8. Two women who know David Copperfield talk about his second marriage. David Copperfield.
Memorized Conversations. You can approach still more closely to the material of a play if you offer in speech before your class certain suitable portions from books you are reading or have read. These selections may be made from the regular class texts or from supplementary reading assignments. In studying these passages with the intention of offering them before the class you will have to think about two things. First of all, the author has in all probability, somewhere in the book, given a fairly detailed, exact description of the looks and actions of these characters. If such a description does not occur in an extended passage, there is likely to be a series of statements scattered about, from which a reader builds up an idea of what the character is like. The pupil who intends to represent a person from a book or poem must study the author's picture to be able to reproduce a convincing portrait.
The audience will pass over mere physical differences. A young girl described in a story as having blue eyes may be acted by a girl with brown, and be accepted. But if the author states that under every kind remark she made there lurked a slight hint of envy, that difficult suggestion to put into a tone must be striven for, or the audience will not receive an adequate impression of the girl's disposition.
So, too, in male characters. A boy who plays old Scrooge in A Christmas Carol may not be able to look like him physically, but in the early scenes he must let no touch of sympathy or kindness creep into his voice or manner.
It is just this inability or carelessness in plays attempting to reproduce literary works upon the stage that annoys so many intelligent, well-read people who attend theatrical productions of material which they already know. When Vanity Fair was dramatised and acted as Becky Sharp, the general comment was that the characters did not seem like Thackeray's creations. This was even more apparent when Pendennis was staged.
If you analyze and study characters in a book from this point of view you will find them becoming quite alive to your imagination. You will get to know them personally. As you vizualize them in your imagination they will move about as real people do. Thus your reading will take on a new aspect of reality which will fix forever in your mind all you glance over upon the printed page.
Climax. The second thing to regard in choosing passages from books to present before the class is that the lines shall have some point. Conversation in a story is introduced for three different purposes. It illustrates character. It exposes some event of the plot. It merely entertains. Such conversation as this last is not good material for dramatic delivery. It is hardly more than space filling. The other two kinds are generally excellent in providing the necessary point to which dramatic structure always rises. You have heard it called a climax. So then you should select from books passages which provide climaxes.
One dictionary defines climax: "the highest point of intensity, development, etc.; the culmination; acme; as, he was then at the climax of his fortunes." In a play it is that turning-point towards which all events have been leading, and from which all following events spring. Many people believe that all climaxes are points of great excitement and noise. This is not so. Countless turning-points in stirring and terrible times have been in moments of silence and calm. Around them may have been intense suspense, grave fear, tremendous issues, but the turning-point itself may have been passed in deliberation and quiet.
1. Choose from class reading—present or recent—some passage in conversation. Discuss the traits exhibited by the speakers. Formulate in a single statement the point made by the remarks. Does the interest rise enough to make the passage dramatic?
2. Several members of the class should read certain passages from books, poems, etc. The class should consider and discuss the characterization, interest, point, climax.
3. Read Chapters VI and VII of Silas Marner by George Eliot. Are the characters well marked? Is the conversation interesting in itself? Does the interest rise? Where does the rise begin? Is there any suspense? Does the scene conclude properly? If this were acted upon a stage would any additional lines be necessary or desirable?
4. Read the last part of Chapter XI of Silas Marner. What is the point?
5. Memorize this dialogue and deliver it before the class. Did the point impress the class?
6. Consider, discuss, and test passages from any book which the members of the class know.
7. Present before the class passages from any of the following:
Dickens A Christmas Carol A Tale of Two Cities David Copperfield George Eliot Silas Marner The Mill on the Floss Scott Ivanhoe Kenilworth The Lady of the Lake Mark Twain Huckleberry Finn The Prince and the Pauper O. Henry Short Stories Thackeray Vanity Fair Henry Esmond Pendennis Kipling Captains Courageous Stalkey and Co. Hugo Les Miserables Tennyson Idylls of the King The Princess Arnold Sohrab and Rustum Stevenson Treasure Island Gaskell Cranford Carroll Alice in Wonderland Kingsley Westward Ho! Barrie Sentimental Tommy
Characters in Plays. In acting regular plays you may find it necessary to follow either of the preceding methods of characterization. The conception of a character may have to be supplied almost entirely by some one outside the play. Or the dramatist may be very careful to set down clearly and accurately the traits, disposition, actions of the people in his plays. In this second case the performer must try to carry out every direction, every hint of the dramatist. In the first case, he must search the lines of the play to glean every slightest suggestion which will help him to carry out the dramatist's intention. Famous actors of characters in Shakespeare's plays can give a reason for everything they show—at least, they should be able to do so—and this foundation should be a compilation of all the details supplied by the play itself, and stage tradition of its productions.
In early plays there are practically no descriptions of the characters. Questions about certain Shakespeare characters will never be solved to the satisfaction of all performers. For instance, how old is Hamlet in the tragedy? How close to madness did the dramatist expect actors to portray his actions? During Hamlet's fencing match with Laertes in the last scene the Queen says, "He's fat, and scant of breath." Was she describing his size, or meaning that he was out of fencing trim?
Shakespeare puts into the mouth of Julius Caesar a detailed description of the appearance and manner of acting of one of the chief characters of the tragedy.
Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights: Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous. * * * * * Would he were fatter! But I fear him not: Yet if my name were liable to fear, I do not know the man I should avoid So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much; He is a great observer, and he looks Quite through the deeds of men; he loves no plays, As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music; Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort As if he mock'd himself and scorn'd his spirit That could be mov'd to smile at any thing.
In As You Like It when the two girls are planning to flee to the forest of Arden, Rosalind tells how she will disguise herself and act as a man. This indicates to the actress both costume and behavior for the remainder of the comedy.
Were it not better, Because that I am more than common tall, That I did suit me all points like a man? A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh, A boar-spear in my hand; and—in my heart Lie there what hidden woman's fear there will— We'll have a swashing and a martial outside, As many other mannish cowards have That do outface it with their semblances.
In many cases Shakespeare clearly shows the performer exactly how to carry out his ideas of the nature of a man during part of the action. One of the plainest instances of this kind of instruction is in Macbeth. The ambitious thane's wife is urging him on to murder his king. Her advice gives the directions for the following scenes.
O never Shall sun that morrow see! Your face, my thane, is as a book where men May read strange matters. To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under't. He that's coming Must be provided for: and you shall put This night's great business into my dispatch; Which shall to all our nights and days to come Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.
Modern dramatists are likely to be much more careful in giving advice about characterization. They insert a large number of stage directions covering this matter. Speed of delivery, tone and inflection, as well as underlying feeling and emotion are minutely indicated.
DUCHESS OF BERWICK
Mr. Hopper, I am very angry with you. You have taken Agatha out on the terrace, and she is so delicate.
[At left of center] Awfully sorry, Duchess. We went out for a moment and then got chatting together.
[At center] Ah, about dear Australia, I suppose?
Agatha, darling! [Beckons her over.]
[Aside] Did Mr. Hopper definitely—
And what answer did you give him, dear child?
[Affectionately] My dear one! You always say the right thing. Mr. Hopper! James! Agatha has told me everything. How cleverly you have both kept your secret.
You don't mind my taking Agatha off to Australia, then, Duchess?
[Indignantly] To Australia? Oh, don't mention that dreadful vulgar place.
But she said she'd like to come with me.
[Severely] Did you say that, Agatha?
Agatha, you say the most silly things possible.
Descriptions of Characters. In addition to definite directions at special times during the course of the dialogue, modern writers of plays describe each character quite fully at his first entrance into the action. This gives the delineator of each role a working basis for his guidance. Such directions carefully followed out assure the tone for the whole cast. They keep a subordinate part always in the proper relation to all others. They make certain the impression of the whole story as a consistent artistic development. They prevent misunderstandings about the author's aim. They provide that every character shall appear to be swayed by natural motives. They remove from the performance all suggestions of unregulated caprice.
Dramatists vary in the exactness and minuteness of such descriptive character sketches, but even the shortest and most general is necessary to the proper appreciation of every play, even if it is being merely read. When a student is assimilating a role for rehearsing or acting, these additions of the author are as important as the lines themselves.
Analyze the following. Discuss the suitability of various members of the class for each part. Which details do you think least essential?
1. He is a tall, thin, gaunt, withered, domineering man of sixty. When excited or angry he drops into dialect, but otherwise his speech, though flat, is fairly accurate. He sits in an arm-chair by the empty hearth working calculations in a small shiny black notebook, which he carries about with him everywhere, in a side pocket.
2. When the curtain rises a man is seen climbing over the balcony. His hair is close cut; his shirt dirty and blood-stained. He is followed by another man dressed like a sailor with a blue cape, the hood drawn over his head. Moonlight.
3. Enter Dinah Kippen quickly, a dingy and defiant young woman carrying a tablecloth. She is a nervous creature, driven half-mad by the burden of her cares. Conceiving life, necessarily, as a path to be traversed at high speed, whenever she sees an obstacle in her way, whether in the physical or in the moral sphere, she rushes at it furiously to remove it or destroy it.
4. Mrs. Rhead, a woman of nearly sixty, is sitting on the sofa, crocheting some lace, which is evidently destined to trim petticoats. Her hair is dressed in the style of 1840, though her dress is of the 1860 period.
5. The song draws nearer and Patricia Carleon enters. She is dark and slight, and has a dreamy expression. Though she is artistically dressed, her hair is a little wild. She has a broken branch of some flowering tree in her hand.
6. Enter a Neat-herd, followed by King Alfred, who is miserably clad and shivering from cold; he carries a bow and a few broken arrows. A log fire is burning smokily in a corner of the hut.
7. Enter from the right Ito, the cynic philosopher, book in hand.
8. The rising of the curtain discovers the two Miss Wetherills—two sweet old ladies who have grown so much alike it would be difficult for a stranger to tell the one from the other. The hair of both is white, they are dressed much alike, both in some soft lavender colored material, mixed with soft lace.
9. Newte is a cheerful person, attractively dressed in clothes suggestive of a successful follower of horse races. He carries a white pot hat and tasselled cane. His gloves are large and bright. He is smoking an enormous cigar.
10. She is young, slender, graceful; her yellow hair is in disorder, her face the color of ruddy gold, her teeth white as the bones of the cuttle-fish, her eyes humid and sea-green, her neck long and thin, with a necklace of shells about it; in her whole person something inexpressibly fresh and glancing, which makes one think of a creature impregnated with sea-salt dipped in the moving waters, coming out of the hiding-places of the rocks. Her petticoat of striped white and blue, torn and discolored, falls only just below the knees, leaving her legs bare; her bluish apron drips and smells of the brine like a filter; and her bare feet in contrast with the brown color that the sun has given her flesh, are singularly pallid, like the roots of aquatic plants. And her voice is limpid and childish; and some of the words that she speaks seem to light up her ingenuous face with a mysterious happiness.
Studying Plays. In nearly every grade of school and college, plays are either read or studied. The usual method of study is to read the lines of the play in rotation about the class, stopping at times for explanations, definitions, impressions, general discussions. Such minute analysis may extend to the preparation of outlines and diagrams. The methods used to get pupils to know plays are almost as varied as teachers. After such analytical study has been pursued it is always a stimulating exercise to get another impression of the play—not as mere poetry or literature, but as acted drama.
This may be accomplished in a short time by very simple means. Pupils should memorize certain portions and then recite them before the class. Neither costumes nor scenery will be required. All the members of the class have in their minds the appearances of the surroundings and the persons. What they need is to hear the speeches the dramatist put into the hearts and mouths of his characters.
The best presentation would be the delivery of the entire play running through some four or five class periods. If so much time cannot be allotted to this, only certain scenes need be delivered. The teacher might assign the most significant ones to groups of pupils, allowing each group to arrange for rehearsals before appearing before the class. In some classes the pupils may be trusted to arrange the entire distribution of scenes and roles. When their preliminary planning has been finished, they should hand to the teacher a schedule of scenes and participants.
Whenever a play is read or studied, pupils will be attracted more by some passages than by others. A teacher may dispense with all assignments. The pupils could be directed merely to arrange their own groups, choose the scenes they want to offer, and to prepare as they decide. In such a voluntary association some members of the class might be uninvited to speak with any group. These then might find their material in prologue, epilogue, chorus, soliloquy, or inserted songs. Nearly every play contains long passages requiring for their effect no second speaker. Shakespeare's plays contain much such material. All the songs from a play would constitute a delightful offering. Nothing in all the acted portion of Henry V is any better than the stirring speeches of the Chorus. Hamlet has three great soliloquies for boys. Macbeth contains the sleepwalking scene for girls. Milton's Comus is made up of beautiful poetic passages. Every drama studied or read for school contains enough for every member of a class.
Some pupils may object that unless an exact preliminary assignment is made, two or more groups may choose the same scene. Such a probable happening, far from being a disadvantage to be avoided, is a decided advantage worthy of being purposely attempted. Could anything be more stimulating than to see and hear two different casts interpret a dramatic situation? Each would try to do better than the other. Each would be different in places. From a comparison the audience and performers would have all the more light thrown upon what they considered quite familiar.
It would be a mistake to have five quartettes repeat the same scene over and over again. Yet if twenty pupils had unconsciously so chosen, three presentations might be offered for discriminating observation. Then some other portion could be inserted and later the first scene could be gone through twice.
Assigning Roles. Teacher and pupils should endeavor to secure variety of interest in roles. At first, assignments are likely to be determined by apparent fitness. The quiet boy is not required to play the part of the braggart. The retiring girl is not expected to impersonate the shrew. In one or two appearances it may be a good thing to keep in mind natural aptitude.
Then there should be a departure from this system. Educational development comes not only from doing what you are best able to do, but from developing the less-marked phases of your disposition and character. The opposite practice should be followed, at least once. Let the prominent class member assume a role of subdued personality. Let the timid take the lead. Induce the silent to deliver the majority of the speeches. You will be amazed frequently to behold the best delineations springing from such assignments.
Such rehearsing of a play already studied should terminate the minute analysis in order to show the material for what it is—actable drama. It will vivify the play again, and make the characters live in your memory as mere reading never will. You will see the moving people, the grouped situations, the developed story, the impressive climax, and the satisfying conclusion.
In dealing with scenes from a long play—whether linked or disconnected—pupils will always have a feeling of incompleteness. In a full-length play no situation is complete in itself. It is part of a longer series of events. It may finish one part of the action, but it usually merely carries forward the plot, passing on the complication to subsequent situations.
Short Plays. To deal with finished products should be the next endeavor. There are thousands of short plays suitable for class presentation in an informal manner. Most of them do not require intensive study, as does a great Greek or English drama, so their preparation may go on entirely outside the classroom. It should be frankly admitted that the exercises of delivering lines "in character" as here described is not acting or producing the play. That will come later. These preliminary exercises—many or few, painstaking or sketchy—are processes of training pupils to speak clearly, interestingly, forcefully, in the imagined character of some other person. The pupil must not wrongly believe that he is acting.
Though the delivery of a complete short play may seem like a performance, both participants and audience must not think of it so. It is class exercise, subject to criticism, comment, improvement, exactly as all other class recitations are.
Since the entire class has not had the chance to become familiar with all the short plays to be presented, some one should give an introductory account of the time and place of action. There might be added any necessary comments upon the characters. The cast of characters should be written upon the board.
This exercise should be exactly like the preceding, except that it adds the elements of developing the plot of the play, creating suspense, impressing the climax, and satisfactorily rounding off the play. In order to accomplish these important effects the participants will soon discover that they must agree upon certain details to be made most significant. This will lead to discussions about how to make these points stand out. In the concerted attempt to give proper emphasis to some line late in the play it will be found necessary to suppress a possible emphasis of some line early in the action. To reinforce a trait of some person, another character may have to be made more self-assertive.
To secure this unified effect which every play should make the persons involved will have to consider carefully every detail in lines and stage directions, fully agree upon what impression they must strive for, then heartily cooeperate in attaining it. They must forget themselves to remember always that "the play's the thing."
The following list will suggest short plays suitable for informal classroom training in dramatics. Most of these are also general enough in their appeal to serve for regular production upon a stage before a miscellaneous audience.
Aldrich, T.B. _Pauline Pavlovna_ Baring, M. _Diminutive Dramas_ Butler, E.P. _The Revolt_ Cannan, G. _Everybody's Husband_ Dunsany, Lord _Tents of the Arabs_ The Lost Silk Hat Fame and the Poet_ Fenn and Pryce. _'Op-o-Me-Thumb_ Gale, Z. _Neighbors_ Gerstenberg, A. _Overtones_ Gibson, W. W. Plays in Collected Works Gregory, Lady. _Spreading the News The Workhouse Ward Coats,_ etc. Houghton, S. _The Dear Departed_ Jones, H. A. _Her Tongue_ Kreymborg, A. _Mannikin and Minnikin_ Moeller, P. _Pokey_ Quintero, J. and S.A. _A Sunny Morning_ Rice, C. _The Immortal Lure_ Stevens, T.W. _Ryland_ Sudermann, H. _The Far-Away Princess_ Tchekoff, A. _A Marriage Proposal_ Torrence, R. _The Rider of Dreams_ Walker, S. _Never-the-Less_ Yeats, W.B. _Cathleen Ni Houlihan_
Producing Plays. Any class or organization which has followed the various forms of dramatics outlined thus far in this chapter will find it an easy matter to succeed in the production of a play before an audience.
The Play. The first thing to decide upon is the play itself. This choice should be made as far in advance of performance as is possible. Most of the work of producing a play is in adequate preparation. Up to this time audiences have been members of the class, or small groups with kindly dispositions and forbearing sympathies. A general audience is more critical. It will be led to like or dislike according to the degree its interest is aroused and held. It will be friendly, but more exacting. The suitability of the play for the audience must be regarded. A comedy by Shakespeare which delights and impresses both performers and audience is much more stimulating and educating than a Greek tragedy which bores them.
The Stage. The second determining factor is the stage. What is its size? What is its equipment? Some plays require large stages; others fit smaller ones better. A large stage may be made small, but it is impossible to stretch a small one.
Equipment for a school stage need not be elaborate. Artistic ingenuity will do more than reckless expenditure. The simplest devices can be made to produce the best effects. The lighting system should admit of easy modification. For example, it should be possible to place lights in various positions for different effects. It should be possible to get much illumination or little.
Scenery. No scenery should be built when the stage is first erected. If a regular scene painter furnishes the conventional exterior, interior, and woodland scenery, the stage equipment is almost ruined for all time. It is ridiculous that a lecturer, a musician, a school principal, and a student speaker, should appear before audiences in the same scenery representing a park or an elaborate drawing-room. The first furnishings for a stage should be a set of beautiful draped curtains. These can be used, not only for such undramatic purposes as those just listed, but for a great many plays as well.
No scenery should be provided until the first play is to be presented. Certain plays can be adequately acted before screens arranged differently and colored differently for changes. When scenery must be built it should be strongly built as professional scenery is. It should also be planned for future possible manipulation. Every director of school dramatics knows the delight of utilizing the same material over and over again. Here is one instance. An interior set, neutral in tones and with no marked characteristics of style and period, was built to serve in Acts I and V of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hangings, furniture, costumes gave it the proper appearance. Later it was used in Ulysses. It has also housed Moliere's Doctor in Spite of Himself (Le Medecin Malgre Lui) and The Wealthy Upstart (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme), Carrion and Aza's Zaragueeta, Sudermann's The Far-Away Princess, Houghton's The Dear Departed. The wooden frames on the rear side were painted black, the canvas panels tan, to serve in Twelfth Night for the drinking scene, Act II, scene 3. With Greek shields upon the walls it later pictured the first scene of The Comedy of Errors. With colorful border designs attached and oriental furniture it set a Chinese play.
A definite series of dimensions should be decided upon, and all scenery should be built in relation to units of these sizes. As a result of this, combinations otherwise impossible can be made. Beginners should avoid putting anything permanent upon a stage. The best stage is merely space upon which beautiful pictures may be produced. Beware of adopting much lauded "new features" such as cycloramas, horizonts, until you are assured you need them and can actually use them. In most cases it is wise to consult some one with experience.
In considering plays for presentation you will have to think of whether your performers and your stage will permit of convincing production. Remembering that suggestion is often better than realism, and knowing that beautiful curtains and colored screens are more delightful to gaze upon than cheap-looking canvas and paint, and knowing that action and costume produce telling effects, decide what the stage would have to do for the following scenes.
1. Read scene 2 of Comus by Milton. Should the entire masque be acted out-of-doors? If presented on an indoors stage what should the setting be? Inside the palace of Comus? How then do the Brothers get in? How do Sabrina and her Nymphs arise? From a pool, a fountain? Might the stage show an exterior? Would the palace be on one side? The edge of the woods on the other? Would the banks of the river be at the rear? Would such an arrangement make entrances, exits, acting, effective? Explain all your opinions.
Read one of the following. Devise a stage setting for it. Describe it fully. If you can, make a sketch in black and white or in color, showing it as it would appear to the audience. Or make a working plan, showing every detail. Or construct a small model of the set, making the parts so that they will stand. Or place them in a box to reproduce the stage. Use one-half inch to the foot.
2. A Midsummer Night's Dream, scene 1. Interior? Exterior? Color? Lighting?
3. Hamlet, Act I, scene 5. Castle battlements? A graveyard? Open space in country some distance from castle?
4. Comus, scene 3.
5. The Tempest, Act I, scene 1.
6. Twelfth Night, Act II, scene 3.
7. Romeo and Juliet, Act I, scene I.
8. Julius Caesar, Act III, scene 2.
9. In a long, high-vaulted room, looking out upon a Roman garden where the cypresses rise in narrowing shafts from thickets of oleander and myrtle, is seated a company of men and women, feasting.
WILLIAM SHARP: The Lute-Player
10. A room, half drawing-room, half study, in Lewis Davenant's house in Rockminister. Furniture eighteenth century, pictures, china in glass cases. An April afternoon in 1860.
GEORGE MOORE: Elizabeth Cooper
11. An Island off the West of Ireland. Cottage kitchen, with nets, oil-skins, spinning wheel, some new boards standing by the wall, etc.
J.M. SYNGE: Riders to the Sea
12. Loud music. After which the Scene is discovered, being a Laboratory or Alchemist's work-house. Vulcan looking at the registers, while a Cyclope, tending the fire, to the cornets began to sing.
BEN JONSON: Mercury Vindicated
13. Rather an awesome picture it is with the cold blue river and the great black cliffs and the blacker cypresses that grow along its banks. There are signs of a trodden slope and a ferry, and there's a rough old wooden shelter where passengers can wait; a bell hung on the top with which they call the ferryman.
CALTHROP AND BARKER: The Harlequinade
Long before any play is produced there should be made a sketch or plan showing the stage settings. If it is in color it will suggest the appearance of the actual stage. One important point is to be noted. Your sketch or model is merely a miniature of the real thing. If you have a splotch of glaring color only an inch long it will appear in the full-size setting about two feet long. A seemingly flat surface three by five inches in the design will come out six by ten feet behind the footlights.
Casting the Play. When the play is selected, the roles must be cast. To select the performers, one of many different methods may be followed. The instructor of the class or the director of the production may assign parts to individuals. When this person knows the requirements of the roles and the abilities of the members, this method always saves time and effort. By placing all the responsibility upon one person it emphasizes care in choosing to secure best results. At times a committee may do the casting. Such a method prevents personal prejudice and immature judgments from operating. It splits responsibility and requires more time than the first method. It is an excellent method for seconding the opinions of a director who does not know very well the applicants for parts. The third method is by "try-outs." In this the applicants show their ability. This may be done by speaking or reciting before an audience, a committee, or the director. It may consist of acting some role. It may be the delivery of lines from the play to be acted. It may be in a "cast reading" in which persons stand about the stage or room and read the lines of characters in the play. If there are three or four applicants for one part, each is given a chance to act some scene. In this manner all the roles are filled.
There are two drawbacks to this scheme which is the fairest which can be devised. It consumes a great deal of time. Some member of the class or organization best fitted to play a role may not feel disposed to try for it. Manifestly he should be the one selected. But it appears unfair to disregard the three boys who have made the effort while he has done nothing. Yet every role should be acted in the very best manner. For the play's sake, the best actor should be assigned the part. A pupil may try for a part for which he is not at all suited, while he could fill another role better than any one who strives to get it.
In a class which has been trained in public speaking or dramatics as this book suggests, it should be no difficult task to cast any play, whether full-length or one act. Performers must always be chosen because of the possible development of their latent abilities rather than for assured attainments.
These qualities must be sought for in performers of roles—obedience, dependableness, mobility, patience, endurance.
Rehearsing. A worthy play which is well cast is an assured success before its first rehearsal.
The entire group should first study the whole play under the director's comment. It is best to have each actor read his own part. The behavior of a minor character in the second act may depend upon a speech in the first. The person playing that role must seize upon that hint for his own interpretation.
It might be a good thing to have every person "letter perfect," that is, know all his speeches, at the first rehearsal. Practically, this never occurs. Reading from the book or the manuscript, a performer "walks through" his part, getting at the same time an idea of where he is to stand, how to move, how to speak, what to do, where to enter, when to cross the stage. All such directions he should jot down upon his part. Then memorizing the lines will fix these stage directions in his mind. He will be assimilating at the same time lines and "business." "Business" on the stage is everything done by a character except speaking lines.
At all rehearsals the director is in absolute charge. His word is final law. This does not mean that members of the cast may not discuss things with him, and suggest details and additions. They must be careful to choose a proper time to do such things. They should never argue, but follow directions. Time outside rehearsals may be devoted to clearing up points. Of course an actor should never lose his temper. Neither should the director. Both of these bits of advice are frequently almost beyond observation of living human beings. Yet they are the rules.
Rehearsals should be frequent rather than long. Acts should be rehearsed separately. Frequently only separate portions should be repeated. Combinations should be made so as not to keep during long waits characters with only a few words. Early portions will have to be repeated more frequently than later ones to allow the actors to get into their characterizations. Tense, romantic, sentimental, comic scenes may have to be rehearsed privately until they are quite good enough to interest other members of the cast.
The time for preparation will depend upon general ability of the cast, previous training, the kind of play, the amount of leisure for study and rehearsing. In most schools a full-length play may be crowded into four weeks. Six or seven weeks are a better allowance.
During first rehearsals changes and corrections should be made when needed. Interruptions should be frequent. Later there should be no interruptions. Comments should be made at the end of a scene and embodied in an immediate repetition to fix the change in the actors' minds. Other modifications should be announced before rehearsal, and embodied in the acting that day.
The acting should be ready for an audience a week before the date set for the performance. During the last rehearsals, early acts should be recalled and repeated in connection with later ones, so that time and endurance may be counted and estimated. During these days rehearsals must go forward without any attention from the director. He must be giving all his attention to setting, lighting, costumes, properties, furniture, and the thousand and one other details which make play producing the discouraging yet fascinating occupation it is. Such repetition without constant direction will develop a sense of independence and cooeperation in the actors and assistants which will show in the enthusiasm and ease of the performance. Stage hands and all other assistants must be trained to the same degree of reliability as the hero and heroine. Nothing can be left to chance. Nothing can be unprovided until the last minute. The dress rehearsal must be exactly like a performance, except that the audience is not present, or if present, is a different one. In schools, an audience at the dress rehearsal is usually a help to the amateur performers.
Results. A performance based on such principles and training as here suggested should be successful from every point of view.
The benefits to the participants are many. They include strengthening of the power to memorize, widening of the imagination through interpretation of character, familiarity with a work of art, training in poise, utilization of speaking ability, awakening of self-confidence, and participation in a worthy cooeperative effort.
In a broader sense such interest in good, acted plays is an intellectual stimulus. As better plays are more and more effectively presented the quality of play production in schools will be improved, and both pupils and communities will know more and more of the world's great dramatic literature.
Additional Exercises in Exposition
1. The value of public speaking.
2. How Lincoln became a great speaker.
3. Studies in a good school course.
4. Purposes of studying geometry.
5. Explain the reasons for studying some subject.
6. An ideal school.
7. Foreign language study.
8. Forming habits.
9. Sailing against the wind.
10. How to play some game. Give merely the rules or imagine the game being played.
11. Difference between football in America and in England.
12. Exercise or athletics?
13. Results of military training.
14. The gambling instinct.
15. Parliamentary practice.
16. How to increase one's vocabulary.
17. Is the story of The Vicar of Wakefield too good to be true?
18. The defects of some book.
19. Reading fiction.
20. Magazines in America.
21. Explain fully what a novel is, or a farce, or an allegory, or a satire.
22. Why slang is sometimes justifiable.
23. A modern newspaper.
24. Select two foreign magazines. Compare and contrast them.
25. Essential features of a good short story.
26. Why evening papers offer so many editions.
27. How to find a book in a public library.
28. The difference between public speaking and oratory.
29. Public speaking for the lawyer, the clergyman, the business man.
30. Qualities of a book worth reading.
31. Some queer uses of English.
32. History in the plays of Shakespeare.
33. How to read a play.
34. Mistakes in books or plays.
35. Defects of translations.
36. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
37. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
38. "You never miss the water till the well runs dry."
39. "Penny wise, pound foolish."
40. Select any proverb. Explain it.
41. Choose a short quotation from some poem. Explain it.
42. Explain some technical operation.
43. Explain some mechanical process.
44. A range factory.
45. Making electric bulbs.
46. How moving pictures are made and reproduced.
47. Explain some simple machine.
48. A new application of electricity.
49. Weather forecasting.
50. Scientific or practical value of polar expeditions.
51. Changes of the tide.
52. An eclipse.
53. The principle of some such appliance as the thermometer, the barometer, the microscope, the air-brake, the block signal.
54. Developing a negative.
55. How the player piano is operated.
56. How the cash register prevents dishonesty.
57. How a new fruit is produced—as seedless orange.
59. The value of Latin for scientific terms.
60. The value of certain birds, worms, insects.
61. The life history of some queer animal, or insect, or plant.
62. How accuracy is secured.
63. The human eye and the camera.
64. The fireless cooker.
65. Choose some half dozen terms from any trade or business and explain them. To sell short, margin, bull, bear, lamb. Proscenium, apron, flies, baby spot, strike. Fold in eggs, bring to a boil, simmer, percolate, to French. File, post, carry forward, remit, credit, receivership. Baste, hem, rip, overcast, box pleat, batik, Valenciennes.
66. Building a musical program.
67. Commercial art.
68. Catch phrases in advertising.
69. Principles of successful advertising.
70. The Linotype machine.
71. How I made my first appearance as a public speaker.
72. Real conversation.
73. Mere talk.
74. The business woman.
75. A slump in a certain business or industry.
76. The Red Cross in war.
77. The Red Cross in peace.
78. Compare the principles of two political parties.
79. A fire alarm.
80. Why automobiles are licensed.
81. The powers and duties of some city or county official.
82. The advantages that this locality offers for certain industries or kinds of agriculture.
83. Society fads.
84. The ideal office holder.
85. New systems of government.
86. Various forms of socialism.
87. Collecting a debt by law.
88. Explain some legal procedure as suggested by some term, as mandamus, injunction, demurrer, habeas corpus, nolle prosequi.
89. Explain the composition and work of the Grand Jury.
90. The efficiency expert.
91. A new profession.
92. The advantages of a trolley car with both entrance and exit at the front end.
93. Labor-saving devices.
94. A supercargo.
95. Scientific shop management.
96. Hiring and discharging employees.
97. Applying for a business position.
98. Causes of some recent labor strike.
99. A labor union operates as a trust.
100. Efficiency in the kitchen.
101. Speeding up the work.
102. Planning a factory.
103. Making cheap automobiles.
104. Uses of paper.
105. New methods of furnishing houses.
106. Making the home beautiful.
107. New building materials.
108. Designing and building a boat.
109. The lay-out of a shipyard.
110. Rules for planting.
111. City government.
112. Better methods of city government.
113. How a trial is conducted.
114. The juvenile court.
115. Post office savings banks.
116. Geographic advantages of this locality.
117. Results of irrigation.
118. How the farmer controls world prices.
119. Relation between some distant event and the price of some article in the corner store.
120. New businesses in America with their reasons for existence.
121. The latest improvement in this locality.
122. Why certain cities are destined to increase in population.
123. Model homes.
124. Housing the inhabitants of large cities.
125. The operation of a subway.
126. Automobile trucks instead of freight trains.
127. How Lincoln became President.
128. Why Webster did not become President.
129. The dead-letter office.
130. The Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Great Britain.
131. How the United States secured Porto Rico.
132. A free trade policy.
133. Commercial reciprocity.
134. The protective tariff.
135. Explain the application of some tax, as income, single, inheritance.
136. How the constitutionality of a law is determined.
137. How laws are made by Congress.
138. The Congressional Record.
139. The Monroe Doctrine.
140. The attitude of foreign nations toward the Monroe Doctrine.
141. Differences between the Chinese and the Japanese.
142. The failure of the Hague Tribunal.
143. The part of the United States in a league of nations.
144. Reasons for the conditions in Mexico.
145. Our country's duty toward Mexico.
146. The so-called Yellow Peril.
147. Trans-oceanic air travel.
148. Evolution of the airship.
149. The geodetic survey.
150. The census bureau.
Additional Exercises in Argumentation
1. Find in a magazine or newspaper some article in which conviction is the prime factor.
2. Find in a magazine or newspaper some article in which persuasion is most used.
3. Give examples from recent observation of discussions which were not argument as the term is used in this book.
4. Explain how arguments upon a topic of current interest would differ in material and treatment for three kinds of audiences.
5. The education of the American negro should be industrial not cultural.
6. To the Cabinet of the United States there should be added a Secretary of Education with powers to control all public education.
7. Separate high schools for boys and girls should be maintained.
8. It is better to attend a small college than a large one.
9. Women should be eligible to serve as members of the school board.
10. Pupils should be marked by a numerical average rather than by a group letter.
11. At least two years of Latin should be required for entrance to college.
12. The honor system should be introduced in all examinations in high schools and colleges.
13. The study of algebra should be compulsory in high school.
14. Courses in current topics, based upon material in newspapers, should be offered in all high schools.
15. Every high school should require the study of local civics or local industries.
16. Regular gymnastic work is more beneficial than participation in organized athletics.
17. Girls should study domestic science.
18. The kindergarten should be removed from our educational system.
19. Coeducation in schools and colleges is better than segregation.
20. Secret societies should be prohibited in high schools.
21. A magazine or newspaper which copies material from one in which it first appears should be required by law to compensate the author.
22. Moving picture exhibitions should be more strictly regulated.
23. An exposition produces decided advantages for the city in which it is held.
24. A county fair is a decided benefit to a rural community.
25. All young men in this country should receive military training for a period of one year.
26. This city should provide employment for the unemployed.
27. Motor delivery trucks should be substituted for horse-drawn wagons.
28. Labor unions are justified in insisting upon the re-employment of members discharged for a cause which they deem unjust.
29. Farmers should study scientific agriculture.
30. Capital and labor should be required by law to settle their disputes by appeals to a legally constituted court of arbitration whose decisions should be enforced.
31. In time of peace no member of a labor union should be a member of a regularly organized military force.
32. Overtime work should be paid for at the same rate as regular work.
33. All work should be paid for according to the amount done rather than by time.
34. Employers are justified in insisting upon the "open shop."
35. Trade unions are justified in limiting the number of persons allowed to enter a trade.
36. This state should establish a minimum working wage for women.
37. The street railway company should pave and keep in repair all streets in which its cars are operated.
38. More definite laws concerning the sale of milk should be passed.
39. This city should institute government by a commission.
40. This city should institute and maintain an adequate system of public playgrounds.
41. This city should provide more free recreations for its citizens.
42. City government should be conducted by a highly paid municipal expert hired for the purpose of controlling city affairs exactly as he would a large business organization.
43. A public building for community interests is a better memorial for a city to erect than the usual monument or statue.
44. Voting machines should be used in all cities.
45. All public utilities should be owned and operated by the city.
46. Judges should not be elected by popular vote.
47. A representative should vote according to the opinions of his constituency.
48. This state should provide old-age pensions.
49. Laws should be passed making it impossible to dispose of more than one million dollars by will.
50. The pure food law should be strictly enforced.
51. Every state should have a state university in which tuition for its inhabitants should be absolutely free.
52. The Governor of a state should not have the pardoning power.
53. No children below the age of sixteen should be allowed to work in factories.
54. Laws concerning the sale of substitutes for butter should be made more stringent.
55. Sunday closing laws should be repealed.
56. The railroads of the United States should be allowed to pool their interests.
57. The present method of amending the Constitution of the United States should be changed.
58. This government should insist upon a strict adherence to the Monroe Doctrine.
59. The American Indian has been unjustly treated.
60. Railroads should be under private ownership but subject to government control.
61. An educational test should be required of all persons desiring to enter this country.
62. The United States should own and control the coal mines of the country.
63. Members of the House of Representatives should be chosen to represent industries, workers, and professions, rather than geographical divisions.
64. Woman suffrage carries with it the right to hold office except where expressly forbidden in existing laws and constitutions.
65. Instead of an extension of suffrage to all women there should be a restriction from the previous inclusion of all men.
66. All raw materials should be admitted to this country free of duty.
67. All departments of the government should be under the Civil Service Act.
68. The Civil War pension policy was a wise one.
69. The United States should build and maintain a large navy.
70. A high protective tariff keeps wages high.
71. Letter postage should be reduced to one cent.
72. Laws governing marriage and divorce should be made uniform by Congress.
73. The present restriction upon Chinese immigration should be modified to admit certain classes.
74. The standing army of the United States should be increased.
75. This government should establish a system of shipping subsidies.
76. Repeated failure to vote should result in the loss of the right of suffrage.
77. The United States should not enter into any league of nations.
78. The defeated central powers of Europe should be admitted to full membership in the League of Nations.
79. Japan should be prevented from owning or controlling any territory upon the continent which belonged to China.
80. Great Britain should establish Egypt as an independent country.
81. Ireland should be organized as a Dominion similar to Canada and Australia.
82. The United States should establish a protectorate over Mexico.
83. This country should demand from Germany an indemnity equal to our expenses in the war.
84. The former Kaiser of Germany and his state officials responsible for the World War of 1914 should be tried by an international court.
85. All European nations should agree to disarmament.
86. Foreign missions should be discontinued.
87. The Jews of the world should colonize Palestine.
88. Commercial reciprocity should be established between the United States and South America.
89. This country has no need to fear any aggression from any Asiatic race.
90. The government system of Great Britain is more truly representative than that of the United States.
91. A railroad should pay ten thousand dollars to the family of any employee who meets death by accident while on duty.
92. There is no such thing possible as "Christian warfare."
93. Vivisection should be prohibited.
94. The dead should be cremated.
95. Cigarettes should not be sold to boys under eighteen.
96. Children under fourteen should not be allowed to appear upon the stage.
97. Socialism is the best possible solution of all labor problems.
98. The Soviet system of government has details applicable to certain conditions in America.
99. No person should be forced to undergo vaccination.
100. Labor interests can be served best by the formation of a separate political party.
ABBOTT, Lyman, 118
Abolition Movement, The, 185
acceptance, speech of, 284
acquired ability, 6
after-dinner speech, 281
Allen, John, 116
amplified definition, 203
amplifying and diminishing, 255
analogy, incorrect, 252
anticipatory conclusion, 102, 105
Antony, Mark, 81
a posteriori argument, 237
appealing to prejudice or passions, 247
appropriate diction, 54
a priori argument, 236
argumentum ad hominem, 249
argumentum ad populum, 247
arrangement, 151, 164
assigning roles, 312
attacking speaker's character, 249
attributes of speaker, 29
audience in debate, 262
authorities, 180, 232
Beecher, Henry Ward, 82, 83, 162
begging the question, 245
Birrell, Augustine, 114
brief, 28, 170
brief, making a, 187
brief, speaking from the, 191
briefing, selections for, 180
Bright, John, 29
burden of proof, 225
Burke, Edmund, 23, 65, 66, 80, 116, 162, 167, 172, 255
CALHOUN, John C., 66, 108, 206
capital punishment, brief, 173
casting a play, 320
causal relation, 237
cause to effect, 209, 236
Channing, William Ellery, 249
character delineation, 292
characters, description of, 307
characters in plays, 303
Chatham, Lord, 111
Cheyney, Edward P., 204
Choate, Rufus, 63
choosing a theme, 281
circumstantial evidence, 226
Clay, Henry, 249
commemorative speech, 283
complex sentence, 59
composition of the English language, 50
compound sentence, 60
conclusion, length, 99
constructive argument, 256
conversations, memorized, 300
Crabbe, English Synonyms, 48
cross references, 137
Curtis, George William, 52, 54, 67, 120, 253
DANIEL, John W., 119
decision in debate, 260
deductive reasoning, 229
delineation of character, 292
delivery of introductions, 89
description of characters, 307
Dewey, M., 139
diminishing, amplifying and, 255
direct evidence, 226
discarding material, 146
dress rehearsal, 323
Dunsany, Lord, 298
EFFECT to cause, 210, 237
eloquence, false, 284
Elson, H.W., 131
emphasis, 22, 155
Evarts, William M., 118
Everett, Edward, 67
examples, 206, 232
exclamatory sentence, 60
false eloquence, 284
Fernald, English Synonyms, Antonyms, and Prepositions, 48
finding the issues, 267
Ford, Simeon, 114
Fox, Charles James, 9
Fox, John, 23
Franklin, Benjamin, 77
GENERAL terms, 52
getting material, 122
Gettysburg Address, 183
HALE, Edward Everett, 118
Hamlet's advice to players, 31
hasty generalization, 228
Henry, Patrick, 64, 84, 85, 112
Howell, Clark, 119
Huxley, Thomas H., 150
IDEAS and words, 38
ignoring the question, 246
importance of speech, 1
inaugural speech, 285
Incidents of Government Trading, 181
incorrect analogy, 252
increasing the vocabulary, 39
inductive reasoning, 228
interrogative sentence, 61
introduction, length, 72
introduction, purpose, 73
introduction and audience, 76
invention and speech, 3
JEFFERSON, Joseph, 120
Jefferson, Thomas, 117
Julius Caesar, 81
KINDS of propositions, 822
Knox, Philander, 269
LANGUAGE, 12, 197
League of Nations, 269
legal brief, 170
length of speech, 143
library classification, 138
Lincoln, Abraham, 9, 30, 57, 65, 100, 103, 117, 148, 172, 183, 255
list of short plays, 314
long sentences, 61
Lodge, Henry Cabot, 76, 135
logical definition, 201
Lowell, Abbott Lawrence, 136
MACAULAY, Thomas Babington, 52, 68, 160, 208, 233, 246, 268
making a brief, 187
manner in debate, 277
material of speeches, 121
McCumber, P.J., 268
memorized conversations, 300
memorizing, 28, 191
methods of explaining, 198
military leadership, 5
nominating speech, 287
organs of speech, 14
organ pipe, 14
Otis, James, 88
PANAMA Canal, 110
particulars of general statement, 205
Penn, William, 258
persuasive speech, 288
Phillips, Wendell, 185
plays, characters in, 303
plays, producing, 315
plays, short, 313
plays, studying, 310
Power Plant Engineering, 187
preparation for debate, 266
preparing introductions, 89
preparing the conclusion, 95
presentation and acceptance, speeches of, 284
presiding officer, 261
presiding officers, 279
producing plays, 315
proposition, 221, 265
propositions of fact, 223
propositions of policy, 223
reading the speech, 27
rebuttal, restrictions, 276
rebuttal speeches, 266
reducing to absurdity, 258
reductio ad absurdum, 253
refuting, 242, 251
results of training, 10
retrospective conclusion, 101, 105
Roget's Thesaurus, 43
roles, assigning, 312
Roosevelt, Theodore, 69, 100, 101, 104, 109, 114
scholastic debating, 265
selecting material, 130
selections for briefing, 180
short plays, 313
short sentences, 61
Sidney, Sir Phillip, 90
simple sentence, 58
speakers in debate, 272
speaking from the brief, 191
speaking from the floor, 70
special occasions, speaking upon, 278
specific terms, 52
specimen brief, capital punishment, 173
speech in modern life, 2
studying plays, 310
Sumner, Charles, 148, 160, 234
support of a measure, 288
TABLE of contents, 130
taking notes, 133
team work, 271
theme, choosing a, 281
time limit in debates, 265
time order, 210
time order reversed, 211
tone, 15, 19
trite expressions, 55
Twain, Mark, 145
UNDERSTANDING, 129, 196
VAN DYKE, Henry, 115
WASHINGTON, Booker T., 161
Washington, George, 103, 159, 206
Webster, Daniel, 10, 83, 84, 102, 106, 107, 111, 149, 205, 231, 254
Wilson, Woodrow, 69, 75, 105, 114, 117
wording the proposition, 224