but over- 
looked the fact that light is reflected from the 
ground as well as from a thousand natural objects. 
Mr Craig overlooked this question of reflection 
when trying to do away with the footlights. 
From da Vinci also came the idea of the all- 
round man of Mr Craig's dreams. Then the 
lighting system of Fortuny has been largely 
advertised and offers suggestions to the modern 
alchemists of stage-light. Then there are every- 
day sources of inspiration. Mr George Calderon 
suggests somewhere that Mr Craig has cribbed 
his notion of overhead lighting from the barn- 
■ theatre, where they hang stable-lanterns on hooks. 



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102 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

A rather tantalising charge. Other circum- 
stances which count for much in Mr Craig's 
development are these. He lived at Chelsea, 
where he would have every opportunity of coming 
into contact with the artistic ideas which he has 
applied to the theatre. Godwin the architect was 
a friend of Whistler — Whistler married Godwin's 
wife after Godwin's death, — also of Burgess, who 
did the wonderful restoration work for the Marquis 
of Bute, and he was intimately acquainted with 
Burne-Jones and William Morris. It is not 
difficult to understand that Mr Craig became at an 
early period of his life fully acquainted with the 
work and principles of these and other artists and 
architects. It is certain that he was largely 
fluenced by Whistler's Eastern Eestheticism, and 
derived from that painter's Nocturnes, Moon- 
lights, and Japanese subjects some useful qualities, 
such as a conception of atmospheric treatment, 
a feeling for the silver greys that Whistler dis- 
covered haunting the Thames by Chelsea Bridge, 
3 certain quality of monumental design, and a 
unity of purpose. From the chapter on " Scene 
and Movement " in On the Art of the Theatre^ where 
Mr Craig discusses at some length a two-colour 
scheme, and a rock and a cloud of mist, it may be 
gathered what Whistler taught his unseen pupil, 
and how near Mr Craig has got to the Whistlerian 
manner and technique. Blake was another source of 
inspiration. It would be interesting to know the 
names of all the artists who have been influenced by 
Blake. Look through his illustrations and there 
spring forth memories of Watts, Burne-Jones, 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 103 

Puvis de Chavannes, Cayley Robinson, the Pre- 
raphaelites, Augustus John, the Post-expressionists 
— every artist of note, in fact, who has had anything 
to do with the imaginative, symbolic, and heroic. 
Blake saw more in a thing than the thing itself, 
and everything expanded under his hand. Thus 
an ordinary scene touched by him would become 
at once tremendously big in design. I have some- 
times thought that if Blake lived to-day what fine 
work he might do for the theatre. I do not think 
he would do good interior work. But 1 should 
like to see him do some simple, big exteriors. He 
might even treat The Blue Bird, poor material 
though it be, and if he did he would make it far more 
impressive than it has been made as yet. Then 

Blake and Hamlet ? I do not think Hamlet 

has ever been treated as it will be one day, when 
we get the Blake-like decorator with his vast yet 
simple, child-like vision. Again, if he were alive 
to-day, I am sure he would be the first to congratu- 
late Mr Craig on having seen so much that is of 
value in his (Blake's) own work. And he would 
doubtless blame Mr Craig for having overlooked 
the greatest thing — his big-minded space. Possibly, 
too, Blake might appreciate the plain curtained 
stages of Kerr Savits and William Poel and find a 
correspondence in the curtain scenery of Mr Craig, 
And if we were to point to Mr Craig's handling 
of light and shade, and his use of black, Blake would 
whisper, "That's Rembrandt for certain." Then 
Mr Craig's vast doorways and arches and use of 
low tones contain a strong reference to James 
Prydc, in whose studio Mr Craig has worked. 

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I04 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Then there is the screen idea, which to me 
has a resemblance to the folding screens used by 
the Tuscan players. Perhaps it has an ancestor in 
that old dramatic screen, the " Sacre Rappresenta- 
zioni " of Florence. Or it may have had an 
ancestor in the Japanese screens and turn-tables 
which once were so much in the air at Munich. 
Or it may be the outcome of Mr Craig's imagina- 
tion. We do not know. In any case, screens have 
been on the carpet, as in The Mask, for many moons, 
and maybe it is to The Mask we must turn for 
certain facts on Mr Craig's more recent develop- 
ment. Looking abroad, as far as Moscow, one 
perceives another source of influence. The Russian 
decorators, busy with the renaissance of the line, 
have crossed Mr Craig's path and left their mark. 
I happened one day to be in Bond Street, and, hav- 
ing some time to spare, I went, in my capacity of 
art and drama critic, to Messrs Colnaghi's gallery 
to sample some studies by Gordon Craig. Among 
these were two studies for Hamlet, noticeable for 
their extraordinary resemblance to the Egyptian 
figures designed by Bakst for his masterpiece, 
Cliopdtre. Hamlet himself was conceived as an 
Egyptian. The action of the limbs, the position 
of the parts and the whole body, and the lines of 
the drapery were distinctly Egyptian. But the 
most remarkable coincidence was the strong develop- 
ment of the line. It was the sharp, bold, moving 
line of the Russian decorators. Clearly, Mr Craig 
was re-interpreting Shakespeare as an Egyptian, 
thought, " if this is to be the fundamental note 
the production, then the whole production wD 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 105 

be Egyptian." Previous to this I had seen the 
Russian Ballets both in Paris and London. In one 
of the productions, Petrouchka, I came across Mr 
Craig's uber-marionette idea applied with a great 
deal of intelligence by Nijinski. The latter played 
the part of a puppet, and certainly succeeded in 
expressing a wide range of emotions. M. Georges 
Baioks, a penetrating artist and a great believer 
in the future of Mr Craig's marionette idea, wrote 
in Rhythm (now defunct) of Nijinski's per- 
formance as follows : " I have never seen anything 
which suggested sentiment, passion, and the inevit- 
able sequence of things, produced by movement and 
sound alone, without consciousness of the elimina- 
tion of dialogue, as this production does. Conveyed 
by puppets and visualised by the forms of the finest 
human material in the theatre to-day, it suggests 
to one that the idea of Mr Gordon Craig's uber- 
marionette is not a dream but a possibility of great 
meaning." But, then, Mr Craig says it is a dream, 
and I am not going to contradict him on this 
occasion. Moreover, puppets are as old as China 
and Punch and Judy, and Petrouchka is based on 
Russian folklore. So here is further evidence that 
Mr Craig moves in a well-inhabited universe. 

Mr Craig has been seriously experimenting for 
years. But his achievement in comparison with 
that of Max Reinhardt is, to say the least of it, 
small. Miss Terry first helped Mr Craig into the 
light of exclusive recognition, then the seventeenth- 
century Purcell followed with his first opera, 'Dido 
and JEmas^ and, I believe, The Masque oj Love. 
,Then came Handel with his pastoral. Ace Gaiatea t 

1 
i.,i„-iM,Coo<;le 



THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Poltferno, or Ads and Galatea^ as it is called. Afterj 
this followed Mr Housman with Bethlehem, a com- 
pany of authors with Sword and Song, Ibsen with 
the Vikings, and Shakespeare with Much Ado about 
Nothing, a production remarkable for its church 
scene. Duse accepted his decorative ideas for 
Rosmersholtn and Ekctra. The latest to give Mr 
Craig an artistic lift is M. Stanislawsky, whose three 
years' struggle with Hamlet has now passed into 
history. But it has not been " roses, roses all the 
way." There were obstacles. In all probability 
Mr Craig would not have had so much achievement 
as the above to his account but for the loyalty of 
his mother. She backed him freely with her money 
and gave him the fullest opportunity to do his 
best. In The Story of My Life she refers to the 
fiasco at the Imperial Theatre, where she had her 
"financially unfortunate season in 1903." 

By the foregoing examination of sources of ideas^j 
I do not seek to obscure Mr Craig's individual 
value, which is, as already stated, an esthetic one. 
Nor do I seek to diminish Mr Craig in order to 
expand Max Reinhardt. There is no need to do so. 
Though there are resemblances and differences, the 
work of each man is distinct. Both are aids to 
progress in the theatre. Both draw their inspiration 
from personal sources. Gordon Craig is perhaps 
a creative artist in a truer sense than is Mar 
Reinhardt. Yet of four classes into which leaders 
may be divided, precursors, initiators, continuators, 
and re-initiators, I would unhesitatingly say that 
Mr Craig belongs to the third. He is a continuator 
of fine traditions^ which he treats with marked: 

^ I. :■, ih,Coo<;lc J 



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originality. Culture, with which he is occupied, 
is an entirely artificial product. The word culture 
is derived from cultus, signifying the state of being 
cultivated. Thus the seeds of culture may be in a 
person, but the seeds by themselves are valueless. 
They need cultivating by cultural aids. Look at 
the effect the awaking of intellect had upon the 
seeds of Greek culture. Fascinated by the new 
occupation of thinking, the Greeks gave themselves 
up to nothing else. Thus the Greek type of mind 
was essentially an intellectual one, and never rose 
above intellect ; it never attained intelligence. 
It has been the tyranny of ages. To-day men 
are beginning to throw off this tyranny and 
to attain intellect plus emotion. That is, they 
demand an intuitive rather than an intellectual 
perception of things. The cultured person is 
occupied with existing things ; and it is from 
such things that he draws his inspiration. The 
purely creative mind works in an x world. It is 
impelled to create by sheer inward necessity. One 
day the rhythmic stream of life, passing unhindered 
through such a mind, touches a note of music. 
Gradually this tiny seed-note expands, attains form, 
and is thus born to provide a key to one of the great 
mysteries of life and death. 

Since this chapter was written Mr Craig has 
moved — and I think moved rightly — in the direc- 
tion of the realisation of his aims. By the financial 
support of Lord Howard de Walden, he has been 
enabled to realise his long cherished scheme of 
founding a School of the Art of the Theatre. He 
has also published his big and immensely importaat 

K I. i.MM,Coo<;lc 



io8 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

book of designs, Towards a New Theatre. There 
is much in this book which goes to bear out my 
statements regarding the origins of his ideas. Mr 
Craig, for instance, acknowledges his debts to 
Rembrandt, Ruskin, Blake, Fra Angelico, to 
Irving, Yeats, Whistler, Pryde, Max Beerbohm, 
Nicholson, Beardsley, to Tiepolo, Guardi, Crawhall, 
Hugo, Piranesi, Vitruvius, Whitman, Andreini, 
Ganassa, Martinelli, Gherardi, Delsarte, Otway, 
VecelHo, to Raphael, Nietzsche, Pater, E. K. 
Chambers, and to his father and mother. It will 
be seen that he is spiritual heir to a goodly com- 
pany. The book represents the period of Mr 
Craig's development, between 1900— 1913. It 
reveals that he does not stand still, but has passed 
many of his old ideas. His progress has been 
mainly in the direction of scenography, and we 
find him happiest in the creation of purely sug- 
gestive surroundings for players. This pursuit 
brought him into contact with Max Reinhardt in 
1905, the latter having repeatedly asked him to 
co-operate in the production of a play. In 1905 
he had some conversation with Reinhardt over the 
production of C>£sar and Cleopatra. It seems that 
it was Mr Craig's production of Dido and JEneas 
which gives birth to the celebrated plain blue 
background and the grey proscenium, which have 
become so popular with reformers. Another fact 
of some interest is this, that Mr Pocl and others 
made the attempt some years ago to employ 
curtains in place of scenery ; and Mr Craig 
improved on their efforts by coming forward and 
showing how the curtains were to be hung. 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 109 

The Endowed Theatre — Organisation 
AND Repertory 
As though anticipating the coming of Max 
Reinhardt, certain factors have long been at work 
in Germany preparing the ground for him. The 
principal of these is the muhiformed Endowed 
Theatre, to which he owes a vast and cultured 
theatre-going puhlic. In Taine's view, *' In 
Germany the public which judges intellectual 
products is the entire nation ; it is the society 
of the large towns, the youth of the schools, the 
artisan, the peasant, everybody. In Germany the 
theatre, generally speaking, is organised to be one 
of the most powerful agencies for educating the 
people, and Germans have long endeavoured to 
establish theatres that shall not be entirely depen- 
dent on the box-office returns, nor on public taste, 
but shall be in a position to supplement the one 
and to guide the other, as well as to be free to 
come within the reach of all purses." Though the 
modern German stage is said to have begun with 
Goethe and Schiller, the movement towards an En- 
dowed Theatre was of much earlier date. It came 
from England, and was initiated by or through the 
English comedians (Enghsche Kombdianten) at the 
close of the sixteenth and at the commencement of 
the seventeenth century, at a time when wealthy 
and cultured German princes kept companies of 
English actors at court to amuse themselves and 
their subjects. These players, who were among 
the foreign actors of various nations who filtered 
through the innumerable courts of the empire, 

U ni,:>P,-iM,C00t;lc 



no THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

and appeared at Cassel, Wolfenbiittel, Berlin, 
Dresden, Cologne, and elsewhere, influenced the 
German Theatre in two or three ways. They were 
the means of initiating the Repertory Theatre. 
They brought English plays which gave form to 
the drama, and they introduced a style of acting 
which gradually became stereotyped by the use of 
masks. To-day the German Emperor, as King 
of Prussia, has five private theatres in his main 
provinces : two at Berlin, one at Wiesbaden, one 
at Cassel, one at Hanover, and these theatres are 
not in every case the most artistic in the towns to 
which they belong. Thus the idea of " Fursten," 
kings or dukes endowing the theatre, is fairly old 
in Germany, Later came the movement towards 
a National Theatre. The German National 
Theatre sprang out of the literary movement known 
as the Sturm und Drang, the actual founder of which 
is said to be J. G. Herder (1744—1803). Theatres 
were established in several centres, and from this 
it may be gathered that the idea of one National 
Theatre was never seriously considered in Germany. 
At the outset it was held to be impossible owing 
to the division of the country into states. Thus 
Berlin, Hamburg, Mannheim, and other cities each 
clamoured for its own State Theatre, such theatre 
to serve the purpose hitherto fulfilled by the Court 
Theatre, that of being in the best sense a centre of 
dramatic progress. Besides these Court and National 
Theatres, there have sprung up of more recent years 
numerous Municipal Theatres in the cities and towns 
aiming to follow the lead of the Court and State 
Theatres. Besides these there are other Reper- 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT in 

tory Theatres and People's Stage Societies, dimly 
recalling those initiated in a rudimentary way by 
Morris, Crane, Ruskin, Watts, and other art and 
social reformers, which have become so indispens- 
able that no city or town is considered complete 
without them. In this connection Diisseldorf may 
be mentioned. Though only a town of 300,000 
inhabitants, it possesses, besides a large variety 
theatre, the Apollo Theater, and a sort of Vaudeville 
(Lustspielhaus) ; two theatres doing serious work ; 
the usual Municipal Theatre, one of the best 
financially supported of its kind in Germany ; the 
State Theatre, with its two stock companies, one 
for drama and one for opera ; and a Reformbiihne 
— that is, a provincial parallel to Reinhardt's reform 
theatre. This Reformbiihne is called the Schau- 
spielhaus, and it has one stock company for drama 
and comedy. 

The endowed theatre system has offered many 
advantages. It has been a distinct cultural influence ; 
il has established a national gallery of drama, wherein 
the history and development of the drama is fully 
illustrated ; it has afforded new-comers a hearing ; it 
has established a desirable system of theatre organ- 
isation ; it has given birth to the Repertory move- 
ment, and it has lent itself to the artistic movement 
It is not necessary here to go into the working 
details of the system. The subsidising is done in 
various ways, by the reigning duke, by the State, 
by the corporation, who appoint a director, or 
leases its theatre to a manager, who receives certain 
concessions for the purpose of enabling him to 
keep his eye on art and off the box-office, and 



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112 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

by private individuals who band together as share- 
holders to provide a suitable theatre for good 
plays in their centre. The latter method has 
been adopted in England in the admirably con- 
ceived Liverpool Repertory Theatre and at the 
Glasgow Repertory Theatre. The German Court 
Theatre has also produced the German Intendant, 
in whom its loftiness of purpose may be said to be 
in some instances reflected. We have nothing in 
this country answering to this type of "leader." The 
Intendant of the Court Theatre is rather a person 
of quality than of actual theatrical experience. His 
chief qualification is that he stands well with the 
Court. This is generally speaking. Occasionally a 
Court Intendant emerges who is the directing force 
in the Theatre — such was the case with Goethe at 
Weimar. But mostly he is an ornamental director 
with a staff of efficient co-operators who produce 
the plays for him. The King of Prussia {the 
Emperor), the King of Saxony, and the Duke of 
Saxc- Weimar nominate their own Intendants. The 
Intcndants of the Municipal Theatre are usually 
men qualified for directorship by a knowledge 
of the practical work of the theatre. They are 
sometimes critics, but more frequently actors and 
producers. Thus Max Behrend, who was leader 
of the German Theatre in London a few years 
tgo, was chosen from among many applicants 
Intendant of the Municipal Theatre of Mainz. In 
France, M. Jules Claretie at the Theatre Fran9ais, 
and M. Antoine at the Odeon, occupy the position 
of a German Intendant, though M. Antoine has a 
free hand in the administration of his theatre. 



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INFLUENCES ON HIS DEVELOPMENT 113 

Max Reinhardt is, on the contrary, an independent 
manager, being only responsible to himself, and 
probably to his financial supporters. He is not 
hampered by any of the impositions of the subsi- 
dised theatre, like those of Royal Opera House, 
Paris, where the Press and Parliament claim seats 
on gala nights. The present financial position of 
the endowed theatre deserves to be noticed, 
especially as the example of Germany has drawn 
wide-spread attention towards the supposed neces- 
sity of establishing a National Theatre and other 
forms of subsidised theatres in this country. 
Until within thirty years ago, the State and 
Municipal Theatres paid fairly well, some of 
them exceptionally well. To-day, however, practi- 
cally none of them pay. At first the sum given to 
the director of the State Theatre was small, but it 
increased as time went on. Now there are cities 
and towns in Germany losing from 150,000 to 
200,000 marks a year owing to the high standard 
which they try to uphold in their own theatres. 
Among these cities and towns may be mentioned 
Mannheim, Diisseldorf, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, the 
latter being a town of but 85,000 inhabitants. 

The Court Theatres are no exception to the 
rule. Every reigning Duke in Germany possesses 
at least one Court Theatre. For instance, the 
Grand Dukes of Baden, Hessen, Saxe- Weimar, the 
Dukes of Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, have one 
each, the Kings of Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, Saxony, 
two each. The deficit yearly on the two Munich 
Court Theatres is 420,000 marks, on the Darm- 
stadt Theatre, 2 1 0,000 marks, on the Berlin Opera 

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114 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

House, 1,000,000 marks, and the Dresden Opera 
House, 500,000 marks. The privately subsidised 
theatres are no better off. The Diisseldorf Schau- 
spielhaus, a private enterprise endowed by wealthy 
tradesmen of the Lower Rhine, has (roughly speak- 
ing) a yearly deficit of about ^6000. Towards the 
upkeep of this theatre the Diisseldorf Corporation 
also contributes ^2500. It should be mentioned 
that this sort of private theatre, with its private 
and official endowment, is rare in Germany. The 
financial decline of the endowed theatre can, 
perhaps, only be understood and justified from the 
German point of view. The German will tell 
you that he loves the theatre ; that if the theatre 
is necessary as a medium of mental and moral 
education, it is quite as valuable as the University, 
the Museum, or the Church, and should be placed 
on the same economic bases as these. If it is to 
be a centre of art illumination, then the difficulties 
of its financial organisation are of no importance. 
He is thoroughly convinced that the theatre en- 
dowed and to a certain point controlled by the Court, 
State, or Corporation has made the German public 
what it is — far more cultured than other peoples. 

That the endowed theatre system has cultivated 
a taste for the intellectual theatre in the German 
public is perfectly true. And it may be urged 
by the opponents of the National Theatre scheme 
that the absence of this system argues for the 
indiffi:rent attitude of the English public towards 
the intellectual theatre in England. It is not th; 
the English public would not go to an established 
intellectual theatre. It would not go because 



sdiSSk 



I 
I 

me 

:he M 

rds ■ 

lat ■ 

led ■ 

J 




has not been given the same opportunity as the 
Germans of cultivating the necessary taste. If the 
classic and literary theatre had been accessible to 
the English public for generations, as it has been 
to the German pubhc, the taste for it would have 
been awakened and an increasing demand by large 
audiences would have been met by a corresponding 
supply. The difficulty now is that it is too late 
to apply the German methods of cultivation of 
taste. For one thing, there is springing up every- 
where a revolt against mere intellectualism ; the 
attempt to convert the theatre into an arena for 
literary battles has broken down, and on all sides 
there is an increasing demand for lyrical forms of 
expression in which emotion and imagination shall 
play predominant parts. And the revolt affords 
another interpretation of the increased financial 
difficulties of the endowed theatre : it is that 
the German public are getting sick of mere 
culture. History and archgeology are all very 
well in their place, in a museum, but transferred 
to the theatre for a long number of years, they 
begin to act as a soporific. Culture has created 
a gulf between the theatre and creative forms of 
art which it will take centuries to bridge. It 
is the outcome of our peculiar civilisation and of 
our prehistoric mode of thinking. Maybe the 
Germans have noticed this and are now demanding 
art as an antidote. They do not ask that the 
endowed theatre shall be abolished, only that it 
shall be served by an intelligence which is beyond 
the intellectual individuals and groups now occupy- 
ing the theatre. That the prevailing taste of the 

D,g,t,..dbyGooQle f 



ii6 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

German public is for a new form of representation 
is proved by the immense success, financially and 
other, of Max Reinhardt. Though Reinhardt is, 
I believe, the culmination of the culture move- 
ment in the theatre, he is also an initiator of the 
artistic movement. That he is largely indebted 
for ideas to the subsidised theatre system he him- 
self would not deny. It has given him a public, 
has inspired the spirit of organisation, and has 
handed him the secrets of the Repertory Theatre. 
Perhaps it may lead him to put an end to the 
educative theatre and to lay the foundations of the 
Theatre of Illumination. 




r 



HIS AIMS AND PRINCIPLES 



" The Theatre is neither a moral nor a literary 
imtiiution." 

" The Theatre and literature are separate from 
one anothen" 

" Two directors whose rank and importance 
could hardly be questioned have seen the theatre 
at its finest epoch : one was the greatest German 
writer, the other the greatest German stage- 
manager — Goethe and Schrbder." 

The reference to Goethe is doubtless intended to 
call attention to his association with the turbulent 
phase of the Sturm und Drang which Goethe 
stamped with his individuality at the moment 
when the theatre was fostering a drama which was 
throwing off the shackles of literary artificiality 
and becoming free, spontaneous, and creative. 

The Schrcider here meant is Friedrich Ludwig 
Schroder, tragedian and author, born 3rd November 
1 744 at Schwerin, and died 3rd September at Ham- 
burg, where, in 1771, he became director of the 
theatre. His great achievement was that of making 
Shakespeare familiar to the German public, and it is 
principally to his efforts that Shakespeare has since 
become a German classic. In Germany, " at the 
side of Shakespeare," as Sir Sidney Lee reminds us. 



aigHi.ril.yG00; 



ir8 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

" stand Schiller and Goethe and Lessing, the 
classical dramatists of Germany ; Moliere, the 
classical dramatist of France ; and Calderon, the 
classical dramatist of Spain." It may have been 
due to Schroder's efforts that Germans have come 
to regard Shakespeare as born at Stratford-on-Avon, 
Germany. Schroder, it may be noted, was largely 
influenced by the epoch-making criticisms of Les- 
sing, and learnt much from his Hamburghche Drama- 
turgie, for instance. To continue the extracts : 
" Our Lanterna magica will exhibit a mass of 
illuminating forces. Rich as that of the world 
should be the life shown on our stage, and as such 
life is contained in art and poetry, we aim to offer 
these inexhaustible riches without stint for the 
delectation of actor and public alike : the appalling 
power of the Greek tragic poets, the unlimited 
fancy of Shakespeare, the rebellious yet highly 
refined beauty of our classic poets, the mad caper- 
ings of Aristophanian mirth, the piquant mockery of 
Nestroy — in one word, the whole scale of Tragedy 
and Comedy, from the profound seriousness of the 
German soul-painters, to the spooks of Wedekind, 
Eulenberg, and Bernard Shaw. The stage should 
hold the mirror up to nature, and its repertoire sh guld 
bea^rich and kaleidoscopic as_life itself." Here It is 
where the whole scale of Fate, from the depths of 
its horrors to the dizziest heights of its joys, should 
be played upon ; where men and women should 
sob and laugh ; where colour, now dull and dismal, 
now bright and joyous, should scintillate ; where 
orchestra and chorus should sometimes revel, some- 
times mourn, where actors should play the tragedian 



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HIS AIMS AND PRINCIPLES 119 

to-day, to-morrow the clown. In such ways we 
seek to widen the scope of the theatre of to-day, 
to elevate its work and to tighten its hold upon the 
public. It was not by chance that we passed from 
the Little Theatre to the Greek Arena. We 
encourage the beUef, not without ground, that 
those who follow us will enjoy a new vision." 

I cull these extracts from the Bldtter des 
lUutsthen Theaters. This little sheet was issued 
by the Deutsches Theater about two years ago, 
and has been published fortnightly since. Like 
the official organ of the DCisseldorf Theatre, 
it is a literary venture aiming to propagate 
the ideas of the Deutsches Theater, and to give 
the public an all-round view of certain authors 
and plays. It is edited by Arthur Kahane, the 
literary director of the Deutsches Theater, and 
Felix Hollaender, the manager of the Kammer- 
spielhaus. But though it aims to expound the 
ideas of Max Reinhardt and his theatre, oddly 
enough it has a tendency to leave the reader 
puzzled as to the meanings of certain of Reinhardt's 
aims. For instance, I have looked in vain for 
the meaning attached by Reinhardt to rhythm 
and to distillation, two elements for which he has 
sought throughout. Still this little sheet is of value 
to those who desire to come into communication 
directly with the theatre, instead of through an 
outside medium. To the foregoing extracts I am 
led to add the following literal translation of Herr 
Arthur Kahane's " Glossen zum Theater der Ftinf- 
tausend " as being notes on Reinhardt's great dream 
— the Theatre of the Five Thousand — which reveal 



ih,Coo; 



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I20 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

some of the ideas that are actuating the collective 
mind of the theatre as represented by Rcinhardt 
himself, 

" One of the marked characteristics of that 
strangely beautiful goddess, the theatre, is that 
she only yields herself freely to those who entirely 
serve and worship her. Love is ever monomania ; 
all else is prostitution and business. He to whom 
the theatre is not the whole world, its mirror and 
its centre, has nothing to seek or gain therein. 
The theatre is a jealous goddess ; she tolerates no 
other goddess. But she richly recompenses him 
who devotes himself entirely to her, offers him a 
world, presents him with a vision of the cosmos, 
and creates in him a world-idea — in fact, forges for 
him a connecting link with his time, closer, finer, 
more intimate, more mysterious than can be 
obtained by other means. From such a love of the 
theatre and such a union with the time has the 
idea of the Theatre of the Five Thousand arisen. 

" On every side there are signs that the theatre 
is in a transition state. It is seen in the creative 
activities of dramatists as well as in the taste of 
the public. 

" Old traditions pale and petrify, and interest in 
them is lost. Old ' genres ' (forms) die. New 
ones arise, bad ones as yet. But the worker must 
be optimistic and remember that the bad only 
influences the crowd because the good that is in 
the crowd has not yet become fertilised. And this 
potential good is the living contact with the time. 
_Only in its worst periods does the theatre lose 
its connection with the time. If the senile art of 

D„:,N..dt,.G00aii 



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HIS AIMS AND PRINCIPLES 121 

court theatres fades, dramas of the epigones fail, 
and social comedies divorced from social life die 
in the background, it is because they have missed 
the open road to the soul of the time. Revues, 
operettas, pantomimes only draw the public in 
crowds because there is to be found in them, 
though not always in the best taste, a striving 
after actuahty, an attempt to set up a contact 
with the modern spirit that is stirring our hearts 
and minds. 

" Should not the tremendous changes which. 
our entire mode of life is undergoing find an\ 
echo on the stage ? The technical revolution, \ 
the expansion of all dimensions, our electric ' 
existence, the discovery of society as a living 
organism, the re-awakened joy in the struj 
conquer the elements, the heightened conscious-' 
ness of physical power, the love of nature and 
the cosmos, the growth of a new mythology — all 
these found singers and rhapsodists in Walt Whit- 
man, Verhaeren, Johannes V. Jensen, Hamsun, 
Stefan George ; and should nothing of this be 
expressed on the stage ? 

" Here, in the Theatre of the Five Thousand, 
we have, I believe, the first attempt at such an 
expression. It arises, to my mind, from a similar 
feeling for our time, and the best of it is contained 
in the will to capture these manifestations of a new 
awakening and to set them reverberating. And it 
is perhaps not an accident that the belief in the 
myths of our time links itself to the belief in the 
myths of the ancients, as the really new is always 
strongly linked to the really old (or tradition). 

8 

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122 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



" Problems of the theatre arc problems of the 
time. It will, therefore, be interesting to mention 
some which naturally arise from the new form of 
the stage. Of course, this form is not yet finally 
fixed, and impressions gained from rehearsals and 
productions, so far, lead more often to questions 
than to answers. Moreover, only those who care 
to look deeply will discover beneath these questions, 
which on the surface appear to be related merely 
to the theatre, a relation to the important tendencies 
of our time. Perhaps it is because in the essence 
of all these questions lies a desire to create a new 
and intenser relationship between the spectator and 
the work of art (the public and spirit of the artist). 

" The first law of the new theatre is utmost sim- 
plicity. Apart from the consideration that there 
is no time for complicated changes, the vast space 
demands the simplest of forms, and strong, ^ig, 
severe lines. All accessories are superfluous ; they 
cannot possibly be noticed, or, if they are, they 
are a source of distraction. At the most, scenicA 
decoration can only be frame, not function. The) 
elaboration of details, the emphasising of nuances 
disappear ; the actor and the actor's voice are truly 
essential, while lighting becomes the real source of 
decoration, its single aim being to bring the i m-J 
portant into the light, and to leave the unimportant 
in the shadow. 

" Thus the eiFects are simplified and heightened 
according to the need of monumentality. Under 
the influence of these mighty spaces, these big, 
severe lines, all that is small and petty disappears, 
and it becomes a matter of course to appeal to 

I. ■■, iM,Coo<;lc ] 



I 




the hear ts of great audiences with the strongest 
an? deepest elements. The petty and unimportant 
^-elements that are not eternal in us — cease to have 
effect. This, theatre can only express the great 
eternal elemental passions and the problems of 
humanity. In it spectators cease to be mere spec- 
tators ; they become the people ; their emotions 
are simple and primitive, but great and powerful, 
as becomes the eternal human race. 

" Many things that appear to most people to be 
inseparable from the theatre are being discarded. 
No curtain separates stage and auditorium. On 
entering the theatre the spectator feels and is 
impressed by the possibilities of space, and the 
essential mood is created in him to be preserved 
after the piece has begun. No small, strongly 
circumscribed, impassable frame separates the 
world, of the play from the outer world, and the 
action flows freely through the whole of the 
theatre. The peep-show character of the "scene," 
which was known neither to the stage of the 
ancients, to the Shakespearean stage, nor to 
the Molierean stage, and which to people of a 
conservative frame of mind is still the highest 
point of theatrical art, simply because they are 
not aware that they merely worship a fossilised 
fragment of Italian Opera and Ballet tradition, 
has vanished. The chorus arises and moves In 
the midst of the audience ; the characters meet 
each other amid the spectators ; from all sides 
the hearer is being impressed, so that gradually 
he becomes part of the whole, and is rapidly 
absorbed in the action, a member of the chorus, 

i. ■. iM,Coo<;lc , 




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124 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

so to speak. This close contact (intimacy) is the 
chief feature of the new form of the stage. It 
makes the spectator a part of the action, secures 
his entire interest, and intensifies the effect upon 
him. 

" Big spaces compel the unfolding of personality. 
It is in these that men develop their best and 
final power. Though separated by great dis- 
tances, men still face each other, and inevitably 
the conflicting feeling arises as to who is the 
stronger personality. Here strength and passion 
become the predominating qualities, the quintessence 
of tragedy, the conflict of personalities, the two 
dramatic elements contained in and transmitted 
by space. It is thus possible to rediscover a feel- 
ing which has been lost to us, but without losing 
that process of greater intimacy which seems to me 
the most useful result of the late naturalistic move- 
ment in the theatre. For through the close 
contact with the spectator, who, metaphorically 
speaking, can feel the warm breath of dramatic 
art, the actor will be compelled to draw from 
the well of his deepest experience. There is 
no better proof of the genuineness of power and 
feeling exerted than to come successfully through 
this ordeal in this space before the said spectator. 

" Of course, it will come easiest to actors who 
possess a musical temperament, for music is in- 
herent in human beings, and by music we may 
reach the heart of the vastest crowds. In the 
midst of the strongest accents of human passions, 
and the powerful logic of the dramatic struggle, 
which will always form the most important part 

I. ■■. ih,Coot;le i 



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HIS AIMS AND PRINCIPLES 



125 



L 



of this side of theatrical art, pauses are imperative. 
It is the function of music to fill them in, either 
alone or in the form of the rhythmic chorus. 
By means of music this theatre will retain its dual 
character of the festive and the solemn. 

*' The foregoing experiences marked the pro- 
ductions of (Edipus and the Orestes ; but as we do 
not believe that the big theatre lends itself solely 
to one kind of effect — the heroic — the next experi- 
ment will be made with an entirely different sort 
of work, which has nothing in common with the 
other two, except a broad humanity, and which 
differs from them in being extremely simple, idyllic, 
and popular. I refer to the old morality Everyman." 
From the foregoing article it will be gathered 
that Max Reinhardt has in view a theatre wherein 
the drama^an eroSEge. f roiTLan effete culture, from 
sterilising and clogging traditions, and re-establish 
a!IEaaLsIihat is In harmony with man'5 
nature, He seeks to bring back inTo 
leatre the greater, ptofounder internal and 

lemeals _pf Jiuman nature in the drama 

which have been banished by ^a" long period of ' 
mere intellectuality^ Such elements are not always 
to be expressed in words. Hence the appUcation 
of music. But they may always be trusted to find 
a response in the playgoer of no matter what age 
— and in every member of the greatest audience. 
Such elements are to be expressed simply and 
unostentatiously. They do not require splendid 
and impossible realistic effects, nor elaborate devices 
of staging. They require but the mystery and 
Immensity of space. 

Digiti.idbyGooole J 




126 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

In regard to other points, I believe that Hcrr 
Kahane refers to " the time " in the sense of the 
contemporary or modern spirit. I believe, too, 
that when he speaks of modern scientific inven- 
tions, he is referring to them rather as modern 
myths, just as the Greeks deified the elements and 
dealt with them in mythological form. He asks, 
in fact, for a new mythology containing the 
essentials of a new form of drama adapted to the 
form of theatre, called the Theatre of the Five 
Thousand. One of these essentials is the spirit 
of the time, possibly the morality of the time 
which modern science has bred. The old forms 
of drama and comedy must either be buried or 
revitalised by being brought up to date. Play- 
wrights and producers must sound the note of 
modern tragedy or comedy. Otherwise the theatre 
will lose its audience. Theatre managers who, 
like artists, are out of touch with life, persist in 
giving the public the old and the obsolete. And 
the public, or that section of it which has developed 
along the new or scientific lines, will have none of 
it. There are playwrights who are aware of this. 
They have their fingers on the public pulse, and 
they hold their audiences by giving them crude 
and commonplace everyday materials. Mr Shaw 
brings a motor car on the stage. Messrs Henry 
Hamilton and Cecil Raleigh dramatise current 
events powdered with " Science Siftings." Herr 
Kahane asks for something more imaginative — 
something that goes even beyond the Irish plays, 
with their combination of the old and the new, 
but not beyond those of Ibsen. Ibsen alone, 

ni,:iiPt.ji,C00ale|| 



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HIS AIMS AND PRINCIPLES 127 

among modernists, dressed the eternal man in 
modern dress. The eternal man must always be 
in_ modem dress ; but big-souled and adventurous. 
Contained in the article are the ideas springing 
from Max Rcinhardt's latest development. To him 
the theatre is the first ideal : everything, in fact. 
He lives in it, thinks in it, and has made it a part of 
himself. If he loves the theatre, then others must 
love it, or leave it. In pursuit of this ideal he 
has so shaped the Deutsches Theater that it shall 
give only to those who have something to give it. 
" Serve the theatre and it will serve you " is his 
motto. Then he reverses its common attitude. 
Instead of putting questions to the spectator, it 
must set the spectator questioning himself. Again, 
he asks that it shall not express the so-called real 
problems, but the fundamental issues of life. In 
this he has discovered the difference between old 
methods and new. Further, he is occupied with 
bringing the actor and the audience together and 
making the latter a part of the action through an 
appeal to the elemental and vital passions. Intimacy 
is to be attained through external simplicity appeal- 
ing to internal simplicity. Thus we are led by 
Herr Kahane to sec how Reinhardt has progressed in 
his idea of intimacy since his " Brille " days ; how 
he has replaced the one-man intimacy, so prevalent 
in England, by the ensemble intimacy, till it has 
grown to the proportions of Sumurdn and CEdipus. 
In England we have had a long line of actors, in- 
cluding Macready, Kemble, Kean, Irving, Toole, 
Hare, Edward Terry, Forbes- Robertson, Tree, 
seeking to bring audiences solely under their owa 

Digitized iiy Goo; 



I 



lit THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

speO, as if some power went forth immediately 
tbey entered the " scene " and disappeared the 
onoient they left it, leaving the audience to fill up 
die gap with large yawns. The desire to appeal 
direct to the public through the Will of the Theatre 
has never been awakened or it might have led to 
a conception, similar to Reinhardt's, of a huge 
intimate theatre to hold five thousand spectators, 
where space and the elemental passions and feel- 
ingSi, the subconscious memory which lies dormant 
in every creature, are to serve the desired purpose 
6S attaining the big unified effect. Under Rein- 
lurdt, the theatre is to play the part of a dynamo 
containing magnetic currents that are received by 
ererybody. By this means the cosmic memory 
within each auditor will be stirred, and each will 
be brought within the action of the play. The 
J is described in Whitman's lines : — 



A noiidess, patieni spider 

I niJfked where on 2 little promontory it stood isolated, 

M^rlccd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding 

It launched forth filament, filament, filament out of Itself, 

Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them. 

And you, O my soul, where you stand 

Surrounded, detached in measureless oceans of space^ 

Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, 

Seeking the sphere to connect them, 

Till the bridge you will need be formed, 

Till (he ductile anchor hold, 

Till the gosnmcr threads mingling 

Cktcb tomcwiierc — O my Soul. 

Of course the analogy does not hold good 
throughout. A theatre can scarcely be compared 
with a spider, but its function of enabling the 



^gUgk 



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HIS AIMS AND PRINCIPLES 129 

drama to spin invisible threads whereby to secure 
the soul of the audience is, figuratively speaking, 
the same. We have only to imagine the collective 
mind of all concerned in a production, projecting 
itself towards an audience sensitive to vibrations 
and atmosphere, to understand what intimacy really 
is. It will be found that there is no clue in Herr 
Kahane's article to Max Reinhardt's idea of ex- 
tracting drama. We are not told how he seizes 
on each classical play in turn, and introduces 
the essential modern spirit, or how with a sure 
instinct he seizes the essential drama from the ', 
modern play ; how he pours the classic play into" 
the crucible of his personality and changes it 
into the desired element, from which important 
details of the original element have been eliminated. 
Distilling the dramatic essence of the play in this 
way, he is apt to call forth the opinion that the 
spirit and essence of it all is false. History in 
modern language is very often falsehood. Bu t 
the article conveys the impression that Reinhardt 
is an impressionist. His aim in the big theatre is 
certainly that oj creating impressionist sensations, 
by the use of simple, big outlines, colour, and the 
use_o£ .light as the predominant factor in a scene, \ 
not as an accessory to it. Apparently he is con^''^ 
structing a huge sTielPto contain the voice of the 
infinite. But there are contradictions, as will be 
seen elsewhere. His " properties " are not impres- 
sionistic. We find that Reinhardt has also dis- 
covered impulse as well as the significance of lyric- 
ism and of rhythmic vitality in their relation to the 
theatre and drama. In pauses are contained the 



iM,Coo<;lc 



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I30 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

greatest dramatic moments of the drama. The use 
of music is to fill in these pauses so as to preserve 
the contact with the spectator. Music is thus the 
subconscious element that runs and feels with the 
drama, now rising, now falling, as the dominant 
rhythm of the action demands. This rhythm has 
an answering rhythm in ourselves, which it is the 
function of the drama to find. It is a cosmic 
rhythm which never responds to local stimuli. 
The sort of rhythmic unity we want the drama of 
the theatre to express is contained in these lines 
from Whitman's " Song of the Open Road " : 

The earth expanding right hand and left hand. 
The picture alive, every part in its best light, 
The music Tailing in where it is wanted and 
Stopping where it is not wanted. 

Read the last line figuratively, and the idea is 
complete. The music ought not to stop, but 
should follow the example of African divers, who, 
M. Verneuil tells us, swim singing round a vessel ; 
at the eighth bar they all plunge together, mentally 
following the air while under water ; at the twelfth 
bar they all push the vessel at once, and at the 
sixteenth come to the surface. Acting thus in 
rhythmic unity, none of their efforts is lost. 
Max Rcinhardt is now working towards a big 
rhythmic unity. 



.MSi^ 



I 



HIS MATERIALS 

We have seen that for Reinhardt the drama 
only one meaning, to be of the theatre. He allows 
nothing to interfere with this view, neither litera- 
ture, philosophy, nor morals. It may be said that 
he has a dramatic twist, and we may recognise 
him by his dramatic expresssion. We need not 
go far for evidence. If Herr Kahane's article 
reveals him to us as re-introducing the theatre 
to the theatre, there is a very valuable piece of 
Reinhardt literature which suggests that Reinhardt 
seeks in the Deutsches Theater to rebuild the 
culture drama of the world. I refer to Siegfried 
Jacobsohn's Max Reinhardt^ published by Erich 
Reiss, Berlin, which first appeared in serial form. 
In this illustrated volume Herr Jacobsohn has 
taken thirty plays, and by means of them traced 
Rcinhardt's progress as a producer. The author 
says in his introduction that hts aim is to present 
a picture of Reinhardt's development and art. 
He will prove, as far as a critic can, by thirty 
different productions, that Reinhardt, like no other 
German producer, seeks to give every play its 
individual character and style, its own atmosphere, 
and its own music. But the author lays stress 

'3' 
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132 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

chiefly on the point that Reinhardt has brought 
one-half of the plays, the classics, up to date ; 
while to the other half, the modern plays, he has 
given extreme modernity ; brought modern life 
into the one and modern form of art into the 
other. Thus, in Herr Jacobsohn's view, Rein- 
hardt has created what his critic terms a " half- 
theatre," wherein to synthcsise the old and new. 
In this way he is organising an unequalled pageant 
of play and staging. The pageant, however, does 
not include all the varieties of the stage and 
drama — Greek, Roman, Renaissance, Puritan, 
Cavalier, Early Victorian, domestic, economic, 
the old Italian and French, Moliere, Corneille, 
Racine, etc. It is composed solely of the seven 
Stages of man : Greek, Oriental, Italian, French, 
Early English {Miracles, Moralities, and Eliza- 
bethan), German {classic and modern), and modern 
European {English, Russian, etc.). In it are 
the elements of the old — variety, tragedy, comedy, 
chivalry, hate, joy, sorrow, success, failure — all the 
richly coloured threads that were woven into the 
ancient garment ; and the monotonous element of 
the new, the failure of life. In short, Reinhardt 
has not yet discovered a new drama, but is equally 
balanced between the old and the modern. The 
original formation and working of these seven 
stages are worth consideration. Broadly speaking, 
to-day there are three forms of stage : one derived 
from the East, one, possessing architectonic qualities, 
from Greece, and one from the Italian Renaissance. 
The latter had a foundation in the Greek stage, 
but early broke away from the architectonic form. 



byGOO' 



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HIS MATERIALS 133 

and exhibited the disease of painted scenic effects, 
which has gradually led to the development of the 
modern framed or pictorial stage. To-day there 
has sprung up the movement aiming, as described 
in the preceding chapter, to take up and reinterpret 
early stages, especially Greek and Shakespearean. 
The pagan and the Christian stalk the land arm- 
in-arm, delighted to take up their modern allot- 
ment. Of course, the stage has always shown a 
tendency to determine the form and dimensions of 
the drama which it shall represent. The Shake- 
spearean stage largely determined the form of the 
Shakespearean drama. Shakespeare wrote for the 
theatre of his time, and we are told by many wise 
heads that if Shakespeare had had the modern 
theatre with all its resources, he would not only 
have written his plays differently, but have availed 
himself of the said resources. So convinced of 
this are some persons, that they regard the modern 
rediscovery of the Swan Theatre and the subsequent 
attempts to reconstruct a Shakespearean stage as 
the essential preliminary phase of the full develop- 
ment of such resources. In my view, this mania 
for developing stage mechanics before we know 
what the new drama is going to be, ought to 
be taxed. It is the sheerest nonsense to talk 
about building a new theatre in the belief that a 
new drama will be born when no one is looking. 
The drama came first. Some will say the earth 
came first, then the dancer. I am not concerned 
with the point here, nor with the current view M 
that if one desires to differentiate the drama of the H 
^M Renaissance from that of the Middle Ages, or from, fl 



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134 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

that of the Restoration, it is necessary to begin by 
determining the nature of the Renaissance stage, 
and thereafter estimating the action and reaction 
its form, size, and working must have had upon 
structure, representation, and interpretation of these 
forms of drama. I am only occupied with showing 
that each great naturaHstic reform movement 
occupied a stage of its own. 

The Greek Stage 

Asmany informed persons know, the drama started 
in a very humble way. I do not propose to deal 
here with the many theories of the origin of Greek 
tragedy. The god Dionysus has been dealt with 
by the optimistic Nietzsche, and Dr Frazer has 
approached him from a more learned point of view. 
It will suffice to say that in Greece the mimicry 
of the savage grew into a highly organised affair. 
Briefly, the primitive dance, in which the body 
was used to express emotion too intense for speech, 
became action, the story became speech, which 
became song under intense emotion : out of these 
two grew the drama. The story took the narrative- 
biographical form and told of great events and the 
deeds of great heroes, of the struggle between man 
and Destiny. To the doings of heroic individuals 
yns added the world spirit, or chorus, which ex- 
pressed the ultimate emotions about great deeds 
and conveyed them to the great mass of spectators, 
just as to-day music is being used as a special instru- 
ment for expressing those emotions which are too 
d««p for words. To the ancient Greeks the drama 
must have presented a far difierent appearance 

g»h rj,<j,i,7i.dtyC00Qlej 



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HIS MATERIALS 135 

from what it presents to-day. The infant drama 
was nourished on rehgious ritual and choric 
dance, and the newly fledged " cherub " was a 
comhinaticn of the angelic and satanic, with ,a 
great deal of the child-like. The infant entered 
into poetry as a new conception of human expres- 
sion, and was provided with all the most powerful 
adjuncts that the poet could embody in words. 
It was brought into the open and encouraged to 
invoke the most sympathetic yet festive and 
reverent sentiment of the Greek public towards 
itself. So nurtured in turn by j^schylus, 
Sophocles, and Euripides, it reached full maturity 
and fell into decay. But throughout, Greek drama 
was never more than a Voice and a Movement. 
It was a Voice and a Movement which expressed 
themselves to a vast concourse of spectators drawn 
together by the religious spirit — the spirit of the 
religious festival, and of the Church function. Its 
patron was the god Dionysus, at whose festivals 
the plays were celebrated. It took the form of 
a trilogy, sometimes with a comic tail called a 
satyr play. It was a Voice and a Movement which 
spoke in a vast open-air theatre, containing at one 
end some simple scenic device, a temple or palace 
front, and accommodating forty or fifty thousand 
spectators. There was no realism in representa- 
tion or interpretation. The Voice — through the 
medium of three or four actors, wearing tragic 
masks, with open mouths and glaring eyes, strange 
high head-dresses, and stilted and padded and 
standing on a high and narrow platform — attained 
heights undreamt of to-day. Below, the Move- 



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136 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

ment, expressed by the chorus, fascinated the 1 
audience by the beauty of its rhythmic chant, by ' 
the dignity of its slow, solemn, and rhythmic pose. ' 
Both were united by the all-pervading spell of 
rhythmic music, in harmony. 

The Chinese and Japanese Stages 

Drama in China originated in a religious dance, 
the Bugaku, born 2000 years ago. It took the 
form of the religious temple dance, which was 
afterwards introduced into Japan under the name 
the " Kagura." Apparently the Chinese drama 
is inaccessible to change. The theatre is exactly 
where it has been for hundreds of years. Its 
formation and working remain unaltered. There 
is a broad naked stage that stretches across one 
end of a, comparatively speaking, bare interior. 
It has no wings, flies, or curtain. Gorgeously 
embroidered banners take the place of scenery ; 
sometimes symbolic " properties " are used, and 
sometimes inappropriate " properties " play inap- 
propriate parts, as in the Western Theatre. The 
centre of the stage is occupied by the orchestra. 
On cither side of the orchestra up stage back is 
a door. The actors enter the scene by these 
doors, as well as by means of a long platform 
running through the centre of the auditorium. 
In the one case they come from whence the 
action is taking place ; in the other, from a 
distance, to take part in the action. The costumes 
worn are very rich in colour, and their arrange- 
ment displays a sense of the harmony of pure 
fresh colours. Pure colour is put against pure 



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colour, and there is no lowering of tones for the 
sake of harmony. This is the primitive sense of 
colour. Nowhere is the glory of colour seen more 
than in the masses of barbaric Chinese colour. 
In China men impersonate women and are so care- 
fully prepared for the purpose, even to the crushed 
feet and mincing walk, that the illusion is complete. 
The Japanese stage has developed from the Shinto 
temple stage, a primitive affair erected for the 
performance of the " Kagura," one of the religious 
temple dances introduced from China. Here we 
have a stage, and later the theatre, determined by 
the drama-dance. The dance, in fact, came first, 
and without it there would have been no stage. 
The " Kagura " dance was performed in the shrine 
before the altar, no special decoration or background 
being necessary. The erection of a stage for this 
dance soon followed. From the "Kagura" de- 
veloped the cultured "No" drama. The "No" 
drama has a special stage, which is described by 
Sheko Tsubouchi in The Mask as follows : " Having 
developed out of a kind of Bugaku that was played 
in the shrines, ' No ' drama, like Bugaku, is pre- 
sented on a stage that has no background and no 
curtain. There is in the back of the stage a 
plank-wall, on which are painted large pine trees. 
This may be called the background of the stage, 
but this background is never changed, no matter 
what play may be presented before it. It is, 
therefore, rather a part of the permanent decora- 
tion of the stage. The floor of the stage and its 
surrounding walls are made of planks of Hinoki 
tree. The stage is rectangular, and at its four 

ni,:ii..,-iM,C00<;le 



138 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

corners stand four posts. These four posts arc 
regarded as the symbols of the four corners of 
the earth, and the stage itself is a small world. 
Under the floor are buried four or five large empty 
vases, which serve as a sort of a resonator to the 
sound of the footsteps, and of the harps and the 
flutes that are played on the stage. Towards the 
left of the stage is what is called Hashigakari. 
This is a narrow path leading from the dressing 
room to the stage. It is made of planks and is 
really a part of the stage. ' No ' actors play on it 
as they go through it to the stage. Between the 
stage and the seat of the spectators lies an un- 
occupied space covered with sand. This space is 
meant to mark the sacred stage from the vulgar 
seal of the spectators. It is a kind of proscenium, 
but its meaning is more religious. In this sandy 
place, along the Hashigakari, are planted three pine 
trees. I am not sure what they mean, but I think 
both they and the pine trees painted on the back 
wall symbolise purity and piety or some such 
religious virtues." The writer goes on to show 
that the " No" drama has resemblances to the Greek 
drama, in which music, chant, and dance have equal 
importance. There is a primitive orchestra of five 
placed in a similar manner to the Chinese orchestra. 
There are eight persons who form a motionless 
chorus, which differs from the Greek chorus in 
that it sometimes explains what the actor is doing 
and sometimes sings his part when it is too heavy 
for him. Further, masks are sometimes worn, and 
the costumes are rich and appropriate. 

As there is an interchange of Eastern and 



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HIS MATERIALS 139 

estem ideas taking place at this moment, I 
may include here an architectural account of a 
Japanese theatre, which was sent to me by the 
eminent architect Josiah Conder of Tokio. 

** The general appearance of the theatre is 
that of a broad, squat-looking building of wooden 
construction, with a wide central roof of flat pitch, 
a clearstory, and lower lean-to roofs at the sides. 
The large roof has generally a low continuous lantern 
running along the top to admit air and light. The 
walls are constructed of a framing of vertical and 
horizontal timbers filled in with lathing, clay, and 
plaster, having weather-boarding nailed upon the 
outside. The windows are oblong openings, 
with wooden bars placed either vertically or hori- 
zontally, closed, in bad weather only, by sliding 
shutters, having paper lights, which are placed 
towards the inside of the reveals. 

" A gay appearance is given to the otherwise 
insignificant fa9ade by means of large placards 
heavily framed, which are hung in profusion in 
front, and decorated with large representations of 
scenes from the play, in bright, harmonious colours. 
Some of these posters extend from the ground to 
the eaves ; and, in addition, there are often a 
number of bright flags on poles fixed in the path- 
way. The theatres of a Japanese town are gener- 
ally placed together in the same district ; and 
about them are several large tea-houses (hotels), 
whence it is usual to procure one's ticket and make 
all arrangements for seats and refreshments. 

With the Japanese, as with the ancient Greeks, 
the performance of a play is the matter of a wKoU 



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I40 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

day, the theatre opening at about six in the morn-j 
ing and closing at dusk. This is broken by frequent 
and tedious intervals between the acts, when the 
audience adjourn to the tea-houses, or take their 
meals in the theatre. The building is entered 
from the end facing the stage, through a sort 
of central hall, containing racks for depositing 
umbrellas, clogs, and generally serving the purpose 
of a cloakroom. On either side of this entrance 
are rooms, some of which are devoted to the 
manager and his officers, and others to the actors. 
The actors have rooms at both ends of the theatre. 
There are also private entrances in the front 
communicating with some of these rooms. 

" Between the entrance, with its adjoining rooms, 
and the auditorium, or main body of the building, 
is a passage, running from side to side, leading to 
the staircases and side passages. Direct admission 
is gained into the pit, across the main passage, by 
two doorways, between which is a row of small 
compartments, closed in towards the entrance, but 
opening on to the theatre, looking towards the 
stage. These rooms are some of them occupied 
by dealers in programmes or provisions, and others 
by police, who attend to preserve order. 

" The pit holds by far the greater part of the 
audience ; for the raised and supported seats at 
the sides and end, which correspond to European 
box-seats, are comparatively few in number. The 
pit-seats consist of a great number of low, box- 
like divisions, placed upon a floor sloping slightly 
upwards from the stage end. The incline 
scarcely perceptible. The divisions arc about f( 



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feet square, and are intended each for the seating of 
6ve people, squatting upon the mat-covered floor. 

*' There are two passages through these seats 
from entrance to stage, one on either side, and 
these are sometimes used in passing from seat to 
scat, but access is obtained to any part of the pit 
by walking along the low divisions between each 
compartment, the edges being made flat for the 
purpose. Sometimes, in addition to this simple 
mode of communication, there are one or two 
cross passages of a plank's width ; these, as well as 
the principal side passages being always at the level 
of the top of the seat divisions, and consequently 
on the same level as the stage, and of the shoulders 
of the audience seated in the pit. 

" The main passages referred to are also used 
by the actors during the performance, who often 
approach the stage from the front of the theatre 
where they have several dressing-rooms. Some- 
times an actor will stop to speak or act in this 
passage in the midst of his audience, addressing 
his fellow-actors on the stage across the people. 
The passage on one's left hand as one faces the 
stage is called the main passage. It is wider than 
that on the opposite side, and more used. There 
is also a corresponding underground passage beneath 
it, and a trap-door to admit of sudden appearances 
and disappearances. This lower passage communi- 
cates with a wide space below the stage, where are 
appliances for hoisting connected with several trap- 
doors in the floor of the stage. A magician or 
ghost can thus disappear quickly from the stage, 
and appear amidst the audience ; or, what often 



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14: THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

happens, a hero or victim slain upon the stage will 
rise in a transformed, ghostly apparition in the 
passage, illumined by a coloured light. 

" Some very pleasing scenic effects are obtained 
by the use of the upper passages ; sometimes a 
gaily dressed procession, or an armed suite of 
attendants, approach the stage in a long line, with 
all the slow ceremonial and etiquette which belong 
to the customs of old Japan. At other times an 
exit will be made imposing by a large train of 
followers ; a farewell parting will be lengthened 
out by lingerings and looking back ; or, may be, 
some favourite low comedian will give full play to 
his comic strut, action, or grimace, as he makes his 
entrance or his exit across the long passage. This 
peculiarity has seemed worth dwelling upon, as, 
by reason of it, certain representations can be 
obtained which decidedly improve the effect of 
the play, and which are more or less impossible 
in European theatres, where approaches must be 
sudden, and a slow arrival or far-off action can be 
suggested only by distant sounds behind the stage 
from invisible supernumeraries, or by exaggerated 
expressions of expectation and alarm on the part of 
the actors upon the stage. To assist this conven- 
tionality, and to carry out still further the idea of 
the all-pervading nature of the scene in a Japanese 
theatre, strips of painted canvas, continuing the 
stage scenery, are often hung to the fronts of the 
upper boxes and galleries running all round the 
theatre. 

" An example of this may be given by reference 
to a portion of a favourite play, in which is reprc- 

D,.,ti7.dt,'GooQle- 



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HIS MATERIALS 143 

sented the embarkation of a prince from his own 
castle town. 

*' When the scene opens, a boat lies in the fore- 
ground, the floor of the stage being covered with 
painted canvas, representing a sandy beach in front 
and water touching the prow of the boat, and 
extending behind to the back of the stage. The 
prince and his suite having entered the boat, it 
is moved by means of the turn-tables of the stage, 
and at the same time the canvas representing the 
water is drawn forward, the sandy beach disappears, 
and the whole stage represents sea. Then, gradually 
along the sides of the upper boxes strips of canvas 
painted as water are drawn by cords, until at 
length on the further gallery-front facing the stage 
is seen the representation of the distant shore and 
castle town. This forms a fitting and expressive 
accompaniment to a long farewell soliloquy from 
the boat, the prince addressing his native home 
which he is leaving behind him. Thus a vivid 
reality is given to a change in the scene of action. 
The idea which it seems to suggest to the audience 
is, that they have in reality followed their hero 
to his next abode, leaving with him the last scene 
behind, and not that he has left them in the for- 
saken town to be transported mysteriously to the 
next scene of action. The two or three outermost 
rows of pit compartments slope considerably up- 
wards on either side and at the back. Outside 
these seats are more spacious compartments running 
all round the theatre in a single row. These are 
the lower box-seats, and at their front are occasional 
wooden posts supporting the floor of the upper tier 



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144 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

above them. They are closed in, and entered by 
doors at the back. Some height above this upper 
tier of boxes, and just beneath the long, low clear- 
story windows, is a light and narrow gallery 
supported from the wall on brackets. 

" This gallery appears to be used only for attend- 
ing to the windows, being approached by a ladder 
staircase, and being too frail to support a number 
of people. At the back of the boxes on either 
side are the two outer passages for communication 
with these box-seats, and corresponding passages 
above for the upper seats. One of the lower 
passages has a central screen dividing it longitu- 
dinally into two, the portion nearer the outside 
being used by those actors who wish to pass un- 
noticed from end to end of the theatre. The back 
portion of the pit opposite to the stage is covered 
by an upper gallery, on a level with the upper 
boxes, which extends back over the hall and rooms 
round the entrance. At the two extremities of 
this gallery are several small rooms for stores, 
and a sort of oratory, with a shrine, where it is 
usual for the proprietors and actors to supplicate 
success from some deity. 

" The appearance of the whole inside of the 
theatre is extremely plain, and devoid of finish 
or ornament. The large tie-beams of the roof, 
of heavy, unsquared timber, are generally visible 
below a rough boarded ceiling. In some cases, 
the boarding is placed below the tie-beams, and is 
slightly ornamented with thin ribs. The heavy 
timbers of the roof contrast greatly with the frail 
posts and filling-in which form the walls of support. 



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The fronts of the upper seats and the gallery front 
have sometimes a moulded hand-rail, with moulded 
or carved supports, but in other respects the interior 
has few embellishments, except in the scenery and 
hangings of the stage. 

*' Considerable room is taken up by the stage, 
which occupies nearly the whole of the further 
end of the building. In addition, there are a few 
actors' dressing-rooms, bath-rooms, and small stair- 
cases leading to the principal rooms above. These 
upper rooms are larger, and occupy a portion of 
the space which below is given to the stage for 
the purpose of moving the scenery and working 
the turn-tables. The principal actors have separate 
dressing-rooms — a hairdresser, and quite a number 
of attendants ; there is a larger room common to 
inferior actors. These rooms at the back of the 
stage are in some cases arranged in three low 
stories. 

**Thc staircases of approach from one floor to 
another consist of two strings with treads, and no 
risers or handrail, placed to a steep slope. 

"The height of the stage opening is about i6 
feet from the stage fioor, which is about i8 inches 
below the eye of those seated in the front of the pit. 
The platform of the stage, which has no inclina- 
tion, comes well forward beyond the curtain open- 
ing, forming a wide passage in front communicating 
with the passages through the pit. The stage is 
provided with one or two concentric turn-tables 
coming out to the front, and by the revolution 
of these the scene is sometimes quickly changed. 
The front scene will hide the scene behind, which 



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146 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

is prepared in readiness, and then the whole is 
moved round. 

" The representation of an interior scene upon 
the stage as we should make it, namely, by convert- 
ing the whole stage into a single room by means 
of side and back scenes, is never attempted, and 
is scarcely necessary on account of the facility of 
representing exterior and interior together. A 
Japanese house has low rooms, is often only of one 
story, and is mostly thrown entirely open in the 
front. 

" Even in the cold weather it is quite common 
to see the whole front of a house thrown quite 
open by removing or sliding back the light paper 
slides (Mo/';j), of which nearly the whole front 
consists. In stormy weather, either cane blinds 
arc hung outside of the paper slides, or else the 
whole is closed in by wooden shutters called amnios 
(rain shutters) placed outside, keeping out light 
and air, a small quantity of light being admitted 
from some small side windows, or by a small 
portion in front not being quite shut in. 

" In palaces or the residences of men of rank, 
the rooms are grouped together and the block 
surrounded on all four sides by a wide boarded 
passage reached by a flight of wooden steps from 
the grounds. This passage is sometimes double 
the outer and narrower portion, having a balustrade 
corresponding to the handrail of the steps, and the 
inner portions bounded by posts filled in above 
with plaster, and supporting the eaves of the roof. 
The spaces between these posts are often entirely 
open, but they can be filled in with shojis and amados. 



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HIS MATERIALS 147 

The internal posts of the passage forming the 
walls of the rooms can also be filled in or left 
open according to the weather, so that on a fine 
summer's day the whole interior can be thrown 
open, presenting a vista of matted rooms, and 
groups of posts. 

" It is such a view as this that is given to the 
audience in a theatre. The whole front or end 
of a house is represented on the stage from ground 
to ceiling line by means of a light wooden con- 
struction somewhat smaller in scale than an actual 
building. The front thrown open will present to 
view the interior rooms in which the acting takes 
place, prolonged sometimes into the semblance of 
a vista of rooms, by means of painted scenes at 
ihe back. 

" The perspective of such painted scenes is 
mostly correct, erring rather in being too sudden. 
The turn-tables upon which such constructions are 
placed enables them to be quickly moved to the 
back by a half revolution, revealing the next scene, 
which will have been meanwhile prepared behind 
it. On the front part of the stage, side-scenes, 
shrubs, or flowers will be placed to form a fore- 
ground. The stage-curtain, generally having some 
simple conventional device in colour upon it, is 
drawn forward by attendants at the close of the 
scene. 

" At the left-hand side of the stage is a space 
for the orchestra, who play drums, flutes, and 
stringed instruments, and who partly explain the 
acting, and comment upon it, after the manner 
of the Greek chorus. 



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!48 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

" In addition to this orchestra there is a little 
gallery on the right-hand side of the stage, some 
lo feet from the ground, in which two musicians 
are seated, who accompany the performance. One 
of these men plays a stringed instrument (samisen), 
and the other accompanies the music at intervals 
with singing and intoned exclamations. They 
are sometimes visible to the audience, and some- 
times screened by cane blinds, through which they 
can see without being seen ; for it is necessary for 
them to watch the movement of actors upon the 
stage. 

"An ordinary theatre has no proper provision 
for artificial lighting, for the performance generally 
takes place only during the daytime, when the place 
is lighted by side and end windows just below the 
caves. 

" In case of a play being prolonged till after 
dark, a miserably inefficient Hght is obtained by 
a row of candles placed in front of the stage ; 
besides which a candle fixed to a rod is carried 
about by an attendant, and held in front of the 
particular actor who is speaking, in order better 
lo illuminate him. 

" Another peculiarity is the presence on the 
stage of sundry boys dressed in black, with loose 
black caps, indicating that they are to be supposed 
invisible. They crouch about behind the actors 
to remove from the stage anything that is to be 
dispensed with, or to place a low seat or support 
under an actor who has to take up a position for 
any length of time. Most of the plays enacted 
are taken from Japanese history, and a visit to the 



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HIS MATERIALS 149 

theatre is now the best opportunity of realising the 
customs, habits, etiquette, and costumes of ancient 
times. 

" It is said that the representations may be relied 
upon as correct. With the profession of an actor, 
as with other professions in this country, the 
business has hitherto been hereditary, and instruc- 
tion has been personally given or handed down in 
manuscript. This accounts to a great extent for 
the want of really good and exhaustive treatises 
upon the dramatic and other arts, in which the 
people have shown at times remarkable skill. The 
dramatic art of Japan may be said to hold the same 
comparison with our modern European drama as 
medieval decorative painting does with the highly 
naturalistic picture of to-day. The story is told 
forcibly ; the action of body and of feature is 
what we should call exaggerated ; the impression of 
sorrow or despair is aided by weird, doleful music, 
and by the sympathetic wailing of the chorus ; 
and sometimes acute feminine grief is pictured by 
a dance in which the hands are wrung and the 
body writhes in painful action, accompanied by 
sobs and snatches of wild song. 

" There are dances expressive of grace and 
beauty, of humour, or of grief ; unnatural perhaps, 
but unmistakably highly effective in drawing the 
sympathy of the spectators and conventionally 
assisting the effect of the play. So forcible is the 
effect produced that a foreigner, unable to follow 
much that is said, will find himself worked into 
sad or pleasurable excitement fully in sympathy 
with the action of the play." 

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150 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

A fact in Professor Conder's description, worthy 
of notice, is the use of the revolving stage, an appli- 
ance over which Europe is now going crazy. The 
Japanese set this turn-table stage with portable 
screens capable of suggesting a variety of effects. 
Another noticeable fact is that the "No" drama 
is mystical and medieval and has always been the 
drama of the elite. With regard to the drama- 
dance, it should be explained that it is different 
from that of Western nations. It is not only 
pantomimic, but every movement means some- 
thing. The Japanese have, in fact, invented an 
exclusive and eloquent language of gesture, which 
it would take Western peoples centuries to learn. 
Indeed, it is doubtful whether the Japanese theatre 
form of representation and interpretation can ever 
be exported. 

The "Miracle" and "Morality" Stages 

The drama in England is said to have begun with 
the Miracle Play. Thus in its early stage the drama 
was a powerful instrument in the hands of the 
clergy for promoting religious ideals. Later it he- 
came laicised in the Moralities and took the form 
of a School of Virtue. In the Paris Opera House 
museum there is a model of the stage of a Miracle 
Play. This particular stage is composed of three 
stages arranged side by side. The centre is 
occupied by God in Heaven, seated on the throne 
of judgment and surrounded by an angelic host. 
To the right is Earth, and to the left is the Mouth 
of Hell, into which the Devil is shooting the unre- 
gcnerate. The Miracle stage varies, and sometimes 



HIS MATERIALS 



51 



^P the triple bill is represented on three separate plat- 
^ forms, with Heaven above. Earth below, and Hell 
underneath. This simultaneous arrangement of the 
whole religious drama, with its set pieces enabUng 
one to tour the whole world of space at once, was 
in full view throughout the entire action, each 
scene playing its part in turn. Thus the Deity 
first appeared on the top shelf or in the centre 
compartment, and explained the working and 
purpose of Heaven. Then came the Devil setting 
forth the advantages of Hell. Thirdly came Adam 
and Eve and the Deity expatiating on the creation 
and beauties of Paradise. So, in this fashion, the 
chief events recorded in the Bible were related in 
more or less lively dialogue. In short, the Mystery 
Play was the Bible epic played with a cinemato- 
graphic background. It was history brought up 
to date, and thereby it derived its great vitality. 
Like the Commedia dell' Arte it was imbued 
with the spirit of the time, which enabled it to 
persist for two or three centuries, influencing the 
"Moralities" and inspiring such lasting produc- 
tions as Everyman. The Morality Play followed. 
It was born of the new sceptical adjustment. The 
Heaven of the Miracle Play got mislaid, and men 
grew uncertain where Paradise was. The age of 
the Morality Play was, in fact, the age of Paradise 
Last. With the new moral awakening came a 
change of symbols, and the sacred and profane 
figures of the Miracle Play were replaced by the 
abstract figures, Truth, Virtue, Justice, and so forth. 
The vitality of the Morality Play was even greater 
^^Chan that of the Miracle Play, for if we examine 



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IJ2 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

modern melodrama we shall still find " The 
Morality " in our midst. What difference is there, 
indeed, between the old moralities with their per- 
sonifications and the personifications to be found 
in modern melodrama. The latter is not even 
a morality disguised. Both are equally unreal, 
and modern melodrama would be far more inter- 
esting if only it would recognise this and present 
its characters clothed in the fancies of antiquity. 
Thus it might give us a mixture of miracle and 
morality, the heroine (Virtue) with wings and a 
nimbus, the hero (Good) clothed in shining 
armour, the villain (Evil) with horns and a tail, 
his chief assistant (Intemperance) as a dragon 
pasturing upon the hero's estates, and " Little 
Willie" (Innocence) as a fat cherub who di 
and is taken up aloft by an angeUc choir. For 
local colour there would be red fire, the smell of 
brimstone, and all the rest of the devilry. The 
Morality Play was represented on a crude stage 
similar to the Miracle stage. The Moralities 
were mostly played in front of or inside a public 
building, a church or place of worship, where the 
scenes from cathedral windows and sculptured 
porches had an appropriate background. They 
were also hawked about from place to place on 
a barrow, so to speak, and set up in Elizabethan 
interiors wherever there was room and a request for 
them. It is contended that in the crude but in 
most cases beautiful decorations of the Miracle 
and Morality stages, and in the costumes worn 
by the players is to be found the beginning 
of an Art of the Theatre in England. The 



^-^^ 




i 



contention is doubtless true, for the Miracles 
and Moralities were contemporaries with the great 
Art and Craft period of our history. 

In some countries the Mystery Play stage was 
usually a very long platform with a building, 
such as a church, for background. The spectators 
were seated in front of this platform. This long 
stage was divided into many compartments, pro- 
viding a gradual transition from heaven to hell. 
Evidences of this performance are to be found 
in the dramatic altar screens still preserved in 
Continental cities. 

I The Early Italian Stage 

The most interesting period of the Italian stage 
is that of the Commedia dell' Arte renaissance, 
which comes between the Moralities and Mysteries 
and the Elizabethan stages. It was the great 
period of the drama of Harlequin, Pantaloon, and 
Columbine. The Commedia dell' Arte was the 
beginning of the great Folk drama, just as the 
Greek, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese drama-dance 
was the beginning of the Religious drama. 
Materials for a brief but interesting chapter on 
the history of this stage are to be found in 
recent numbers of The Mask. Let me quote some 
of the principal points. The Commedia dell' Arte 
was a break away from the conventional drama in 
answer to a demand for a representation of con- 
temporary life. " It was the name given to the 
improvised performances of the professional actors 
and stage-managers." " It was a theatre which 
ippealed to the ordinary public, to the man of 



byGoogle 



igle I 



154 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

culture, and to the actors themselves." " These 
actors were so excellent, so intelligent, perceived 
so well the advantage of communicating directly 
with their public instead of through the medium 
of a material foreign to themselves." " Instead of 
one actor playing many parts he played but one." 
A list of parts is given, from which it appears 
that Punch or any other part may be played in 
a dozen different ways according to its many and 
varied moods. Here was the beginning of the 
Repertory Theatre. Imagine all the interpre- 
tations of Hamlet — mad, sane, philosophic, 
philosophic-humorous, and so forth — being given 
by one man, a sort of modern Frigoli who changes 
his part with his dress, and there you have it. 
The actors " were free to say what they liked ; they 
were free to do what they liked ; they had only to let 
their feelings escape at the right moment, and to 
obey the stage- manager." Their freedom was limited 
by the stage-manager. Their intentions were given 
direction by "a piece of paper pinned up at each 
side of the stage. The actor had only to study 
this paper carefully after the stage-manager had 
composed it carefully. If this master of the 
ceremonies had genius, he composed it so that 
the performance became natural, the passion 
weaving these foolish and profound figures into 
a pattern." The stage-manager was the pattern- 
director of Mr Craig's dreams. One of the 
greatest of the Commedia dell' Arte scenario con- 
structors was Gozzi. His Turandot, upon which, 
the hand of Schiller fell heavily, was revived by 
Max Reinhardt, while an entire number of the 



^bvGofl 




I 



Blatter des Deutschen Theaters was devoted to its 
exposition. The first article opens with the 
significant words, " Gozzi's work is dead." Says 
Philippe Monnier : "The Italian Comedy dell' Arte, 
the Italian Comedy of improvisation, of masks, 
of plots and incidents (taken from novels) 
developed along parallel lines with the Italian 
Comedy written in the study. It died with the 
ancien regime" Then in a vivid passage he 
describes its origin, "stage," and methods: "To 
set it in its proper frame, we must reconstruct for 
ourselves an Italian fair with all its wild excite- 
ment. ... A gibbet was outlined against the 
sky. Strings of onions hung from pedlars' stalls. 
Boys and dogs and hedge-priests, servants and 
wandering merchants mixed upon the stage. 
Cripples of every kind drawled out their prayers. 
Men in plumed hats stood, hand in pocket, 
spitting upon the ground ; few had the good 
taste to step aside. ... In the glare and hubbub 
I of these orgies, to the accompaniment of blows 
' given by insulted servant-girls, amid cries and 
stinks, among cheats and swindlers, that strange, 
monstrous, savage growth burst forth, with the 
gestures of an artist, and the soul of a child. 
Starting from some such fair of the Impruneta, 
Italian comedy spread through all the land. A 
yoke of oxen dragged round its chariot with its 
canvas awning. Beneath the canvas Isabella 
suckled her child. At each rise in the road the 
actors got down and pushed against the wheels. 
They knew chance resting - places, and strange 
'lostelries, all the hazards of the great roads." 

I.. i-,-iM,Coo};le 



^lOS 



H Shak 
^H poini 
^L shift 



156 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

The passage proceeds to relate how these wander- 
ing sons " of night and mud " found " the great 
gates of the palaces opened to them and entered 
in." Everywhere they were received by royal 
personages with open arms. Thus they travelled 
across Europe, influencing the great dramatists, 
Shakespeare, Moliere, and the rest, partly rose again 
through Goldoni, and finally died. 

The Shakespearean Stage 
It is not necessary to dwell upon the influence 
exerted by the Commedia dell' Arte on Shake- 
speare, nor upon the resemblances between the 
two. Like the Commedia, Shakespeare drew his 
plots from all sources. There is a resemblance 
between some of his types and those of the 
Commedia ; he drew his inspiration from the 
time ; his drama was national, and in a sense a break 
away from a more conventionalised form ; many of 
his characters were spontaneous and life-like, so life- 
like, in fact, that it was difficult to believe they had 
not been transferred from the street to the stage. 
To-day the exponents of characters are practically 
transferred from the street to the stage, as anyone 
that produces ultra-realistic plays will tell you. 
Furthermore, there was the Commedia element 
of broad humanity in Shakespeare's plays, and the 
plays themselves appealed to the ordinary public, 
man of culture, and to the actor. The point of 
chief interest here is the form and working of the 
Shakespeare stage. The theories surrounding this 
point are innumerable. Was the stage a make- 
shift one } Was it a stage for all time, whose 



I 



t 



HIS MATERIALS 157 

possibilities have never yet been fully realised ? 
Did Shakespeare write for a peculiar form of stage 
with a forced method of staging constantly before 
him ? Or was invention busy devising a new 
and more suitable playhouse for him ? Opinion is 
divided on these questions. It may or may not 
be true that Shakespeare did not bother about a 
theatre, but had a platform, and that was all that 
was necessary. It may or may not be true that 
Shakespeare considered every condition under which 
his plays were to be produced, and made every 
allowance for the open platform with the cur- 
tained recess at the back, and a balcony, and for 
the effects of direct sunlight, as his theatre was 
open to the sky. And it may be true that Shake- 
speare was only concerned with his verse, knowing 
that the spectator came to hear, not to see. There 
are at least three facts which should determine the 
answer. The first is that Shakespeare thoroughly 
knew his theatre. Like Max Reinhardt, he began 
as a call-boy, from thence progressed to actor. 
He took shares in theatres and founded the first 
theatrical trust, in order to prevent the church 
party opposing him in places of public worship. 
In time he acquired property and became one of 
those banes of the economic socialist, a bloated 
capitalist and monopolist. We have no record of 
what the Elizabethan "socialists" thought of 
Shakespeare, but it is probable they blessed him 
with a curse, as a certain section of socialists are 
now blessing the capitalist dramatist, George 
Bernard Shaw. If Shakespeare were alive to-day, 
he would doubtless be a great admirer of Frohman, 



iM,Cooj 



& 



I 



158 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

the American octopus. Another fact is that the 
Shakespearean theatre was not a fixed affair. The 
Globe, for instance, was a new invention containing 
innovations of which Shakespeare availed himself, 
just as the Elizabethan age was a new age of 
drugging. Tea arrived with the Dutch East India 
Company, tobacco with Raleigh, and the intimate 
drama with Shakespeare. A third fact is that 
Shakespeare was not the literary director obsessed 
by the belief that he has a vision. Though it is 
true that his chief contacts are literary, and he 
has drunk at all sources, Sophocles, Euripides, 
Seneca, Plautus, Cicero, Horace, Catullus, Virgil, 
Ovid, Lucretius, Tibullus, Pliny, Plato, and Mon- 
taigne ; though, too, he " lifted " plays bodily, took 
characters and dialogues from old tales and sagas, and 
was greatly influenced by this great man and that, 
by Marlowe, whose spell of scepticism and rhythm 
is over some of his later plays ; yet he poured forth 
plays that were neither literary nor moral, but a 
compound of his own distilled for his own theatre. 
To-day the Elizabethan stage is being approached 
from all sides, and diverse opinions are being 
expressed concerning its form and utility. The 
latest re-interpretation of the stage comes from 
architect Zeh of Munich, who is convinced that 
though the Elizabethan stage was so admirably pro- 
portioned, apparently it was only primitive, and 
its advantage lay in the variety of its scenic possi- 
bilities. It has all along been misinterpreted. In 
this architectural view we see a tendency not to 
create but to improve on earlier forms. The 
trchxological view is divided. Scholars and 




h 



critics believe that on the one hand the Eliza- 
bethan stage was perfect and it should not be 
re-adapted. Others believe it was primitive 
and should be brought up to date. Hence the 
many new Shakespearean stages at Munich, Buda- 
Pcsth, and elsewhere. A very excellent description 
of the actual stage is given in the following notes 
by Mr F. J. Harvey Darton, who is writing about 
a model of the stage designed according to the 
knowledge of Mr W. Poel. 

*' The stage used is designed according to the 
theories of Mr William Poel and other scholars 
as to what an Ehzabethan stage really was like ; 
it is only fair to say that different opinions are 
Strongly held. The view here taken is that the 
' traverse,' or curtain in the middle of the stage, 
stretched between two solid fixed pillars, was 
meant to give the actors and the playwright a 
chance of using different scenes for different 
places ; there was no painted scenery to guide 
the audience, and no front curtain to lower to 
show the lapse of time or change of scene ; the 
audience stood or were seated on three sides of 
the stage. 

" On this theory there were three possible 
scenes : (i.) in front of the ' traverse,' when the 
curtain was closed. This might be a road, a 
plain, a forest glade, or any more or less open 
scene, (ii.) In front and behind the line of the 
traverse, the curtain being open, so that the whole 
stage up to the back wall could be used. This 
would be employed for interiors, or large Im- 
portant scenes. (iii.) There was also a gallery 



iM,Coc> 



SL 



!6o THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

or balcony at the back, in which apparently 
musicians sat, or possibly even spectators. Prob- 
ably this was used wherever a high scene was 
needed, e,g., Juliet's balcony, or the walls of 
Angiers. 

" With these three possible scenes, the actor 
could give the audience the idea of a change of 
place without difficulty. He could, for instance, 
in Scene (i.) say, ' I'll to the king at Pontefract,' 
and go off ; the traverse curtain would then 
open, and create Scene (ii.), and the king would 
be seen in an obviously different place — which it 
would not require much imagination to consider 
Pontefract ; presently the first actor would come 
in, and he would clearly have come from some- 
where else — from Scene (i.). Thus scene after 
scene could be played on alternate stages, or, if 
the place was supposed to be the same for several 
scenes {as in As Tou hike It, for example), on 
the same portion of the stage. There would 
be no need to wait for scenery to be moved, 
and the whole play could be acted without an 
interval. 

"It may be mentioned, perhaps, that Shake- 
speare nearly always makes it clear in the dialogue 
where the speakers are supposed to be. Orlando, 
in As Tou Like It, says at once, ' He keeps me 
rustically at home,^ and later, to Oliver, ' I am here 
in your orchard ' ; King John begins with the 
reception of an embassy from France, and the 
dialogue clearly shows that John is in his own 
kingdom, and so on. The perfect stagecraft of 
Sha!kespeare, and his extraordinary knowledge of 




I 



HIS MATERIALS 

what was essential from the audience's point of 
view, are excellently brought out by acting the 
plays in accordance with this theory of the 
Elizabethan stage. 

" There were several theatres in Shakespeare's 
London. Those whose site is most easily identi- 
fied now were the ' Curtain * and ' The Theater,' 
both close to the present Curtain Road, Shore- 
ditch, and the 'Globe,' on Bankside, which is 
commemorated by a tablet in the wall of Barclay's 
Brewery, Park Street, Southwark (on the south- 
cast side of Southwark Bridge). Other theatres 
of Shakespeare's day or a little later were at 
Newington Butts, Cripplegate (the ' Fortune '), 
Bankside (the ' Rose,' the ' Hope,' and the 
'Swan'), Blackfriars, Clerkenwell (the 'Red 
Bull'), and Drury Lane (the 'Cockpit')," 

The Red Bull Playhouse was originally an 
inn-yard theatre with an open-air platform or 
stage, of which the inn formed the back and 
sides. There was a resemblance between this 
open-air theatre and the house-yard theatres of 
Spain. 

In De Witt's description of the Elizabethan 
playhouse there are some interesting facts on 
dimensions. Thus we learn that the stage of the 
Fortune Theatre was 43 feet long, and in breadth 
extended to the middle of the " yard " — that is, 
43 feet long and 27^ feet deep. The proscenium 
opening of the modern theatre is from 30 to 40 
feet. Mr John Corbin, to whom I am indebted 
for a copy of his article " Shakespeare and the 
Plastic Stage," published in the Atlantic Monthljy 

I..,; Coo;^lc 



1 62 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

is of the opinion that playhouses like the Swan, 
the Fortune, and the Globe, were built on a 
radically different plan from the other existing 
theatres. "The stage was a platform, extending, 
as an apron, to the middle of the pit, so that the 
spectators viewed it from all points of the compass, 
except only the narrow surface separating the 
stage from the tiring-house — and even this, at 
least after 1600, was at times invaded by the 
public. No proscenium arch was possible, no 
wings, and no flies — and consequently no properly 
pictorial illusion. Opinions on the question of 
Shakespeare and scenery are also greatly at vari- 
ance. There are those who believe that Shake- 
speare used no scenery — George Brandes, Sir Sidney 
Lee, William Poel — and those who believe 
otherwise — Professor Dowden, John Addington 
Symonds, and others. Then there are the advo- 
cates of spectacle — Sir Herbert Tree, for instance — 
who endeavour to prove that Shakespeare himself 
would have employed the modern developments of 
scenic appliances. Others go so far as to say that 
Shakespeare justified them. Then there are those 
who say that Shakespeare's verse was sufficient to 
rivet the attention of the audience, and scenery 
would only have distracted the mind of the spec- 
tator from the jumble of unconnected incidents 
of the earlier plays. In fact, his verbal scene- 
painting was sufficient. Beyond these there are 
some who refer to the enormous influence of 
Shakespeare himself as a reformer in stage-manage- 
ment. In regard to naturalness and unity of 
scheme and the arrangement of his play or stage- 



^^P prod I 

^" the r 



HIS MATERIALS 163 

production he was far ahead of his period ; while 
the red-hot Shakespearean maintains that as stage- 
craftsman he was far ahead not only of his day but 
of ours. What he has done and what he is going 
to do for Germany is too stupendous for words. 
True, Shakespeare knew nothing about the modern 
unity in variety of stage-setting. He did not use 
a revolving stage, but he used alternate stages, 
which, combined with the rapidly spoken scenic 
descriptions, solved the problem of quick changes. 
But, after all, mechanical stage devices are as old 
as the stage itself ; they were employed by the 
Greeks ; and the man who was the first to string 
together a vast quantity of incoherent, unconnected 
scenes was no doubt ingenious enough to set them 
moving with a rapidity quite out of question with 
a succession of realistic scenes. So why worry over 
Shakespeare in this or other directions F We have 
but one question to ask Shakespeare and the rest 
of the Old Masters : " What is your individual 
value to us ? Have you anything to contribute 
towards the reform movement in our theatre f " 
If they say " No," then the proper comment is 
" Get out ! " Probably the truth is that they have 
nothing but a few suggestions to offer. Three of 
the present suggestions are towards: (i) doing 
away with the proscenium (or picture-frame), thus 
making the stage and auditorium one, so that the 
audience may move in the same world as the 
actors ; (2) the devising of means of a more rapid 
change of scene ; and (3) the development of the 
simphfied stage. 



Digitized iiy Goo; 



± 



i64 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



The MoLifeREAN Stage 
The stage of Moliere, the classical dramatist of 
France, stood to French drama in much the same 
relation as the EHzabethan stage stood to English 
drama. There was the same scenic austerity, and 
the same absence of spectacle. There was no 
music during the performance. The spectators 
sat on the stage and probably behaved as badly as 
the Elizabethans, who ate and drank quite regard- 
less of the acting. The noteworthy fact of the 
Commedia dell' Arte, the Elizabethan and Moliere 
stages, was the intimacy between the actors and the 
audience. The intimacy of the first two was of 
the rough and tumble fair order. The simplicity 
of the Moliere stage also recalled that of the 
Commedia dell' Arte, many of whose conventions 
Moliere is said to have borrowed. Some historians 
go so far as to charge him with building his 
theatre out of the materials supplied by the Italian 
Comedy. Without the Commedia dell' Arte 
there would have been no Moliere. But whether 
" the theatre of Moliere was the most exquisite 
fruit of the Commedia " is doubtful. It is highly 
probable that Moliere's comic genius would have 
found an outlet even if the Italians had never 
existed. Moliere, like his contemporary wits of 
the Court of Louis XIV., punctured the vanity of 
pedantry even to the point of threatening sound 
learning. The repudiation of the artificial and 
superficial in French tradition was his main theme, 
which he expressed in comedy, and he is charged 
, with using the machinery of the Commedia 



byGo^lll^^l 




synopses, scenes, episodes, and types for the 
purpose of " manufacturing " such plays as Tar- 
tuffe, George "DatiJin, Scapw, le Malade Imaginaire^ 
etc. I think it would be safer to say that what 
Moliere did copy was the attempt of both Eliza- 
bethan and Italian comedy to break away from 
stilted artificiality and to adopt a more natural 
manner of representation. Indeed, naturalism 
appears to be at the root of all the creative epochs 
of the drama. As the ancient and superficial manner 
of representation became apparent to live minds, so 
they discarded it for a more natural manner. Thus 
creative drama has ever been inspired by "the 
time." The vehemence of life which Moliere put 
into his valets was in Moliere himself and of his 
time, or it would not have appeared as vehemence 
of life. You cannot copy the vehemence of life of 
one age and make it appear the vehemence of life 
of your age. It is sheer stupidity to say you can. 

An idea of the formation and working of the 
Moliere stage may be gathered from the following 
passage taken from Karl Mantzius' notable work : — 

" Whether this development of stage decoration 
has been a reform of dramatic art, and whether 
we may be certain that the modern theatre, with 
all its perfection in the way of picturesque effects, 
ingenious mechanisms, and magnificent light, 
idealises the ideal stage, is a great question. 
Who knows whether we shall not some day pre- 
fer to return to a stage which affords the best 
conditions for seeing and hearing the art of the 
author naked and undisguised rather than to go 
on developing a decorative scenery which sectn& 

ni,:ii.,-iM,C00<;lc 



i66 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

more calculated to throw a veil over the defects 
of both. . . ." It was during the Italian age of 
complicated scenery that the stage took the shape 
which it has nowadays. "It was no longer a 
projecting platform surrounded by the audience 
on three sides. It was a separate space, an enor- 
mous square box, the first wall of which had 
been removed, and in the inside of which the plays 
were presented to the spectators like pictures against 
a background. . . . France soon adopted the 
Italian system, which supplanted both the French 
platform stage and IS decor simultane ; even plays 
which seemed written and calculated for the latter 
form of stage were now performed with the simple, 
regular, and invariably recurring scenes: 'a street,' 
' a public place,' or ' a classical colonnade ' and 
' a forest ' ; and in addition to these a room 
with five doors symmetrically placed — one in the 
background, two ' upper entrances ' and two 
* lower entrances,' — a scene which is still used in 
several of Moliere's comedies, such as Tartuffe, 
le Misanthrope, tAvare, etc. These plays, indeed, 
are so completely adapted to this scene that they 
cannot be performed with any others." 

It should be mentioned that the stage here 
referred to is the later one employed by Moliere. 
His first acquaintance with the theatre was as a 
strolling player and manager of the Thedtre 
lUustre. This theatre travelled about the country 
in a lumbering cart, erecting its stage in tennis 
courts. Perrault tells us what the arrangements of 
this theatre were in Moliere's early time. Tapes- 
tries were hung round the stage, and entrances j 



iiyCoog 



I 



I 



HIS MATERIALS 167 

and exits were made by struggling through the 
heavy curtains, which often knocked off the hat of 
a comedian, or gave a strange cock to the helmet of 
a warrior or a god. The lights were candles stuck 
in tin sconces at the back and sides, but luxury 
sometimes went so far that a chandelier of four 
candles was suspended from the roof. At intervals 
the candles were let down by a rope and pulley, 
and anyone within easy reach snuffed them with 
his fingers. A flute and tambour, or two fiddles, 
supplied the music. The highest prices were paid 
for seats in the dedan (cost of admission fivepence) ; 
for the privilege of standing up in the pit two- 
pence-halfpenny was the charge. The doors 
opened at one o'clock ; the curtain rose at two. 

Goethe's Stage 

The later stage of Goethe represents another 
break with tradition in favour of naturalism. In 
this direction Goethe derived a great deal from 
Shakespeare. He was very old when he received 
his legacy- He was, in fact, in his seventy-seventh 
year when the true nature of Elizabethan stage- 
craft became apparent to him and revolutionised 
his conception of the stage. The quarto which 
came to his notice revealed that the stage direc- 
tions of the play indicated neither locality nor 
decorations, and was innocent of act and scene 
division. Thus Goethe saw that the imagination 
of the spectator was left unfettered to follow the 
full course of the author's imagination. Though 
a newer edition of the quarto in which the play was 
divided into acts and scenes, and its localities and 

I I.. i-MM,Coo<;lc 



I 



i68 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

decorations were indicated, came into Goethe'shands, 
he ignored the alterations, and decided to follow 
the first quarto, and considered that the plain. 
Elizabethan stage was the right thing. Had he 
come into contact earlier with the actual Shake- 
spearean stage, he would have left dramas in place 
of autobiographies which, like Faast, took him the 
greater part of his life to write. Thus through 
an acquaintance with Shakespearean stagecraft 
Goethe conceived the modern idea of intimacy 
which he, together with Schiller, applied to the 
theatre with a view to reforming it. They believed 
that a return to the extreme naturalism and simpli- 
city of representation of earher times was necessary 
to the life of the drama. One of the conditions 
of the reform was that the spectator and player 
should be brought as closely together as possible. 
Accordingly, under the direction of Goethe, an 
architect, Schenkel, planned a theatre containing 
new features, or rather features based upon disused 
conventions. One of the latter was the revival in 
a modified form of the curved or " apron " stage, 
which projected into the auditorium, after the 
manner of that of the old Globe Theatre. By 
such means the spectator and actor were to be 
brought together and the receptivity of the former 
increased by contact and simplicity, instead of being 
decreased by distance and over-elaboration of detail. 
The Goethe-Schenkel theatre was built at Weimar. 



I 



I 



Next 



The Wagnerian Stage 
2 find Wagner and his music-drama , 



theory feeding on the unceasing diet of revolt, and j 



ni,:iiP,-jh,.G00^ 



HIS MATERIALS 169 



^Bstriving to set music free of its shackles. Wagner 
^" accepted Goethe's idea and expressed it in his own 
way. He agreed that the reality of the drama 
needed a stage as near the spectator as possible. 
But he felt that it is different with opera, 
which, being designed to produce illusion — to he 
attained by a voluptuous mingling of all forms of art, 
under whose spell men would reach an emotional 
union — requires that the stage picture should be 
removed as far from the spectator as possible. 
With this idea in his mind he called in the aid of 
^^ an architect, and together they set to work to con- 
^B struct a new theatre. The problem which Wagner 
^B Bought to solve in this theatre was intimacy. The 
exterior was designed to conform to the interior, 
which was constructed solely to preserve in the 
spectator the mood created by the music-drama. 
The structure of the interior had several innova- 
tions. The orchestra was sunk beneath the level 
of the stage. There were no circles, as in our 
theatres, the tiers of seats, circles, and galleries, one 
above the other, were abolished, and the newer 
amphitheatre, consisting of rows of seats rising 
from the sunken orchestra to the single row of 
boxes at the back, was established. Each seat in 
this amphitheatre was self-contained, so as to allow 
each spectator to live in his own world of imagi- 
nation. A second proscenium was introduced — a 
front one, unlighted, and designed to divide the 
stage from the audience and to create the desired 
effect of distance. Wagner named it the " Mystischcr 
Abgrund." To him it separated the real from the 

1 ideal and added mystery to the scene and acting. To 
^ I.. i-MM,Coot;lc 



lyo THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

break the monotony of the wall space in the audi- 
torium columnar projections were added. But on 
the whole the architectural features were not beauti- 
ful. They have been greatly modified in other 
theatres built according to the Semper-Wagner 
model. Both the Wagnerian and the Shakespearean 
stages are greatly influencing Germany at present. 
The Wagnerian auditorium is springing up every- 
where. Professor Max Littmann is busy embodying 
its principles in his theatres, as may be seen at the 
Kunstler Theater, Munich, and the Schiller Theater, 
Charlottenburg. 

The following note on the structure of Wagner's 
theatre, by Mr Edwin O. Sachs, is of interest. 
" The theatre, which stands on a height a little 
under a mile from the town, is built from the plans 
of Gustav Semper, the idea of the design being 
Wagner's own, an experiment indeed, but one 
which succeeded beyond all expectation. The 
seats are arranged on a kind of sloping wedge in 
such a manner that everyone has an almost equally 
good view of the stage, for there are no boxes, 
and the only galleries are quite at the back, one, 
the Fiirstenloge, being reserved for distinguished 
guests, the other, above it, for the townspeople. 
Immediately in front of the foremost row of seats 
a hood or sloping screen of wood covers a part of, 
the orchestra, and another hood of similar shape 
starts from the front of the stage at a slightly lower 
level. Thus, there is left a space between the two 
hoods through which the sound of the orchestra 
ascends with wonderful blended effect." 



^^ 



^^Gq 



■ Ther 



HIS MATERIALS 






The Moscow and Wyspianski Stages 
There is very little to be said about either of 
these stages. The Moscow stage is of the con- 
ventional type. It is very large, well equipped 
with the latest mechanical devices, and has a 
revolving section. The revolving stage was in- 
vented by the Japanese, and the idea made Its way 
to Munich, where it was realised by Lautenschlager. 
In the pursuit of artistic expression in the Moscow 
Theatre, there is no entre-act music, the audience 
does not applaud, and there are no calls before the 
curtain. The original theatre of Wyspianski had 
an illusion stage, which was decorated with the 
symbolic scenery designed and painted by Wyspian- 
ski. The theatre of Wyspianski, which the Polish 
painter aimed to make the theatre of the Polish 
conscience, has disseminated the seeds of the new 
plastic stage, some of which have flown to Moscow. 

Ibsen and Contemporary Stages 
The contemporary stage is an offshoot of the 
Italian Renaissance stage, which has culminated in 
the peep-show or picture stage. It is used for every 
kind of drama, old and new, both with and with- 
out form, drama all technique (Pinero), and drama 
which has no technique to speak of, no plot, no 
strong dramatic crises, no construction, a formless 
drama nurtured by the Court Theatre, London, 
and of which Mr Bernard Shaw's later go- 
as-you-please discussion - demonstrations are the 
most extravagant development. A discontent with 
"lis present-day form of stage has led reformers 
I. ■■. ih,Coo<;lc 



172 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

into an age of experiment. Ibsen might have been 
in the van of these reformers by devising a circular 
stage to give effect to his conception of sculptured 
figures, or figures seen in the round and not in the 
flat, as most dramatists see them ; but he preferred 
to transfer the centre of his theatrical hfe from 
the theatre to the library. Hence, the Ibsen 
stage has yet to be born. When it is, the con- 
ception of dramatic action laid entirely within the 
characters, aided by the revelation of music and 
the plastic forms of art, will carry the action of 
the drama and its representation as much beyond 
Wagner as Wagner carried them beyond the Greeks, 
when he sought the aid of modern forms of art 
and music in order to conceive a new dramatic 
form. 

The said age of experiment has given birth to 
various reform stages which Dr Carl Hagemann 
classifies under the head of revolving stage, idealistic 
stage, illusion stage, relief stage (Munich), picture 
stage, sunken stage, moving stage, Wagner stage, etc. 

Max Reinhardt is among those who are actively 
searching for a new stage. His search has carried 
him in many directions, into many countries. He 
is testing in turn the old and new reform stages, 
from the Greek stage in its final form under 
Sophocles and Euripides to the Shakespearean stage 
in its newest form as developed by Drs Kilian and 
Klein from the primitive reactionary stage devised 
by Jacza Savits. In doing so he is gradually 
evolving a form of stage suited to his idea that 
" the theatre belongs to the theatre." 



I 

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HIS RESOURCES 

TAX Reinhardt has two theatres, the Deutsches 
Theater and the adjoining Kammerspielhaus. These 
theatres have three points of general interest. They 
are examples of theatres run on a very successful 
commercial and artistic basis, perfectly equipped and 
organised, and efficiently worked on the repertory 
system. 

History and Physique 

Although the Deutsches Theater is compar- 
atively an old-established theatre, its present history, 
like that of the Kammerspielhaus, begins with 
Reinhardt. For years it was under the direction 
of Josef Kainz, the classicist Adolf L'Arronge, and 
of Otto Brahm. But it was Reinhardt who 
applied to it the revolutionary doctrine that the 
theatre is neither a literary nor a moral institution, 
that its function is not to educate nor guide human 
conduct, nor to uphold mere scribbling for scrib- 
bling 's sake. 

But the chief historical importance of the 
Deutsches Theater is that it is a private theatre, 
not a. subsidised one. It is a convincing proof 
that it is possible to conduct a theatre on artistic 

"73 

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174 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

lines, and it gives the lie to the hide-bound Court 
and other endowed theatres on the one hand, and 
the ginger-bread commercial theatres on the other, 
which are run solely for money, and which Froh- 
mania has elevated to a superstition in our midst. 
The Deutsches is really the intermediate theatre, 
demonstrating that it is possible to conduct a 
paying theatre on artistic lines. Maybe it is a 
stepping-stone to the purely artistic theatre. The 
physique of this theatre commands a great deal of 
attention. Generally speaking, it is a spacious and 
well-appointed house. Its Greek exterior would ap- 
pear to symbolise Reinhardt's search for simplicity 
and proportion. It is built upon an inexpensive 
site out of the main thoroughfare. But the position 
does not matter, seeing that the theatre does not 
cast its net to catch stray fish. The dimensions 
and form of the theatre are determined by function. 
As a repertory theatre on a large scale, and one, 
moreover, worked on the newest principles, it 
requires plenty of stage and store-room for 
machinery, scenery, properties, and costumes, and 
more especially as each play is given an entirely 
new outfit, and is not faked up with old stock 
scenery and costumes, as used to be the custom 
of stock theatres and is now sometimes that of 
English repertory theatres, and always of that 
bright particular flower, the Stage Society. One 
of the first innovations in the Deutsches Theater 
to take one's notice is the revolving stage 
with its endless possibilities, and its call upon 
the inventiveness of the scenic artist for limit- 
less novel effects. Another outstanding feature 

n, 1^,-1 M,Coo<;le 



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HIS RESOURCES 175 

the ingenious mechanical contrivances by 
which electricity is extensively drawn upon in a 
well-organised lighting system. To-day the most 
marked efforts in the reform theatre He in the 
search for a solution to the problem of lighting. 
Years ago Adolphe Appia came forward with 
his scheme for reforming the lighting of Wagner's 
operas, which was subsequently embodied in his 
notable work Die Musik und die Inscenierung. The 
work has been freely cited and its influence exerted 
in many directions. Then came Fortuny's invention, 
aiming to do away with sky-borders and to sub- 
stitute a pure white light for the tinted light in 
use. Colour is obtained by the light being thrown 
first upon reflectors prepared to receive it, and 
thereafter upon the scene in such a way that the 
tinted light is diffused instead of being focussed 
upon certain points, say the backcloth, or the bald 
head of the leading man. Forming part of this 
system of lighting is a hooded background of white 
concrete upon which Fortuny throws his light in 
order to obtain vast and very impressive sky effects. 
I believe that this hooded horizon, which covers 
the back and the part of the stage where the flies 
usually are, can be made of a portable material, 
that may be closed up out of the way when not 
in use. But when I was in Berlin I was only 
shown the model made of concrete. This method 
of solving the lighting problems has also exerted an 
influence here and there. The Deutsches Theater is 
provided with a round horizon. As in the Fortuny 
system, there is a vast horizon or heaven which 
passes round the back and side of the stage. It 

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176 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

has a slight dome, but not nearly so marked as 
the Fortuny one. This huge segment of a circle 
is a light iron structure covered with plaster. On 
either side nearest the audience this wall is 
supported on columns to allow of the passage of 
the scenery on to the " Vorbiihne," or stage 
proper. When not hidden by built scenery, these 
columns are hidden from the auditorium by 
curtains of the same colour as the plaster. Thus 
horizon effects can be obtained at any corner or 
portion of the stage. This heaven is lighted by 
an enormous " Oberlicht " (overlight), placed above 
the centre of the stage and so constructed as to 
throw its rays of light horizontally and not verti- 
cally. In addition there are two large arc lamps 
placed on either side of the large light. The 
purpose of these lamps is to light the space im- 
mediately in front of the heaven, as the "Ober- 
licht" is meant to light the round horizon, and 
not the stage. 

The construction and working of the overlight 
is a profound secret, almost as deep indeed as was 
once the structure and application of the great grey 
screen of Mr Gordon Craig. It was devised by 
some one connected with the theatre, and many 
persons and some journalists are after its past. 
Of course, the journalists will win. The new 
conditions of Hghting do not preclude the use 
of conventions. Thus there are battens which, 
however, are rarely used, except for getting light 
at awkward angles. There is also the usual 
equipment of movable lamps and footlights. 
Reinhardt's use of footlights is interesting. He 

_-« ni,:iiP,-iM,.G00; 



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HIS RESOURCES 177 

never uses them for exterior scenes if he can 
avoid it. He thus gains greatly in natural effect, 
and kills the fallacy that intense light is always 
needed for outdoor scenes. Thus his use of foot- 
lights is almost confined to the lighting of interiors, 
where he finds such lighting necessary to modify 
the effect of the ceiling on the faces of the 
actors. The entire illumination of the scene is 
worked by an operator on the stage, and not under 
it, as at the Kiinstler Theater. The arc lamps can 
be used on resistance, to speak technically, and thus 
all kinds of sky effects are obtained. The Deutsches 
Theater system of lighting has found its way to 
England, and may be trusted to undergo some 
development at the capable hands of Mr Basil Dean 
of the Liverpool Repertory Theatre. The lighting 
at this theatre is already attracting attention, and is 
admitted to be the best in the provinces. Birming- 
ham has followed Liverpool's lead, having engaged 
Mr Dean to apply his practical theory to its new 
Repertory Theatre. There will be no further 
excuse for Birmingham to grope in theatrical 
darkness. 

The Repertory System 

The history of this system has already been 
discussed. The Meiningers revised it, added the 
ensemble, and we have seen how Brahm placed it in 
Reinhardt's hands to be launched on a prosperous 
career. The repertory system is composed of 
two parts : players and the pieces they play in. 
A repertory theatre may be likened to a wardrobe 
to which a fresh set of costumes is added each 

i.,i-,-iM,Coot;lc I 



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178 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

day. The wearers of these costumes must be 
of such adaptable proportions that each can take 
down any costume and wear it becomingly. Thus 
if to-day one wears a livery of green silk, with 
yellow roses as large as spring cabbages stamped 
all over it, to-morrow he must put on the vastly 
important knee-deep waistcoats, Mechlin ruffles, 
the sword, sweat, and other patents of nobility. 
Metaphorically speaking, this is what the Deutschcs 
Theater players, like those in other German repertory 
theatres, have long been accustomed to do, and as 
a result the Deutsches Theater acting is remark- 
able for its modernity, resource, versatility, and 
spontaneity. 

The repertory " system is not new. But the 
modern form of this system is not the same as the 
old or " stock " one. The stock company system 
succeeded the circuit or strolling players system 
which had been in existence from pre-Restoration 
times. From the Restoration till late in the nine- 
teenth century most of the great towns of this 
country contained an established theatre in which 
stock companies played for a season at a time ; 
while the smaller towns provided centres for 
strollers from whose ranks the stock companies 
were recruited, just as the stock companies pro- 
vided a source to which the London patent theatres 
went for their supply of talent. The stock com- 
pany was usually composed of twelve or more 
stationary types of players. Each player assumed 
one line of business and took no other. Thus there 
was the " leading " man, the " heavy " man, the 
'juvenile" man, the "light" and " low " comedians, 



I 



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gJH 




HIS RESOURCES 179 

Ithe "walking" gent, the "first" and "general" 
utility men, the "leading" lady, the "heavy" 
woman, the "old" woman, the "utility" and 
"walking" ladies, the "chambermaid," and so on. 
The " bill " was changed three or more times a week. 
Plays were put on at a moment's notice, thus leav- 
ing very little time for study. As a result, the 
performances were usually of the go-as-you-please 
order, the parts being played by actors of the rant 
and furious school, whose movements were afflicted 
with a stage stalk, who spoke with strange accents 
and seldom knew their parts. Under the stock 
system the scenery, costumes, and appointments also 
assumed the go-as-you-please manner, being amaz- 
ingly inappropriate, as well as adaptable to all sorts 
and conditions of plays and players. Needless to 
say, such a system could only have one result. The 
performances were always rough and unfinished ; 
while the players seldom had the opportunity, even 
if they had the inclination, to become absorbed 
in their work. With the growth of travelling 
facilities the stock system gradually died out. It 
was replaced by the touring system, according to 
which London successes were sent on tour. The 

■ companies presenting these successes were, and are 
still, composed of a " star," supported by minor 
players, who, instead of having constant practice in 
a great number of parts, are only expected to play 
one part each for months together. The company 
^^ are drilled into their parts in London, and here 
^B their concern with the play ends, unless we except 
^H understudying parts, which is, as a rule, merely a 
^Hprocess of photographing the principal players. 



ih,Coo<; 



I 



1 80 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

That this is a bad system for the player is incon- 
testible. It simply reduces him to a wooden auto- 
maton. The modern repertory system has a great 
advantage over the aforementioned systems in being 
better organised, and in providing a response to 
the demand by dramatic societies in large centres 
for an appropriate expression of the life and customs 
of such centres. Thus it has had not only the 
effect of establishing repertory theatres with highly 
efficient resident companies playing the " legitimate *' 
repertory, but of calling forth local dramatists well 
equipped to produce a local form of drama. Perhaps 
its chief good consists in affording players constant 
practice in a great number and variety of characters, 
thus opening up a valuable training ground to them, 
and thereby developing many remarkable talents ; 
and beyond this in developing ensemble acting in 
the country, whereby the player is enabled so to 
project his part into the play as to become part of 
a whole, and yet so to project himself into the 
character which he is interpreting that his own 
individuality becomes merged in the interpretation. 
In short, the new repertory system is essentially one 
for students of the drama. 

Acting and Actors 
Reinhardt's company, besides being cosmopolitan, 
contains some extraordinarily clever players. De- 
spite the gloomy opinion of a certain class of cheap 
criticj^they can do somethliig more than they are 
told. Not only can they think out their parts, but 
they can invest them with life and passion. Brahm, 
it will be remembered, gave birth to the ultra.- 



^ 



tio 

^^ wa 

Hos 



HIS RESOURCES i8i 

modern type of player — educated, cultured, talented, 
highly restrained, understanding rather than feeling 
" the part," the offspring, in fact, of modern in- 
teUectual drama. Reinhardt went beyond the new 
tradition, and promoted Brahm's moderns to ultra- 
moderns by affording an opening to impulse. 
These may be divided into types. The first type 
is represented by Gertrud Eysoldt, an actress of 
the ultra-modern movement. She expresses the 
emotions through the intellect — the intellect, 
indeed, fashions the emotion. In fact, she is the 
extreme type of the intellectual actress, in whom 
the intellect is a fine instrument for shaping the 
feelings. She is the present type of actress — 
not the type that the new theatre and new drama 
will evolve. She is the actress who kfiows, is always 
on the level of consciousness, like Bernard Shaw. 
In this respect she recalls one or two English players 
whom Ibsen has created in England. William 
Archer once saw Gertrud Eysoldt in the part of 
Lulu in Wedekind's Earth-Spirit. His impressions 
are stated in these words : " The extraordinary skill 
with which Frau Gertrud Eysoldt plays Lulu is 
the only thing that to British nerves could render 
this assemblage of horrors endurable on the stage. 
Frau Eysoldt has the gift of being recklessly 
realistic without offence. She is in this part the 
incarnation of soulless femininity, without a sugges- 
tion of anything that exceeds the limits of art. It 
was this actress, by the way, who played both 
Oscar Wilde's Salome and Bernard Shaw's Cleopatra, 
Frau Eysoldt's performance was the most re- 
markable thing I saw in Berlin." The second type 



i,Co< 



lOgh 



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182 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

is found in the cosmopolitan and versatile actor 
Alexander Moissi. This actor plays an extra- 
ordinary wide range of parts, among these being 
Romeo, Franz Moor (Schiller's Rohbers)^ Faust 
and Mephisto, Hamlet and CEdipus Rex, Oswald 
Alving {Ghosts)^znd Dubedat {The Doctor sDiiemma). 
His achievement is all the more astounding when we 
consider that he is an Italian, and has learnt from 
forty to fifty parts in a foreign language. Possessing 
the fiery Italian temperament, he is able to invest 
his work with that rare element, passion, while a 
voice of exceptional cello-like quality enables him 
to charm and hold the spectator much as Bern- 
hardt does. Herr Moissi isan example of Reinhardt's 
extreme loyalty to the members of his company, 
and especially to the new-comer. At first he en- 
countered a great deal of opposition, but Reinhardt 
stuck by him till he had carried him through. 
An English actor-manager would have seen his 
own position threatened by Herr Molssi's success 
and would have got rid of him as soon as possible. 
Under the star-system in England small-part people 
are never given a chance. It is the most selfish 
system in existence. A third Deutsches Theater 
type is represented by Friedrich Kayssler, who last 
season left the Deutsches Theater for the Deutsches 
Schausplelhaus. This third type — differing from 
the other two, the highly intellectual one of 
Gertrud Eysoldt and the excessively emotional one 
of Moissi — is of a strong, silent, self-contained 
character firmly discipHned by an artistic will. 
Herr Kayssler aims always and truthfully to ex- 
press himself or his personahty as he conceives it 



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HIS RESOURCES 183 

and desires it to be realised. That is, he believes 
he has a value and endeavours to make it fully felt 
by everybody. He never changes, and thus reveals 
the impenetrable characteristics of the unmistakably 
North-German type. Broadly speaking, he is a 
mixture of Mr Norman McKinnel and Mr Forbes 
Robertson. 

Another type is found in the old traditional 
actor, Rudolf Schildkraut, whose methods have 
the aroma of a full-bodied wine that has been in 
the cellar many years. Both the actors and their 
acting are the outcome of thoroughness and a re- 
verence for the theatre. They exist for the play ; 
they are never exploited as " stars " ; each is a part 
of the whole, and each is rehearsed as a part of 
the whole, and not as a sapless and voiceless entity 
designed to prop up the darling of the gods. 

School of Acting and Promotion 

The promotion of the Deutschcs Theater player is 
also an organised affair. Understudies are not treated 
as mechanical appliances. They are not only kept 
prepared to go on for certain parts, but they are 
allowed to appear in parts as vacancies occur, which 
they frequently do owing to the constant change 
of programme both at the Deutsches Theater and 
the Kammerspiclhaus. By this means a cast three 
deep is built up, which has the advantage of enabling 
pieces to be played by their original cast through- 
out their entire run, or for two or three seasons at 
least. The Deutsches Theater method of promotion 
resembles that of the Moscow Theatre, with the 
exception that it is not bound by the co-operative 



1 84 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

system of the latter theatre, whereby everybody 
employed in the theatre becomes a shareholder. 
Another point of resemblance is found in the school 
of acting attached to both theatres in which the 
players are prepared. In both schools the Jaques- 
Dalcroze system of rhythmic dancing is taught. 
By this system it is hoped that the music of 
physical movements will be restored, and actions 
and gestures will once more express thoughts and 
feelings that lie too deep for words. There arc 
many supporters of the school of acting. Sir 
Herbert Tree is one, Sarah Bernhardt is another, 
a third appears in Miss Gertrude Kingston, while 
a fourth is Mr Gordon Craig. What others have 
conceived in theory, Max Reinhardt has given birth 
to in practice. Reinhardt is aware that the hap- 
hazard education of the actor is responsible for the 
inanities of acting. This may or may not be true. 
Personally, I beUeve that instinct plays as great a 
part in acting as in other forms of art, and given 
instinct there is little or no need of education. 
However, Max Reinhardt thinks differently, and 
he is in good company. So when he became 
director of the Deutsches Theater, his first step 
was to inaugurate a school wherein budding 
Xysoldts, Moissis, and Kaysslers might be turned 
r out by the score. Here pupils are put through 
I their preliminary paces, and taken carefully 
through all the departments of a player's career. 
A notable feature of Reinhardt's school is that 
it reproduces in miniature his idea of co-director- 
ship. According to this idea there is an organ- 
iser and a number of intelligences who together. 



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HIS RESOURCES 185 



^^Bonn a coUective will, and who separately and 
^^'together impose this will, though not tyrannically, 
on the student. Thus the student in his journey 
round the circle passes from master-mind to master- 
mind, gathering the finest principles of speech and 
action in elocution, posture, dance, gesture, and 
grace, till the circle of his adventures is complete. 
It is said that Reinhardt's policy is to discover talent. 
_ He prefers the raw to the finished material. And 
^■.out of the raw he weaves a piece of fine tapestry 
^Bwhich falls harmoniously within his general design. 



The Repertory Bill 



As a clue to a normal week's working of the 
Reinhardt theatres and the source whence the 
actor's opportunity springs, let me quote a list of 
plays mentioned by Mr Granville Barker, in a 
contribution to the Fortnightly Review, as well as 
his concise comments thereon : — 



I. 


Deulschcs Theater 


Kammerspielhaus. 


Tuesday, Ort. i$ 


FaujI . 


A Comedy of Errors. 
Le Mariage Farce. 


Wednwday, Oct. i6 


Sumurin . 


DtrGraf-mn Ghichm 


Tbortday, Oct. 17 


Judith , 


. A Comtdy of Errort. 
Le Mariage Force. 


Friday, Oct. z8 . 


j1 Midiummcr 






Night' 1 Dream 


. The Doctor', Dilemma. 


Sttnrday, Oct 29 


Hirr und Dinner 


. A Comedy of Errori. 
Le Mariage Force. 


Sunday, Oct. 30 , 


Htrr und Dimtr 


. A Comedy of Errort. 
Le Mariage Force, 


Monday, Oct, 3 1 


Sumurdn . 


. Gawan. 



" Let me analyse this programme. The pro- 
rduction of Faust dates from 25th March 1909. 

\i 

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i86 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

It has been given many times this year, and this 
was its hundred and fourteenth performance alto- 
gether. I saw it ; it was excellent, and the house 
(which is rather smaller than His Majesty's, rather 
bigger than the Haymarket) was very well filled. 
Sumur^n is a pantomime play with music, built 
upon the famous 'Tale of the Hunchback ' and two 
or three other stories from the Arabian Nights. It 
is a brilliant romp, remarkable, too, for the indi- 
vidual excellence of some of the acting, but above 
all for the ingenuity and inventiveness of the pro- 
duction ; quite one of Reinhardt's triumphs. It 
was one of the spring season's successes and is still 
popular, having reached perhaps its fiftieth per- 
formance. Hebbel's Judith was first produced here 
on 25th February of this year, and has been played 
fifty-three times. A Midsummer Night's Dream was 
Reinhardt's first big Shakespearean success. It 
has been played over five hundred times and is 
never long out of the bill. This is probably the 
theatre's record, and, indeed, too long a life for 
any production. The playing it in repertory, 
and the constant changes of cast {at this perform- 
ance only one of the original actors appeared), 
have kept it as fresh as may be, and the meaning 
and spirit of the production survive well enough ; 
moreover, to the connoisseur in these things there 
is a certain charm in the easy, well-worn way it 
all goes. Still, it would be the sounder really 
for a drastic readjustment and retuning. Herr 
und Diener is a new play of Ludwig Fulda's, 
something, as Bottom would say, ' in Ercles 
vein,' and played very much so. These were 



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HIS RESOURCES 187 

its first two performances. On Monday came 
Sumurun again. 

" Now for the Kammerspielhaus. The Comedy 
of Errors with he Mariage Ford is the latest pro- 
duction, a few weeks old only, and a great success, 
as appears by its being in the bill four times in 
one week. I fancy that no play may be done 
oftener. That this has been given twenty-three 
times in six weeks is at least a record. 

" Der Graf von Gleicheri^ by Wilhelm Schmidt- 
bonn, one of the younger of the Rhineland school 
of dramatists, is a play drawn from a medieval saga. 
It was produced in December igo8, and holds 
its place. 

" The Doctor's Dilemma was produced here in 
November 1908. It has now a hundred and 
thirty-two performances to its credit, and is 
never out of the bill for very long. It steadily 
attracts its congregations. Gawan, by Eduard 
Stucken, is one of a cycle of plays dealing with 
the Arthurian legend ; one might call its author, 
not quite inappropriately, a sort of dramatic Burne- 
Jones. It was produced in the spring and has 
achieved about thirty performances." 

The Producing Staff 
Reinhardt's power of organisation is further 
demonstrated in the extreme ability with which 
he selects and handles his producing staff. Here 
again we find the idea of co-directorship ap- 
plied. Here again there is an organiser of great 
ability (Reinhardt) and a number of fine intelli- 
gences who together form a corporate whole, 

n,i-,-iM,Coo<;lc 



i88 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

and together express the Will of the Theatre. 
Composing the circle are the producer (Reinhardt), 
the literary director (Arthur Kahane), the musical 
director, the interpretative body of players, the art 
director {Ernst Stern), the technical director, and 
so forth. These and others are the heads of the 
departments. Each directs and controls his own 
department, while working according to a general 
design. Generally speaking, the English Theatre 
is lacking in such a collective method of inter- 
pretation. 

Financial and Public Sopport 

Although it is maintained that in this commer- 
cial age theatres of the Deutsches Theater class can- 
not flourish without financial aid, I find no proof 
that Reinhardt's theatre does not pay its way as a 
successful private venture. Evidence has been pro- 
duced in some quarters in the attempt to show 
that some of the private theatres in Germany are 
heavily endowed and are not expected to pay their 
way. It is said they are private only inasmuch as 
they do not publish balance-sheets. But persons 
who talk in this fashion usually confuse a private 
theatre with an endowed one. The Diisseldorf 
Theater is spoken of as a private theatre ; yet, as I 
have pointed out elsewhere, it receives municipal 
aid — the same assistance, in fact, as a municipal 
theatre. It is private, then, only in the sense that 
it is not public property. The Deutsches Theater 
is a private theatre, but that is no ground for 
assuming it is an endowed one. It is extremely 
doubtful whether Reinhardt is in need of 6nancial 

I.. i-Mi>,Coo<;lc I 



^P assist: 



HIS RESOURCES 



assistance. Judging by his equipment and 
methods, I should say not. He is an unusual 
blend of business man and artist, and his grasp of 
business qualities has enabled him to put both his 
houses on a paying basis. Some persons confirm 
this by saying that Reinhardt's principal object in 
cultivating drama is to earn an honest living. If 
so, he has a good precedent in Shakespeare, who 
managed his own theatre, kept an eye on the 
box-office, was more careful of his money 
investments than his play construction, and 
was so successful in the theatrical business 
that he retired at an early age to live upon his 
profits. Reinhardt has been very successful 
throughout. Long runs and crowded houses have 
marked his progress. The secret of it is that he 
confined himself entirely to one thing — the theatre. 
He has lived for nothing else, and has received 
adequate support for this reason. I imagine that 
if Mr Granville Barker had adopted the same 
course there would be no need for him to de- 
plore the absence of financial and public support. 
But, unfortunately, he has divided his strength 
between the theatre and political and socialistic 
propaganda, has permitted himself to be diverted 
by G. B. Shaw from the theatre to the exploitation 
of socialistic theory and Fabian socialism. Like 
Reinhardt, he should have recognised that the 
theatre is a jealous goddess who accepts no votive 
offerings but those belonging to the theatre. Such 
strange goods as economic theory and the wage 
system and guild socialism do not belong to the 
theatre. The political dust-heap is the proper 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^ h. I ii,Coot^lc 



I go THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

place for them. When Mr Barker has been 
weaned from Mr G. B. Shaw and economic 
theory, and educated to regard the theatre and 
drama from an art standpoint, he will be ready 
for a successful start. The Moscow Art Theatre 
is another example of an undertaking whose com- 
mercial success is due to concentration on the 
things that belong to the theatre. For several 
years after it was established it had a large yearly 
deficit. But to-day it earns yearly between j^Sooc 
and j^io,ooo clear profit. 

The public support of Reinhardt is and always 
has been fully assured. And 1 believe it would 
have been just as great even if public taste in 
Germany had not undergone so long a course of 
preparation. And this simply because on his busi- 
ness side Reinhardt has always had his finger on the 
public pulse, a policy which Mr Henry Arthur 
Jones used to follow during his most successful 
period. If the public demanded this, that, or the 
other form of contemporary drama, there was Mr 
Henry Arthur Jones with a sample. Mr Jones 
was always careful to remember that we are still 
a race of shopkeepers. 

The record of the resources of the theatre 
would not be complete without mention of its 
propaganda sheet, Blatter des Deutschen Theaters, 
which is written by the heads of the departments, 
and to which attention has already been drawn. 




{ 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 



Of the plays produced by Reinhardt a list is 



included in the appendices, which attests that his 
theatre is in the true sense an international one. 
Plays of various periods and countries, by dramatists 
of different degrees of greatness, are selected for the 
purpose of having their essential spirit of comedy 
or drama extracted, brought up to date, and there- 
after administered to the spectator in the form of 
a spell that acts upon him and by whose mesmeric 
power his own spirit is brought into the action of 
the play. 

Productions in Germany 
What of Reinhardt's German productions f 
There is a great deal to admire in them, and they 
contain much that is of value to the English stage. 
During my visits to Germany I have seen several 
pieces in Berlin, as well as in Munich where Rein- 
hardt usually spends his summer vacation producing 
festival plays at the Kiinstler Theater. On one 
occasion the anniversary of the amazing Kleist, the 
German Shakespeare, brought forth a production of 
Penlhesiiea. It was treated in an exceedingly simple 
way. All the top and side hamper of the stage was 
191 

ni,;iiP,-jM,Goo,^le I 



192 



THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



done away with, and the action of the play, which 
was condensed into four acts, took place at different 
points of the plain in front of Troy. The revolv- 
ing stage was set accordingly with one tall cypress 
tree, which changed its position as the stage re- 
volved. The white round horizon served as a back- 
ground, being tinted to represent the desired sky 
effects. On another occasion the Orestie led me 
into the circus and gave me my first glimpse of Rein- 
hardt's intimacy idea grown to gigantic proportions 
making its bow to a vast audience. Here, indeed, 
was " the colossal proportions which befit the monu- 
mental style." I fancy I must have had J. R. 
Lowell's My Study IVinJows in my pocket, for at the 
moment I did really believe that *' things do really 
gain in greatness " by being done on a great scale, 
and it is wise " to act on a great stage," because 
"there is inspiration in the thronged audience." 
But when I left the building my belief was modified, 
for Moissi played Orestes, and though he has a voice 
that a Greek would have envied, his proportions 
were not by any means monumental. Since that 
time my belief in the resurrection of the circus as 
an aid to drama, in being suited to huge dramatic 
spectacle and having a seating capacity for from 6000 
to r 0,000 persons, has changed. I now believe in 
an age of the little theatre. The little theatre has 
an entrance for the public, but none for sensation, 
and if properly constructed and worked it will have 
no emergency exits. On another occasion Oedipus 
Rex gave me an insight into Reinhardt's methods 
of handling a Greek chorus and crowd. Oedipus 
also took me into the circus, where again the inti- 



I 

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bGgggtl^ 



^H macy 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 193 

macy idea was fully exploited. I noticed one 
thing in particular, that the circus construction was 
far better suited to the production than the Covent 
Garden Opera House. The floor of the building 
was quite free, and the passages between the seats, 
which rose tier upon tier, as in the Greek amphi- 
theatre, facilitated the movements of all the players. 
Thus I felt a icinship for the " crowd " more keenly 
than I did in the London production, to which I 
shall refer presently. As a contrast there came later, 
still in the circus, that fine old morality Everyman. 
It gave one a new emotion to find this piece of im- 
mortality scoring a triumph in a building so utterly 
different from the places it had visited in England 
under Mr William Poel's guidance. It appeared ' 
in the German dress that Hugo von Hofmannsthal 
had given it, in adapting it from the Nuremberg 
version of Hans Sachs. But I am still at a loss to 
know why Reinhardt considered the circus indis- 
pensable to the production of Everyman. There 
were no crowds, no chorus, and the quaint 
three-tiered stage, the only thing requiring room, 
would have gained in artistic proportions in a 
smaller building. Except in the Banqueting Scene, 
where Death appears invisible to all the revellers, 
save Everyman, the stage is not occupied by more 
than two or three characters at a time. Perhaps 
Reinhardt believed that only in space could its 
very simple, child-like character be felt. Apart 
from this consideration, it was one of Reinhardt's 
finest achievements. It was a Gothic contribution 
to the stage. Everything was Gothic except the 
circus, not that this mattered, for Everyman is not a 



ih,Coo; 



& 



194 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

piece of architecture ; it is simply players mouthing 
the metaphysics of the Middle Ages. The entire 
scheme of line and colour and movement had the 
Gothic feeling. The production had, in fact, the 
uniform, homogeneous character of a style. The 
angular gestures made so familiar to us by the early 
primitive paintings and woodcuts were delightfully 
reproduced, though one or two of the actors 
appeared to tire of them in the course of the play 
and returned occasionally to the meaningless, con- 
ventionalised roundness of everyday acting. I liked 
the banqueting scene in Everyman's house. The 
burial scene was very effective, though it bordered on 
the arch geologically correct. It had for background 
a carefully staged copy of the medieval triptych, 
with the well-known angels upholding a scroll 
before a Gothic screen. The skill with which 
Moissi played Everyman added largely to the simple 
effectiveness of the production. His quiet, reverent 
repetition of an old Hans Sachs' prayer familiar to all 
German students, and most ingeniously introduced 
before Everyman goes to confession, was perhaps 
the most telling part of the whole performance. By 
Goethe's Faust II. I was introduced to Reinhardt's 
wonderfully ingenious use of the revolving stage 
used in conjunction with a part of the auditorium. 
The staging of this impossible " drama " is fully 
described in my volume T/ie New Spirit in Drama 
and Art. I imagine that Max Reinhardt went 
wandering after this strange god only because it 
offered him an unequalled opportunity of demon- 
strating his remarkable talent as a producer. 
This piece has always been the despair of German 



^'i^Wfedb/ 



Go 




i: 



producers. How were they to get this meta- 
physical exposition staged within reasonable time. 
It is true that the eminent writer Eckermann 
adapted it in 1830 for the stage under Goethe's 
supervision. It is true also that here and there 
a daring producer has presented it in scraps during 
the nineteenth century, and that Ernst von Possart, 
the Shakespearean tragedian, almost got the whole 
of it on the stage in Munich in 1895. But how 
to stage it entire so as to preserve its magnitude, as 
well as the patience of the audience, that was the 
question. 

Although the problem was not so bad as that of 
G^tz von Berlichingen, with its fifty-five scenes, it 
was bad enough. The latter part of Goethe's specu- 
lation on his journey to Hell and back again to 
Heaven makes an immoderate call on the drop cur- 
tain and the scene-shifter. It is indeed a tough 
problem. But Reinhardt's Shakespearean experi- 
ence and his new conception of the stage and 
stagecraft helped him to solve it. By erecting a 
false proscenium level with the tiers of private 
boxes and using the space between this and the 
back of the stage to form alternate stages, he 
overcame the play's reckless demand for scene- 
shifting and long waits. In this way he got the 
bigness of the work across the footlights, and its 
sombre metaphysical character also. Thus pre- 
sented, the latter half of Goethe's masterpiece gave 
me the impression of one of Watt's great gloomy 
figures seated on a ponderous globe chewing the 
cud of contemplation. It will be gathered that 
Reinhardt's success in galvanising Faust into up- 



iM,Coo<;lc 



196 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

to-date life was due to his knowledge of Shake- 
speare's stagecraft. If Goethe had had this 
knowledge when he began to write Faust (which 
took him over half a century to complete) 
probably there would have been no triumph for 
Reinhardt. As a contrast to the black-and-white 
metaphysical treatment of Faust 11. there is the 
colour treatment of Shakespeare. I think that 
Reinhardt appears at his best in his productions 
of Shakespearean comedy. Here he has full 
scope for his belief that the scene should appeal 
to the eye, that Shakespeare should be played in 
the festival spirit, that you cannot give him too 
much colour, brilliant colour being, in fact, the 
most appropriate setting to the mood in which the 
poet conceived his plays. Besides this, Reinhardt 
finds in Shakespeare full scope for the childlike 
vision which he possesses, and which is really in- 
dispensable in a producer of Shakespearean comedy. 
Thus his production of Muck Ado about Nothing 
fully revealed that he has the gift of seeing things 
in a mass, as a child sees them, and that he 
considers the lighter plays of Shakespeare to 
be the best medium for exercising this spirit. 
Much Ado was really the child's Shakespeare. It 
contained just the big, simple masses, the colours, 
lines, sounds, and movements a child would enjoy 
and remember. There was nothing academical or 
literary about it. Its fourteen scenes were set at 
the same time on the revolving stage, thereby solving 
the problems of act division and quick changes of 
scene, and abolishing localities. The only locality 
mentioned on the programme was " The Scene 



I 

I 



..^jist* 



,G 




Messina." The scenes were, accordingly, 
simple and impressive — a mere suggestion of a 
lofty hall, or two box-trees and an infinite blue or 
blue-black horizon, or a double row of old-gold 
walls seen in perspective running out to a thin 
Streak of blue sky. From the colour arrangement 
it was apparent that Herr Ernst Stern had also felt 
the festival spirit and was expressing it in fresh and 
delirious colour. His colour was full and rich in 
tone. Harmonious golds, blues, and reds composed 
the backgrounds for a wide range of very effective 
colour to move against. Some of the settings were 
skilfully adapted to serve two or three scenes, For 
example, an exterior would be suggested by a row 
of columns. Next, the exterior would be changed 
to an interior by the simple device of drop- 
ping a curtain in front of the columns. Further 
evidence of Reinhardt's childlike vision of Shake- 
speare will be found elsewhere in the extract from 
" Mr William Archer's contribution to a symposium 
on the Deutsches Theater. Among Reinhardt's 
most recent productions was The Blue Bird, to 
which he gave the simple character of a German 
fairy tale, thus avoiding the pantomime and ballet 
characters of the London and Paris productions 
respectively. 

Productions in England — " SumurCn " 
When Reinhardt came to London he had 
immense difficulties to contend with. There 
was no suitable theatre for him, no up-to-date 
lighting system, and no intelligent organisation 
of the theatre staff, no one in the theatre 



t, Google 



iqs the theatre of max reinhardt 



who, from reform - education, or pursuit, or 
inclination, could greatly help him. He was re- 
garded as a purveyor of sensation, and he was taken 
by the nation on trial, so to speak, for a few weeks 
at one of its principal music-halls. Thus pieces 
which he had produced in Berlin under the new 
and enlightened conditions had to be reproduced 
here under old and obsolete ones. He made his 
appearance modestly with a condensed version of 
a play under his arm, and proceeded with it to the 
Coliseum Theatre in the spring of 191 1 as being 
a place that possessed a revolving stage and some 
possibilities of lighting. The piece was Sumurun. 
This play, which was of a mimetic character, a 
combination of appropriate gesture and music, had 
already appeared in Germany, where it created a. 
great deal of attention as being Max Reinhardt's 
first attempt to apply the language of gesture. 
Of course the experiment was not new. At an 
early period in the world's history man was accus- 
tomed to express himself — his thoughts and feelings 
— by action. Articulate speech is an encroach- 
ment on the domain of human action, and in some 
persons' opinion it is not an improvement. Per- 
haps in producing wordless plays Reinhardt is 
expressing a growing feeling that it is time the ' 
closure was put on articulate sounds, especially in . 
the theatre and parliament, and full scope be given 
to man's desire to express his definite thoughts and 
emotions by gesture. In pursuit of his mimetic 
idea that every possible human emotion should be 
expressed by action, he cast Sumurun with his most 
distinguished actors and actresses, players who had J 




Sh 



re: 

P 






indeed been appearing in his biggest productions. 
To these he gave the task of removing the modern 
iproach created by the back-to-talk, and the 
Ihaw dramas, that nowadays some players can 
talk and cannot act, while other players can do 
neither. 

The Coliseum cast of Sumuri^ji^ although not the 
original one, fully vindicated the acting reputation 
of a part of the profession at least. And the pro- 
duction, scrappy though it was, revealed the fact 
that in Reinhardt a new force, working for the 
reform of the theatre, was in our midst. Judging 
■om the reception given to the piece, and the 
;emand of a certain section of the press for further 
samples of this class of goods, it is conceivable 
that Max Reinhardt returned to Germany with a 
lighter heart, and perhaps a heavier purse, than 
jwhen he left it. If so, he was extremely fortun- 
pate, for the Coliseum production of Sumur&n was 
not a good one from a strictly critical point of 
view. The play was presented piecemeal ; the 
Coliseum stock scenery was faked for the occasion, 
and the auditorium was too vast for the element of 
intimacy. The lighting, however, was good, and 
quickened the really beautiful colours as they 
moved across the scenes. A few months later the 
complete play, as given at the Dcutsches Theater, 
was given at the Savoy Theatre. The exchange 
■om the variety theatre to the legitimate stage 
Was good, with the exception of the lighting. 
The Savoy stage was badly lit, and there was no 
dome focus light, such as had been used so effectively 
iftt the Coliseum, to concentrate the passions. This 

■ n,i.,-iM,Coot;lc 



I 



200 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

apart, the play was more together, the dimensions 
of the stage were more suited to it, and the action 
was closer to the audience. 

The Story 

Sumur&n is a story without words that comes 
from the East. It is partly derived from the Tales 
of the Arabian Nights^ by Friedrich Freska. It 
tells a story of Eastern passion, of love, hate, and 
revenge, the chief emotional characteristics of a race 
that has always been accustomed to give expression 
to its strongest emotions. It is the story of a well- 
conditioned, handsome merchant named Nur-al-din, 
who is in love with Sumurun, the fascinating wife 
of an old Sheik. It is the old, old dramatic theme 
of a lover and his beloved and an obstacle, and a 
means to remove the obstacle. Nur-al-din, besides 
being a merchant, is a dreamer. Long before the 
play opens he has been dreaming of the perfect 
woman. One day, at the opening of the play, 
she arrives, and with her coming Nur-al-din's 
dream is realised. Their glances meet and the 
action of the play begins. Nur-al-din is now in 
love with the Sheik's wife, and she with him. 
He has felt the fascination of this seductive 
Eastern woman, and she has responded to the 
allurements of the handsome dreamer. But there 
is an obstacle to their happiness. The Sheik has 
to be removed. Nur-al-din's neighbour is a 
hunchback showman, who has a troupe of per- 
formers, including a beautiful dancer, an old 
woman who charms snakes, and a huge negro. 
The Hunchback also has his romance : he is in 



,^^ 




HIS PRODUCTIONS 



^Klove with the beautiful Dancer. When the Sheik 
^^ arrives with Sumurun he is accompanied by 
his son, who, being a love adventurer, is willing 
and anxious to bestow his favours on the first 
promising object. So we see him trying to flirt 
with one of Sumurun's maids, and, being defeated 
in his aim by Sumurun herself, he turns and 
bestows his attention upon the Hunchback's dancer. 
The Hunchback, though poor and humble, is not 
the man to be trifled with. He has poured all 
his passion into this love for the Dancer, and 
though there is a great division between his 
position and that of the Sheik's son, nothing can 
restrain his intense jealousy and the frenzy of his 
anger. All the primitive savage in him rises to 
the surface and flings him upon his rival. But it 
is of no avail ; for the rival is quickly rescued 
by the intervention of the officials of the Bazaar. 
The Hunchback, half killed, turns to Sumurun and 
begs her to restore peace between him and his 
powerful adversary. Sumurun gracefully promises. 
Now comes the scene to carry on the action. The 
scene between the Hunchback and the son has 
ended, and people begin to return. Among them 
is the Sheik in search of his wife. It happens 
that his eyes, like those of Eastern potentates, have 
the bad habit of going astray. The Dancer is 

■about, and the sight of her is too much for 
him. Thereupon follows a scene of attempted 
barter. The Hunchback will not sell, but the old 
woman snake-charmer is quite willing to do the 
_ business for him ; and she prepares to negotiate 
^Hwith the Slave Dealer, who is acting on behalf 

H 



I 



202 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

of the Sheik. The Hunchback depicts in vivid 
gestures his horror at this cold-blooded plot to rob 
him of his pearl of great price. Scene II. carries 
the action into the interior of the Hunchback's 
theatre. The performance is proceeding ; the 
Hunchback shows nothing of the passions raging 
within him. The Sheik's son is still making 
approaches to the Dancer, while the Sheik himself 
is present hoping to secure the Dancer. By this 
time the Hunchback is in a more conciliatory 
mood. He sees a way to revenge himself on the 
son, by disposing of the Dancer to his father. So 
the deal is concluded. A scene in which the 
power of colour to communicate magnetic action 
is demonstrated, follows. The Dancer arranges 
her gorgeous wardrobe and packs her trunk, so 
to speak. In doing so she turns her back on the 
Hunchback, who, driven to despair, attempts to 
commit suicide by swallowing a piece of poisonous 
food called Bhang. The Bhang, however, oblig- 
ingly sticks in his throat in order to help the 
action. For, as subsequent events prove, it is 
necessary that the Hunchback shall make his way 
to the Sheik's palace, and this by a devious route. 
A pathway is opened by the old snake-charmer and 
the son. The former returns with the gold which 
she has obtained for the Dancer, and, finding that 
the Hunchback is to all appearances dead, flings 
him on a couch, covers him with draperies, and 
departs. The son returns and discovers the hidden 
body, which at first he takes to be the Dancer 
asleep, but on learning the truth he bundles the 
body unceremoniously into a sack belonging to chc-^ 



I 
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Doay uncercmoniousiy mto a sacK Dclonging to Uie.^ 




1 



merchant. The Hunchback is thus assured a safe 
journey to the merchant's instead of to heaven. 
The curtain falls on the rapid exit of the son as 
the merchant's slaves enter and bear the sack away. 
Scene III. reveals the Hunchback passing to his 
ultimate destination and receiving many unkind 
buffets on the way. A sack is not a comfortable 
form of transit, and it does not inspire reverence 
in those who handle it. In this scene before the 
Sheik's Palace, the sack and its contents play but a 
subordinate part, and perhaps for this reason its 
occupier deserves the punishment he receives. 
He is caught up in the tangled threads of the 
scene, and flung hither and thither, bobbing up 
and down like wreckage making its way across 
the Atlantic. The scene then is not the Hunch- 
back's but Nur-al-din's, who is brought from 
the market-place in order to carry on the love 
interest and to reveal the cunning of Sumuriin 
and the fair slaves in evading the orders of the 
old Sheik. We learn that in this comedy 
intrigue against the Sheik, the women are for 
Nur-al-din. The Sheik's suspicions are aroused, 
and the son's pursuit of the Dancer is quickened. 
So the action is carried to Nur-al-din's shop in 
Scene IV. The Hunchback arrives in his sack 
considerably more damaged than when he first 
started. The secret of the sack is discovered by 
the merchant's servants, who, paralysed by fear, 
throw it into a box and fly. 

Then follows a scene between Nur-al-din and 
Sumurun, who has come with her ladies, presum- 
ibly to buy, but really to make love. By this timei 



204 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

the action is moving rapidly in the direction of the 
Palace, where both the Hunchback and Nur-al-din 
arc due. How to get them there, that is the 
question ? The Hunchback is in the box where 
the servants have transferred him. The old snake- 
charmer comes and localises him for future purposes, 
and when Sumurun returns to the shop after a 
brief absence, what is more natural than that she 
should conceive the idea of smuggling her lover 
into the Palace in a box, unconsciously using the 
very box where the ill-used Hunchback has been 
deposited amid perfumed draperies. The Hunch- 
back makes no protest. Why should he ? What 
does it matter to him now that a human being is 
added to the weight of his sorrows f Is he not 
now fully adjusted to stand any pressure f Then 
as a sort of summary comes the famous silhouette 
scene, where the characters of this fantasy pass 
before us in review, as it were, on their way, and 
marking a further stage towards the Sheik's Palace. 
There they all pass, these comedy and tragedy 
puppets, these human marionettes dancing on the 
strings of love, hate, jealousy, and revenge. At the 
tail of the procession is the basket containing the 
lover and his liberator. The Hunchback is the 
symbol of destiny. The action next passes before 
the Palace. The atmosphere of suspense is cleverly 
maintained. How will the two smuggled men get 
into the Palace. Nothing easier. The Sheik's 
servants come out to search Nur-al-din's baskets, 
and very ingeniously Sumurun's maid contrives 
transfer the merchant to a basket which has 
inspected, leaving the Hunchback to be discovered 



I 

ives to ^ 
LS been H 
overed^l 



^P by th( 



I 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 205 

by the peripatetic old woman. What happens next 
is obvious. She discovers the piece of Bhang block- 
ing the entrance to the alimentary canal, and forth- 
with proceeds to extract it. With this obstacle out 
of the way the Hunchback is once more a man of 
action. He becomes witness of the son's renewed 
effort to possess the Dancer ; he sees that the son is 
playing a dangerous game in which the loss of a 
trick would prove fatal. So when the old Sheik 
draws the daring Dancer into the Palace, having 
discovered her intrigue with his son, and the son 
follows at the Dancer's beckoning, he too enters, 
creeping in unobserved. At last we are in the 
harem with the denouement within sight. It is an 
Eastern scene of voluptuousness, where the wife and 
her ladies hold carnival while the master is absent. 
Nur-al-din is released from the basket by the 
women, who proceed to make the most of his 
company. The spirit of dance is set free, and 
rapidly succeeding emotions are expressed in 
rhythmical gesture and motion. The Sheik enters 
unexpectedly. But they dance away his suspicions. 
Sumurun even communicates her love for him 
through her dance, or so it seems to the Sheik. 
But he is mistaken, for when he approaches 
Sumurun she repels him, and in his anger he calls 
for his new slave, with whom he departs in sight 
of Sumurun and her women. Sumurun turns to 
console herself with Nur-al-din. As the curtain 
falls the figures of the son and the Hunchback are 
seen following the direction the Sheik has taken. 
Scene VIII. carries the action to the Sheik's bed- 
room, where it begins to reach a climax. The-SheLk. 

n, 1^,-1 M,Coo<;lc 



2o6 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

and the Dancer are asleep. The Hunchback enters, 
showing conclusively by his actions that he is there 
for a fixed purpose. He conceals himself within 
the drapery at the back of the bed. Then comes 
the son of the Sheik. He signals to the Dancer. 
She responds and they embrace. They are pledged 
to each other, they will fly together, but first there 
is one thing to be done. The Sheik must be 
eflaced. The son hesitates. She urges him. 
Time is flying. The Sheik may awake. He 
yields. He steps forward. A form suddenly 
appears. To the Dancer it is the ghost of the 
Hunchback, She shrieks. The Sheik awakens. 
He drives his dagger into the body of his treacher- 
ous son, and flings aside the creature who would 
betray him. But the end is not yet. The Hunch- 
back has not yet fulfilled his dramatic purpose. 
The lovers have to be united. But the obstacle 
still remains. As the scene closes the dying son 
leads his father to the harem where the action 
in Scene IX. passes. Here, during the tragedy 
in the bedroom, Sumurun and her women and 
lover, wearied of their love-making and dancing, 
have fallen asleep. Danger suddenly touches them. 
They awake and hurriedly conceal Nur-al-din. 
The Sheik searches for him, while the women, 
seeking to abstract his attention, dance madly round 
him. Suddenly he catches sight of the white 
face of the Hunchback in the gallery above. He 
swiftly drags him down. The women make one 
more appeal. Sumurun stoically invites him to 
kill her. Thereupon Nur-al-din steps from his 
hiding-place, in order to die for Sumurun. There 



I 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 



207 



is a fierce fight between him and the Sheik. 
But the strength of the old man prevails. Nur-al- 
din is about to be killed when the battered figure 
of the Hunchback moves rapidly forward and 
plunges a knife into the back of the Sheik. So 
destiny in the person of the Hunchback plays its 
^^ part and the lovers are united. 

^1 Scenery, Decoration, Music, and Acting 

^* The scenery was noticeable for its almost austere 
simplicity. The background was indeed little more 
than a whitewashed wall against which the vivid 
colours moved. This gave the representation the 
appearance of a number of set scenes, rather than 
scenes unified and continuous. They were scenes 
carefully composed in the way they would look 
best, in which the light will fall on the draperies 
and create a fantasy of colours, will bring out the 
lines in bold relief and strengthen the general 
design, and fall in a less important way on the 
actors, in which everything has a place in the 
general design, and nothing shall be accidental. 
There was no attempt to build up architectural 
uniformity and coherence. In fact, there was very 

I little of the Arab characteristics in the background. 
The lines of the smuggling scene should have been 
alive with inquietude and eccentricity. The lines of 
the very impressive silhouette scene, with one simple 
mass against another, black against blue, did not 
harmonise with the quaint rhythm of the figures 
moving against the white base. There is no quiet- 
ness in the Arab character, and there should be no 
quietness in its widest expression. There was an 



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2o8 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

indication of fiery impulsiveness in the bedroom 
scene. And that big and attractive harem scene 
should have been ringing with the symbols of 
imaginative excitability, arches buckling and bend- 
ing in all directions, lines curved, filiated, and twisted 
into innumerable designs, the whole forming one 
big rhythmic design. Still, though the background 
was lacking in the essential movement, the colours 
were full of it. There were slaves dressed in riotous 
patterns, there were gorgeous draperies that strewed 
the floor and decorated the walls, and appropriately 
took up their harmonious cues. When a red 
drapery entered you knew there was a blue to 
keep it company. In the scene before the Palace 
there were the whitewashed walls, the deep black 
exits, the row of red men before the main entrance, 
and above them at the casement window the bevy 
of fair women in scintillating colours — reds, yellows, 
greens, blues, and so forth. So they went dancing 
joyfully across the play. 

The music, by Victor HoUaender, was composed 
to tell the story. It was rather an accompaniment 
than supplementary, rather the conscious element 
of the play than the subconscious. For instance, 
at one part Sumurun taps the box in which the 
merchant is concealed. The music taps also, thus 
giving the impression of two persons doing the 
same thing at one time. 

Pantomimic acting is not new to London. Jane 
May revealed some of its great possibilities in 
UEfifant Prodigue. With this standard in mind I 
can still say that the pantomimic acting of Sumur&n 
was exceedingly good, seeing that modern players 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 

are only accustomed to elocutionary acting. In 
fact, the conventional stage mode of expression is 
speech, and for one player who can express by a 
gesture, a pose, a movement, a dance step or two, 
a thought or emotion, there are nine hundred and 
ninety-nine who can only express them by so many 
words. The best test of pantomimic acting is the 
cinematograph. In England acting will not stand 
the test of this medium. The public crowd to the 
cinematograph theatre to see acting, where the best 
examples of Italian, French, and American acting 
are alone to be found. Take our leading players. 
Sir Herbert Tree is a failure on the cinematograph. 
So is Mr Gerald du Maurier. So would be the 
"stars" of the discussion drama. In Germany the 
acting is good, and it is significant that there are, 
comparatively speaking, but few cinematograph 
theatres. The public frequent the playhouse 
instead. Some details of the staging of Sumur&n^ 
which are new to London, are worth mention. 
One was the Eastern idea of the players crossing 
the floor of the auditorium by means of a " flower 
path," as though coming from a distance, while 
another was the arrangement of entrances and exits 
to suggest the coming of persons from nowhere 
; in particular. 

" Oedipus Rex " 

The production of this tragedy by Sophocles 
marked another step in Reinhardt's development 
towards the vast spectacle. It was also an experi- 
ment in elocutionary acting of the Greek order. 
Beyond this, it had the element of daring with 



n,Google 



2IO THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

which Reinhardt is associated in Germany, and 
which some persons maintain will be his downfall. 
Therefore, when he announced his intention of 
producing Oedipus in a circus, all sorts and con- 
ditions of people arose and shrieked, " This is, 
indeed, the limit ! " But the manufacturers of 
pessimism were disappointed. In point of fact, 
there never was any cause for serious apprehension. 
In the matter of the conquest of all sorts and 
conditions of " stages," Reinhardt had already 
shown his skill, and having succeeded so often 
there was every likelihood of his doing so again. 
So from a predicted sensational extravagance end- 
ing in disaster, he passed to a success on his own 
lines. Why he played Oedipus Rex in a circus 
is best stated in his own words : *' I played it 
in a circus because that form of building is best 
suited to my requirements. The actors do really 
move among the audience, there playing out their 
little drama in the midst of their fellow-men, just 
as the great drama is played every day of our life 
on earth." Later, with this cosmic idea in his 
mind, he regarded the Albert Hall as the most 
suitable place in London for the production of 
Oedipus. " It is circus-shaped, dignified, and large 
enough to accommodate such an audience of five 
thousand as was present at my Berlin Oedipus pro- 
duction." Apparently this change of scene meant 
that Max Reinhardt was experimenting with the 
Greek idea of intimacy. But, strictly speaking, 
this would not be correct, because he was not 
experimenting under Greek conditions. Oedipus 
was, in fact, a renewed try for Rcinhardt's con- 



D„..^bvGa 




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HIS PRODUCTIONS 

ception of intimacy. At Frankfurt the tragedy 
took possession of the Albert Schumann Circus, 
wherein was seated the five thousand spectators, 
rising tier on tier to the roof. Being somewhat 
of an intimate character itself, the circus did what 
it could for its own credit to secure and preserve 
the desired element. It offered the whole (not a 
part) of its arena to the principals, chorus, and 
crowd, who entered some through the door of the 
Greek facade erected at one end, and others by 
the steps and entrances leading to the arena. The 
ring thus provided allowed the action to take 
place at the feet of the audience as well as among 
them. In fact, it took place so directly before the 
eyes of the audience and got so close to them, 
especially that part of the action carried on by the 
plague-stricken mob, that it may be reasonably 
beheved that the desired sensation was transmitted 
complete, and every man and woman left the circus 
with the sense of the mystery of patriotics, of the 
struggle of man with Fate, as revealed in the Laocoon, 
deeply upon them. After Oedipus had stirred the 
Germans, it went, in response to much clamour- 
ing, to other countries, and eventually came to 
London, and this mainly through the praiseworthy 
enterprise of Mr Martin Harvey. 

The Story 

In London Oedipus made its way to Covent 
Garden Theatre — of all places in the mighty 
metropolis. Probably this was the only available 
theatre. If it had been possible to produce it at 
the Albert Hall, whose form, size, and acoustical 



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212 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

properties are better suited to its proportions and I 
dimensions, I believe far better effects would have | 
been obtained, and some of the critics would have 
ceased from complaining that " Reinhardtism has | 
no message for England, artistic or otherwise " 
and that " Reinhardtism has always alHed itself | 
to religion or the horrible." Having, however, 
arrived at Covent Garden Theatre, it was obliged 
to live up to the limitations of the place. 
Here it had to tell its full story, to move and to 
bring the spectator into its action within the hour 
and a half allotted to its existence. That it did 
so in a highly impressive way argues much for 
the skill of the producer and of those who were 
associated with him in the work of representation ' 
and interpretation. The story of Oedipus runs 
that during the reign of Laius and Jocasta, Thebes 
was terrorised by a mysterious and murderous 
Sphinx known as the " She- Wolf of the Woven i 
Song." Apparently no one was able to stop the , 
deadly work or to answer the riddle of the Sphinx, 
Laius, thinking to gain the assistance of the Oracle I 
at Delphi, sets out to consult it, but is murdered 
on the way. Shortly after there arrived at Thebes 
a certain young prince, Oedipus by name. Oedipus 
believes that he is the son of Polybus, King of 
Corinth, and has left that city in order to escape ] 
a terrible position in which the Oracle has placed 
him. Arriving at Thebes, he reads the riddle of 
the murderous Sphinx, who thereupon destroys 
itself, and forthwith Oedipus is offered the throne 
of Laius, and Jocasta for consort. For ten years 
he rules wisely and peacefully. At the end of J 






^Bthis pe 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 213 

this period a pestilence breaks out and devastates 
Thebes. The action of the play now begins, and 
we are introduced to the silent spectacle of the 
eager throng of pestilent-smitten supplicants at the 
palace gates. To them the King appears with 
royal condescension and public zeal. The priest 
expresses their heartfelt loyalty, describes the dis- 
tress of Thebes, and, praising the past services of 
Oedipus, implores him to exercise his power and 
wisdom on behalf of the relief of his people. In 
his reply the King discloses his solicitude for his 
subjects and a means of awakening their hope. 
He mentions that he has sent " Creon, my own 
wife's brother, forth alone to Apollo's house in 
Delphi, there to ask what word, what deed of 
mine, what bitter task, may save the city." Just 
at this moment Creon is seen approaching. He 
is crowned with Apollo's wreath ; his look is 
triumphant. What has Phoebus said ? Creon 
tells them that he has returned with the news 
that the murderer of King Laius is harboured in 
the land of Thebes. He must be discovered and 
banished. The country must be purged of his 
crime. Then follows the dramatic scene be- 
tween Oedipus and the blind seer Tiresias, whom 
Oedipus, in his anxiety to do the Oracle's bidding, 
forces to tell the truth. Tiresias declares that 
Oedipus is the man. Oedipus, however, sees 
nothing in Tiresias's words but a conspiracy be- 
tween him and Creon to seize his throne. As 
an immediate consequence he quarrels with the 
Leader of the Chorus, who seeks to reason with 
him, and with Creon, whose replies to his qucstiQn.s 

I I. ■■, ii,Cooglc 



214 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

only inflame him still more. By this means the 
interest of the audience is roused for the entrance 
of the Queen. With Jocasta's entrance begins 
the unravelling of the mystery of Oedipus's past. 
Accordingly we learn that before the opening of 
the play the Oracle had decreed that Laius should 
be murdered by his son, and that the son should 
marry his own mother. In order to defeat this 
decree Jocasta, it seems, ordered it to be given out 
that her child was killed. This revelation partly 
removes Oedipus's fears, who confesses in turn 
that he fled from Corinth to escape a fate similar 
to the one to which Jocasta's son was doomed. 
At this point a messenger arrives with the news 
of the death of Polybus, the supposed father of 
Oedipus, whom the latter believed he was decreed 
to kill, and whose death he now believes sets him 
free from the decree of Fate. But the messenger 
has not finished ; he bears in addition the news 
that Oedipus is not the son of Polybus. As he 
proceeds, the awful truth bursts upon Jocasta, 
who with words full of tragic meaning turns and 
enters the palace. It now only remains for an old 
shepherd to confirm the messenger's story. He 
tells how he received Jocasta's child and handed 
it in turn to a stranger from Corinth, whence 
Oedipus had fled. The chain is complete. Oedipus 
recognises that Fate has destroyed him. He 
enters the palace, and, finding that Jocasta has 
effaced herself, he deprives himself of sight. 
Bleeding and blinded, he appears before his people, 
and, sightless and alone, passes forth to serve his 
self-inflicted term of punishment. 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 

Such, then, is the story told in modern language, 
and such is the significance it bears to the modern 
mind. Whether the modern spectator understands 
its early meaning is open to doubt. The ordinary 
spectator to-day can scarcely be expected to under- 
stand the divine form of the art of the Greeks, 
the war of the deities, of giants and heroes. To 
him the vital mythology found in Greek tragedy 
is a closed book. Ask this modern spectator to 
enter the marvellous stream of mythic fiction flow- 
ing from early Greece and translate these stories 
upon which the tragedies are based in terms of 
myths, and he could not do it. He could not, for 
example, translate the myth of the shipwrecked 
mariners put to death as related in Iphigenia, 
Neither could he explain the eternal doctrine and 
myth of Oedipus. Given the knowledge to do so, 
much that is brutal and repellent to his modern 
mind would disappear. As a clue to my meaning, 
let me quote from Professor Gilbert Murray's pre- 
face to the published edition of Oedipus. 

" Mythologists tell us that Oedipus was origin- 
ally a dsmon haunting Mount Kithairon, and 
Jocasta a form of that Earth-Mother who, as 
iEschylus puts it, ' bringeth all things to being, and 
when she hath reared them, receiveth again their 
seed into her body' {Choephori., iij '. cf. Crusius, 
BeitrUge z. Gr. Myth, 21). That stage of the story 
lies very far behind the consciousness of Sophocles. 
But there does cling about both his hero and his 
heroine a great deal of very primitive atmosphere. 
There are traces in Oedipus of the pre-Hellenic 
Medicine King, the Basileus who is also a Theas.^ 

I I. ■. ih,Coo<;lc 



2i6 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

and can make rain or blue sky, pestilence or fertility. 
This explains many things in the Priest's first' 
speech, in the attitude of the chorus, and 
Oedipus's own language after the discovery. It 
partly explains the hostility of Apollo, who is not 
a mere motiveless Destroyer, but a true Olympian 
crushing his Earth-born rival. And in the same 
way the peculiar royalty of Jocasta, which makes 
Oedipus at times seem not the King but the Consort 
of the Queen, brings her near to that class of con- 
secrated queens described in Dr Frazer's hectares on 
the Kingships who are * honoured as no woman now 
living on the earth.' 

" The story itself, and the whole spirit in which 
Sophocles has treated it, belong not to the fifth 
century, but to that terrible and romantic past from 
which the fifth-century poets usually drew their 
material. The atmosphere of brooding dread, the 
pollution, the curses; the 'insane and beastlike 
cruelty,' as an ancient Greek commentator calls it, 
of piercing the exposed child's feet in order to 
ensure its death, and yet avoid having actually 
murdered it {Schol. Eur. Pheon.^ 26) ; the whole 
treatment of the parricide and incest, not as moral 
offences capable of being rationally judged or even 
excused as unintentional, but as monstrous and 
inhuman pollutions, the last limit of imaginable 
horror : all these things take us back to dark 
regions of pre-classical and even pre-Homeric 
belief. We have no right to suppose that 
Sophocles thought of the involuntary parricide 
and metrogamy as the people in his play do. In- 
deed, considering the general tone of his con- 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 



217 



temporaries and friends, we may safely assume 
that he did not. But at any rate he has allowed 
no breath of later enlightenment to disturb the 
primeval gloom of his atmosphere." 

The origin and nature of the Oedipus myth is 
here clearly stated, and the fact borne home to us 
that as a myth its horrors are also myths. The 
extreme difficulty lies in separating the ideal from 
the real by preserving the proper Greek associations 
of each Greek tragedy represented. The ancient 
Greek spectator of a Sophoclean tragedy was able 
to preserve these associations. He was invited to 
witness the supreme crisis of an individual destiny 
and was possessed at the outset with the traditions 
of his race. But it must be said that these associa- 
tions are not preserved by moderns without many 
difficulties. 

I The Scene 

For one thing, there is the difficulty of creating 
an appropriate Greek atmosphere in a roofed-in 
theatre. Better results are, of course, to be attained 
in an open-air theatre, say Bradfield College. But 
even there the things that favoured the production 
of Greek tragedy are lacking. Though the theatre 
is open to the sky, though it commands a wide 
perspective, and air full of vitality, it has not 
the Greek dimensions that would enable it to seat 
50,000 spectators. At Covent Garden Theatre, 
therefore, a compromise had to be effected. It 
was skilfully done, and no doubt it served Max 
Reinhardt's purpose. As at Berlin and Frankfurt, 
the whole of the interior of the theatre was made 



ih,Coo<;lc 



2i8 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

to serve the "scene," the entire proscenium was 
fitted with a black screen representing the front of 
the palace of Oedipus. The centre of this screen 
was occupied by high, impressive brass doors, on 
either side of which were three massive black 
columns supporting a grim portico. The orchestra 
well was covered by a black platform, with a piece 
projecting from the centre upon which the altar 
was placed. On either side of this " apron " flights 
of steps led to the arena, or ball-floor of the theatre. 
This floor formed a lower stage, and was built up 
in order to enable the spectator to realise that he 
was participating in the scene before him. In 
pursuit of the intimacy idea, a space was cleared 
in front of the stage by removing rows of stalls, 
for the chorus and crowd to act in and mix with 
the spectators. The front row of the stalls was, in 
fact, in touch with the outer fringe of the crowd, 
while all the players made their entrances and 
exits through the audience at various points of the 
arena. The scene was lit from all points of the 
theatre according to the new methods, whereby 
coloured limes are thrown on neutral surfaces, 
and the desired effects obtained by mixing the 
coloured rays as they fall on each object. The 
principal aim of the lighting was, however, to 
keep a blinding white light beating upon the 
palace, and to break it up with vivid bits of 
colour. The general conception of colour was 
black and white, great masses of white, some- 
times tinted with yellow, moving against the dense 
blue background which occasionally deepened to 
violet. Perhaps the most artistic effect was that 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 



219 



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attained by the crowd and Oedipus. Oedipus 
stood on the rostrum calm and self-possessed. 
Beneath him surged the infuriated mob, with 
outstretched arms, swelling up to him like a 
sea of angry emotions, and returning thence to 
the Leader of the Chorus in response to his call. 
There on one side Oedipus stood like an intel- 
lectual pinnacle islanded in the billowing ocean of 
human beings ; and there on the other side the 
Leader stood like the Spirit of the Infinite swayed 
to and fro by elemental passions. 

I The Acting 

The acting was contemporary. There was no 
attempt to go back to tradition, but everything 
was brought up to date. The cothurnus, the 
mask, and other aids to Greek interpretations 
were absent. Still, the chief object of the Greek 
poet, that of obtaining the utmost beauty from his 
only instrument, language, was not overlooked. 
Rhythm, which is one of the chief components of 
Greek verse, was there. In more than one instance 
the words were bound rhythmically together, and 
fell pleasantly on the sensitive ear. Greek immo- 
bility was also successfully attained, especially in 
the acting of Mr Martin Harvey and Miss Lillah 
M'Carthy. The handling of the crowd revealed 
Max Reinhardt's methods at their best. It was 
an up-to-date crowd composed of individual 
speakers, a human crowd formed of living elements, 
and far more natural than the crowd composed of 
undergraduates in the Frankfurt production. To 

I ni,;HPrJM,GOOSle 



210 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

me it was even a more wonderful crowd than the 
individual one in Lysistrata^ which is considered by 
many persons as the high-water mark of Reinhardt's 
stagecraft. The latter crowd appears at the end of 
the play and manifests the many and varied emotions 
of the inhabitants of the delivered city, which has 
been handed back to Eros. Colours race all over 
the scene, lines (formed of dancers) advance and 
recede, entwine, break, and joyously melt away. 
There are shouts of laughter, singing, and every 
expression of pent-up emotion. In the back- 
ground, at a distance, are seen the lights of the 
condemned town ; from afar come cries and 
murmurs, mixed with laughter and shouting, which 
gradually increase until they merge with the others 
in one mighty climax of joy, and the curtain falls 
on one of the finest pantomimic climaxes provided 
by Reinhardt. Reinhardt's main object in arrang- 
ing his crowd is to bring the latter into active 
unity with the actor ; his handling of the chorus 
is no less unified and harmonious. The produc- 
tion of Oedipus — the English version of which 
was prepared by Professor Gilbert Murray and 
Mr W. L. Courtney — afforded an excellent ex- 
ample of this. 

It may be asked, if Reinhardt is not giving us 
Greek drama, what is he giving us ? The reply is 
Reinhardtism — an essence of drama of his own 
distilling. Max Reinhardt may or may not know 
that all the great dramatists have no common 
standard for dramatic action and what is suited to 
the stage, that Sophocles, Shakespeare, Racine, 
Moliere, Goethe, Ibsen, have only names in com- 

D„:,i.,.,„.Go^ 



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mon, that each had a value for his own times, and 
may have one for us, and, if so, it must be made 
apparent to everybody. In any case, he sees each 
author with the Reinhardt eye, and uses each as 
an expression of the Reinhardt value, namely, a 
dramatic one. Thus to Shakespeare, Goethe, 
Sophocles, Kleist, and others, he gives his own 
reading, and that of his co-operators, thereby 
rousing the resentment of certain critics who com- 
plain that Reinhardt is not Sophocles. This was 
the objection raised to the production of Oedipus. 
Reinhardt was told his work was " not Greek," 
and charged with having degraded a classical play. 
The charge was met by Professor Gilbert Murray, 
who, writing to the Times, said : 

*' By ' Greek ' we normally mean classical or 
fifth-century Greek. Now the Oedipus story it- 
self is not Greek in that sense. It is pre-Greek ; 
it belongs to the dark regions of pre-Hellenic 
barbarism. It struck one of the ancient Greek 
commentators, for instance, by its * senseless and 
bestial cruelty.' Oedipus is pre-Hellenic ; Sopho- 
cles is Greek. In the production ought we to 
represent the age of Sophocles or that of Oedipus ? 
The point is arguable, and I have my own view 
about a middle course ; but he who insists on 
keeping to the age and style of Sophocles must 
also insist on dressing Macbeth in Elizabethan 
ruffles. 

*' Professor Reinhardt was frankly pre-Hellenic, 
partly Cretan and Mycentean, partly Oriental, 
partly — to my great admiration — merely savage. 
The half-naked torchbearers with loin-cloths axvi 



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222 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

long black hair made my heart leap with joy. 
There was real early Greece about them, not 
the Greece of the schoolroom or the conventional 
art studio. 

" The general colouring, then, was pre-Hellenic. 
But Professor Reinhardt makes no profession of 
treating the play with archsological reverence. 
He simply takes the text and says : ' There is 
drama in this, and I will bring out that drama by 
every means that modern stagecraft puts in my 
power.' This is obviously a legitimate line of 
action. It must stand or fall by its general result. 
At certain times, for instance, he beats a gong. I 
think the result very effective ; some people hate 
it. In any case it is the result that must be judged. 
There is nothing inherently sinful, nor yet admir- 
able, in beating a gong. And, in general, what is 
the result ? I do not think there can be the smallest 
doubt that it is — to use the bluntest and simplest 
word — successful. Vast audiences come to hear 
the Oedipus — audiences at any rate far larger than 
Mr Granville Barker and I have ever gathered, 
except perhaps once ; they sit enthralled for two 
hours of sheer tragedy, and I do not think many 
of them will forget the experience. That is one 
test of a good production. Another is the effect 
it has on the actors. And it seems to me that 
practically every performer in the Oedipus is at the 
very top of his powers. Certainly Mr Harvey's 
superb performance has been a revelation to many 
even of his admirers. How I should like to see 
him as Hippolytus ! " 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 223 

"The Miracle " 

The Mirac/e was Max Reinhardt's Gothic con- 
tribution to the pantomimic spectacular drama. 
It was distinguished by structural bigness, and the 
quality of strength in action. The whole concep- 
tion and realisation was full of tremendous energy. 
It was the last word in a synthesis of music, song, 
dance, colour, and line on a gigantic scale. Its 
official aim is expressed in the following extract 
from printed matter supplied to me by Mr C. B. 
Cochran : " The Miracle is meant to be something 
more than a spectacle. It aims at reaching the 
highest pinnacle in the great range of dramatic 
endeavour. It is not to be a pageant, yet it is of 
pageantry. It is not a play or a drama in any 
ordinary sense, yet it will be the greatest dramatic 
play of all. It is a simple story set forth simply, 
yet with all that vigour, delicacy, power, and im- 
mensity which the mind of Reinhardt alone can 
give to it. It is meant to make the mark of an 
epoch. Th Miracle will be produced from a 
scenario prepared by Dr Karl VoUmoeller, a scenario 
whose power of appeal must be vastly enhanced 
by the wonderful music which has been wedded to 
it by Professor Engelbert Humperdinck, the com- 
poser of Hdnsel and Gretel. For the interpreta- 
tion of The Miracle two thousand players will be 
employed, and under the direction of an eminent 
conductor, an orchestra of two hundred, and an 
invisible choir of five hundred, will be utilised in 
the rendering of Humperdinck's music." 

From this we gather that The Miracle was the 

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224 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

greatest undertaking Reinhardt had attempted. 
It went beyond Oedipus and transformed Sumurun^ 
so to speak, to the proportions of a vast amphl- 
theatrical wordless play. The play itself was 
variously described by the terms drama, mystery, 
miracle, and so forth. It was even compared with 
the Oberammergau Passion Play. But I am con- 
vinced that it does not fall under these heads. To 
me it had a character of its own. It was Gothic 
pantomime brought up to date. Here we had a 
scenario based on an old Rhine legend fitted in 
with modern music, song, dance, pantomime con- 
ception of decoration, and electrical and mechanical 
effects. 

The Story 

The story has made its appearance under various 
disguises. For instance, it is the theme of Maeter- 
linck's miracle play Sister Beatrice. Sister Beatrice 
is a young nun who is wooed and after a struggle 
won by a prince. As soon as she leaves the con- 
vent the figure of the Virgin is re-incarnated and 
takes the erring nun's place. The action of the 
Virgin is regarded by the other nuns as a miracle, 
and it is believed she has come to life in order to 
confer some high spiritual distinction on Sister 
Beatrice. A period of years elapse, and Beatrice 
returns to the convent, having tasted the bitters of 
a worldly experience. Abandoned by the Prince, 
she passes through vicissitude after vicissitude, 
until, with health, beauty, and purity gone, she 
seeks her old sanctuary. Upon her return, the 
Virgin, having completed her task, assumes her 





former position. Beatrice confesses her sins to 
the nuns, who, however, still believe her holy and 
worship her as she dies. In this scenario is the 
element of mystery which great drama demands, as 
well as that of silence which is one of the require- 
ments of great dramatic pantomime. It is, in a 
word, a cosmic theme, the importance of which 
words cannot adequately convey. We enter the 
action and pass in silence through a process of 
disillusionment or enlightenment. We are under 
cloistral restraint. We are suddenly offered a 
vision of the world and its temptations. We yield 

>to temptation and go forth to indulge the physical 
side of us at the expense of the spiritual. We 
pass from disillusionment to disillusionment till hell 
is reached. And finally, we return to the spiritual 
fold to exchange the impurity of our recent experi- 
ence for a purity to which it should inevitably 
lead. In The Miracle the theme is treated on a 
broad temporal basis. As the curtain rises we are 
present at a festival. We join the great procession 
winding slowly across the mountain, and making 
its way gradually towards the stately Cathedral. 
Enshrined herein is the statue of " Our Lady," 
before whom all kneel in adoration, whilst a miracle 
is performed. From among the halt, and sick, 
and blind there comes a lame man, who is carried 
forth within the magic, luminous glow of the 
radiant statue. There is a moment of great silence 
while we are initiated into the vital mystery of his 

I cure. This done, we move with the great crowd, 
solemnly and splendidly as it sweeps with a song 
of thanksgiving over the mountain, and fringes the 



iM,Coo<;le 



226 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



violet ribbon of the Rhine. 



1 the Cathedral there I 



is now no one save the Nun. She is alone with ' 



her I 



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■ new experience and the statue. She has seen 
the doors of the Church open upon the world and 
she dreams of its pleasures. Now comes the 
Spielmann symbolising the Devil, and with the 
sound of his piping is heard the joy of children's 
voices. The Nun feels the stimulus of the outer 
world and responds by joining in the dancing. 
Thereafter we become part of an action similar 
to that already described in the story of "Sister 
Beatrice." A Knight appears; the Nun struggles 
to repel him. For a moment she succeeds. She 
closes the great doors of the world upon the 
Knight and seeks the Madonna's aid. But there 
is no response. A knocking at the Cathedral 
doors is heard. The door opens and the Knight 
appears. He advances ; the Nun yields, and 
together they go forth accompanied by the Spiel- 
mann piping the lay of passionate love. The 
Madonna comes to life and takes the place of the 
fugitive Nun. The Abbess and Nuns enter, and, 
discovering the loss of the Madonna, are about to 
scourge the kneeling figure, whom they beheve 
to have been the cause of the disappearance of the 
Madonna, when they discover her divine nature. 
Then follows the intermezzo, and we pass through 
the process of worldly enlightenment. The events 
follow each other rapidly and are everyday inci- 
dents clothed in medieval costume. There are the 
adventures of the Nun and Knight, the death of 
the Knight, the capture of the Nun by the Robber 
Count, the death of the latter and the transferring 




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HIS PRODUCTIONS 227 

of the Nun to the King's Son, the death of the 
latter, leaving the Nun under the protection of the 
King. There is the burning of the royal palace, 
the charge of witchcraft against the Nun, her 
rescue by the crowd, and her re-appearance as a 
camp-follower carrying a baby. And there is the 
Nun's return to the Cathedral seeking grace. On 
top of this disillusionment by means of seduction, 
murder, suicide, the Inquisition, battle, maternity, 
comes the final atonement and restoration to divine 
favour. 

In the second act we re-enter the Cathedral with 
the Nun just after the Madonna has resumed her 
position as the Miraculous Image. Then follows 
the discovery by the Nuns of the restored image 
and of the prodigal Nun. The Miracle ends differ- 
ently from that of Sister Beatrice. Beatrice dies, 
while the Nun, after passing the night in the 
darkened Cathedral, rises from before the Image 
and passes through the great doors to toll the 
Matins. Her renewed spiritual life is symbolised 
by the rising sun which greets her. 

The Production and Representation 
The ideas influencing the production of The 
Miracle were similar to those affecting the pro- 
duction of Oedipus and perhaps Everytnan, There 
can be no doi.bt that Reinhardt was seeking 
for a means *j break away altogether from the 
picture stage, to develop the idea of producing a 
drama that can be acted within the auditorium 
instead of within the picture-frame, and to afford 
a still further illustration of what a play gains in 



228 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

intimacy when its characters become part of the 
audience. It may be thought by some persons 
that in thus converting the auditorium into a stage, 
Reinhardt was merely making a departure in one 
direction in order to maite a return in another, 
that he was breaking away from the tyranny 
imposed upon the modern stage by the Italian 
theatre of the sixteenth century, in order to expand 
the innovation introduced to the English stage 
about the same period. If he sought the vastest 
ground area for his stage, it was merely in order 
to carry on the expansion of the Elizabethan 
" apron " stage, an expansion which he had long 
contemplated and undertaken. But there is no 
evidence forthcoming to show that Reinhardt had 
any such idea. On the contrary, there is much 
to show that he was strongly influenced by Greek 
tradition, upon which his theatre of the five 
thousand undoubtedly rests. It is more probable, 
indeed, that Reinhardt regards the Shakespearean 
*' apron" as an atrophied form of the Greek arena. 
However, let that be as it may, Reinhardt was 
bent on finding the largest stage for his "drama," 
and though Berlin from a geographical and national 
standpoint would have been in his view more 
suitable than London as an experimental centre, 
London offered him the best building for his 
dramatic purpose. He came and saw Olympia, 
and at once his production became realisable. Id 
the vast Exhibition Hall, having nearly four times 
the floor space of the Albert Hall, he felt it was 
)le to subordinate the setting to the panto- 
mimic drama. The scene he had in mind was 




^P that c 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 



229 



that of the huge nave of a Gothic cathedral as 
being most suitable for preserving the religious 
mood created by the interpretation. Herein the 
spectator could be seated and led to think of the 
central theme, the Madonna and the Nun, or 
the Church and the World, with less risk of 
being led to think of Max Reinhardt than in 
other productions. The scene itself arose as he 
had conceived it. A small circle of efficient co- 
operators — Hermann Dernburg, Rudolph Dworsky, 
and Ernst Stern — directed the work, which was 
carried out on the broad general Unes of Rein- 
hardt's scenic policy, according to which every- 
thing of a solid and up-to-date nature is utilised. 
Doors, windows, walls, roof, columns, properties, 
all are real ; the Hghting system is the completest 
that can be employed ; every advantage being 
taken of the latest advances made in electrical 
engineering. This actuality was one of the chief 
features of the cathedral scene of The Miracle. 
There is no need to enter here upon the technical 
details of construction, nor to mention the quantity, 
weight, dimensions, and cost of the materials used. 
It is sufficient to note that the Olympia was trans- 
formed into a cathedral interior on the solid basis 
of an actual building, that appeared to be con- 
structed to stand till the cement dissolved. Ap- 
parently the Gothic builders enjoyed their task of 
converting a structure resembling the largest railway 
terminus into one containing a likeness to architec- 
tural style. They handled every expedient and 
stratagem involved in this kind of struggle with 
skill, and contrived, in an open way to conceal the 

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230 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

original features as much as possible behind sham 
columns, arches, architraves, springs, vaults, mould- 
ings, and other Gothic details, thus forming a fabric 
of one solid lump of concrete. They endeavoured, 
indeed, in composition, and in detail down to the 
designs of the stained-glass windows, to preserve the 
Gothic motive. If they did not altogether succeed, 
it was not their fault. The cement veil could not 
be drawn over every part of the standing structure. 
There were gaps. The quality of energy was 
missing, and the lines throughout were anything 
but light and sinewy. This was a pity, seeing that 
an elastic and vigorous framework was so necessary 
to serve the function for which the setting had 
been designed, namely, to contribute to the action 
of the play and convey the sense of motion. It 
should be mentioned, however, that the Gothic 
builders were largely hampered by the peculiar 
requirements of the Reinhardt staging of The 
Miracle. It appeared that the nave of the 
cathedral was meant to serve not only as an 
interior scene, but as an exterior. Thus, when 
the Church had finished with it, the World entered 
by a very simple contrivance. The vast Gothic 
doors at one end were opened, and a huge mound 
crested with trees was wheeled in. By means of 
this and another contrivance the characters were 
enabled to step from actuality to actuality. The 
second contrivance was a huge sinking stage placed 
in the centre of the arena. This platform was made 
to sink, so that each time it rose it could bring a 
complete change of environment. By this means 
the action was carried uninterruptedly from ban- 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 



queting hall to bed-chamber, to inquisition chamber, 
and so forth. This sinking platform was indeed 
an example of Reinhardt's ingenuity, and appeared 
uncommonly like an up-to-date variation of the 
Shakespearean principle of alternate staging. 

Along with the erection of the structure went 
the laying down of the electric light installation. 
Here again every department was in efficient 
hands, and every angle and inch of necessary space 
was utilised for the purpose of attaining desired 
effects. The lighting system plays a most im- 
portant part in Reinhardt's productions. Indeed, 
it may be said that without light a greater part 
of the emotional language of his scenes would be 
lacking. The bigness of the system at Olympia 
may be gathered from the fact that over ten miles 
of lighting cable was laid down for a special electric 
installation for the spectacle. This, when compared 
with the simplicity of the stage lighting in Shake- 
speare's day, takes one's breath away. Just beneath 
and spanning the roof of the " nave" a bridge was 
constructed, having three lime bridges or islands of 
lights each containing forty searchlights or prisms. 
These lights were thrown down upon the scenes 
and players. Powerful arcs working from various 
Lpoints of the auditorium were focussed on the 
■Stage. Hundreds of lights were used to illuminate 
* the Gothic windows, their rays pouring down 
from all points, north, east, south, and west. For 
lighting khe horizon on Reinhardt's own principle 
electric battens were employed. And not only 
were the lofty roof and the galleries and loft of the 
.cathedral "wired" to their fullest extent, but thft 

L ^ DigmrrdbyGOOgfe I 



232 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

" crypt " was also turned into a bewildering maze 
of elaborate, electric mechanism. 

When I visited Olympia at the invitation of 
Baron von Gersdorff, Reinhardt's stage-director, I 
had a full opportunity of examining the nature 
and working of the mechanism. I was handed 
over to the chief mechanician, under whose guid- 
ance I explored the underground arrangements. 
We passed down a narrow, sloping passage, which, 
unlike the entrance way to the real cathedral 
crypt, had no smells, earthy or unearthly, to recall 
memories of priest and monk and of incensed 
procession marching in step with the sound of 
funeral dirge. Such smells were replaced by the 
commonplace one of beams and newly constructed 
brick walls forming rooms and recesses running 
beneath the vast arena. As we proceeded, the low 
roof and the projecting beams kept our heads 
ducking like the movable noddles of toy china- 
men. Big broad pipes laid along the brick walls, 
for carrying steam, tripped us up. Weird objects 
glared at us from the huge pit into which we 
descended. Out of its centre came a heavy 
elaborate mass of cogs and iron wheels, raising aloft 
the platform that took the centre of the vast arena. 

I Turning, we saw streams of coloured light, yellow, 
blue, and white, flaming through the latticed surface 
of square black boxes or prisms posed on stork- 
like legs. Forty-seven electric fans drove up the 
yellow silken ribbons upon which the light from the 
forty arc lamps beat. The shrieks of the revellers 
filled up the intervals of the fiery effects as they 
made themselves felt in the conflagration overhead. 



I 

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HIS PRODUCTIONS 233 

For some moments we stood in the midst of blinding 
lights, flashing flames, and crashing winds. Then 
the bell rang and there was the silence and dark- 
ness of death. The platform descended, and with 
it the resurrected dancers, moving round what was 
once the banqueting hall. 

Jn the matter of rehearsals of the players, it is 
needless to say that the actor-director in Max 
Rcinhardt dominated everything. He saw in the 
production its acting possibilities, knew precisely 
the value of each part, how it should be played, 
and who should play it. In order to understand 
his methods of selecting the cast and rehearsing it, 
it is necessary to bear the fact in mind that he 
has the actor's nature and approaches both play 
and players from this side!) This fact largely 
accounts for his choice of the right people to 
interpret T/ie Miracle. He certainly found an 
ideal "Madonna" in Maria Carmi (Frau VoU- 
moelier), an exceptionally clever " Nun " in the dis- 
tinguished dancer, Mme Natacha Trouhanowa, 
and a consistent " Spielmann " in Max Pallenberg. 
The same correctness of choice marked his selection 
of the elements of the crowd and led him to form 
an assemblage of persons that fully expressed the 
drama of this particular crowd — its joys, sorrows, 
horrors, superstitions, and so forth. As an actor 
he is also able to feel the audience and to compose 
the scenes and arrange the situations so as to have 
the greatest effect upon it. That is, he knows 
how to get every effect across the footlights. But 
if Rcinhardt is fully equipped to rehearse a large 
company himself, he also understands the value of 

I ni,;ni.t.dh,.G00sle 



234 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

intelligent co-operation, both as a time- and temper- 
saving device. Accordingly, though he conceives 
the work in bulk, he leaves it to be carried out in 
detail by efficient co-operators. Thus, if anyone 
had visited Olympia during the rehearsals of The 
Miracle, he would have found groups rehearsing in 
every corner of the building and everything pro- 
ceeding according to an intelligently conceived and 
well-ordered plan. He would have found the 
dancers being rehearsed in one part of the building, 
the singers in another, the crowd in another, the 
music in another, and so on. And he would have 
seen this continued day after day, till finally every- 
thing was reduced and placed under the control 
of the single instrument of the stage-director — the 
switch-board. His inference would be that Max 
Reinhardt himself really did very little in the 
actual work of rehearsal, beyond seeing that effect 
after effect was tried till the appropriate ones were 
arrived at. He did not rush furiously round the 
arena in a huge motor-car, as predicted by one press 
agent ; he made no breathless charges upon stupid 
groups of " supers," whose only desire is to handle 
their weekly salary. On the contrary, he took 
things quite calmly, and even came to the theatre 
without a preconceived idea of what the many details 
composing the whole should be. He was content 
to deliver the details over to the charge of his 
co-directors, and to remain watching the clay 
as it passed through their hands. The advan- 
tages of this co-operative method of company 
rehearsing are many. The chief of them is the 
immense gain in time. As an instance I may 



1 

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HIS PRODUCTIONS 235 



^Bquote the experience of Mr Louis Calvert, who 
^^ once told me that it took him, single-handed, six 
weeks to rehearse the Julius Cxsar crowd at His 
Majesty's Theatre, and that as a contrast he pro- 
duced the Convention scene in the last act of 
Robespierre in three rehearsals, owing to the fact 
that he had the co-operation of several persons 
who had worked with him in Julius Cttsar. He 
said, " to each of these I gave a squad of men " (a 

I section of the crowd). Both Louis Calvert and 
Max Reinhardt know the value of concerted action. 
The Decorations and Lighting "Effects 
Coming to the decorations and hghting effects, 
we find they were carried out under the direction of 
the art co-operator, who aimed always to express his 
own individuality while interpreting the spirit of The 
Miracle. Ernst Stern is the gifted art-director to 
whom Reinhardt entrusted the designing of the 
scene, costumes, properties, and the general arrange- 
ment of line and colour. It was from Herr Stern 
himself at the Deutsches Theater, Berlin, that I 

■.learnt the principles and methods which he applies 
to a play. From his words to me, it appears that 
he is accustomed to meet Max Reinhardt prior to 
the production of each play for the purpose of deter- 
mining its general character or spirit. Thereafter 
he, the decorator, retires to his studio to develop 
his portion of the work. He begins by getting the 
basis of his structure, a line in character with the 
motive. If the motive is Gothic the line will 
have the Gothic energy and flexibility. By the use 

■ of this line he anchors everything in the scene -, 
\ I. ■. ih,Coo<;lc 



236 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

costumes and accessories become part of a design. 
Next, he selects his colour, harmonising with the 
line and expressing the general conception of the 
motive. Thus, for example, if energy is a domi- 
nant note, he would use cadmium, as in The Miracle^ 
or if irritation is predominant, he uses red ; but if 
tranquillity is sought for, then he uses blue-greens. 
But the colours have to be used very intelligently 
in order to obtain the desired sensations. Next, 
he selects materials having the essential colours and 
design. Then he selects his characters to reflect 
his line and colour as being part of the whole. If 
he is using a revolving stage he next works out 
his ground plan, using a model of the stage for the 
purpose. Then follow sketches — suggestions for 
the parts of the whole. After this he constructs 
a working model of scene and figures, and adds life 
to his line and colour. Finally, he attends re- 
hearsals and commences to get his chiaroscuro. 
By this time the scene has assumed the form of 
a chess-board, upon which he moves his figures 
singly and in masses, till he has obtained the 
variations that go to create the atmosphere of the 
original motive. All this is a method of pattern- 
making which has been adopted by theatre deco- 
rators on the Continent, and which was fully 
applied by Herr Stern to The Miracle. Here the 
form, line, and colour of the scene, costumes, 
accessories, and the lights to be thrown upon them, 
were determined by the twelfth-century Gothic 
motive. The result was not altogether satisfactory. 
But this was rather the fault of the size of the 
structure than of the decorator. For one thing, 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 237 

the huge proportions of the interior dwarfed the 
figures and destroyed the slow dignity of move- 
ment. The gigantic scarlet doors symbolising 
the world were magnificent, but artistically they 
had no relation to the rest of the play. The 
scenes were lacking in unity. They were alj 
well done, but though pictures were obviously 
aimed at, in no single case would it have been 
possible to put a frame and found the essentials for 
making a picture. The play of colour was amaz- 
ing, but owing to the fragmentary character of 
the scenes it could only be seen as a brilliant 
shower of confetti. In The Miracle it was notice- 
able that Herr Stem obtained his colour effects 
chiefly from lighting. He works by a system 
according to which rays of light are thrown upon 
neutral or coloured surfaces. The effects are got 
by a single ray of white or coloured light, and by 
two or more coloured rays mixing. In the latter 
case the colours are mixed by the electricians, who 
work the prisms according to a very old colour 
theory. First a blue is thrown upon the white or 
neutral screen ; then a note of yellow mixes with 
the blue and produces green, or it may be blue 
and red producing violet. There are endless 
developments in this colour mixing. Exceedingly 
fine effects were by this means obtained from the 
misty vault of many coloured lights at Olympia, 
the most beautiful being that attained by the 
mixing of colours with the gorgeous robe of the 
" Madonna." Herr Stern follows Max Reinhardt's 
example in preferring solid to canvas scenery, and 
uses plastic materials whenever it is possible. 

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238 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

The Music 
The music by Humperdinck, though failing to 
represent throughout the subconscious element of 
the audience, told the story intelligently and greatly 
added to the emotional colour of the play. By its 
aid alone one was able, generally speaking, to follow 
the dramatic action. Thus the sustained note of 
the intonation brought in the great surging crowd 
swinging over the mountain. The Nun's dance 
contained the note of temporal awakening, while 
succeeding the dance came the shakes and twirls 
on the flute indicating the torture of the Nun's 
mind. Then came the subsequent note of 
indecision in the music, changing to the call of 
duty in the decisive notes of the trombone and 
oboe, and the succeeding love motive on the 
stringed instruments. The virile movement of 
the triumph of the world yields to a sort of 
incarnation as the Madonna takes the place of 
the departed Nun. Upon the disappearance of 
the Nun the drums assume the note of consterna- 
tion and alarm, and so the music-action progresses 
to the point where it ends with a sort of variation 
upon "Sun of my Soul." In this way it moved 
from act to act, occasionally missing its cue, as in 
the conflagration scene, where it refused to catch 
fire, and in the march past of the army, where 
it forgot to give out the donkey motive. The 
donkeys, by the way, were very intelligent actors. 
Generally speaking, the music succeeded in bi 
rather than as a whole. It appeared as thou^ 
the largeness of the cosmic theme was too big foi 





fHumperdinck's genius. Like Herr Stern, he was 
overwhelmed by the proportions of his under- 
taking. In consequence, weird and fascinating bits 
of composition bulged from the body of the inter- 

■ pretative music, and stuck like burrs. And one re- 
membered afterwards, the quaint Spielmann motive 
given out on a very high clarionet, a sharp twirl 
reminding one of the secret motive in the opening 
of the second act of Siegfried. The diabolical motive 
of death given out on the trombone and harp was 
also persistent. The wonderful rhythm of the 
Hungarian dance, and the quaint rhythm of the 
grotesque old German dance in the banqueting 
scene, the bedroom love music, the opening of the 
grim inquisition scene announced by a fanfare, and 
the martial roll of drums, such outstanding features 
of music that sought to run and dance with the 

■ drama, made a deep impression. Another notice- 
able thing was that the composer had introduced a 
number of old English carols and other foreign 
material. In the concluding scene, for instance, 
the notes of supplication, with touches of love, 

■ followed by anguish as the Nun's child dies, 
were succeeded by the Sicihan Mariner's hymn 
as the Virgin takes the dead child, and the music- 
scene is brought to a close with a well-known 
I carol as the crowd enters and bears off the Madonna 
in triumph. 
The following figures, taken from the Pali Mall 
Magazine, show the financial cost of the enter- 
prise : — 



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140 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

" Tlie Cost of the Production 
* The cost of the production and of the eight 
weeks' run that is contemplated will amount to 
seventy thousand pounds. Some of the principal 
sums of expenditure may be enumerated : 

Costumes j^ 12,500 

Scenery and properties ..... 8,000 

Movable mountain ...... 800 

Excavation for the Trap ..... t)^9<> 

Iron framework for cathedral doors . . . i>250 

Electric installation apparatus .... 3,000 

Electric wiring and fixing >»S00 

Use of the organ ...... 1, 000 

Artists' salaries per week, including : 

Principals ....... 800 

Chorus of 500 1,200 

1000 minor players. ..... )>725 

Orchestra of 200 950 

Boys and girls ...... iij 

Girl dancers ....... 175 

Approximately (for 8 weeks' run}, ^40,000." 

The following notes on the size of Olympia 
worth adding : — 

Dimensions of the Great Hall . . . 440 ft. x 150 
Height to crown of roof .... about 100 ft., 

The span of the roof 170 ft,' 

I— The main ribs of the roof . . . . 34 f*- spart- 

The roof Ig an example of large span roof. 
" A Venetian Night " 
A Venetian Night was by Karl VoUmoeller, with 
music by Dr Friedrich Hermann. It was a species 
of drama-comedy-pantomime having some of the 
characteristics of The Miracle. Like the latter 



I 



M HIS PRODUCTIONS 241 

spectacular wordless play, it was designed to 
lend itself to the newest and widest methods of 
Reinhardt production, being provided with a 
scenario plot to be filled in by the producer with 
all the resources at his command. Such design, how- 
ever, was defeated here in England by one or two 
circumstances. For one thing, the play was pre- 
sented on a stage not fully adapted to its require- 
ments ; for another, it fared badly in a conflict 
with the Lord Chamberlain, which necessitated 
alterations affecting its harmony of composition. 
The Lord Chamberlain found it at the last 
moment too dangerous to public morals to be 
permitted to be played as it stood, and removed 
his ban only after it had been altered. The in- 
cident gave rise to the usual newspaper controversy, 
during which Mr Granville Barker and Mr H. 

Hamilton Fyfe exchanged compliments in the 
^i/y Mail. But no boom resulted. The play 
> unsuccessful from the start ; and all attempts 

) make it appeal by hacking it about failed. At 

be end of three weeks it came off. 

The Slory 

The story consisted of two sets of events, — the 
; and the dream ones. The former occurred 
1 the first, second, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth 
penes ; and the latter took place in the third, 
jpurth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and 
Spnth scenes. The argument is that The Young 
Stranger wandering through Italy in i860 in 
arch of adventure arrives, in his gondola, at an 
0tel in Venice. His arrival coincides with that 



ni,;iiPt.dh,.Goos; 



242 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

of a wedding party. The Bride, who has been 
forced into a marriage by her father, has arranged 
to meet the man she loves for the last time. Shi 
leaves the party to give her lover a sign agreed 
upon. The Young Stranger sees the sign, and 
beUeving that it is intended for him follows The 
Bride into the hotel. At the wedding feast and 
dance that follow The Bride again signs to her 
lover and points to her room. The sign is seen 
and misinterpreted as before. The action next 
takes us to the bedroom of The Stranger, who falls 
asleep, and the succeeding incidents are the out- 
come of his dream. The scene changes to the 
bedroom of The Bride, in which the events take 
place that called for the intervention of the official 
censor. While the bridegroom is intoxicated 
downstairs the lover comes to the room and a 
passionate scene ensues which is interrupted by 
the appearance of the bridegroom. The latter, 
however, is persuaded by The Bride to leave, and 
the scene is resumed and ends by the lover being 
killed by a thief who enters unexpectedly. The, 
Young Stranger, who meanwhile has dreamt that 
he has been specially chosen to play the part of 
hero and lover to The Bride, now enters prepared 
to do as The Bride bids, and even undertakes 
to dispose of the dead body. The remaining 
scenes are taken up with The Young Stranger's, 
amusing attempts to get rid of the corpse and of 
the equally amusing objection of the corpse to be 
got rid of. This removal of the dead gives rise 
to a long and somewhat farcical chase, during which 
The Young Stranger is pursued from " garret to 



I 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 243 

cellar," so to speak, by various odds and ends of 
hotel humanity. Beggars, waiters, the landlord, 
soidiers, and public, all take up the chase. The 
morning comes, and The Young Stranger is dis- 
illusioned. He watches the wedding party depart 
accompanied by the lover who has been introduced 
to the bridegroom, and as he does so, he quietly 
drops — a rose. 

The Staging {Decorations and Lighting) 

This thin story provided the outline with which 
Max Reinhardt and his collaborators had to work. 
In the endeavour to give it proper proportions and 
effectiveness at the Palace Theatre, many things 
had to be done. One of them was the construc- 
tion of a revolving stage, without which the play 
would have been utterly impracticable owing to 
the rapid action demanding an equally rapid change 
of scene. Indeed, it seemed as though the play 
itself had been designed to test the quick-change 
capacity of the revolving stage and sets. The 
Reinhardt method of using the revolving stage is 
described in one of the Appendices. A similar 
method was adopted in the production of A 
Venetian Night. The stage was set with all the 
scenes before the rise of the curtain. It was 
divided into four almost equal parts, — hotel ex- 
terior and interior, the rooms of The Bride and 
'The Young Stranger. Thus the curtain rose on 
a section of the stage set with the canal scene — a 
typical Venetian scene of canal, gondolas, flight of 
bridges in middle distance, and hotel to the left. 
By one quarter turn of the stage the colour atmo- 

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244 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

sphere and movement of the canal scene was ex- 
changed for those of the hotel interior. Another 
turn and a bedroom appears, and so on. With 
regard to the colour arrangements not much can 
be said. Herr Stern did his best, but the bad 
lighting killed his efforts. It was evident that 
efforts had been made to put the stage lighting 
to its new use, but without success. For instance, 
the Reinhardt frontal and horizon lighting were 
missing, with the result that the back of the stage 
was mostly in darkness, and the scenes had the 
appearance of falling to pieces, All this destroyed 
the one great thing for which Reinhardt always 
aims, viz., intimacy. As we have seen, intimacy 
is the result of the collective mind of all con- 
cerned in a production projecting itself towards an 
audience sensitive to vibration and atmosphere. 
But this mind must be fully tuned up, complete 
in all details — reaching its highest force of will- 
power. That is, every member of the company 
and staff must be able to will in harmony, or the 
said collective mind will lose in projecting force. 
Thus there must be a harmony of, or equal vibrative 
force exerted through the coloured lights, coloured 
music, and coloured movement. If one expresses 
an emotion registering 40,000 vibrations, the others 
must do likewise. Otherwise, if the vibrative force 
of the lighting does not equal that of the music or 
of the movement, there will be a discord and the 
feeling of intimacy will not be attained. There is 
a physical connection between colour, sound, and 
movement. This is the basis of a new search for 
unity. By changing lights, and by colour mixes 



I 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 445 

in the lime boxes, not only is change of time 
indicated, but emotional unity of setting and 
emotional effects are realised. It is in this attempt 
lo get unity throughout, unity not only of setting 
but of vibrative force, that Reinhardt is advancing 
both beyond the Greeks and Shakespeare. The 
one had limited unity — in voice and movement — 
without variety ; the other variety without unity. 
Reinhardt makes for unity with variety, and 
harmony of vibrative force. 

" Turandot" 
Carlo Gozzi's Turandot was first produced in 
Berlin in October 191 i. A special number of 
the Blatter des Deutschen Theaters was devoted 
to the exposition of its characteristics and to an 
explanation of the Commedia dell' Arte. Among 
the contributors were Karl Vollmoeller, who revised 
the plot ; Ferruccio Busoni, the Italian composer- 
pianist, who took the comedy as the basis for an 
Oriental Suite, which was adapted to the Vollmoeller 
play by Johann Wijsman ; and Ernst Stern, who 
designed the scenery and costumes. Sir George 
Alexander was present at the first production, 
and secured the English rights of the play. Hence 
its appearance at the St James's Theatre, London, 
in an English dress provided by Mr Jethro Bithell 
for the occasion. As to the origin and character 
of the play : historically, it represents the final 
struggle to preserve the traditions of the extem- 
poraneous form of drama which began with the 
improvised comedy known as Commedia dell' Arte. 
Gozzi (1722— 1806) was a member of the Granel- 



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246 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

leschi Society which aimed to preserve the Tuscan' 
literature free from impure influences. Piclro 
Chiari {1700-1788) and Carlo Goldoni (1707- 
1795) were displacing the old Italian comedy by 
plays based on French models. Gozzi came to 
the rescue with a comedy which was represented 
by the Sacchi Company of players who had been 
thrown out of work by Carlo Goldoni. Subse- 
quently Gozzi produced a number of pieces based 
on fairy tales, but after the breaking up of the 
Sacchi Company they were disregarded. The 
decline of the Commedia dell' Arte is explained in 
the following notes derived from the Encyclopedia 
Britannica : — Italian comedy in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries had fallen into decay, when 
its reform was undertaken by the wonderful 
theatrical genius of Carlo Goldoni. One of the 
most fertile and rapid of playwrights {of his one 
hundred and fifty comedies, sixteen were written 
and acted in a single year), he at the same time 
pursued definite aims as a dramatist. Disgusted 
with the conventional buffoonery and ashamed of 
the rampant immorality of the Italian comic stage 
he drew his characters from real life, whether of 
his native city (Venice) or of society at large. . . . 
Goldoni met with a severe critic and a temporary 
successful rival in Count C. Gozzi, who sought 
to rescue the comic drama from its association 
with the actual life of the middle classes, and to 
infuse a new spirit into the figures of the old 
masked comedy by the invention of a new species. 
His themes were taken from Neapolitan and 
Oriental fairy tales, to which he accommodated 



Dplaeri-T^g 



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HIS PRODUCTIONS 



some of the standing figures upon which Goldcni 
had made war. With regard to the origin of the 
masked comedy (four conventional figures of which 
were introduced by Gozzi into Turandot)^ it may 
be noted that the improvised comedy {commedia 
a soggetto) was after a time, as a rule, performed 
by professional actors, members of a craft, and was 
thence called the Commedia dell' Arte, which is 
said to have been invented by Francesco (called 
Tcrenziano) Cherea, the favourite player of Leo X. 
Its scenes, still unwritten except in skeleton 
(scenario), were connected together by the ancient 
Roman Sannio (whence our Zany). Harlequin's 
summit of glory was probably reached early in 
. the seventeenth century, when he was ennobled 
I in the person of Cecchino by the Emperor 
Matthias ; of Cecchino's successors, Zaccagnino 
and Truffaldino, we read that " they shut the door 
in Italy to good harlequins." Distinct from this 
growth is the masked comedy, the action of which 
was chiefly carried on by certain typical figures in 
masks, speaking in broad dialects, but which was 
not improvised, and, indeed, from the nature of 
the case, hardly could have been. Its inventor 
, was A. Beolco of Padua, who called himself 
I Ruzzanti (joker), and is memorable under that 
tname as the first actor-playwright — a combination 
of extreme significance for the history of the 
modern stage. He published six comedies in 
various dialects, including the Greek of the day 
{1530). This was the masked comedy to which 
the Italians so tenaciously clung, and in which, as 
I all their own and imitable by no other nation, they 

k ni,:ii.,-iM,C00<;lc 



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248 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

took so great a pride that even Goldoni was unable 
to overthrow it. Improvisation and burlesque 
were inseparable from the species. The masked 
characters, each of which spoke the dialect of the 
place he represented, were (according to Baretti) 
Pantalone, a Venetian merchant ; Brighella, a 
Ferrarese pimp ; Arlecchino, a blundering servant 
of Bergama. The four masked comedians in 
Turandot were Brighella (face painted with a red 
mask), Tartaglia (face painted with a white mask), 
TrufFaldino (face painted with a yellow mask), 
Pantalone (face painted white and red). 

The Story 

Gozzi then took these four stock characters 
from the Venetian masked comedy and added 
them to those of the five-act fantastic fairy play 
Turandotte Principesse Cinese, the plot of which he 
based upon the Persian story of the cruel Princess 
Turandot and the handsome Prince Calaf, as 
related in T/ie Thousand and One Nights. This 
play was used by Schiller, who translated it for 
his theatre at Weimar ; and, in spite of his heavy 
handling, it survived in Germany for close upon 
a century. And what is the story ? It is simply 
that of the taming of a primitive feminist. There 
was once a beautiful Princess of China named 
Turandot who had set her mind on not getting 
wed. Now Turandot was wooed by many of the 
marriageable princes of her day. But so resolved 
was she not to share her life with a man, that she 
surrounded herself by what she imagined to be an 
impassable barrier. She said to the Emperor her 




I 






father, '* You must issue an edict setting forth that 
if any prince desires me in marriage he must 
answer three riddles to be set by me ; and should 
he fail to answer the riddles then he must die." 
This the old Emperor, for the sake of peace, 
consented to do. 

It will be seen that the edict offers a great scope 
for executions ; and it is not surprising, therefore, 
that the curtain rises upon a scene that suggests 
a riot in head-lopping. It is called the Gate of 
Pekin. Above this Chinese Temple Bar is a row 
of heads with shaven pates, that once belonged to 
infatuated men who, having failed to answer the 
royal riddles, have risen to this height in succession. 
In order that we may see how the mind of one of 
these unsuccessful suitors works when confronted 
with execution, we are first of all introduced to 
a prince who is being led away to his doom by 
four Chinese. At this moment there comes the 
Prince of Astrakan, who, as Calaf, is travelling in 
:arch of love and adventure. Almost the first 
;rson the prince meets is his old tutor, Barak, 
whom he has not seen for years. Barak is, of 
course, overjoyed to see his pupil, and agrees upon 
hearing the latter's story to keep his identity 
secret. Then, in answer to Calaf's inquiry, Barak 
explains the cause of the commotion as well as 
the meaning of the heads that adorn the gate. 
But though Calaf is aghast at the cruelty of this 
princess who, like her prototype in ^/ice in 
Wonderland, is always exclaiming, " OiF with his 
head ! " and has no mercy on men who cannot 
answer her riddles, no sooner docs he see her portrait 

■ ni,;HPrJM,GOOSle 



250 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

than he falls madly in love with her and swears to 
win her or die. It makes no difference that one 
after the other the principal characters seek, to 
turn him from his purpose. To one and all he 
turns a deaf ear; to Barak, to the three comic 
officials, Pantalone, Tartaglia, and Brighella, even 
to the Emperor himself. It matters not to him 
that the Emperor is growing tired of royal 
executions and the international complications that 
continually arise therefrom. Turandot is his game, 
and Turandot he means to have — even though she 
were the Sphinx. So, with a light heart, he enters 
upon the guessing competition planned on such 
novel, if dangerous lines. He sees no cause for 
fear. Why should he ? If some men are not good i 
at riddles, there are others who are adept 
guessing them. And might he not be one of the| 
latter i" At least he has a sporting chance. Well, i 
the great moment comes, and in the Emperor'sl 
divan the princess asks her riddles and, strangely I 
enough, Calaf answers them correctly at once. | 
Apparently he has a large stock-in-trade of the! 
requisite goods on hand, for he names the abstract! 
qualities of which the answers consist withouti 
turning a hair. You would think that the! 
princess would be overwhelmed with this display 
of mental proficiency. But no, it would seem that 
she regards it as an unwarrantable insult that any 
man should dare to answer her riddles, and bursting 
with rage she demands to be allowed to put three 
more questions. If this is not playing the game, 
it is hot her fault ; she maintains that she was 
taken unawares and was not ready for deep think- 



^ 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 251 



Bit, given another opportunity, she will ask 
..ddles that shall not fail to make Calaf lose 

his head. Her imperial father does not agree. 
He has had enough of her riddle-making business, 

»and desires to see her better employed — wedded to 
the prince who has fairly won her. The prince, 
however, touched by her angry annoyance, proposes 
to give her another chance ; and he does so by 
asking her a question which she has to answer 
correctly the next day. If she fails to answer it 
then she must marry him ; if she answers it then 
he will die. Turandot consents, and Calaf sets her 

»to guess his name and that of his father. 
It will be seen in a moment that it is a question 
giving rise to endless intrigue, and with the open- 
ing of the second act Turandot is in this dilemma : 
either she must discover the two names and thus 
uphold her wild feminist head, or she, the un- 
conquered, must consent to further defeat and 

t humiliation at the hand of one of the hated sex. 
How to get the names, that is the question f Does 
anyone know Calaf f Yes, Barak's wife does. 
Then let Barak's wife be sent for, and sent for she 
is. Barak's wife, however, does not know ; but 

»she knows that her husband knows. So Barak is 
sent for, and from him Turandot subtly endeavours 
to draw the secret. But Barak is dumb, and 
torture has no terror for Calaf's faithful tutor. 
Then, just as Turandot is about to put him to 
torture, her fatuous old father arrives. It seems 
that the latter has learnt the fateful names, and not 
wishing to see his daughter further humiliated, and 

■wishing to be of service to Calaf at the same time, 
I ni,:ii,.,-iM,C00<;lc 



1S2 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

offers to reveal the names if she will stop her 
nonsense and give way to Calaf. But Turandot 
refuses. Meanwhile Calaf, who has been locked 
up in the palace by the orders of the Emperor, is 
having the time of his life. One after the other 
the principal characters come to him seeking to 
pierce his identity. First there are three of the 
comedians. Then Zelima, Turandot 's gentle slave, 
tries her hand and fails. Finally Adelma, her 
favourite slave, comes in and tries to frighten 
Calaf into running away with her. She tells him 
that she is a princess in her own right, and if they 
fly together they will live, on the whole, in a 
happier state. Calaf believes her, but does not 
quite see how it bears upon the question, because 
whatever happiness there may be in other countries, 
it is not so much as it will be in this ; for he 
loves the princess. Unfortunately, however, 
his desire to put the matter as clearly as possible 
before Adelma he inadvertently reveals his identity. 
Of course, after this, Turandot is ready in thi 
third act with her answer. Calaf is so disturbed to 
hear it that he attempts to stab himself ; but Turan- 
dot, who has been touched by his magnificence, 
arrests his hand. Exclaiming, " You shall live for 
me," she withdraws her ban on men. On hearing 
these words the jealous Adelma tries to fall on 
Calaf's dagger. Calaf prevents her doing so, and 
Turandot, now magnanimous where she was once 
heartlessly cruel, petitions her father to restore 
Adelma to freedom. The old Emperor, who is 
now thinking of wedding gifts, does so, adding by 
way of " conscience money " the kingdom which 



^^^^ HIS PRODUCTIONS 253 

^Hlie has taken from Adelma's noble father, whose 
royal head doubtless adorns one of the Gates of 
Pekin. 

■ Decorations and Lighting 

Needless to say, a story such as this, somewhat 
poor and commonplace though it be, offers infinite 
possibilities to the imaginative decorator with a 
feeling for strong Oriental colour. It found in 
Herr Stern the imagination it required. Ernst 
Stern belongs to the new era of stage reform on 
the Continent, which has brought forward an 
entirely different class of scenic-artist who has 
sought to apply the principles of art — not mechanics 
and hydraulics— to the scene. Artists of this class 
are not required to turn out painted flats with 
impossible shadows, and back-cloths with stupid 
perspectives, but to design and give unity, due 
proportion, and harmony to the scene and all that 
it contains. To this class Herr Stern belongs ; 
and his work represents all the difference between 
the English scene-painter like Harker or Telbin 
who contracts to build a scene to order, fill in the 
stage space with a miscellaneous collection of 
painted flats, cloths, borders, etc., and the German 
scenic-artist who co-operates with the director in 
producing decorations that express the spirit of the 
play. Herr Stern is indeed one of the strongest, 
"best equipped, and most brilliant of the said class 
■of scenic-artists, and he marks the advance of 
Germany not only in scenery designing but in the 
designing of everything in a production. In 
^Germany he takes his place as art-director ; in 

h. i."iM,CoogIc 



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254 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

England he would be regarded as a tradesman. 
For it cannot be emphasised too often, that here, 
in this country, the theatre is still in the hands of 
the scene manufacturer whose business it is to turn 
out serviceable stuff to order, much as a house 
furnisher supplies manufactured goods for a desir- 
able residence. Such scenic stuff may be exported 
or reserved for home use, being readily adaptable to 
any play. As a matter of fact, the English scenic- 
painter is a practical mechanic. He has a 
thorough knowledge of the requirements of the 
stage and a factory wherein he is, at all times, 
prepared to meet such requirements. When he is 
asked to provide an interior with so many doors 
and windows, and an exterior with so many garden 
rows and lengths of hanging creeper and a ros- 
trum on which the leading gentleman may make 
his last dying speech and confession, he forthwith 
supplies them. Still, bad as things are in the 
theatre in this country, more than one thoughtful 
person has remarked a change for the better ; and 
what with the fine pioneering work of Gordon 
Craig and the visits of Ernst Stern, there has arisen 
a greater disposition to make the representation of 
plays less dull and tedious. Herr Stern's methods 
of work have already been examined in the account 
of The Miracie, and therefore there is no need to go 
into them here. Turandot afforded him the widest 
scope for the display of his immense abilities ; and 
one gathered from such slender evidence as the pro- 
duction of the play at the St James's Theatre offered, 
that he had made a far more important thing of it 
even than The Miracle. The evidence was slender, 




owing to the restrictions put upon the production 

■ by the St James's Theatre, to which I shall refer 
presently. Whatever pleasing results were attained 
at this theatre, I think far better ones were attained 
at the Deutsches Theater, where everything was 
prepared to receive the play and to give it the 
widest expression. 

• In the official organ of the Deutsches Theater for 
igii, Herr Stern states his conception of the 
decorative treatment of Turaiidot. He reminds 
us that Turandot is a child of the Rococo spirit ; 
that this spirit belongs to every period of culture. 
Thus, it makes out of every culture a delightful 
play pleasing " to the elegant world from Paris to 
Venice." Out of the Greek culture a pastoral ; 
out of the Oriental culture a story from The Thousand 
and One Nights ; out of the Chinese culture a 
porcelain fantasy. It is never serious, never real, 
pedantic, historical, or ethnographical ; but always 

» occupied with illusion and joy. Hence it offers 
unbounded freedom to the artist, and does not 
fetter him to any one age. A present-day per- 
formance of Gozzi's Turandot, if seen with the 
Rococo eye, cannot reconstruct China of to-day, 
but that of the eighteenth century. So we con- 

Ijure out of the Emperor's throne-room a Chinese 
fantastic city with its illuminated houses of papier 
mSche ; Turandot dwelling in her highly-lacquered 
room ; Prince Calaf dreaming his love dreams 
guarded by two giant vases. But to all this the 
present-day decorator may add something of his 
own. Hence Turandot is not a Chinoiserie of 1760, 
but a Chinoiserie of 191 1. 



^byCoogle 



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156 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Needless to say, such a conception did not call 
forth archiological correctness, but an amazing 
display of improvised colour and line. Herr Stern, 
indeed, let himself go in a world that suited him 
best ; with the result that he obtained a kaleido- 
scopic splendour of effects many of which could not 
fail to dwell in the memory of the spectator. Who 
does not remember the quaint, gorgeous, and splendid 
Chinese costumes moving riotously in rich masses 
or separately against harmonious backgrounds ; the 
dazzling processions of soldiers, slaves, lamp-bearers, 
composing themselves against the curtains of the 
butterflies and the dragon ; the coloured pomp and 
circumstance ; the sumptuous ceremony ; the em- 
broidered absurdity ; the purple tones of Calaf's 
bedroom ; the street scene at night with the pagoda 
houses and their lighted windows ; the rich, final 
divan scene. 

But if the decorator let himself go it was in the 
face of difficulties over which he had no control. 
The chief difficulty was perhaps the lighting. It 
cannot be repeated too often that the appeal to the 
eye is the essential feature of the Reinhardt dramatic 
production. In this connection the German pro- 
ducer takes every advantage of the enormous 
advance in the methods of stage lighting, especially 
utilising the increased power of illumination by 
electricity. Of course, the innovation has the 
fault of its magnitude. The fault of the Reinhardt 
system of lighting from the front is that a great 
deal of the apparatus is visible to the audience, and 
will remain so till Reinhardt employs a system of 
lighting by means of which the apparatus is entirely 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 257 

hidden from the audience. It is said that such a 
system has been devised, and will be seen in use in 
London shortly. In spite of this fault, Reinhardt 
gets immense effects from his lighting, and plans 
all his productions to utilise his system in full. As 
a consequence, he cannot present a play produced 
under the conditions of lighting at the Deutsches 
Theater at another theatre not so well equipped 
without risking a loss of decorative effect. The 
loss is significant, for it means that a part of the 
original design has been seriously affected, and the 
essential cumulative effect on the audience cannot 
be attained. This was the case at the St James's 
Theatre, where the old method of lighting is still 
in use, and where the stage is lit from the top with 
battens, from the bottom with footlights and rows, 
from the sides with perches and wing ladders, and 
from the flies, and where the front of the house 
lighting is not in use. The effect of this lighting 
was particularly noticeable in the curtain scenes. 
The proscenium lights, for instance, fell in patches 
on the curtains and interfered with their colours 
and designs. Then the lighting at the back was 
sometimes so strong as to make the curtains trans- 

I parent ; then it was unequal, and thus tended to 
kill the figures moving against a strongly-lighted 
patch. For instance, in the Princess's room, when 
she and some dancing girls are moving about, the 
orange-red background is so strong and out of tune 
that the figures lose all interest. The lighting of 
the first scene, "The Gates of Pekin," with its 
harmony of white gates, blue sky, and red lights, 
was also far too strong for the colours worn by the 



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258 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

characters. Better results were attained in the 
first harem scene, with its delightful harmonies of 
purple, blue, and red hanging lamps, and in Calaf's 
room which, with its purple background, green 
and purple bed, purple and gold prince and orange 
lamps, made a simple and very telling composition, 
the effect of which was heightened by the entrance 
of the slaves, especially the one dressed in green 
and carrying a yellow lamp. The three magnificent 
decorated curtains suffered most from defective 
lighting, and one could only imagine the full beauty 
of their colour and design — one with two coloured 
butterflies on a big simple blue ground, and another 
with dragons moving against a tremendous mass of 
orange. 

The Music 
Busoni's music was cleverly adapted to tell the 
story. The prelude introduced us to the scene, 
and the principal characters were given their 
themes. The entrances were announced, the 
Emperor's by a fanfare, Turandot's being given 
out by the 'cellos and basses, and so on ; the 
music thus moving and acting throughout the 
play. Much of the music is indeed worthy of 
quotation as an example of its successful application 
to the needs of the drama. 

"The Taming of the Shrew" 

This account of the production of The Taming 
of the Shrew belongs, in most respects, to the 
Appendix on " Recent Developments in England." 
If I have decided to place it here, it is because, 



I 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 259 

it revealed a more direct application of Max 
Reinhardt's ideas than was to be found in Mr 
Granville Barker's two Shakespearean productions. 
For instance, it was Reinhardt's idea to preserve 
the "play within a play" illusion throughout, not 
only by seating the intoxicated Sly where the 
orchestra well usually is, and from where, partly 
seen, he can witness the play which he believes is 
being presented for his special benefit ; but by 
making all the changes of scene by the use of 
properties, which appear to be actual properties, 
either brought on by the players in their waggon 
or extemporised out of the furniture and effects 
of the Lord's house. It will be gathered from 
this that a great deal is left to the imagination of 
the audience, as in the Chinese play, The Teilow 
Jacket. 

I was, unfortunately, not able to attend a per- 
formance of the play, and I am therefore indebted 
to Mr Martin Harvey for his extreme courtesy 
in placing me in possession of the following facts 
on the general production. Perhaps the chief 
point of interest was Mr Harvey's collaboration 
with Mr William Poel, thus establishing a link 
with Reinhardt, and completing the circle of 
modern Shakespearean rediscoverers — from Poel, 
Savits, Reinhardt, to Harvey and Barker. Mr 
Poel's ideas were to be traced in the representation 
of the play in the Elizabethan manner : the uncut 
text, the continuous performance, the Elizabethan 
setting with its open stage and the absence of the 
usual proscenium arch, the absence of modern 
scenery, and an air of scholarship which distin- 



iM,Coo; 



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26o THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

guishes the Poelean from the Reinhardtian Shake- 
spearean production. The ideas were there, though 
not always fully expressed. Thus the setting 
of The Taming of the Shrew used by Mr Harvey 
at the Prince of Wales' Theatre was invented 
by himself as a result of his personal experi- 
ence of the open stage and decorative or scenic 
economy, which were the basis of Reinhardt's 
mounting of Oedipus, and of certain conversations 
and consultations with Mr Poel. The idea of 
placing Sly on the covered-up orchestra well was, 
as we have seen, suggested by Max Reinhardt. 
But from Mr Poel came much valuable advice, 
particularly as to how the mind of a modern 
audience, with its strong bent towards overwhelm- 
ing realistic detail, would meet the challenge to 
its taste and imagination offered by the use of bare 
essentials and indications of scenery such as it was 
proposed to use in this revival. 

The Setting 

The setting invented by Mr Harvey was as 
follows : — The footlights were removed and the 
stage extended a foot or two into an " apron." 
From each end a flight of steps led down to a 
lower platform which covered in the orchestra 
well. In the centre of the platform stood a carved 
stone seat with its back to the audience, command- 
ing a view of the stage, and being about four feet 
in width. To this seat, after the " Induction," the 
bemused Sly and his pseudo-wife were conducted 
by the Lord's Majordomo, and here they sat 
throughout the play, excepting the few minutes 




HIS PRODUCTIONS 



occupied by the one interval in the action, during 
which they retired behind the curtain. The stage, 
the front structure, the steps, and the seat on the 
platform were painted a subdued grey, against which 
the colours of the costumes and furniture moved 
brilliantly. The grey was repeated in a cloth 
which, reaching to the roof and extending to the 
edges of the boxes on either side, masked in the 
ordinary proscenium arch. The opening thus 
obtained was marked and framed with a bold arch 
of monster green laurels forming a semicircular 
arch. In the centre and at the sides were bows 
of broad gilt ribbon, harmonising with the re- 
naissance style of decoration. The front arch was 
repeated by three false arches seen in perspective, 
and set behind each other up the stage. The sides 
of the arches served as " wings," while their curved 
tops served as " borders " to limit the sight line 
of the spectator. The three arches were of black 
wood with a gold pattern. Thus the entire stage 
was converted into a large Pavilion or Hall with 
an outlook at the back on to a broad landscape and 
a wide road disappearing in the distance. Across 
the back of the stage ran a terrace with a black 
stone balustrade both on its outer and its inner 
edge. In the centre of the terrace a flight of three 
steps led down on to the stage, and a corresponding 
opening at the back suggested a similar flight on 
to the open landscape. The opening at the back 
was marked by two conventional bay trees clipped 
circular and festooned with gold. A bold triple 
festoon of twined laurels and gold hung at the 
furthest archway across the skyline. 



byCoogle , 



262 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Changes of Scene 

First. Induction. The act drop, formed by 
the two heraldic curtains, was parted disclosing 
two tapestried curtains depicting an Italianate 
landscape. This curtain scene served for the 
scene in which Sly is discovered outside the 
Alehouse. 

Second. — The Lord's Chamber. Also played In 
curtains set a few paces further up the stage, and 
discovered by drawing apart the tapestries. These 
were of white Roman satin, and each was decorated 
in the centre with a large medallion painting illus- 
trating the Lord's *' wanton pictures." 

Third. — The curtains were drawn aside and the 
stage fully disclosed, thus preparing for the entrance 
of the players who entered in a waggon which was 
drawn in on the upper terrace. The waggon was 
painted scarlet and yellow, in harmony with the 
motley of the players. 

Fourth and succeeding. — Then the business 
between Katharina and Petruchio began, the 
various scenes being played in curtains and screens 
employed to mark succeeding interiors and exteriors. 
The screens were large pieces of canvas about eight 
feet high and broad, painted grey, and stencilled 
with a graceful gold festoon pattern near the top. 
Each was run into position by a servant dressed in 
the period, who stood hidden behind his particular 
section. The pieces, it may be said, were joined 
to a continuous flat surface or an irregular frontage 
just as desired. Stage properties, such as chairs, 
tables, and so on, were placed in position by the 



HIS PRODUCTIONS 



263 
audience, while 



^H said servants, in full view of thi 

^B the curtains were being changed. 

^B In the second half of the play a large canopied 

^H seat with a table in front occupied the centre of 
the stage whenever a scene was supposed to be 
taking place in Petruchio's house. These properties 
were so arranged that they could be hoisted into 
the flies while a screen scene was being played. 
Finally, the banquet was arranged at a long table 
similar to that used in Leonardo's " Last Supper." 
The lighting of this scene came from three large 
candelabra carried on by the servants, Biondello, 
Grumio, and Tranio, who walked at the head of 
the procession of guests. The back-cloth was lit 

■ with a deep blue Italian night colour. 
At the conclusion of the play all the players danced 
across the stage hand in hand to the air of a jig 
played by musicians who, during the supper scene, sat 
on the terrace with their instruments of the period. 
It should be mentioned that during the one 

■ interval of the play, the drop curtains were raised, 
disclosing a bower of golden trelliswork entwined 
with golden bay leaves against a curtain forming a 
deep blue background. Seated in this bower a 
trio of musicians played a selection of old English 



^byGooole^H 



FORTHCOMING 
REINHARDT PRODUCTIONS 



" The Yellow Jacket " 

Among the plays which Reinhardt has marked out 
for production are The Tellow Jacket^ and, in co- 
operation with Mr Martin Harvey, Mamlety on the I 
lines of the Berlin production, and the second play 
of the Oedipus trilogy, Oedipus at Colonus, which 
Professor Gilbert Murray will translate, and which 
will be given by Mr Harvey as a second part^ in ■ 
continuation of Oedipus Rex. I 

As Max Reinhardt proposes to adapt the London- 
American version of The Tellow Jacket, it may not 
be out of place to state the main features of this 
version. The Tellow Jacket, then, was produced at 
the Duke of York's Theatre under the management 
of Mr Gaston Mayer. It came to London from 
America, where its novelty had attracted consider- 
able attention. Though it did not contain all the 
elements of a pure specimen of the Chinese drama, 
— its authors, George C. Hazelton and Benrimo, 
being careful to say so, — nevertheless it revealed 
sufficient to show the enormous imaginative value of 
this species of drama, alike from a point of view of j 



I 

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FORTHCOMING PRODUCTIONS 265 

representation and interpretation. In some ways it 
carried the mind of the spectator back to the origin 
of the Chinese drama, concerning which I cannot 
do better than quote from the account by Dr Lionel 
Giles, sent to me by Mr Mayer, for the purpose. 

" It seems probable," says Dr Giles, " that the 
drama in China, like that of Greece, had its 
origin in the sacrificial ceremonies of religion. 
We know that in the time of Confucius, 500 b.c, 
it was customary for solemn dances to be performed 
in the ancestral temples, at which feathered wands, 
battle-axes, and other objects were brandished in 
unison by the dancers. We also hear of pantomimic 
displays and representations of ancient historical 
events, divided into a number of scenes. Certain 
ceremonies for the expulsion of evil spirits, in 
which a house-to-house visitation was made by 
villagers dressed in fantastic garb, may also have 
some connection with the beginnings of dramatic 
art. Others are inclined to derive the drama from 
the puppet shows, which, from time immemorial, 
have been a feature of the life of the people, and 
they point to the fact that in many parts of China 
a theatrical performance is still preceded by a dis- 
play of marionettes. However that may be, it is 
certain that for the immense period of twelve 
hundred years after the time of Confucius no great 
development of the drama can have taken place, if 
indeed it can be said to have existed at all. No 
record of anything in the nature of a modern stage- 
play can be traced until the reign of the Emperor 
Ming Huang of the T'ang dynasty, in the first 
half of the eighth century a.d. Being exccption- 

I I. ■■, ii>,CoogIc 



266 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

ally fond of song and dance, this emperor Is said' 
to have founded a sort of academy known as thi 
' Pear-tree Garden,' where a company of three' 
hundred persons was personally trained by him for 
the production of what, for want of a better name, 
may be described as operas. Music must have 
constituted the basis of these performances, but it 
seems that the slender thread of a story was also 
introduced between the choral songs ; and to this 
day actors in China are often called 'Apprentices 
of the Pear-tree Garden.'" According to Mr A, 
Corbett-Smith, this " Guild of the Young Folks of 
the Pear Garden," as he terms it, has a relation to 
the founding of the historical drama in China — a 
form of drama which finds greatest favour with the 
Chinese public. Writing in The Era, he mentions 
that the Emperor Huan Tsung (a.d. 753), being 
desirous of showing his affection for his wife, 
asked his Prime Minister to devise a novel form of 
entertainment. This the latter did by searching 
the historical records and instructing " some of the 
noblest and most graceful of the youths about the 
Court " how to recite the narratives thus un- 
earthed. The entertainment was given in " a 
gorgeous pavilion amidst blossoming fruit-trees," 
and '* the institution of a Guild or College of 
Dramatic Art" was the result. With regard to 
the modern stage-play, Dr Giles tells us that 
"modern Chinese plays still follow, in external 
construction, at any rate, the model of the dramas' 
produced under the Mongols. They are usually 
divided into four acts, with or without a prologue, 
and are accompanied throughout by an orchestra 



□„..^_,,Gj 



I 

3 

a 

e 

A 

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I FORTHCOMING PRODUCTIONS 267 

Consisting of gongs, drums, and cymbals, besides 
string and wind instruments. The words are 
delivered in a high-pitched recitative, varied by 
bouts of chanting in passage, where special stress 
is required for the heightening of emotion or the 
utterance of moral reflections. There is, as a rule, 
one particular character who breaks at intervals 
into songs, and fulfils in some degree the function 
of a chorus. Few Chinese plays last much over 
an hour. It is the rule for a number of plays to be 
performed continuously. This accounts for the 
widespread notion that Chinese plays are ridicu- 
lously long." As to the actors and women on the 
stage : " A full Chinese theatrical company is made 
up of fifty-six persons. The various roles are 
classified and kept distinct, each actor being expected 
to play only one particular class of character. The 
principal classes are : (1) Sheng, including the 
parts both of hero and walking gentleman ; (2) 
Ching, the bold and unscrupulous villain ; (3) Tan, 
the female parts, respectable and otherwise ; (4) 
Ch'ou, the low comedy man. Contrary to the 
usual belief, women took part in theatricals 
throughout the Mongol and Ming dynasties, and 
a stop was only put to the practice as late as 
the eighteenth century under the reign of the 
Emperor Ch'ien Lung, whose mother had herself 
been an actress. Of recent years the ban has been 
removed, and an increasing number of women are 
again performing on the public stage. Chinese 
actors are notoriously among the finest in the 
world, those who take female parts showing 
particular skill and likewise commanding the 

i. ■. ih,Coo<;lc 



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16* THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT | 

hi^Kst salaries. Gorgeoos dresses are worn, and 
the ittake>^p, if not always realistic, is strikinglyl 
effective. The actor's life is often wretched inH 
the ciireme. Boaght or hired from poverty-T 
stricken parents at an carty age, he is subjected ' 
to a very rigorous course of both histrionic and 
acrobatic training. In addition, he has to memor- 
ise between a hundred and two hundred parts, soJ 
as to be able to appear in them at a moment's 
notice, without rehearsal or prompter. In spite o^ 
his comparatively high intellectual standard, he is,J 
nevertheless, regarded as a social outcast, and all] 
his descendants, to the third generation, are! 
debarred from competing in the public examina-l 
lions.'* As to the theatres : " Permanent theatres * 
in the proper sense of the word are to be found 
only in Peking and Canton and some of the larger 
treaty ports. Even in these, the accommodation 
is very simple. There is a pit furnished with 
benches and a table In front of each, and a balcony 
divided into a number of separate boxes. Thci 
stage, which is built out into the auditorium so asJ 
to be commanded on three sides, must on no 1 
account face west, this being the inauspicious 
quarter controlled by the White Tiger. There is J 
no scenery, no curtain, and but few accessories. J 
Two doors at the back serve, one for entrance, the J 
other for exit. The theatre, except where customs I 
have been modified by foreign influence, is free to I 
all, but it is understood that every visitor will pay 1 
for some refreshment." As to stage conventions : 
" Owing to the complete absence of scenic 
accessories, it is obvious that a great deal has 



I 



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FORTHCOMING PRODUCTIONS 269 

be left to the imagination of a Chinese audience. 
As each character enters, he tells you himself, 
quite in the manner of Bottom, who he is and 
what part he has to play in the coming drama. 
The members of the orchestra sit on the stage 
itself, and footmen wait at the sides ready to 
carry in screens, chairs, tables and the like, where- 
with to represent city-walls and houses, forests 
and even mountains. An actor will gravely 
bestraddle a stick and prance about the stage as 
though on horseback, without the least fear of 
evoking a smile. Or, if dead, he will contrive to 
alter his face and then get up and carry himself 
off, making movements as though acting the part 
of a bearer. Again, it is quite a usual thing for a 
player who is getting hoarse to have a cup of tea 
handed to him by an attendant. A change of 
scene is indicated by pantomimic action, or by all 
the dramatis personje walking rapidly in single file 
round the stage." 

With the foregoing facts before us, it is possible 
to determine how far TAe Yelloiv Jacket expressed 
the real Chinese drama, staging and acting, which 
doubtless have an important message for us if only 
we could get at the meaning of it. 

The Story 

Of the two classes, military and civil, into which 
Chinese plays are divided, The Telhw Jacket belongs 
to the latter. Judging by its story, the play answers 
the description of a fairy tale in which cruelty and 
craft are met by fidelity and self-sacrifice, with 
poetic justice in the end. This is also a descrip- 

n, 1^,-1 M,Coo<;lc 



270 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

tion which may be applied to the English Morality 
play. The story is concerned with the adventures 
of a certain member of the lordly Wu family. 
When the curtain rises Wu Hoo Git — for such is 
the name of the hero — is supposed by his wicked 
father to have been slain, together with his mother, 
in infancy. But it seems that the mother wrote 
her child's history with her own blood upon his 
clothes, and a peasant and his wife saved him and 
brought him up in ignorance of his parentage. 
Thus he reaches manhood. Meanwhile his brother 
has supplanted him on the throne, and knowing 
Wu Hoo Git's identity, employs every means to 
bring about his ruin and death, being assisted in 
his endeavour by an evil misshapen creature Yin 
Suey Gong by name. The latter does his best to 
get rid of the hero. For one thing, he induces 
him to purchase a love damsel for a large sum, 
without, however, attaining any better result than 
that of opening the eyes of the hero to the fact 
that love of the sort is too expensive a luxury. 
Along with a desire for knowledge the hero developts 
a Chinese craving for ancestors. Something tells 
him that he does not belong to the humble rank 
of his foster-parents. Accordingly, he sets out like 
Japhet in search of a father, meeting with all sorts 
of strange adventures on the way which the crafty 
Yin Suey Gong is careful to honeycomb with pit- 
falls. When, however, a pitfall appears, there ts 
the shade of his grandfather to protect the hero. 
One of the adventures is the meeting with " Plum 
Blossom," Moy Fah Loy, with whom he falls in 
love. But there is an obstacle to their union. TJ 




FORTHCOMING PRODUCTIONS 271 

hero has " no name." Then comes the disclosure 
by his foster-father of his identity. But this 
knowledge does not complete his happiness. There 
is still the throne occupied by the usurper to be 
3n ; and till that is accomplished and he has 
placed the coveted distinction, the symbol of 
Honour, the gorgeous Yellow Jacket, on his own 
shoulders, there can be no peace for him, and his 
wanderings may not cease. 



L 



Such is the kind of story which lends itself to 
the peculiar Chinese methods of representation and 
interpretation. Representation, as we have seen, 
is quite a primitive affair. Dr Giles tells us there 
is no attempt to stage plays as in the Western 
method. The stage is Uttle more than a platform 
projecting into the auditorium and designed merely 
to accommodate the orchestra and players, and the 
scenery a mere device to hide the walls. We 
cannot call this revolutionary, though there are 
some extremists who would identify it with the 
movement towards simplified staging. In the 
strict sense it is not revolutionary, seeing that 
the present search is for staging that grows out of 
the dominant mood of a play, and is not merely 
an adjunct to speech and action. At the Duke 
of York's Theatre the staging was no more than a 
makeshift. Thus the stage was squared up to the 
size of a fairly large scene, the scenery consisting of 
flats and a little built-up gallery in the centre of 
the back of the stage. There was an entrance to 
the left at the back of the stage, and an exit to the 

I. ■■. ih,Coo<;lc 



I 



272 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

right at the back. Between these was an opening 
nine feet high, forming an alcove containing four 
Chinese musicians and their instruments. At the 
back of the alcove, hidden from the audience by 
lattice work, was a second and stringed orchestra. 
Above the alcove was a gallery, to which the 
characters ascended as to Heaven after having died 
on the stage. In front of the alcove was a small 
black desk at which the Chorus sat. Lying at the 
left side of the stage was a ladder which was used 
whenever a character was required to ascend to the 
little gallery or Heaven. Down left of the stage 
was the property man's box. The decorations 
consisted simply of long red scrolls, some Chinese 
landscapes hung on the yellowish walls, a large 
yellow lamp hung in centre, and black and gold 
tapestries hung over the entrance and exit. The 
scene was lighted in the English manner, by front 
battens, footlights, and side limes, the colours used 
being warm yellow and amber. 

TJ^ Corrventions 

According to one of the authors, Mr Benrimo, 
the Chinese conventions were not rigidly adhered 
to. For instance, he speaks of the Chorus as an 
" innovation." At the Duke of York's the Chorus 
sat at his desk in the centre of the stage and 
announced each scene in turn, after each announce- 
ment resuming his seat and his cigarette till the 
scene ended. In the true Chinese manner the 
change of scene would be indicated in such notices 
as "This is a Forest," or "This is a Sea-shore." 
But at the Duke of York's the Chorus announced 



I 

I 



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W FORTHCOMING PRODUCTIONS 273 

the scene, such as " A Courtyard in the House of 
Wu Sin Yin," or " A Room in the House," or 
" A Road leading to the Palace " ; and the only 
difference in the scene was a change of furniture, 
Stools, etc., which were carried on and off by 
assistant property men. But if the Chorus was 
" invented," the Property Man was the real thing. 
He externalised, indeed, the great principle applied 
by the Chinese to their plays, that of the Invisible 
expressed by the Visible, He sat at the left side 
of the stage ready to hj Bl out the primitive props 
as they were requirei-h' When the dead wished 
to ascend to Heaven the Property Man placed the 
ladder for him. When the hero needed a snow- 
storm, the Property ?*jan provided one. No 
matter what was required, — a mountain, a cataract, 
a cushion representing a severed head, " a flower- 
boat floating down th ■ river of love " (symbolised 
by a seat, a ( Reinnund some bamboo sticks), 
swords, willow's produc^n a cup of coffee, — there 
was the Propertss in thi'o supply it in his quaint, 
scornful, and in>pch oth ^le fashion. 

Its Cantrw^ v, , ro Current Reform 
In spite of its obviStan fakes, The Tell<nv Jacket 
makes a distinct contributioh, to the movement in 
the theatre. It comes as a ,strong challenge to 
a public accustomed to the fallajcies of a movement 
aiming to express the materialistic reaUties of life. 
It comes at a moment when,- the drama is busy 
turning towards a new Reality — the Reality of the 
Imagination, and away from t\he old Reality of the 
Intellect. And the mind of y the spectator who 

^^^^^^^^ \ ,..,.,,:. Cooglr 



274 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

witnesses it cannot fail to be awakened to the 
immense possibilities of its spirit of simplicity and 
child-like make-believe, in adding a much-needed 
impulse to creative authorship and creative acting ; 
as well as in stirring the public to a consciousness 
of the seeming reality and apparent genuineness 
of the gigantic shams which pass in our midst for 
the drama and dramatic representation. It em- 
phasises the truth that the drama is concerned 
with the Invisible expr . '-d by the Visible, and 
not with the Visible ex^eS^ .*^ by the Visible, as 
in contemporary realistic I^ays. 

" Hamlet" 

Hamlet has been produced three times in Germany 
by Max Reinhardt, the first occasion being at 
the Munich Theatre in June 1909. The pro- 
ductions were notable for the performances in the 
leading part, of Bassermarc, Kain?:, and Moissi. 
They were also distinguishi/i by techinical progress, 
each production being ai advancf^ on its pre- 
decessor. The third cne was given at the 
Deutsches Theater, BerJn, in J**f.ovember 1910. 
In the attempt to make '- surp/iss his two previous 
efforts Reinhardt spare/ nj*^her time nor money. 
He endeavoured to g^asp the fullest possibilities of 
the new freedom offtred by the open stage with a 
curtained background that came first from England 
•uia Munich, followed Sir Herbert Tree's example, 
and experimented in a revival on Elizabethan 
lines. It is not cletr how much Max Reinhardt 
derived from Sir Herbert Tree's Hamlet produc- 
tion ; but there is ao doubt that he was influence! 



I 
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F 



I 
I 

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FORTHCOMING PRODUCTIONS 275 

by it to some extent. It will be recollected that 
when Sir Herbert went to Berlin some years ago 
he took Hamlet with him, and departing from his 
usual custom of presenting Shakespeare in the 
splendid manner, did Hamlet in simple hangings. 
And he did so, not because he had changed his 
theory that Shakespeare should be sumptuously 
dressed, but because he was of the opinion that 
Hamlet lends itself to a treatment different from 
that of the other Shakespearean plays. Hence 
after playing Hamlet in Berlin in simple hangings, 
he did not hesitate when he revived the play in 
London, four or five years ago, to do it in tapestries. 
Thus the Court scenes were played in plainly 
painted tapestries of a conventional medieval kind, 
such as might be hung in a castle, the outdoor 
scenes being played in tapestries on which were 
painted tall pine trees stretching right up into the 
proscenium. Reinhardt also derived from Sir 
Herbert Tree's production of A Midsummer Nighfs 
Dream, doubtless in the way that all talented men 
derive from each other. But if he employed 
principles applied by Sir Herbert Tree in Hamlet^ 
he also went beyond him at least by carrying his 
stage into the auditorium. He built in the 
orchestra and removed three rows of stalls for the 
purpose. By this means he got a much enlarged 
stage and was able to work the three divisions into 
which he divided it with greater freedom, either 
for interiors or exteriors, for scenes containing one 
or two characters, or crowds, as the case might be. 
The formation of the stage, in details of build and 
fitment, resembled that of the stage used h^j Ms 

I. ■■, ii,Cooglc I 



276 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Granville Barker for his production of A Winter's 
Tale, as described in the Appendix on " Recent 
Developments in England." Thus the stage was 
worked on equally rapid lines answering to the 
action-structure. The violet curtain before which 
Laertes takes leave of Polonius was raised and the 
scene became the "Throne Room," which, by the 
dropping of a dark green curtain changed to a 
scene in which the King appears, and which in 
turn was transformed, by the raising of the 
dark green curtain, into a room hung with a 
red curtain, representing the chamber of Hamlet's 
mother. By changes of light, scenes were also 
changed. So throughout the play the scenes 
changed and moved swiftly by an ingenious 
interchange of curtains and lighting. 



HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE CONTEM- 
PORARY STAGE AND HIS INFLUENCE 

Having examined the immense activities of Max 
Reinhardt, it becomes of importance to inquire, 
What contribution is Max Reinhardt making to 
the contemporary artistic movement in the theatre, 
and what is his influence upon England ? The 
answer to the first question is that he is demonstrat- 
ing that a theatre may be run successfully on a 
commercial and artistic basis. In doing so he is 
really opening the door upon the purely art theatre. 
To-day there are three classes of theatre with which 
the minds of reformers are occupied. They are : 
I. The commercial theatre, run by the actor- 
manager, a syndicate, or a successful fin- 
ancier who owns and controls innumerable 
theatres. For example, the Charles Froh- 
man and the Schubert Trusts, who between 
them control nearly the whole of the theatres 
in the United States. 
The commercial-artistic theatre, managed by 
an intelligent director working in harmony 
with a number of co-operators, who, though 
recognising the impossibility, under our 
present social conditions, of running a 
theatre on purely artistic lines, yet is able 



iM,Coo<;lc 



I 



278 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

to lift the theatre out o£ the rut of purely 

commercial enterprise. 
3. The art theatre, which has yet to be born. 

Its aim will be Creative-Illusion, not Realism 

or Actuality. 
The artistic reformer would destroy the first, but 
would support the second till the third arrives. 
The second is an intermediary which does cater for 
a critical {though not hypercritical) minority among 
playgoers, players, and decorators. Perhaps the 
author may complain that it does not cater for 
him. Still, it certainly indulges the artistic taste 
and satisfies the mind that seeks for style in cohesion 
and uniformity. This, then, is the value of the 
Theatre of Max Reinhardt. It offers us something 
infinitely better than the theatrical establishment 
run by the financier out for shekels, by the actor- 
manager in search of gold and silver and vanity, 
by the literary and moral person and the social 
reformer out for words and discussion. In short, 
it is a solution to the artistic problem of the theatre, 
which we ought to accept till we are offered a 
higher one. If we do accept it, it will lead the 
school-teacher mind to abandon the hope of making 
the theatre an "improving" academy, while induc- 
ing the artistic mind to endeavour to make it a 
temple of illumination. 

The answer to the second question is that signs 
are not wanting that the influence of Reinhardt 
is beginning to be strongly felt in this country. 
Alert minds are conscious that the German pro- 
ducer is offering us a more potential theatre than 
our own sadly and rightly neglected dialectical one. 



I 



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HIS INFLUENCE UPON ENGLAND 279 

Thus Mr Granville Barker is beginning to work 
towards a more artistic playhouse, and the Liverpool 
and Birmingham Repertory Theatres are pulling in 
the direction of the Deutsches Theater, with the 
avowed object of surpassing that energetic institution 
if possible. Mr Barker first definitely extended his 
welcome to Reinhardt's ideas in a production of Pro- 
fessor Gilbert Murray's translation of Iphigenia in 
Tauris by Euripides. It was a Greek production 
entirely on Reinhardtian lines, bearing, in fact, the 
closest resemblance to the Covent Garden Theatre 
production of Oedipus Rex. The search for intimacy 
was carried on in the same manner. There was a 
stage that had passed out of the picture-frame and in- 
vaded the audience. There was the scene composed 
of a temple front leading to an inner shrine, the plat- 
form built out over the first three or four rows of 
stalls, and the altar placed centre. There was the 
emotional and moody colour, the same attempt at 
lighting and colour effects, the same movements of 
the chorus, the same mingling of the players with 
the audience. And there was the principal part played 
by the same actress, Miss Lillah M'Carthy. In fact, 
it seemed as though Mr Barker had come to the 
conclusion that Max Reinhardt's method of pro- 
ducing Greek plays is the right one, and there is 
an immense gain in reality by taking away the 
proscenium and allowing the players to step out of 
the frame and become part of the audience. 

The production of Iphigenia was only one instance 
out of several of the influence of Reinhardt on the 
English stage. Others are given in my volume on 
The New Spirit in Drama and Art. 

\ D,g,t,..dbyGooQle 



I 



280 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

In short, the ideas of Max Reinhardt have had 
a marked influence upon the methods of play re- 
presentation and interpretation in this country ; 
and this influence would have been far greater if 
only the work of the German producer had been 
seen at its best. That is to say, if instead of con- 
senting to try and fit to one sort of environment 
the London theatres, productions which have 
grown naturally out of another, the Deutsches 
Theater (a proceeding which necessitated and en- 
sured the complete failure of more than one of 
these productions), he had demanded a suitable 
environment for them, he would not have offered 
such a broad front to adverse criticism. But he 
seems entirely to have neglected the fact that not 
only were the physical conditions of the London 
theatres unadaptable to the fullest requirements of 
four of his plays at least, but that these limitations 
were bound to be reinforced by the censorship of 
English taste, by the stupid economies practised 
in the English commercial theatre, and by the 
prevalent inartistic slovenliness of English methods 
of representation. Acting thus, it is needless to 
say that he took risks, and he did himself a great 
injustice. He invited criticism, and certain critics 
are not wholly to blame if, when faced with in- 
different spectacle, they charged Reinhardt with 
an alleged and harmful indifference to the drama. 
That he has not been indifferent to the drama 
the Table of productions will show. All he has 
been guilty of is demonstrating what this book sets 
cut to prove, namely, that the real Max Reinhardt 
is to be seen at Berlin. 





SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER 

This supplementary chapter contains certain 
matter bearing on the subject of this book, which 
has come to hand since the book was written. 



^H Shakespeare and Simplified Staging 

The present-day controversy on the manner of 
staging Shakespeare, to which a new impulse has 
been added by Max Reinhardt's visit to this 
country, has called forth two books of equal 
merit from the producer's point of view. In the 

• first. Thoughts and Afterthoughts, Sir Herbert Tree 
says much " in extenuation of those methods which 
have been assailed with almost equal brilliancy and 
vehemence." The author examines The Splendid 
V. The Adequate, or The Fat v. The Thin 
method of production, and argues in favour of the 
former. Thus he meets the argument of the 
Adcquates that the splendid manner of producing 
Shakespeare tends to banish him altogether from 
the stage, seeing that the huge cost of production 

k forbids frequent productions, with the argument 
that one production in the splendid manner is 
worth a dozen in the adequate manner. He 
argues, moreover, that Shakespeare wrote for the 
281 



ih,Coo<; 



282 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT J 

public ; that the public demands the splendid I 
manner, as the box-office receipts can show; and I 
therefore the public demands what Shakespeare! 
would give it if he were alive to-day. And he I 
examines the conditions of his Shakespearean plays, I 
which have governed his choice of interpretation. I 
In the second book, Shakespeare in the Theatre^ \ 
Mr William Poel defends the non-scenic method 
of producing Shakespeare, and deals with the 
questions which he set himself to answer thirty 
years ago. The questions may be stated thus : 

1. What is the Shakespearean theatre really I 
like ? 

2. What are the dramatic conditions in which | 
Shakespeare worked ? 

3. What are Shakespeare's intentions in : 

{a) The construction of his plays ; 

(^) The method of their representation ; 

if) The method of their interpretation ? 

A conclusion to which the book leads the reader I 
is that the current movement towards Shakespearean j 
simplicity has sprung from Mr Poel's long and un- 
swerving faith in his ideal of a Neo-Shakespearean ] 
stage, his attempt to give Shakespeare in the I 
purely suggestive surroundings of curtains having J 
begun in i88r, or eight years before the reaction J 
against the elaboration of scenic details of the] 
Meiningers set in at Munich. 

With regard to the Munich Shakespeare Stage, 
the following facts sent by Director Kilian are of I 
interest : — 

1. The Munich Shakespeare Stage of Lautcn- 
schlager and Savits was the first German Stage toj 



SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER 283 



^H play Shakespeare in the simplified manner. It did 

^B so in 1889. 

^H 2. The new Munich Shakespeare Stage of 

^F 1909 differs from the other in that the first 
proscenium is done away with, that proscenium 
scenes are not played in front of decorations, but 
generally in front of the curtain, and that modern 
scenic principles are applied to decorative scenes 
played at the back part of the stage, such as those 
of the round horizon, plastic architecture, etc. 

3. The Munich Shakespeare Stage has so far 
found but few imitators in Germany. 

Full particulars of the Munich Stage may be 
found in Amundsen's The New Munich Shakespeare 

^K Stage, published at Munich in 191 1. 



The National Theatre Movement 



I 



This movement, which is inspired to some 
extent by the example of Germany, has found an 
opponent in Mr Henry Arthur Jones. For some 
years Mr Jones has been in favour of the establish- 
ment of a national theatre in this country, but 
after investigating the failure of the Millionaires' 
Theatre, New York, he has formed the opinion 
that the time is not ripe for an experiment on the 
lines proposed by the large and influential English 
committee. His objections form the new matter 
in a book of collected essays and lectures entitled 
The Foundations of a National Drama. Mr Poel 
also has something to say against the proposals of 
the National Theatre Committee in his afore- 
mentioned Shakespeare in the Theatre, 

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28+ THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Symbolism in the Theatre 
The interchange of Eastern and Western ideas of 
the theatre and the drama continues, and new books 
explaining Western methods of representation and 
interpretation are constantly appearing. In Piayi 
of Old Japan, Miss Marie C. Stopes deals with the 
history, character, and staging of the " No " plays, 
and makes a further contribution to the subject of 
simplified staging. 

The Re-interpretation of Ibsen 
There are signs that a re-valuation of Ibsen is 

about to be attempted in this country, and one 

book at least has appeared to point the way. Mr 

Henry Rose's Henrik Ibsen : Poet, Mystic, and 

Moralist, provides a key to the symbolist in the 
great Norwegian dramatist. 

The English Repertory Theatre 

The new repertory habit to which London, after 
Germany, became addicted, and which for a variety 
of reasons London did not long retain, has shown 
a slight increase in the English provinces. The 
Birmingham Repertory Theatre was opened in 
February 191 3, with a production of Shakespeare's 
Tivelfth Night after the Reinhardt manner. The 
theatre was built for Mr Barry Jackson, to whose 
enthusiasm and munificence England owes the 
first theatre constructed for the new artistic re- 
pertory purposes. In this connection it carries on 
some of the reforms coming from abroad. For 
instance, its seating comes from the Bayrcuth 



r 



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SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER 285 

Theatre, where the rows of seats rise gently one 
above the other ; and its lighting from the 
Deutsches Theater, BerHn. The latter was in- 
troduced by Mr Basil Dean, who also applied Rein- 
hardt's system of lighting to the Liverpool Repertory 
Theatre. It should be mentioned that Mr Dean 
has recently resigned his directorship of the Liver- 
pool Theatre. Sheffield followed Birmingham 
with a repertory theatre, and other centres are to 
have experimental repertory seasons. Meanwhile 
the repertory theatre habit which deserted London 
for the provinces, promises to return to London 
by the suburbs. Croydon, for instance, has reached 
the new repertory stage under the direction of 
Messrs Keble Howard and Dick Adams. 

Otto Brahm 

Otto Brahm died in November 19 12. He was 
born in Hamburg in 1856, and became a pupil of 
Wilhelm Scherer, the philologist and historian of 
literature, soon after the latter's arrival at Berlin 
in 1877. Later, as critic, he contributed to several 
journals, and in 1889 became closely associated with 
the Freien Biihne movement. For the rest, he 
devoted himself to the psychological drama, the 
ensemble, and to the claims of newcomers to 
whom he believed the future belonged. His death 
called forth an extraordinary manifestation of feel- 
ing from intellectual Germans, including an eloquent 
tribute from Gerhart Hauptmann. According to 
the Times report of his speech, Herr Hauptmann 
said : " I do not believe that in the whole history 
of the German Theatre there was ever before him 

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286 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

such a union of practical force and ideal force. 
He compelled the theatre to serve serious, true, and 
living Art. He brought it near to life, and life 
near to it, as had never been done before. . 
There may be people who regard a fight for the 
prestige of the German Theatre to be not im- 
portant enough to justify belief in its seriousness. 
It is Brahm's service that he recognised its im- 
portance and gave himself to the work. He 
burdened himself for it with labours, cares, and 
duties of all sorts, undertook campaigns and ex- 
perienced victories and defeats, successes and dis- 
appointments, unknown to the life of the peaceful 
citizen. The sense of responsibility of an important 
statesman entrusted with the fortunes of his Father- 
land cannot be greater. It requires no greater sum 
of labour, endurance, insight, and courage, . . 
How shall we do honour to this man ? By main- 
taining and continuing his vital work, the import- 
ance of which is ever more and more profoundly 
realised. In a certain field he achieved the unity 
of Art and People. In him the Theatre became 
the breathing organ of the People's life. To an 
art in itself apart and remote from the people's 
world he gave the simple force of a natural 
function." 

The Spread of Reinhardt's Influence 

Reinhardt's increasing influence may be noted 
in two directions. In the present revival of the 
religious form of drama may be traced the influence 
of the production of The Miracle. Mrs Dearmer's 
The Dreamer y and Mr Louis Parker's Joseph and Hit 



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SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER 



287 



Brethren arc types of a " new " religious play. The 
production of the first revealed an application of 
the Reinhardt principles of staging. By the cine- 
matograph adaptation of The Miracle and other 
Reinhardt productions, it is conceivable that Rein- 
hardt's principles of ensemble acting are becoming 
widely known to player and public alike. 



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APPENDICES 



I. A NOTE ON THE LIMITATION OF THE 
CULTURE MOVEMENT IN THE THEATRE 

There has been and are several objections raised to 
the attempted representation of classics on the modern 
stage. One is the objection of the artist to the archaeo- 
logist. As sources of archeology, Greek, Roman, 
Chinese, Japanese, Elizabethan, early French, German, 
and Italian plays have a profound interest, and as studies 
in literature and dramatic design they have both a literary 
and dramatic interest for historians and students. But 
for the playgoer the attempt of the modern producer to 
turn the stage into an up-to-date British museum is a 
challenge to undergo unlimited instruction or complete 
transformation. Though he is invited to the theatre to 
see a play, he is really offered an illustrated lecture on 
folklore, anthropology, civics, and Heaven knows what 
else. To take the Greek drama, for example, it is 
obvious that without prolonged and (perhaps expert) 
study, or without the possession of peculiar mental 
characteristics, no modern mind can be expected to realise 
the mystic whim which governed ancient Greece. It 
would be the same with plays based upon primitive 
African or Australian customs. The whole thing would 
be foreign to us. Even if we remove the mystic element 
from the Greek drama, the objection remains. There 
is the essential difference of the conception of life, of 
character, and especially of the purpose of the drama— 




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APPENDICES 



189 



I 



a purpose not capricious, but emerging from the spirit 
of the time — to be fully understood, [t must not be 
overlooked that the great tragic dramas sprang from the 
need of the moment. The CEdipus had its origin 
in one set of circumstances. King Lear had another 
origin. Each had its own dramatic basis. The structure, 
emotion, representation, and interpretation of these dramas 
vary according to race, temperament and epoch. If, then, 
the Greek drama was produced by a peculiar set of cir- 
cumstances, it follows that it cannot stir anyone who is 
not intimate with these circumstances, that is, produced 
by the same set of circumstances, or who possesses the 
same spirit that produced it. If it is true that the drama 
which came from ancient Greece, or China, or Shake- 
speare's England can be made to draw large audiences 
tonday, it is because producers like Max Reinhardt succeed 
in putting more of the human power of to-day into it, 
and leaving out the peculiar human power of the age 
to which it belongs. Each drama is, in fact, an up-to-date, 
not an original product ; an impurity, not a purity. 

An excuse has been put forward for these representa- 
tions, in the excuse that the dramas were written in great 
language and in an incomparable style. But so too were 
the great Indian epics. These, however, have not been 
represented on our modern stage. No intelligent person 
desires that they may be. And as for the language of 
Greek tragedies, of which but fragments remain, we have 
only translations to listen to. 

Possibly the greatest advantage may be derived from 
the Greek dramas, not by seeing them acted, but by studying 
their form and content. This is an occupation for a certain 
class of modern authors and critics, but not for the general 
public, to whom technique should ever be a mystery. In 
their construction, the Greek dramas arc exceptional 
examples of the co-ordinating power of the Greek 
dramatists. They have an extraordinary unity, every 
detail being subordinated to a single end. They were 
designed, and successfully, to leave a single efiect on the 



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190 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

mind of the Greek spectator, in whose ears one moral 
was left ringing. Like La Fontaine's fables, they were 
directed to point and to drive home a single idea. It 
might be the idea of sacrifice, or of patriotism, or of 
revenge, or of justice, or of peace ; but in any case it 
was a simple and a single idea. 

The modern uncreative dramatist may then turn 
profitably to the Greek construction in its broadly simple 
and rhythmic side. But the creative author will leave 
Greece and its drama severely alone. He will shun the 
tyranny of the Greek influence as he would a plague, 
remembering that the advanced men of to-day do not 
build Greek temples, but temples of their own, having 
a form springing from the inner necessity of creation, 
not from the outer necessity of imitation. The creative 
dramatist has no need to revive Greek ideas, but he has 
every need to work his present material in a new and 
inspiring way. What the Greeks did and how they did 
it is no longer the business of such an author. And 
this is a fact for producers to understand. Classics are 
not the stuff upon which to breed vital authors. On 
the contrary, they are the food for re-incarnated souls. 
Strictly speaking, only re-incarnated souls should produce, 
interpret, and witness them. Managers ought accordingly 
to provide themselves with Shelleys for Greek plays, and 
Landors for Roman plays, while for German ones Carlyles 
would be needed, but not Carlyles with livers. 

It should be mentioned that the movement in the 
theatre to*day is more Greek than Renaissance, owing to 
its feeling for unity. But the unity sought is not the 
same. For whereas the Greeks sought unity of unity 
and obtained it, the moderns are seeking unity of variety. 
For one thing, they are trying to get a unity of settings, 
every setting being subordinated to a dominant mood. 
All the settings are brought and bound together by 
mechanical processes, such as lighting, which were 
unknown both to the Greeks and Shakespeare and the 
Renaissants. 1 




APPENDICES 



291 



Possibly the search for unity is the great thing in the 
theatre just now. In any case, the present conceptions 
of unity and methods of attaining it are many and 
varied. The following table will show the variety of 
unity sought after : — 

Conceptions of Unity. 
Muc Reinhardt . 
William Pocl 



Gordon Craig 
Raymond Duncan 
Granville Barker . 
Russian Ballet 
Moscow Art Theatre 
Munich Art Theatre 



Emotional. 
Archaeological. 

Esthetic. 
Greek beauty. 
Intellectual. 
Physical. 
Cultural-Esthetic. 



Methods of Attaining It. 

Big spaces. Elemental passions, 

Scholastic-a 

Atmosphen 

Movement, 

,*;sthctic-a 

Colour (mu 

Stylisarion. 



ctuality. 



jality. 

:, dance, decoration). 



Rcinhardt . 

Poel 

Craig 

Duncan 

Barker 

Russian Ballet 

Moscow 

Munich 

The present failure to attain unity is due to the attempt 
to force it on plays that were not prepared for it. 



II. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN ENGLAND 

Thbre are two recent events in London which deserve 
to be mentioned as having a direct bearing on the matter 
of this book. One is Mr Granville Barker's production 
of A Winter'i Tale at the Savoy Theatre ; the other the 
exhibition at the Leicester Galleries of Mr Gordon Craig's 
"screen." The interest of Mr Barker's presentation of 
Shakespeare's play lies in the fact that it brings the 
modern stage a step nearer to the actual structure of the 
Elizabethan theatre than either Jocza Savits of Munich 



iM,Coo<;lc 



J 



292 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

or William Poe! has done, and thus introduces the latest 
tendencies of simplified staging in London and carries on 
the tradition that Max Reinhardt has set up in Berlin. 
This means that Mr Barker has at last come definitely into 
line with those who are opposed to the showman-shop- 
keeper representation of Shakespeare, and who, while re- 
fusing to support the non-scenic extreme seen in the plain 
curtain background of Mr Poel and Herr Savits, vigorously 
attack the extravagances and excesses of modern scenery and 
stage decoration. His view, as gathered from his produc- 
tion, appears to be that Shakespeare must come first, and 
whatever scenery or " decoration," as he terms it, is essen- 
tial to the right understanding of Shakespeare must come 
after. This is reversing the conventional view that scenery 
must come first. In a letter on his intentions to the 
Dai/y MaU^ Mr Barker told us he was led to detestadon 
of excessive scenery largely by the influence of Mr Craig. 
The latter's " production twelve years ago of Mr Laurence 
Housman's Bethlehem destroyed for him once and for all 
any illusions he may have had as to the necessity of sur- 
rounding every performance of a play with the stufl[y, 
fussy, thick-bedaubed canvas which we are accustomed to 
call stage scenery, while he opened my eyes to the possi- 
bilities of real beauty and dignity in stage decoration." 
Further, he informed us that his path to the possibilities 
of Elizabethan blank verse was pioneered by "Mr William 
Poel — that other destructive idealist — who taught me how 
swift and passionate a thing, how beautiful in its variety, 
Elizabethan blank verse might be when tongues were 
trained to speak and ears acute to hear it." Acting 
under these influences, Mr Barker hastened to give 
us a Shakespeare without cuts, without localities, and 
without act-divisions, without scenery, except in the 
nature of "decoration," played swiftly and spoken with 
the skill of modern players accustomed to modern 
dialogue, and lacking the essential sense of rhythm 
which Shakespeare's lyricism demands. 

In preparing his version of A fViitter's Tale for the 



I 



APPENDICES 



S93 



L 



stage, Mr Barker quite overlooked the lyrical element, of 
which it is full, and which alone gives the play coherence 
and uniformity. Apart from its lyricism, for which it 
was seemingly written, A IVinters Tale has but little 
to recommend it. Though "it belongs to the final period 
of Shakespeare's work," it is nevertheless one of Shake- 
speare's poorest plays. The plot is a mixed affair, being 
composed of several odd stories bearing little or no rela- 
tion to each other. Apparently the plot was too short, 
seeing that Shakespeare has had to resort to padding. 
The padding is, however, the best part of the play. For 
in the Shepherd's affairs, the dances, the giving of flowers 
and favours, and the amusing doings of that Commedia 
deir Arte figure, Autolycus, Shakespeare demonstrates 
how he could turn himself loose as lyrically and rhythmi- 
cally as he pleased. At the time he wrote this play he 
was well under Marlowe's influence. He had learnt the 
latter's tricks of rhythmic prose, and knew how to avoid 
the "tinkling end rhyme" which Marlowe scorned. 
Besides being short of plots, Shakespeare was also short 
of characters, for those in A Winter 5 Tale are characters 
from other plays retouched up for the purpose. They 
are stock figures, shadows of their former selves. Even 
Perdita compares unfavourably with other types. To 
produce A M^inter's Tale as a plot drama would there- 
fore be disastrous, as former experiments in this direction 
have proved. Only the representation and interpretation 
of its lyricism could ensure success, since it is this " musi- 
cal element" that makes a universal appeal, 

Mr Barker goes for dramatic contrast. He reads A 
Winter's Tale as "a tragi-comedy," and treats it accord- 
ingly as a two-mood play. He places tragedy in Sicily 
and comedy in Bohemia, with Time between ; founds the 
first part on jealousy, and gives it the atmosphere of an 
Othello tragedy ; the second part on rusticity, and colours 
it with rural life. 

Having made this contribution to the controversy of 
the structure of the play-action, he next proceeds to make 

ni,:ii.,-iM,C00<;lc 



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294 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

a contribution to the formation of the stage for the pur- 
pose of continuous performance. He takes the present 
obsolete picture stage and divides it into three — a front, 
middle, and back stage. The front or platform stage is 
formed by covering in the orchestra with an apron sKge ; 
the middle stage is got by dividing off the front of the 
main stage by means of two gold proscenium frames having 
the appearance of one box fitting within another. Behind 
the second frame is the back or main stage. These alter- 
nate stages preserve the structure of the action of the 
play, just as they did in the Elizabethan playhouse. The 
entrance to the apron stage is made through the stage 
boxes. The entrance to the middle stage is made some- 
times through the stage boxes and sometimes through 
the prompt and opposite prompt openings ; while the 
approach to the main stage is made from all entrances. 
When this stage is being used Mr Barker allows his players 
to walk through the frames into the picture, thus moving 
them away from the audience instead of towards it. Mr 
Craig expresses a similar idea of approaching the scene 
from the audience in some of his sketches for the theatre 
of the future, where he represents the player passing into 
a scene apparently isolated from the audience. May be 
it is a new way of solving the problem of intimacy, and 
one peculiarly adapted to the illusion stage. If so, it is 
of no use to the realistic stage, where the proper method 
of solving the intimacy problem is either by the use of 
the " flower path " through the auditorium or by extend- 
ing the apron or platform stage into the auditorium as far 
as it will go, thus allowing the players to mingle with the 
audience. From the formation of the stage at the Savoy 
Theatre it would appear as though Mr Barker is seeking 
intimacy, and perhaps unity, but from the use of it his 
chief aim would seem to be a variety of pictorial effects. 

His aim concerning the function of the background 
is clearer, although not altogether correct. He is rightly 
convinced that the background or environment ought not 
to out-act the actors, but he has not yet discovered that 



I 
I 



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APPENDICES 195 

the environment should not be merely decoration, some- 
thing pretty added to the play and designed to conceal 
the naked walls of the stage. It should be a vital 
necessity to the play, essential to its inner life, and 
moving and acting with it so as to give it the widest 
expression. In Mr Barker's hands the background be- 
comes the merest suggestion of the locality of the action 
of the play. 

Or I may put it another way. Mr Barker, aiming at 
an original treatment, finds himself in a dilemma. He is 
between the empty stage and the conventional scenery. 
Now he does not want the empty stage, and he does not 
want the conventional scenery. Finding himself in this 
position, he effects a compromise. He does not set to 
work and evolve an environment that springs naturally 
from the fundamental note of the play — that is, the lyrical 
note — but he adopts Mr Craig's method of putting a 
screen round the stage. He does so with this difference, 
that whereas Mr Craig frankly calls his screen a screen, 
and sees to it that it screens off everything, walls, light- 
ing apparatus, and so forth, Mr Barker calls his screen a 
decoration, and makes it a part of the three bare walls. 
He devises, in fact, a dkollete stage. In the first place, 
he clears the stage and whitewashes the walls. In the 
second, he calls in the aid of Mr Norman Wilkinson, who 
proceeds to fill in the space thus obtained with a three- 
sided frame of white classical columns shaped like 
Cleopatra needles, and held together at the fop by a 
tliin round rod- The rod is hung in the spaces between 
the columns, with green-gold curtains which add a warmth 
and a sumptuousness to the white walls and columns, and 
form a pleasant background for the colours to move 
against. In the centre of the stage he places a square of 
gold settees. Almost all the scenes in Sicily are played 
in this environment, which represents the Palace of 
Leontes. For the Bohemian half of the play Mr 
Wilkinson constructs a scene by removing the columns 
and substituting a low thatched cottage or shepherd's hut. 



iM,Coo<;lc 



I 



296 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

having two chimneys and being surrounded by a wicker- 
work fence. The cottage reaches right across the stage. 
It is drab, with a green door centre. By means of this 
cottage the decorator gets a local effect. But un- 
fortunately the structure has no relation to the figures. 
The two never come together. In fact, the characters 
exist solely to advertise the cottage. Then the principle 
of the newer unity in variety of stage-setting is not suc- 
cessfully applied. Indeed it is noticeable that there is 
very little attempt to differentiate the colour of this scene 
from that of the first scene. The drab of the cottage is 
merely a variation of the white, and does not mark off the 
joyous seductiveness of Bohemia from the fierce jealousy 
of Sicily. 

Nor do the colour and line of Mr Albert Rothenstein 
— whom Mr Barker next calls in to design the costumes — 
help materially to maintain the contrast which the pro- 
ducer has in mind. Throughout the colours are worked 
on an arbitrary system of complementaries. They have 
almost a black and white value. For instance, you find a 
canary yellow having a relation to white, not to light or 
real colour. The colours are, in fact, simply thrown on 
in spots. They are very charming spots, ultra-refined, 
purely iESthetic, and far removed from the very barbarous, 
vital colours of the Russian Ballets. The fault of Mr 
Rothenstein's colours is there is no vital reason for them. 
Like the columns and curtains and cottage, they do not 
spring from a vital necessity. When savages go to war 
they smear themselves with red in order to terrify their 
enemies. Their colour has a vital reason. When decorators 
colour a scene of jealousy they should so smear it with 
the colours of jealousy as to draw the audience into it. 
But Mr Rothenstein smears his characters with colour 
to create a sense of prettiness. In doing so he gives 
expression to the prevailing esthetic delusion. Nor have 
the designs for the costumes any distinction ; they arc 
merely copied from the Renaissance pattern-book of 
Giulio Romano. 




I 



I 



APPENDICES 297 

Mr Barker gives further practical shape to the principles 
of Elizabethan staging by the employment of drop curtains 
in the second frame. These curtains are painted with 
flat Japanese landscapes to represent exteriors, and with 
designs— leaf pattern, square and round, etc.— to represent 
interiors. 

As in the attempt to ignore tradition much depends 
upon the lighting of the "scene," an elaborate and com- 
plicated system of lighting is devised. Mr Barker places 
in the centre of the first circle two box lights, violet in 
colour, this being the most powerful light ; round the front 
of the dress circle six cylinder lights, a light in each stage 
box, and four white arc lamps above and running across the 
centre of the main stage. By this arrangement footlights 
are done away with, and the effects of the differentiation 
as well as the mixing of colour obtained. Thus the violet 
and the yellow rays meeting on the stage produce warm 
shadows, while other effects are got by mixing the violet 
with yellow and white rays. The whole effect of the 
lighting is certainly a great improvement on that obtained 
by conventional methods, and suggests great possibilities 
in the future, when lighting is inteUigently applied to the 
stage. But it is too much to hope that artificial lighting 
will ever produce the same effects as natural lighting, say, 
of the open-air Elizabethan theatre. It is noticeable that 
the best appreciations of Mr Barker's production came 
from the German press, one Berlin critic going so far as 
to remark that " the passion for new forms and for 
perfecting the scenic form of art has undergone a mighty 
awakening in England in recent years." The fact does 
not, however, appear to have been noticed by the London 
critics seeing that they offered a fairly violent and char- 
acteristic opposition to Mr Barker's application of the 
modern principle of the simplification of the stage for 
the production of Shakespeare's plays. 

The representation of Twelfth Night followed closely 
on the lines of that of A (Vtnler's Tale. The piece was 
done in curtains and a built scene (Olivia's Garden). 

^^ 

1 ni,;iiPrjM,GoosIe 



298 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

The stage was unaltered. The first two sections were 
narrower than the third. The first section or platform 
was formed by taking in the orchestral well and covering 
it with an apron stage. It had entrances or openings in 
the stage boxes. The second, or middle stage, was got 
by dividing off the main stage by two gold proscenium 
frames having the appearance of one box fitting in another. 
This stage had openings at the side. The third section 
was the large back or rear portion of the main stage. 
The back stage had entrances up right and left. The 
walls of the back stage were whitewashed as in A 
iVinter'i Tale to form a background for simple touches 
of colour, such as the golden throne and its pink canopy 
and columns, golden seats, and dark green yew trees. 
Messrs Shakespeare and Granville Barker were joint 
producers, and accordingly the play was acted without 
any cuts or waits whatever. Perhaps the most dis- 
concerting thing about the production was that the 
characters and details of costume were reproduced with 
an unnecessary fidelity to the actualities. This was 
doubtless Mr Barker's fault, for although there is evi- 
dence that Shakespeare, in the old days, occasionally 
sought realisms, it is probably true that he depended 
largely on the imagination of the spectator. Shakespeare 
also demanded variety, and, had he been actually present 
at the Savoy Theatre, would have approved the variety 
got by Mr Barker by means of decorated curtains. 
At the same time, he would have demanded the new 
unity in variety, if, as some producers maintain, he 
had a forward-looking mind. Living to-day, he would 
be conscious that the movement in the theatre is 
more Greek than Renaissance because of its feeling 
for unity. Wherever there is this feeling, there may 
be traced a Greek influence. Take Shakespeare's plays, 
for instance, and we shall find that the plays which are 
most Greek are most unified, while those which are mere 
Renaissance lack unity and predominate in variety. A 
Winttr'i Tale may be quoted as an unsuccessful attempt^ 



I 



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■ 

I 



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APPENDICES 



299 



to get unity. Now there is a tendency among some neo- 
Shakespearean reformers to add Greek unity to the 
Renaissance variety of setting, by taking a lot of scenes, 
such as a Shakespearean play contains, and binding them 
together with curtains. Such curtains arc designed to 
express and sustain the predominant motive of the play. 
For instance, if the play is Romeo and Juliet, then the 
passionate love-motive would be seen running through 
all the lines and colours of the curtains, in conflict with 
the opposition motives (whatever they may be). Just as 
the Russian decorators have introduced the motive into the 
act-drop, curtains and background of the Russian Ballets, 
so a Shakespearean decorator here and there is seeking to 
introduce it to the Shakespearean curtain and screen 
scenes. But Mr Barker does not go as far as this. He 
makes an arbitrary use of curtains. Under his direction 
they are designed merely to harmonise with the costumes 
of the players, or perhaps to express a mental movement ; 
they are not bound together by a leading motive, as they 
should be in order to avoid the distraction set up by 
unrelated intervals in stage settings. Thus the first 
curtain, with its landscape and houses painted in the flat 
on a yellow ground, has no relation to the second curtain, 
with its composition in pinks, greens, yellows, and 
blues. Nor has the zig-zag curtain any relation to those 
that preceded and followed it. What is needed is a 
rhythmical unity of action, speech decoration, and lighting. 
The dialogue of the leading character aflTords a key to the 
rhythm of the scene. If it is a zig-zag rhythm, that is, 
full of a combative spirit, then everything in the scene 
should express it ; it a flowing rhythm, that is, of a 
peaceful character, then the scene should have this 
character. The deliberate amplifications of curtain sur- 
faces designed to indicate the passage of a great emotion 
or passion, throughout a play, is the principle on which 
the Shakespearean decorator should work. 

This advance should undoubtedly be made in the 
treatment of Shakespeare on the English stage, and vt. ^ 




I 



300 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

not unreasonable to suppose that it will be made as soon 
as decorators are acquainted with its importance and arc 
encouraged to co-operate in the work of the theatre. 
That more than one decorator is accessible to the new 
ideas is incontestible. After some talks with Mr Alfred 
Wolmark, an English painter of great ability, I had the 
satisfaction of seeing him set to work to design a set of 
Shakespearean curtains having the requisite element of 
unity in variety. These curtains were sent to an exhibition 
of theatrical devices, held at Warsaw, where they awakened 
considerable interest ; they stirred up the general opinion 
among people who are instinctively decorators, that Mr 
Wolmark is a decorator with the strength and colour 
vision peculiarly suited to the work of the theatre. This 
agrees with my own view that, if he once enters the theatre, 
he has a big career before him. 

It should be mentioned that the lighting of the 
Twelfth Night was similar to that of /I fVinier's TaU^ 
being obtained by means of projectors, lenses, coloured 
lights from tinted globes, etc. 

To the attempt to solve the problem of stage lighting 
is largely due the appearance of Mr Gordon Craig's 
novelty — the latest portable screen. The arrival of the 
screen means that Mr Craig has thrown overboard his 
curtained background, and will doubdess cease to lament 
the fact that the German theatres have been borrowing 
it for some considerable time past. He has now got a 
contrivance entirely different from any stage device that 
Max Rcinhardt employs, and having thus, as it were, 
come into a scenic kingdom of his own, will no longer 
prefer charges against more or less harmless persons. 
At the exhibition at the Leicester Galleries it was seen 
that the new device, which Mr Craig maintains is wholly 
new and wholly his own, consists of a grey portable 
jointed screen to be used together with some cylinders, 
cubes, squares, rostrums, and some white and coloured 
limelights. Here Mr Craig demonstrated in seven litdc 
scenes how these "bricks" are put together to form 



11, Coo; 



M 



I 

■ 

I 
I 



t 



APPENDICES 301 

backgrounds. The plain wooden screen is adaptable to 
any stage. It is made to reach above the proscenium, and 
thus not only serves to represent the scene, but to mask 
in anything that the audience is not required to see, such, 
for instance, as the lighting apparatus. Beyond this it 
can be folded to form interior and exterior settings, 
suggesting battlements, ramparts, pillars, walls, and so 
on, according to the need or the drama. It can also be 
folded so that the light may fall at the desired points 
between the folds, being worked from the top, side, back, 
front, as the case may be. As a clue to Mr Craig's 
intentions regarding the setting of the scenes, let me give 
a description or two of the arrangements at the Leicester 
Galleries. Supposing a " mad " scene for Ophelia is re- 

3uired. All that the stage-manager or carpenter has to 
o is to run the screen round the stage in a semicircle, 
place a cylindrical column in the centre of the stage with 
a number of square columns colonnading round it, 
sprinkle a yellow light on either side at the back of the 
centre column, and the scene with its classical archi- 
tectural features is ready to receive Ophelia, Another 
unaccustomed setting is got by arranging the screen to 
form an inverted V, with two long passages running off 
at left angles, middle and up stage, and by placing a huge 
square column in the centre of the V. This scene was 
lighted by a violet light (representing daylight) placed off 
and flooding the middle passage, and by a yellow light 
off, and flooding the top passage. The yellow light was 
so arranged as to be thrown right across and reflected on 
the wall right, thus filling two-thirds of the upper space. 
Further, the yellow ray of light coming from the upper 
passage and received on the wall right met the violet ray 
coming from the middle passage, in the space in front 
of the centre column, thus tending to give the column 
height and to create a seductive effect. Mr CraJg plays 
with his lights from these two points in the endeavour to 
obtain the effects he is after. If a tragic mood is sought, 
doubtless he would flood the scene from these points 

n,i-,-iM,Coo<;lc 



I 



302 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

with reds ; if a nun coming from a cloister, he would keep 
the scene white. So by a change of light he secures a 
change of mood or change of time — day or night, summer 
or winter, as the case may be. But of course the 
architectural " environment " always remains the same. It 
was remarked by the Times critic when dealing with the 
lighting of these scenes that '* a change of light makes a 
change of scene." How can a change of light alter a 
series of sets which in build and fitment are all alike ? 
Though the V-shaped scene is very ingenious, yet it is not 
without serious faults, both from the point of view of 
the actor and the spectator. How the actor is to make 
any intelligent use of the scene with its high column 
blocking up the centre of the stage is a question which 
even Mr Craig might find a difficulty in answering. 
Another obvious question is, How are the spectators to 
view such a scene as this as a whole, rather than in 
sections ? How can a person on the right-hand side of 
the theatre see what is happening in the opening and 
space behind the left of the column .' The spectators are 
obliged to view the scene from different angles. Thus a 
spectator seated right would have the upper opening left 
and a part of the space up stage cut off. The spectator 
seated centre would have the whole of the space up stage 
cut off, while the spectator right could see neither the 
lower left passage nor an angle of the space up stage. In 
short, it is apparent to anyone who views this scene from 
all parts of the house, right, centre, left, stalls, pit, boxes, 
drdes, and gallery, that the problem of sight line is 
largely increased instead of being diminished, and thereby 
a great deal of unnecessary friction ts set up in the mind 
of the audience. 

Returning to the building of the scenes, another un- 
conventional effect is obtained by stretching the screen 
right across the stage near the foodights, leaving it partly 
folded into copper-colour zig-zags in the centre, with 
a plain part at each end in warm grey. The screen is 
lighted by a single ray of light, a double effect being 




APPENDICES 303 

obtained by throwing the light on one side of the zig-zag 
sections. Thus the copper on one side becomes old gold, 
while the copper on the other side turns to violet. In 
another instance the screen is utilised to form a battlement. 
It is drawn across the stage to represent the exterior of 
a castle wall. The centre opening of the wall is occupied 
by a tall flight of steps reaching up to a deep blue 
sky. At the bottom of the steps to the right is a 
complementary rose-colour light. In the colouring of 
all these scenes it is noticeable that Mr Craig works in 
complementaries. Another simple arrangement is made 
by throwing the screen right across the stage and 
folding it so as to suggest the unbroken exterior of a 
castle wall. 

The value of Mr Craig's device, as a contribution to 
the solution of the scene problem, is doubtful. It certainly 
does not solve the new problem of unity in variety, 
seeing that the screen is one thing and the figures that 
move against it are another. Mr Craig's dominant idea, 
it seems, is movement, and the screen is intended as a 
medium for emphasising this movement. But the " scene " 
obtained by its aid is not really a " scene." It is simply 
"an environment of light and shadow." The inference 
from this is that the lighting is the "scene," and the only 
unity attained is that of atmosphere. The screen is 
simply an instrument for receiving the light. It has no 
relation to the characters of the play and does not spring 
from the inward necessity of these characters. It is an 
annexe to a fully expressed movement and might be 
dispensed with altogether if the bare walls of the theatre 
could be prepared to receive the necessary lighting. As 
3 device in stage mechanics it is ingenious, but considered 
in relation to the characters of a play it is not dramatic 
but Eesthetic. 

Moreover, it has no distinct economic value, seeing 
that before a touring company could travel the provinces 
with it, it would be necessary for every provincial theatre 
visited to have a special lighting plant, and an intelligent 

I. ■■, ii,Cooglc 



I 



304 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

and expensive staiF of limelight men and stage-hands. 
The most that can be said for it is that it is a break 
with the inventor's earlier tradition. Herein Mr Craig 
claims to make an advance upon himself, though the 
advance is not apparent. Looking at the screen settings, 
the designs for Hamki and other scenes, and those for 
costumes and masks, the intelligent observer inquires. 
What does one get towards a theatre of the future ? The 
answer is nothing vital. In all these things there is only 
a bloodless cloistered a:stheticism. They reveal that Mr 
Craig is obsessed by the idea that the purpose of drama 
is the representation of the beauty of beauty, not the 
beauty of truth ; of ancient beauty by means of xsthetic 
movement, not present beauty by means of the unfolding 
of personality. They show that he has arrived at the 
surface, where he is trying to gild a classical cause. His 
screen and designs do not open a door upon the future, 
but upon the past. The whole thing is Greek to the 
core, and bad Greek, In fact, the smell of Greece is 
so strong as to obscure whatever little modern light Mr 
Craig has undoubtedly obtained in other directions. He 
has both gone beyond the Greeks and failed to realise 
the best that was in the Greeks. In short, Mr Craig has 
arrived at a point where he creates a desire in the spectator 
to look on, but never a desire to participate. The latter 
is the precious secret which vital minds alone possess. 

Still, if Mr Craig's present line of research is not likely 
to assist the theatre in one way, it may do so in another. 
It seems to foreshadow the coming of the much needed 
art-drama critic. 



111. GERMAN INFLUENCES ON ENGLISH 
DEVELOPMENT 

As may be gathered from the chapter on the "Influences 
on Max Reinhardt's Development," the modern Repertory 
Theatre movement in England was largely initiated by 



APPENDICES 



305 



Germany. But Germany, although the pioneer of the 
modern movement, was not the first in the repertory 
field. Historically, the movement began with the Com- 
media dell" Arte, The name was given to a group of 
creative players who broke away from the dead formalism 
of the Italian theatre of the sixteenth century, and 
succeeded in giving the drama a new expression through 
freedom, creativeness, and spontaneity. These actors 
were so intelligent that, given a creative scenario, they 
could fill in its general design while communicating 
themselves individually to the spectator. They created 
their own form of expression instead of having it created 
for them, as is now the custom. Here was a group which 
appealed to the individual and collective intelligence, and 
which gave birth to the greatest repertory movement. In 
the course of time these vagrant revolutionists invaded 
all Europe, firing many a creative group as they went. 
They visited Elizabethan England, where English authors 
(Shakespeare among them) and players came under their 
direct influence. About the beginning of the seventeenth 
century many English comedians found their way to the 
German Royal Courts, and were retained by the German 
princes. Thus was founded the Endowed Repertory 
Theatre of Germany. In time this endowed system began 
to spread, and by the end of the eighteenth century it 
was firmly established in Germany. Thereafter it swept 
forward and was moulded in turn by Schiller, Goethe, 
the Saxe-Meiningen Court Company, the Freien BQhne, 
Brahm, Ibsen, Reinhardt, and the Court, State, Municipal, 
People's, and Private Endowed Theatre, and coloured by 
Wagnerian, Russian, Scandinavian and English artistic 
influences. So it swept on, adopting many and varied 
reforms — naturalistic, realistic, symbolic — of stage-crowds, 
of acting, of ensemble, of speech, of intimacy, and so 
forth. With the establishment of the Freien Buhne the 
movement crossed to England. 

It came in response to a demand for the reform of the 
English Theatre. Some persons had seen it worked to 



I 



byGoogle 1 



I 



306 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

advantage in Germany, while others were growing tired of 
the two principal abuses by which the English theatre was 
tyrannised. One abuse was the star-system or system 
of self-aggrandisement which, starting with the actor- 
manager, had passed through Kean, Phelps, Irving, and 
had reached its culmination in the group of private 
managers who controlled and still control their own 
theatres. The other abuse was the commercial system 
initiated by speculators, syndicates, and capitalists, 
American and other, headed by Charles Frohman. 
Springing up and running parallel with these were the 
beginnings of an economic and intellectual movement in 
the theatre, intended to act as a disinfectant to the said 
abuses. Such were found in the People's Stage Societies 
founded by Watts, Morris, and other artistic and social 
reformers, and in the establishment of small private 
societies. It was not, however, till the early 'nineties that 
the first definite step towards an organised movement in 
this country, aiming to bring cultural reform into the 
theatre, was taken. In 1891 Mr J. T. Grein started the 
Independent Theatre, and laid the foundation of the 
present literary and moral theatre in England. The 
sub-tide of this theatre might appropriately have been 
the Entente Cordiale Theatre, seeing that it aimed not 
only to provide an open door for English plays of an 
independent character, but to bring foreign plays of the 
same character before the free and independent playgoer. 
After struggling along for six years, supported by a 
thin membership, never reaching two hundred, and by a 
slender income never exceeding £400, it finally succumbed, 
having contributed to the English stage the first batch of 
international literary authors, and very little by way of 
acting or scenic reform. The Independent Theatre was 
followed in 1897 by the Stage Society (later rechristened 
the Incorporated Stage Society), which was founded on 
similar lines to that or the Independent Theatre, namely, 
for the purpose of providing a theatre to which authors 
of any country might go when they had anything to say 



APPENDICES 307 



r which they could not say in the conventional theatre. In 
this respect it strongly resembled the new so-called advanced 
journals which are springing up to-day, and which serve as 
a dust-hole for literary and moral outpouring — some of it 
very good and some of it very bad. The Stage Society 
dust-hole has suffered from a glut of mixed goods. The 
Society was, I believe, initiated by Mr Frederick Whelen, 

I a gentleman possessing the requisite business capacity and 

dramatic enthusiasm for launching a scheme of the sort. 
Assisted by others equally enthusiastic, especially by 
members of the dramatic profession, he organised it into 
being, and it burst forth in all its youthful promise at the 
Royalty Theatre, opening with Mr Bernard Shaw's You 
Never Can Tell. It is not clear whether the play was 
chosen because its title seems to suggest the doubtful 
career of the Society. With the incorporation of the 
Society in 1 904, its objects were defined as follows : " To 
promote and encourage dramatic art ; to serve as an 
experimental theatre ; to provide such an organisation as 
shall be capable of dealing with any opportunities that 
may present themselves or be created for the permanent 
establishment in London of a Repertory Theatre." The 
activities of this Stage Society have continued to the 
present day, but the London Repertory Theatre is as far 
oiF as ever. (It is true that all the London theatres 
combined served to form a Repertory Theatre, of a 
sort.) These activities have been mainly devoted to 
the exploitation of original home and foreign produce. 
They have not included any attempt to organise the 
theatre. From the beginning the Society has been 
homeless, and without an organised body of players. It 
has, in fact, given scratch performances of classical and 
contemporary (some of them banned) plays interpreted 
by all sorts and conditions of players, having nothing in 
common but a desire to make the most of their separate 
parts. In short, its main characteristic has been variety 
without unity. 

For the first attempt to organise the theatre on a 



I 



I 



» 



308 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

clearly defined ground we must turn to the Court 
Theatre while under the joint management of Messrs 
Vedrenne and Barker from 1 904 to 1 907. In the 
activities of this theatre we see the first attempt in 
Lfindon to establish a repertory theatre on a combined 
intellectual and commercial basis, just as the Deutsches 
Theater is a successful attempt to run a theatre on 
commercial and artistic lines. Beyond the attempt to 
demonstrate the practicability of breaking away from the 
artistically disastrous long-run system and substituting a 
short-run system designed to please playgoer, players, and 
box-office ahke, there was the attempt to establish an 
experimental theatre wherein experiments could be made 
in reforms that had long been making their way to this 
country from Germany and elsewhere. Among the 
reforms were those of staging plays, acting and speech. 
In this way the new ideas of simplified environment, 
crowd effects, ensemble, and uniformity of diction were 
introduced to London and began to make themselves 
felt. The result of the three years' work was, from the 
point of view of the promoters, highly satisfactory. 
Apparently it stimulated imitation in all directions. For 
a time London was threatened with an epidemic of 
repertory theatres run on the Court lines, as the move- 
ment spread from West-end theatre to theatre, from the 
Adelphi under Mr Otho Stuart's management, to the 
Criterion under Mr Grant Allen's management, to His 
Majesty's Theatre, where it contrived to follow Mr 
Whelen. This tendency to spread was further pro- 
moted by Messrs Vedrenne and Barker themselves, who, 
at the height of their Court Theatre management, moved 
to the Savoy Theatre. The change of house, however, 
proved a failure. Unable to meet the increased expense, 
the partnership came to an end in 1907, Thereafter the 
repertory " theatre " began to accompany Mr Barker 
from place to place, appearing in turn at the Queen's, 
Duke of York's, Little, and Kingsway Theatres. At 
the Duke of York's Theatre another determined attempt 




APPENDICES 309 I 

was made to establish the London movement on a 
lasting basis, Mr Barker, no doubt aided hy Sir 
J. M. Barrie, obtained the assistance of Mr Charles 
Frohman. A powerful body of authors and a strong 
stock company were formed, Mr Frohman lent his 
theatre, Sir J. M. Barrie guaranteed the funds, and with 
the press beating the big drum, the first season was 
inaugurated. The season lasted for seventeen weeks, 
during which time one hundred and seventeen perform- 
ances of ten plays were given. At the end of the first 
season the experiment collapsed. Mr Frohman retired, 
and the patience and capital of other enthusiasts being 
exhausted, the Duke of York's Repertory Theatre came 
to an end. The London movement has never recovered 
from this set-back. 

If one feels assured that the aforementioned Repertory 
Theatre movement in London is made of German shreds 
and leavings of the past, one also feels that without these 
ready-made traditions it might be worse off than it is, 
with an impulse or two less than it possesses. The 
introduction of these traditions, partly by the Stage 
Society and more fully by the Court Theatre manage- 
ment, does enable us to experience to-day a sensation of 
animation running through the country, through cob- 
webby theatres, stimulated directors, authors, players, 
and public. Everywhere in the provinces, as well as 
in the Colonies, repertory theatres are springing up, 
bringing forth every possible form of local, intel- 
lectual, and moral gospel. The first local movement 
in the English provinces — a movement sworn to carry 
on the London tradition — was initiated by Miss 
A. E. F, Horniman, who made a start at Manchester in 
1908. Long previous to this, however, Miss Horniman 
helped to pioneer the movement first in London and 
thereafter in Dublin. Her first enterprise was the 
discovery and exploitation of Mr Bernard Shaw, and the 
financial support of a season at the Avenue Theatre, 
London. Thereafter, ten years later, she came to the 

ni,:ii.,-iM,C00<;lc 



I 



3IO THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

rescue of Ireland, assisted the Irish Literary move- 
ment, took the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, subsidised that 
national speciality, the Irish Theatre Society, and, 
generally speaking, set the Repertory Theatre movement 
on its legs. Three years later she purchased the Gaiety 
Theatre, Manchester, which, under her direction, became 
an understudy of the Vedrenne-Barker enterprise in 
London. The task she had outlined was not difficult of 
fulfilment. During the last twenty years there has been 
a steady growth and increase of private dramatic societies 
— debating, propaganda, and other — not only in London, 
but in all the provincial cities. Local groups of enthusi- 
astic playgoers — play, rehearsal clubs, societies, etc. — 
were thus formed who eagerly awaited the establishment 
of a central institution that should give widest expression 
to their burning ideals. In Manchester these ideals had 
been fed by local enterprises, such as those of Charles 
Calvert, Michael Flanagan, and Robert Courtneidgc. 
Consequently when Miss Horniman set out to provide 
Manchester with an organised theatre, there was the fairly 
"advanced" playgoer waiting to receive her and fully 
prepared to co-operate in promoting the objects of her 
undertakings. These objects were : 

To provide Manchester with (i) a Repertory Theatre, 
with a regular change of programme, not wedded to any 
one school of dramatists, but thoroughly catholic, em- 
bracing the finest writings of the best authors of all ages, 
and with an especially wide-open door to present-day 
British writers, who will not now need to sigh in vain 
for a hearing, provided only that they have something to 
say worth listening to and say it in an interesting and 
original manner. (2) A permanent Manchester Stock 
Company of picked front-rank actors. (3) Efficient pro- 
duction. (4) Popular prices. 

The life of the theatre is still assured. Its repertory 
_ has been a long and varied one, including classical and 
H modern plays. It has paid special attention to ensemble 
H sicting, and unearthed some native talent by way of 





I 



I 



authors. Miss Horniman has apparently conquered 
Manchester in a literary and moral way, and now it 
is pleasant to see her contemplating a descent upon 
London. 

Not much need be said concerning the spread of the 
Repertory Theatre movement in other directions. As I 
have stated, Dublin took the infection before Manchester, 
and the Irish National Theatre was the result, but not 
before the usual small beginnings had been made. These 
beginnings at an intellectual theatre were initiated by 
W, B. Yeats and others in a small hall in Dublin in 1899. 
Thence emerged the "school" of Irish authors, which 
was afterwards to be so closely associated with the Abbey 
Theatre when it entered upon its intellectual career in 
1904. A further step in this national movement was 
taken when Mr W. G. Fay organised a company of 
exclusively Irish players in 190Z. In this way the Irish 
National Theatre was founded and an impetus given in 
Ireland to the " new " Repertory Theatre traditions. The 
sight of Dublin organising its literary theatre and putting 
it in working order for the use of its own playwrights 
stirred up other centres, and led more than one — Ulster 
among them— to follow the fashion in literary theatres 
and groups of local writers and authors. 

Following Manchester came Glasgow with its Citizen's 
Theatre in 1 909, In the Citizen's Theatre we have a break 
from the privately endowed to the publicly owned theatre 
— such as Germany possesses in abundance. In the case of 
the Glasgow Theatre, the concern was floated as a company 
with a nominal capital of ^^3000, of which 2000 shares 
of ^l each were offered for sale. The objects of the 
company were stated as follows : 

" I. To establish in Glasgow a Repertory Theatre 
which will afford playgoers and those interested in the 
drama an opportunity of witnessing such plays as are 
rarely presented under the present touring company 
system ; 

"2. To organise a Stock Company of first-class actors 

i DigmzcdbyGOOgle 



312 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

and actresses for the adequate representation of such 
plays ; 

"3. To conduct the business of theatrical managers 
and play producers in Glasgow and other places so as to 
stimulate a popular interest in the more cultured, im- 
portant, and permanent forms of dramatic art ; and 

"4. To encourage the initiation and development of 
a purely Scottish drama by providing a stage and an 
acting company which will be peculiarly adapted for the 
production of plays national in character, written by 
Scottish men and women of letters." 

These objects disclose that the Glasgow Repertory 
Theatre is designed to be a literary and moral theatre, 
aiming to express Glasgow through its own authors and 
to foster the latest principles of interpretation, naturalistic 
and realistic. 

With the foundation of the Liverpool Repertory 
Theatre in 1911 we reach a new departure and a more 
hopeful stage of the Repertory Theatre movement. 
Hitherto the provincial branch of the repertory movement 
had occupied itself almost solely with the new problems 
of interpretation, such as ensemble and psychological 
acting, but with the coming of the Liverpool Theatre a 
period of experiment with the problems of representation 
is inaugurated, and, as I have mentioned in another 
chapter, Mr Basil Dean begins to inquire into reforms 
in staging, lighting, and decoration with which Max 
Reinhardt is actively engaged at Berlin. To these reforms 
he proposes to add some of his own, and to-day being 
invited to co-operate in the foundation of Birmingham's 
Repertory Theatre, he commences to set that city expand- 
ing along desirable artistic lines. 

It is not too much to hope that Mr Dean's initiative 
may lead to the spread of the artistic-commercial Repertory 
Theatre in the English provinces, and that Sheffield, 
Leeds, and Bristol may organise their new theatres on 
really advanced lines. London tried its hand at some- 
thing of the kind, but as usual could make nothing 



APPENDICES 



313 



r lasting of an advanced movement. The attempt of the 
Haymarket and Little Theatres to organise themselves 
artistically into being has been a failure, as yet. Appended 
is a chronological table of the intellectual movement in the 
German Theatre and the modern corresponding one in 
the English Theatre. 



Rdbim of the«lt« ■rchiteetuie. 



i8[h-i9ih 



Tlie Progressive Municipal 
Theatre ( Diiueldorf] 



Schiller 
Goethe 



■9tb Saxe-Mciningen Co. 



Rerorm icdr%= ensemble. 
, ( literary. 

" ''""^=1 symbolic. 

J I cultural, 

" J \ Daiumlistic. 

„ l theatre -iDlimslc. 

" ■( speech = astiuaJ. 

I icenery shkstoiical ai 
[ racy. 

(itig:iiig=highly rcaliitic. 
production = lyntbo. aesthetic. 



tsl 

V Munich itftging — >iiiiphfie<l(NFwShakesp«aieui}, 

in J 



Freien BUhne 

L_ 



Reform /■;"''« * Pt*""*- 



I Otto Brahmizl^bok^- Retnuidt 

< cal acting. " Brille " f Natanliim. 

~ " \ Intimacy. 



Repertory. 



"Schall und Kiuch" Reatiim, 
KIcines Theater Symbolitin. 

Neuci Theater | ^^'^°- . . 



Ensemble- 
Repertory. 
Thealtc 

The Sptciicle 
Play 

■tti 



jg^GoogU 



314 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



. lodcpeDdent Theatie 

. Avenue TTwalie 

L SUge Sodcly . 

, CouilThotfe . 



u 



I 



I 

CiiteiioD Theatre 

Adelphi Theatre 

Kings way Theatre . 

Savoy Theatre .... 

Queen's Theatre 

Hu Majetty's Tbealre [Aiitiaooc 

Royalty Thealre 
■S84. Growth of priTBte debating lociei 
to play-pioducing, rehciuial clubs, 
191a. 

Pruvincial Repertory Thcati 
societies : — 

1899. Iriih Literary Movement . 
1904, liiih National Theatre 
1907. Manchester Literary Theatre 
1909, Glasgow Liteiaiy Theatre 
igil. Liverpool Repertory Theatre . 



f. T. Giein). 

Miss Hornimaii). 
(Frederick Whelm). 
(Vedienne aitd VaiVa). 



(Gianl Alia). 
(Otho Stuart) 
(Lena Ash well). 



(Vedrenne and Barker}. 

(Vedrenne and Barker}. 

(Wheien and Dana). 

(Vedrenne and Edie). 
I, I Playgoers' Club, O.P. Clob, 
c. ^ Dramatic Debaters, 
J Gallery First Nighteri, etc. 

:, Focussing activities of privat 



(Veau). 

(Veats and Mia HomimaD). 

(Miss Horniroan}. 

(AlTred Waring). 

(Basil Dean). 



n Tiehame). 



Colonial Repertory Theatres :^ 

Adelaitle Literary Theatre . . (Brycei 

Sydney SUge Society. 

Melbourne Repertory Theatre . (Gt^an M'Mabon}. 

Attempt to found an artistic Repertory Theatre ia London :- 
Hayinarket Theatre .... (Herbert Trench), 
Liltle Theatre (Gettnide Kingston). 

Growth of propagandist play 
1907. The PUy Actors. 
I911. The New Players, etc. 
1911. Foundation of the Cabaret Theati 

Other movements contributing to the dramatic movement 
Foreign enterprises of comparative and educational value : — 
German Theatre in Loi^don. 
French Theatre in London. 
Japanese Players. 
Sicilian Players. 



"The Golden Calf." 



English enterprises : — 
Shakespeare Festival 
Polk Song and Dattce Revival 
Morality Play Revival 
Pageant Plays . 
ViUage Drama Movemeni 
Ma*ic Hall EnteipriK 



(Tree, Benson). 

(Cecil Sharp, Mary NeaJ). 

(Poel). 

(Lonis Parker). 

[M'Evoy, The Deioiuhire Players), 

[Coliseum, Palace Tbealre). 




I 



APPENDICES 315 

IV. EXPLANATION OF THE REVOLVING 
STAGE SET FOR A REPRESENTATION OF 
THE FIRST PART OF FAUST 
In order to judge the advantages and disadvantages 
which the revolving stage offers to the producer of drama 
with a great variety of scenes, it is necessary to consider 
it in relation to various productions worked out according 
to a number of plans. The plan reproduced in this book 
gives, nevertheless, a sufficiently definite idea of the com- 
plication of the mechanism and different resources of the 
system. 

In the installation of the first part of Fausin theDeutschcs 
Theater, Berlin, the revolving stage is utilised both in 
its upper and lower part. Thus the Prologue com- 
mences in Heaven, in a scene built on the arch of the 
Cave of Auerbach, twelve feet above the stage. For the 
second scene the revolving stage is turned one quarter 
of its circuit and the Laboratory of Dr Faustus appears. 
Another quarter of turn and the Promenade faces the 
footlights. The part of the Promenade situated before 
the City gate represents an undulating ground rising 
gradually fifteen feet till it reaches the gate. Behind 
this gate, hidden from the eyes of the spectators, is a 
construction in iron, twenty feet high, which can contain 
sixty men. This cage is just the height of the mountain 
upon which the Walpurgis Night scene will take place. 
The structure, moreover, contains, at a height of ten 
feet, several spaces designed to represent the Sorcerer's 
Kitchen, later the Prison and the Cave of Auerbach. 
A roadway passes to the left of the scene leading to 
stone steps by which access is gained to the top of the 
iron structure. 

The play commences with the following sets : — The 
Prologue in Heaven ; the Laboratory ; the Promenade ; 
Marguerite's Chamber ; the Enclosure. 

After the first inter^, the Garden takes the place of 
the Promenade, the Prison replaces the ICitcbAsv^ 'Je*. 



>^ 



3i6 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 

Laboratory is replaced by the Church, and Marguerite's 
Chamber by that of Martha. The scene of the second 
act is prepared by removing the accessories of the Road- 
way, the Chamber of Marguerite, the Church, the En- 
closure, and completing with rocks and trees the ground 
prepared for the Walpurgis Night. 



V. TABLE OF PRODUCTIONS 

Talcen from Das Deutsche T/jtattr, Berlin^ and supplemented 
by a list supplied by Mr Siegfried Jacobsohn. 

Kleines Theater Neues Theater 

1902 
Aug. ig.Openirgperformancc. 

Three one-act plays by Fel. 

Schneider,Gu5tav Wied,Max 

Drcycr,already played 1901- 

2 in "Schall und Rauch." 
Sept. 25, Sersnisitmui, by Leo 

Feld. 
Oct. 13. Rausch {Intoxication^ 

by Strindberg. 
Oct. 29. Ackermann^ by Felix 

Hollander and Lothar 

Schmidt, 

»Nov. 15. Saleme, by Oscar 
Wilde. 
The Importance of Being 
Earnest, by Oscar Wilde. 

Both plays in the afternoon 
before an invited audience. 
Dec. 17. Erdgtist, by Frank 
K Wedekind. 

■ Jan. 

L 



1903 

Jan. 16, Erdgeiit^ asth per- 
formance, 

Jan. 23. The Lower Depths, by 
Maxim Gorki. 



APPENDICES 



3^7 



Klzines Theater 
1903 
Feb. 22. (Matinee, private per- 
formance for the Lessing 
Society) SaUme, by Oscar 
Wilde. 



Neues Theater 



April 12, Afternoon, Serrnissi- 
m« J- ZtfiK A «» j^i «/r (a us " Sc h al 1 
und Rauch "), 300th per- 
formance. 



Feb. 25. Dif Loia/halw^ by 

Ludwig Thoma. 
Mar, 19. Die Kreuzehchreibtr^ 

by Ludwig Anzengruber. 
April 3. PcUtas und Afeiisandt, 

by Maurice Maeterlinclc. 



May I, Pelleai und Mtlhattde, 
25th performance. 

May 15, till the end of the 
month. Han Nicses' Com- 
pany from the Josefsiadt 
Theatre, Vienna. 



June 23. The Lauier Depths, 

150th performance. 
July 15. End of season. 
Aug. I. Beginning of new 



Aug. 16. Beginning of new 
season: Pe/leas und Meliiaade. 

Aug. 25. Dsppeluihumord^ by 
Ludwig Anzengrubcr. 

Sept. 4. A Woman of Nb Im- 
portance^ by Oscar Wtlde. 

Sept. 18. Pelleai und Melisandty 
50th performance. 



' Oct. I+. The Lnoer 
a 5 0th performance. 


Dipih,, 


Sept. 29. 

Wildc. 
Sept, 30. 

by Fn. 


Salomt, by Oscar 

Dir Kammenangir^ 
nt Wdekind. 

D,g,t,.c^byG00Sle 1 



3i8 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



Klbines Thkatbr 

1903 

Oct. 16. The RttveH^ hy Henri 

Becque. 
Oct. 30. Elektra^ by Hugo von 

Hofmannsthal. 



,31. Unttrskhj by Her- 
ann Bahr. 



NSUES Thbatbk 

1903 



Nov. 14. Lapi da Herzem^ by 

Robert de Flcn and G. dc 

Caillavet. 
Nov. 2j. Sc iit dot Leim. by 

Frank Wedekind. 
Dec. 9. Fruits af EnUghtmmmt^ 

by Leo Tolstoi. 
Dec. 19. Der Sirtm, bv Max 

Halbe. 



1904 

Jan. 5. Sabme, 7Sth perform* 
ance. 



Jan. 13. T/ie Lower Depths, 
300th performance. 



Jan. 16. Die DeppelgSnger-Ko- 

mVdie, by Adolf Paul. 
Feb. 9. Eieitra, 50th perform- 



Jan. 14. Minna van Bamhelm, 
by G. £. Lessing. 



Feb. 27. Mutter Landitraae, by 
Wilhelm Schmidtbonn. 



Feb. 10. Sister Beatrice j by 
Maurice Maeterlinck. 

The Man of Destiny^ by 
Bernard Shaw. 

Feb. 19. MetUtty by Euripides. 



Mar. 3. Candida, by Bernard 
Shaw. 



n,g,t,7.dt,'G00glc 



APPENDICES 



Kleines Theater 

1904 
Mar. 12. Dts Pastors Rhhy by 
Erich Schlaikjer. 



July 15. End of season. 

Aug, 1, Beginning of season. 
Aug. 14. The Lmvcr Depths, 
400th performance, 



Nov. 9. Eleitra, 75Ch pcrfor 
ancc. 



Neues Theater 
1904 



Mar. 19. Ksnigsrecht, by W. A. 



April 6. MSrtyrer, by Georg 
Rcicke. 



April 12. Kokttlerie^ by Raoul i 

Aucrnheimer. 
April 22. Kahale und Litht, by 1 

F. Schiller. 



May 10, Miss Julia^ by August 
Smndbcrg. 



May 18. Einen Jux will tr tich 

machen, by Nestroy. 
July 15, End of season. 
Aug, I. Beginning of season. 



Sept. 14. Salome, looth per- 
formance. 

Sept. 23. ^rt/^m/ (reproduction). 
Prologue by Frank Wede- 
kind. 

Oct. 7. The Pretenders, by 
Henrik Ibsen. 

Oct. 21. The Merry IViwf of 
fVindsory by Shakespeare, 



Nov. 22. DergrUne Kakadu, by 

Arthur Schnitzler. 

Der tapfert Cassian, by 

Arthur Schnitzler. 
Dec. 8. Die slUlen Stuien, by 

Svcn Lange. 



15. Die MorgenrVtt, by 
sef Ruederer. 



Dec. 23. Der Graf vmChartlais^ 
by Richard Bcer-Hofmann. 



iM,Coo<;le 



320 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 
Klbines Theater Neues Theater 

1904 
Dec. 30. Dlt NtuvtrmSbhen^ by 

Bjernstjernc Bjornson. 
Dec. 31, Ahschitdisouper, by 
Arthur Schmtzler. 



April. 28. Rosmersholm, 
Henrilc Ibsen. 



Feb. 4. Atigele, by Otto Erich 

Hartleben, 

Ahichied vom Rfgiment, by 

Otto Erich Hartleben. 
Feb. 1 2. The Bear, by Anton 

Tschechow, 
Mar. 10. Sanjia, by Hermann 

Bahr. 



1905 
Jan. 31. v^ Midsummer Night'i 

Dream, by Shakespeare. 
Feb. I. Graf van Charc/ais, 

25th performance. 



Mar. 31. Mela Kontgtn, by 
Hermann Stchr. 



May 5. The Lnver Depths, 
500th performance. 

July 7. footer Rieimann, by 

Karl Strccker. 
July 15. End of season. 
Aug. I. Beginning of s» 

Aug. 31. Last performance 
under Reinhardt's manage- 
ment at the Kleincs Theater. 



April 30. /f Midsummer Night's 
Dream, 75th performance. 



May II. End of season. 



Aug, 1 6. Beginning of season. 



Oct. i2.lAlMidsummer\Night'i 
Dream^ i joth|perfortiuncc. 



„,.„a.,Ga 



APPENDICES 



Deutsches Theater 

1905 

Oct. 19. Opening performance. 

KUthehrn v. Hrilbronn, by 
Heinrich von Kleist. 
Nov. 9. Tki Merchant c/Ftnice, 
by Shakespeare. 



Neues Theater 
1905 



Nov. 25. A Midsummtr Night's 
Dream, I 50th performance. 

Dec. 30. Liehei/(utty by Maurice 
Don nay. 



1906 
Jan. 3. The Merchant of Vtnkt^ 

50th performance. 
Jan. \X. A Florentine Tragedy^ 
by Oscar Wilde. 

The Well of the Saintsyhj 
J. M, Synge. 

Der Herr KomminSr, by 
Georges Courtelinc, 
Feb. 2. (Edipm und die Sphinx, 
by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. 



1906 



Mar. a8. The Merchant of 
Venice, lOOth perfor 



Mar. 16. Boubeuroehe, by 
Georges Courteline. 

(Originally produced, 5th 
April 1902, by " Schall und 
Rauch.") 



April 12. (Edipus, 2Sth per- 
formance. 

April 25. Die Mllschu/digeny by 
Goethe. 

Tartufe, by MoUferc. 



Mar. 31. Casar and Cleopatra^ 
by Bernard Shaw. 



May II. Orpheus in the Undtr- 
ground, by Cremicux-Pser- 
hofer. Music by Offenbach. J 



iM^Coo<;lc 




322 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 
Nbues Theater 



Deutsches Theater 



Aug. 23. Beginning of season. 
Sept. 15. A (Vinur's Tale, by 

S h alee spc arc. 
Oct, 17. Der Liebetitnig, by 

Leo Greincr. 



1906 
June30. Last performance under 
Reinhardt's management at 
the Ncues Theater. 




Nov. 30. jf fVinler'i Talt, 
. 50th performance. 



Dec. 20. Ringtlspitl^ by Her- 
mann Babr. 



Kammerspiele 

1906 

Nov. 8. Opening performance. 

Ghosts, by Henrilc Ibsen. 
Nov. 20, FrUklings Eruiacben 
{Springs Awakening\ by 
Frank Wcdekind. 



Dec. 6. Man and Superman^ by 
Bernard Shaw. 



1907 1907 

Jan. 4. Die Geschuiister, by 
Goethe. 

Jan. 7. Das Friedensfiit, by 
Gerhart Hauptmann. 
Jan. 29. Romn and Juliet, by 
Shakespeare. 

Feb. 7. Fr&hlings Ertvacken 
[Springs Av/aiening), 50th 
performance. 
Mar. 8. The Impector General, 
by NicoUiis Gogol. 

Mar. II. Hedda Gaiter, by 
Henri k Ibsen, 



^^^^^^^^^^1 


APPENDICES 323 ^ 


Deutsches Theater 


Kammbrspiele 


1907 


1907 


Mar. 19. Der Gstt der Rachr, 




by Schalom Asch. 






Mar. 25. Love's Comedy, by 
Henrik Ibsen. 




April 1 5. Aglavaine und Se/yselte^ 
by Maur. Maeterlinck. 


Apr. 25. Rohert und Bertram, 




by Gustav Raedcr. 






May 2. Gyges und mn Ring, by 
Friedrich Hebbel. 


June 7. End of season. 


June?. End of season. 


Aug, 8. Beginning of season. 
Sept. 14. Pritt-L Fritdrich ven 


Aug. 8. Beginning of season. 
Aug. 29. FrSuUin Julie {Miss 
Julia), by Aug. Strindberg 

(reproduction). 


Homburg, by Hcinrich von 

Kleist. 






Sept. 19. Liebe/ei (Light o'Lne)^ 
by Arthur Schnitzlcr. 


Oct, 17. Twilfth Night, by 
Shakespeare. 


Oct. 26. Esther, by Franz 




Griltparzer. 

The Servant aftwe Masters, 




by Carlo Goldoni. 




Nov. 9. Der Marquis von Keith, 
by Frank Wcdckind. 


Dec. 20. Der Arzt ttimr Ehre 


Dec. 9. Catharina, GrSfin von 
Armagnac, by VollmtlUcr. 


{The Donor on his Hommr), 




by Calderon de k Barca 




(Presber). 




1908 


H 


Jan. 10. Die RUuhr [The Rob- 




bers), by Friedr. SchiUcr. 


/^ 




D<Mz«it»GooQle ^H 



324 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



Deutsches Theater 
1908 



Mar. 7. Der Ksmpagmm^ by 
Adolph I'Arronge (celebra- 
tion of I'Arronge's 70th 
birthday). 



April II. Twftfih Night, looch 

performance. 
April 22. DU Rauber {The 

Rabbin), 50th performance. 
May 16. UHeh FUrst v. IVal- 

deck, by Herbert Eulcnberg. 



Kammerspielb 



Jan. 23. Hoehzeil, by Emil 

Strauss. 
Feb. 9. FrUhUngt Eruiachtn 

{Spring's Awaitning), 200th 

performance. 
Feb. 27. Lyiistrafa, by L . 

Greiner (Aristophanes). 



Mar. 30. Drr Tor und der Tad, 
by H. V. Hofmannsthal. 
W/H, by Ossip Dymow. 



June 7. End of season. 
Aug. 8. Beginning of season. 
Des Mterti und der Liehe 

Willen, by Franz Grillparzer. 
Aug. 25. Medea, by Franz 

Grillparzer. 



May 24. Lyililrata, $Oth per- 
formance. 
June 7. End of season. 
Aug. 8. Beginning of season. 



Sept. 9, Kettenglieder {Linki\\}y 
Hermann Heijermans. 



Sept. 4. Sszialaristokraltn^ by 
■ ) Holz. 



Sept. 16. A'/n^ icar, by Shake- 
speare. 



Sept. 14. Terahya {Die Dorf- 
schule). Nach Taktda Ixumt, 
by Wolfgang v. Gcrsdorff. 

Kim He, by Wolfgang v. 
GersdorfF, 



^o^^l 



^^^^^^H^H 


APPENDICES 345 f 


Deutsches Theater 


Kammerspiele 


1908 


.908 


Sept. 29. The 2Sth anniversary 




of the Dcutschen Theaters. 




Kabale und Liebe. 






Oct. 16. Clavigo, by Goethe. 


Oct. 21. Dii Vtnchwirutfg da 




Fitfco %u Genua, by Schiller. 






Oct. 30. Eine Htiratsgischichu, 




by Nicolei Gogol. 


Nov. 5. King Lear, 2Sth per- 




formance. 




Nov. 14. Revolution in KrSk- 




winkel, by Job. Nestroy. 






Nov. 21. The Doctor's Dilemma, 




by G. B. Shaw. 




Dec. 5. Niemand weisi ts, by 




Theodor WolfF. 




Dec. 22. Der Graf von Gleicken, 




by Wilh. Schmidtbonn. 


1909 


1909 


Jan. 29. Die Lehrerin, by Alex- 


^^ 


ander Brody. 


^^^^^1 


Feb. 26. Revolution in Krah- 


^^^^^1 


uiinie/y looth performance. 


'^^^^H 




Mar. 6. The Donor's Dilemma, ^H 




50th performance. H 


Mar. II, Medea, 25th per- 


H 


formance. 


H 


Mar. 25. Faust. 


1 




April 25. Wolkenkuckucksheim, ■ 




by Josef Ruedercr. ■ 




April 26. Der Graf von Gleichen, ■ 




50th performance. H 


^ April 27. Faust, 25th perform- 


H 


^L ancc. 




■ 


May +. Der unverttandtne H 


L 


^uftK, by Ernst v. Wol- ^| 


m 


zogen. ^1 




DotizodbvCoo^le ^H 








326 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 
Dedtsches Theater Kammerspiele 



1909 
May 31. End of season. 

Hamiti, by Shakespeare 

Dan Carloi, by Schiller. 
The Taming of the Shre 
by Shakespeare, 



1909 
May 31. End of season. 

Major Barbara^ by Ber- 
nard Shaw. 

Dai Helm, by Octave 
Mirbeau and Thad^ Natan- 



1910 

Dtr gute KSnig Dagaberl^ 
by Andre Rivoirc and Felix 
Gallon. 

Ctiriitinas Meimrehe, by 
Hugo von Hofmannsthal. 

JuJiih, by Hebbel. 

Die Braul von Messina, 
by Schiller. 



I910 

Dtr Naturliche Vater^ 
Herbert Eulcnberg. 

HUfe'. Em Kind is 
Him mil gtfallen, by 
helm Schmidtbonn. 

Gawdn, by Eduard Stuc- 
ken. 

SumuHiTi, by F. Freksa. 



by 



Wil- 



ALPHABETICAL LIST OF AUTHORS^ 



Anzengruber, Die Kreu: 

jchreiber. 
— Doppelselhstmard, 
Aristophanes, i. Greiner. 
Asch, Der Gatt der Rache. 
Aucrnhcimer, Koketterie. 

I fiahr, RingeUpiel. 

- Sanna. 
I — Unttrsich. 
T'Bccque, Dtt Rabi 
r Raven). 

Bcer-Hofmann, Graf von C 

BjSrnson, Die Neuvermah/li 
Brody, Die Lehrertn. 



{The 



Calderon, Der Arzl seiner Ehre, 
Courtehne, Boukourofhe, 
— Der Herr KommissHr. 

Don nay, LiebesUute. 
Dymow, Nju. 

Eulcnberg, Ulricb Flirsl v, 

IValdeck. 
Euripides, Medea (iJbers. v. 

Wilamowitz-MOllendorf ). 

Feld, Serenissimus. 
Flcrs, de (u. G. dc Caillavet), 
Logik dts H trans. 



> It has cot been possible to urcy this list beyond Mty I909, i 



APPENDICES 



GcrsdorfF, v., KimHt. 
Goctbe, Ciaviga. 
• — Faust. 

— Dit Gticbwiiter. 

— Die Mitickuldigin. 
Gogol, Eine Heiratigtschiehu. 

— Der Rrviior {The Inspector 

Gtntral). 
Goldoni, Der Diener zweier 

Gorki, Nacktasyl [The Lower 

Depth). 
Greincr, Der L'tebeskSnig. 

— Lyshlrala (Aristophanes). 
Grillparxer, Either. 

— Mtdea. 

— Dts Metres a. der Liebe 

ffeiJe^. 

Halbc, Der Strem. 

Hartlcbcn, jlhschied vem Regi- 

— Jnge/e. 

Hauptmann, Das friedens/est. 
Hebbel, Gyges und sein Ring. 
Heijcrmaiins, KettengHeder. 
Hofmannsthal, v., Eleklra. 

— (Edipat und die Sphinx. 

— Der Tor und der Tod. 
Hollander, Adermann. 
Holz, Sozia/arisieiraten. 

Ibsen, Die Gespensler [Ghosts). 
_ Hedda GahUr. 

— KronprUtendenten [The Pre- 

tenders). 

— KomSdie der Liebe [Layers 

Camedy). 

— Rosmertholm. 

KleUi, H. v., Kaththen v. Heil- 
brtnn. 

— Prinz Friedrich von Hamburg. 



L'Arronge, A., Der Kontpagnon. 
Langc, Sven, Die stUIen Stuben. 
Lcssing, Minna von Barnhelm. 

Maeterlinck, Schwester Beatrix 
(Sister Beatrice). 

— Pelleas und Melisande. 

— Aglavaine und Selysitte. 
Molitre, Der TariUf {Tartufe). 

Nestroy, Einen Jux will er sieh 
machen. 

— Revolution in KrShwinkel. 

Offenbach, Orpheus in der Un- 
ierwelt {Orphitts in the 
Underground). 

Paap, KSnigsrecht. 

Paul, Die DoppelgHnger-Kamlldie. 

Raeder, Robert und Bertram. 
Reicke, MOrlyrer. 
Ruederer, Die Mergenrttt. 

— JValienkuciucksheim. 

Schiller, Kabale und Liebe. 

— Fiesco. 

— Die Rauber. 
Schlaikjcr, Des Pastors Riete. 
Schmiilt, Lothar, Ackermann. 
Schmidtbonn, Mutter Land- 

— Graf von Gleichen. 
Schnitzler, Ahschiedsseuper. 

— Der grline Kaiadu. 

- — Der tapfere Cassian. 

— Liebe lei. 

Shakespeare, KSnig Lear {King 
Lear). 

— Die lustigen iVeibrr v. IVind- 

sor [The Merry fVivis of 
fVindsor). 

n,i..ii,GoOgle 



321 



THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



Shakespeare, Romeo and Julia 
(Romeo und Juliet). 

— Kaufinann v. yenedig {Ater- 

,ha„, .ffe^U,). 

— Sommernachtstraum (Mtd- 

futnmer Night's Dream). 

— DoilVintermanhen [ff^interi 

Tale). 

— fVas ihr wallt (Twelfth 

Night). 
Shaw, /trzt am Scheidnvrge (Doc- 
tor's Dilemma). 

— Candida. 

— CSiar und Cleopatra (Cteiar 

and Cleopatra). 

— Afensch und Oiermensch 

(Man and Superman). 

— Der Schlachtenlenker (The 

Man of Destiny). 
Stchr, Mela Konegen, 
Strauss, Hochzeit. 
Strccker, footer Riekmann. 
Strindberg, Frilulein Julie (Miss 

Juli. 

— Rausth. 
Synge, Df heilige Brunnen (Thi 

fVell of the Saints). 




Takeda Izumo, Terakoya. 
Thoma, Die Lokalbahn. 
Tolstoi, FrUchte der Bildung 

(Fn^iti of Enlightenment). 
Tschechow, Der BSr (The 

Bear). 

VollmCller, Graf von Charolais. 

— Katharina von Armaptac. 

Wcdekind, Erdgiisi. 

— FrUhlings Erwachen (Spring's 

Awakening). 

— Der KammersHnger. 

— Der Marquis von Keith. 

— So ist das Leben. 

Wilde, Bunbury (Importance of 
being Earnest). 

— Eine forenlinischf Tragtdit 

(A Florentine Tragedy). 

— Eine Frau ohne Bedeutung 

(fVomanofNo Importance). 

— Salome. 

Wolff, Th., Niemand weiss es. 
Wolzogcn, Der unverslandene 
Mann. 



^^^^^9H^^| 


PP INDEX ^^1 


Academy, German Royal, 84. 


Calvert, Louis, 80. 


Akim, 37. 


Campbell, Mrs Patrick, 100. 


Antoine, 100, iii. 


Carmi, Maria, 333. 


Appia, Adolph, 44, loi. 175- 


Cave of the Golden Caff, 39. 


Archer, William, 65, 86. 87, 181. 


CUop&tre, 104, 181. 


197. 


Coleridge, 53. 


Arronge, Adolph 1', 49, 59. '73- 


Comidie franfaise, 36, 61. 


As You Like It, 160. 


Comedy 0/ Errors, 187. 




Conder, Josiah, 139. 


Baksl, 44, 104. 


Craig, Gordon, 17, 18, 19, 30, 23, 


Barker, Granville, a6, 80, 81, 85, 


30,31.44,46, 53, 7», 85, 91, 


189, 190, its, 359 


92. 93- 94, 95. 96, 97, 98, 99. 


BatTie, Sir J. M., 61. 


100, loi, 106, 107, 154, 176, 


Beaver Fur, Tkt, 37, 38. 


,84. 


Behrend, Max, ii». 




Berlioz, 35. 

Bernhardt. Sarah, 184. 
Btthlekem, 98, 106. 
Bierbaum, O. J., 70. 
Blue Bird, 39, 85, 103, 197, 
B6cklin, 84, 101. 
Bourchier, Arthur, 78. 


£>as Friendensfest, 56. 

Das Gerettete Venedig, 93. 

De Quinwy, 53, 91. 

Der Graf von Gleichen, 187. 

Dingelstedt, Franz von, 75. 

Doctor's Dilemma, 183, 187. 

Don Juan, 85. 

Dreycr, 38. 

Dumont, Louise, 43, 67, 68. 

Uuse, Eleonora, 100, 106, 


Brahm, Otio. 18, 35. 36,41, 4^ 
43, 45, 48, 54. S^. 59. 6o- 6*. 
63,66,67,68,69,89,173,177. 

Brandes, Georg, 61, 163. 


BriUe, 40. 70. 




Brackner. 84. 


Earth Spirit, 181. 


Burde, Emil, 33. 


Elvstedt, 68. 


Burgess, loa. 


Engstrand, 37. 


Bute, Marquis of, lot. 


Eulenberg, 118. 


Byrd, 98. 




Byron, 53- 


Eysoldt, Gertrud,^l,4,v*^0■■*•*- 


3>9 -l-'V H 


,,, i,,,„.Conolp ^1 



330 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 



I 



I 



L 



Faust, t6S, 185, 195, [96. 

Faust I/., 194, 196. 

Foldal, 37. 

Freie Buhne, 38, 41, 48, 56, 57, 

58. 7*- 
Frohman, Charles, 24, 60,62, 157. 
Fuchs, Professor Geoi^, z8, 44. 
Fulda, Ludwig, 186. 

Gawan, 187. 
George, Stefan, 41, 46. 
Ghesis, 37, 56. 
Gill, Eric, 39. 

Godwin, E. W., 99, 100, loa. 
Goelhe, 28, 29, 41, 54, SS> ^9. 
117, 168, 194, 19s, 196, 221. 
Gore, Spencer F,, 39, 
Gorky, 45. 73- 

Gozzi, 154, 245, 246, 247, 2S5, 
Gregor, Professor, 28. 

Hagemann, Carl, z8, 60, 172. 
Halbe, Max, 56. 
HamUt, 93, 97, 104, 106. 
Hamperdinck, Professor, 223, 

238. 
Haodel, 105. 
Harding, D, Lyn, 78. 
Harrison, Austin, 39. 
Hartleben, D. E., 56. 
Harvey, Martin, 211, 119, 22a, 

259, 260. 
Hauptmant), Gerhard, 37, 38, 56, 

58. 
Hebbel. 186. 
Hedda, 67. 
Hedda Gabkr, 89. 
Heins, Elsa, 34. 
Herr und Ditner, 186. 
Hevesi, Dr Alex., 28. 
Hofmannsthal, 41, 46, 92, 193. 
Housmann, Laurence, 98, 106. 

Ibsen, 37, 38, 56, 58, 62, 63, 64, 
65, 66, 67, 6S, 89, 100, 126, 

172, 181, Z20. 



IfHand, 77. 

Irving, Sit Henry, 27. 

Irving, H. B., 54, 100, loi, 117. 

Jones, Henry Arthur, 190. 

Ju£tk, 186. 

Julius Casar, 73, 79, 80. 

Kagura, 136, 137. 
Kahane, 126, 127, 129, 131, 188. 
Kaini, Josef, 38, 58, 173. 
Kayssler, Friedrich, 40, 43, 71, 

182. 
Kean, Charles, 75, 76, 79, 99, 100. 
Kessler, Count, 91, 92. 
Kilian, Dr, 28. 
King John, 160. 
King Lear, 85, 
Kleist, Heinrich von, 55, 191, 

Kommisarzhcvsky, Madame, Si. 
Kiinstlerhaus, 40. 

La utensch lager, 74. 
Lee, Sir Sydney, i6j. 
Lewis, Wyndham, 39. 
Lindemann, 67, 88. 
Littmann, Professor, 44. 
Loewenfeld, Dr, 28. 
London Stage Society, 38. 
Lbvborg, 67. 
Lower Depths, 45, 74. 
Lykiardopoulas, M., 71, 73, 

Maclclin, 77. 

Maeterlinck, 41, 46, 4S. 

Marlowe, 158. 

Masi/ue of Love, 105. 

Meierholdt, &2. 

Meiningen, Duke of, 74. 

Mephisto, 34. 

Midsummer Nighfs Dream, 47, 

48, tS6. 
Miracle, The, 150, 151, 223, 224, 

225, 226, 227. 
Mirage, Le, 93. 
M^o\w\, Men,, 181. 



ii,Coogle , 



^■i^HH 


^^» INDKX 331 1 


■ Moliere, 154, i64- 


Robinson, Cayley, 29. 85. 1 


■ Morgenstern, Christian, 40- 


Rodenback. Georges, 93. i 


Morris, William, loa, iii. 




Morlensgard, 38. 


Rouche. Jacques, 85. ■ 


Mottl, as- 


Rousseau, 55. H 


Muck Ada About Nothing, 106, 


Ruskin, John, 63, ■ 


196. 
MuUer, 37. 


Sacre Rappresentationi, 104. 


Munch, Edward, 84- 


5fl/<»«.f, 4*, 43. 46, 85. 181. 


r 


Savits, Jocza, 86, 87, 103, 17a. 


1 Naehtasyl, 46. 


Saxe-Meiningen Court Company, 

S3. 74- 
Seapin, 165. 
Schall und Rauch. 33, 40i 4'. 4*. 


W Naturalism, 54. 




Nibelungen, 82, 83. 




Nietzsche, Friedrich, 17, 19, 108, 


70, 71. 
Schelling, 55. 


„.'-"■, - 


Schenkel, 168. 


Nijmski, 105. 


Schiller, 54, SS. «54. '68, 248- 




Schlenther, 58. 


Oberxwr Strdmer, 34. 


Schmidtbono, Wilhelm, 187. 


Oedipus Rtx, 127, 19a, J09, aio, 


Schroder. F. L., 77, 117, 118. 


211, 311, 260. 
Opera House, Covent Garden, 


Schubert, 24. 
Seagull, 82. 


•"- 


Shakespeare, 48. 53. 54, 79. 87. 


OrUck, Emil, 70, 84. 


104, 156. '57. '53. '6'. 163- 


Otway, 91. 


167, 1S9, 196, 220, 221. 




Shaw, G. Bernard, 60, 64, 65, 67, 


Pallenberg, Mai^ S33. 


118, IS7, '7'. i8'. 189, 190- 


Parsifal, 8». 


Shaw, Martin, 98. ■ 


PelUttS and Melisande, 46, 91. 


Sime, 29. 


Phelps, 77. 


Sorma, Agnes, 38. 


_ Pinero, Sir Arthur, 26. 


Spinoza, 55- 


L Planche, 76. 


Stage Society, London, 38. 


1 Poel, William, 28, 48, 87, 103, 


Slahl, Dr, 28, 76. 


P '59. 16^. 193. *59, *6o- 


Stanislawsky, 44, 71, 93. io6. 


■ Pffwer oj Darkness, yi. 


Stern, Ernst, 84, 197, 237, 153, 


Probationers, 38. 


256. 


Pryde, James, 108. 


StOrmer, 38, 


Pnrccll, 98, 105. 


Strauss, Richard, 43. 


L 


Strife, 81. 


1 Rausck, 42, 46. 


Strindberg, 42. 43- 


P Reicher. Emanuel, 4'- 


Stucken, Eduard, 187. 


■ Richtcr, 25. 


Sturm und Drang, 55, i lO. 


Ricketts, Charles, 85. 


Sudermann, 58. 


Riltner, Rudolf, 38. 


SumurUn, 117, 186, 197, 198, 


Robertson. Sir Forbes, 78. "7. 


199. 


. ,«. 


Sweete, Lyal, 39. 


■■ 


D,citi..dbyG00Slc 1 



^^^^^^^^^^^1 


332 THE THEATRE OF MAX REINHARDT 


Talma, 77. 


Theatre, St James's. 245, 355. 


Tamii^efihe 5Af«Wf 158, a6o. 


St Petersbui^. 81. 


Tartvffe, 165, 166. 


Stadt, Salzbui^, 33. 


Tchekoff, 8j- 


Thierry, Edmond, 61. 


Terry, Ellen, 76, 79, 99, 100, 


Tieck, J. L., 55- 


105, "»7- 


Tolstoy, 37. 


Theatre, Antoine's Free, 56. 


Tree, Sir Herbert B., 17.80,81, 


Covent Garden, a 17. 


99, 127. 162, 184,. 


des Arts, 85. 


Trench, Herbert, iS, 29, 30. 


Deutsches, Berlin, 33, 36, 38, 


Trouhanowa, Mme. N,, 233. 


49-50. S'.SS. 59. 61. 86, 87, 


THrandot, 15s, 245. 246. 147. 


119.1*7. 13', 173.174. 175. 


248, 249. 255- 


177, 183, '84.188, 197. 199. 


Tumer, 62. 


^^55-»57- 




Dniry Lane. 79. 


Vallentin, Richard, 40, 45. 48, 74- 


DiJsseldorf, 67, 88, 90. 111,119. 


yeneiian Nif^hi, 240, 141, 242, 


Fran^aise, 61. 


243. ^44. 145- 


German National, no. 


Venice Preserved. 91. 


Glasgow Repertory, 112. 


Vienna Conservatorium, 35, 37. 


Globe. 168. 


VoUmoeller, Karl, 240, 245. 


His Majesty's, 68, 81, 84. 


Votes for Women, 81. 


Kammerspielhaus, 33, 50, 173, 




1B3, 187. 


Wagner, 74, 82, 83, 84, loi, 168, 


Kleines, 42, 45, 47, 49. 


169. 172, 17s. 


Kunstler, Munich, 44, 170, 


Waller, Lewis, 78. 


177, 191. 


Weavers, The, 37. 


Lessing, S9. *'■ 


Wedekind, 43, 118, 181. 


Little, 33. 


Weingartner, 25. 


Liverpool Repertory, 112, 177. 


Wilde, Oscar, 43, 64, 85. 181. 


Meiningen, 75, 


Wilkinson, Norman, 85. 


MoscowArt, 71,71, 73, 74, 81, 


Winter's Tale, 87, 92. 


183, 190. 


Wolzogen, Baron Ernst von, 70. 


Moscow Kleines, 72. 


Wood, T. Martin, 25, 28, 29, 30. 


Neues, 45, 46, 49. 


Wyspianski, 31, 67. 78, I7i- 


Prince of Wales, 260. 




Royal, 46. 


Ytllmv Jacket, 259. 


Savoy, 199. 




Schiller, Chart oti en burg, 1 70. 

1 


Zickel. Martin, 40. 

1 
1 
1 

,( 


^^^P miNTM BH N»\U. M*^ cn.,\.1Tl..«.\«TOW>«. B 


■ „,.,GoJ 




NOV 8 1986 



,yLi.5U.iaao. 



APR 



? 8 1988 



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MAY 1 1988 



m « »90 





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