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Title: How to Produce Amateur Plays - A Practical Manual
Author: Clark, Barrett H. (Barrett Harper), 1890-1953
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "How to Produce Amateur Plays - A Practical Manual" ***

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                      HOW TO PRODUCE AMATEUR PLAYS

         (Courtesy of the artist).]

                             HOW TO PRODUCE
                             AMATEUR PLAYS

                          _A Practical Manual_


                            BARRETT H. CLARK

                        NEW AND REVISED EDITION


                       LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

                        _Copyright, 1917, 1922_,

                     BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

                         _All rights reserved_



This book aims to supply the demand for a simple guide to the production
of plays by amateurs. During the past decade a number of books dealing
with the subject have been published, but these are concerned either
with theoretical and educational, or else with limited and, from the
practical viewpoint, unessential aspects of the question. In the present
manual the author has attempted an altogether practical work, which may
be used by those who have little or no knowledge of producing plays.

The book is not altogether limited in its appeal merely to producers;
actors themselves and others having to do with amateur producing will
find it helpful. The author has added a number of suggestions on a
matter which is rapidly becoming of prime importance: the construction
of stages and setting, and the manipulation of lighting.

It is always well to bear in mind that no art can be taught by means of
books. The chief purpose of this volume is to lay down the elements and
outline the technique of amateur producing.

A careful study of it will enable the amateur stage manager to do much
for himself which has heretofore been either impossible or attended with
dire difficulty.

The plan of the book is simple: each question and problem is treated in
its natural order, from the moment an organization decides to "give a
play", until the curtain drops on the last performance of it.

This new edition of "How to Produce Amateur Plays" has been revised
throughout, and the list of plays in Chapter X completely re-written and
brought up to date.

The author acknowledges his indebtedness for suggestions and help, as
well as for permission to reproduce diagrams, photographs, and passages
from plays, to Mr. T. R. Edwards, Mr. Hiram Kelly Moderwell, Mr. L. R.
Lewis, Mr. Clayton Hamilton, Miss Grace Griswold, Miss Edith Wynne
Matthison, Mr. Maurice Browne, Miss Ida Treat, Mr. Sam Hume, John Lane
Company, Samuel French, Brentano's, and Henry Holt and Company.

                                                         MARCH, 1922


        CHAPTER                                             PAGE

        PREFACE                                                v

      I CHOOSING THE PLAY                                      1

     II ORGANIZATION                                           8

    III CHOOSING THE CAST                                     18

     IV REHEARSING I                                          22

      V REHEARSING II                                         48

     VI REHEARSING III                                        73

     VII THE STAGE                                            76

    VIII LIGHTING                                             86

      IX SCENERY AND COSTUMES                                 91

       X SELECTIVE LISTS OF AMATEUR PLAYS                    110


      I COPYRIGHT AND ROYALTY                                127

     II A NOTE ON MAKE-UP                                    130

      INDEX                                                  139

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

    SETTING FOR A POETIC DRAMA, BY SAM HUME       _Frontispiece_


        AT THE LITTLE THEATER, CHICAGO                         8

        AT THE LITTLE THEATER, CHICAGO                        18

        PLAYHOUSE, NEW YORK                                   22

        WASHINGTON SQUARE PLAYERS                             48

        WOMEN                                                 74

        STORING AND SHIFTING OF SCENERY                       76

        COLLEGE                                               80

        AT ILLINOIS STATE COLLEGE                             90

        NORTH DAKOTA                                         106

                         HOW TO PRODUCE AMATEUR

                               CHAPTER I

                           CHOOSING THE PLAY

The first important question arising after the decision to give a play,
is "What play?" Only too often is this question answered in a haphazard
way. Of recent years a large number of guides to selecting plays have
made their appearance, most of which are incomplete and otherwise
unsatisfactory. The large lists issued by play publishers are
bewildering. Toward the end of the present volume is a selective list of
plays, all of which are, in one way or another, "worth while"; but as
conditions differ so widely, it is practically impossible to do
otherwise than merely indicate in a general way what sort of play is

Each play considered by any organization should be read by the director
or even the whole club or cast, after the requisite conditions have been
considered. These conditions usually are:

1. =Size of the Cast.= This is obviously a simple matter: a cast of ten
cannot play Shakespeare.

2. =Ability of the Cast.= This is a little more difficult. While it is a
laudable ambition to produce Ibsen, let us say, no high-school students
are sufficiently mature or skilled to produce "A Doll's House." As a
rule, the well-known classics--Shakespeare, Molière, Goldoni, Sheridan,
Goldsmith--suffer much less from inadequate acting and production than
do modern dramatists. The opinion of an expert, or at least of some one
who has had experience in coaching amateur plays, should be sought and
acted upon. If, for example, "As You Like It" is under consideration, it
must be borne in mind that the rôle of Rosalind requires delicate and
subtle acting, and if no suitable woman can be found for that part, a
simpler play, like "The Comedy of Errors", had much better be
substituted. Modern plays are on the whole more difficult: the portrayal
of a modern character calls for greater variety, maturity, and skill
than the average amateur possesses. The characters in Molière's "Le
Bourgeois Gentilhomme" ("The Merchant Gentleman"), Shakespeare's "The
Comedy of Errors", Sheridan's "The Rivals", are more or less well-known
types, and acting of a conventional and imitative kind is better suited
to them. On the other hand, only the best-trained amateurs are able to
impart the needful appearance of life and actuality to a play like Henry
Arthur Jones's "The Liars." Still, there are many modern plays--among
them, Shaw's "You Never Can Tell" and Wilde's "The Importance of Being
Earnest"--in which no great subtlety of characterization is called for.
These can be produced as easily by amateurs as can Shakespeare and

3. =The Kind of Play= to be presented usually raises many questions
which are entirely without the scope of purely dramatic considerations.
In this country especially, there is a studied avoidance among schools
and often among colleges and universities, of so-called "unpleasant
plays." Without entering into the reasons for this aversion, it is
rather fortunate, because as a general rule, "thesis", "sex", and
"problem" plays are full of pitfalls for amateur actors and producers.

While it is a splendid thing to believe no play too good for amateurs,
some moderation is necessary where a play under consideration is
obviously beyond the ability of a cast: "Hamlet" ought never to be
attempted by amateurs, nor such subtle and otherwise difficult plays as
"Man and Superman." Plays of the highest merit can be found which are
not so taxing as these. There is no reason why Sophocles' "Electra",
Euripides' "Alcestis", or the comedies of Lope de Vega, Goldoni,
Molière, Kotzebue, Lessing, not to mention the better-known English
classics, should not be performed by amateurs.

It goes without saying that the facile, trashy, "popular" comedies of
the past two or three generations are to be avoided by amateurs who take
their work seriously. This does not mean that all farces and comedies
should be left out of the repertory: "The Magistrate" and "The
Importance of Being Earnest" are among the finest farces in the
language. The point to be impressed is that it is better to attempt a
play which may be more difficult to perform than "Charley's Aunt", than
to give a good performance of that oft-acted and decidedly hackneyed
piece. It is much more meritorious to produce a good play poorly, if
need be, than a poor play well.

If, after having consulted the list in this volume and similar other
lists, the club is still unable to decide on a suitable modern play, the
best course is to return to the classics. It is likely that the plays
that have pleased audiences for centuries will please us. Aristophanes'
"The Clouds" and "Lysistrata", with a few necessary "cuts"; Plautus'
"The Twins" and Terence's "Phormio"; Goldoni's "The Fan"; Shakespeare's
"Comedy of Errors" and half a dozen other comedies; Molière's "Merchant
Gentleman" and "Doctor in Spite of Himself"; Sheridan's "The Rivals" and
Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer"; Lessing's "Minna von
Barnhelm"--almost any one of these is "safe." A classic can never be
seen too often and, since true amateurs are those who play for the joy
of playing, they will receive ample recompense for their efforts in the
thought that they have at least added their mite to the sum total of
true enjoyment in the theater. Another argument in favor of the
performance of the classics is that they are rarely produced by
professionals. If an amateur club revives a classic, especially one
which is not often seen nowadays, it may well be proud of its efforts.

If, however, the club insists on giving a modern play, it will have
little difficulty in finding suitable material. It is well not to
challenge comparison with professional productions by choosing plays
which have had professional runs of late; try rather to select (1) good
modern plays which by reason of their subject matter, form, etc., cannot
under present conditions be commercially successful (like Granville
Barker's "The Marrying of Ann Leete"); (2) translations of contemporary
foreign plays which are not well known either to American readers or
producers; and, finally (3) original plays. Here it is difficult to
advise. It cannot be hoped that an amateur club will discover many
masterpieces among original plays submitted to it, but if any of the
works considered has even a touch of originality, some good
characterization, any marked technical skill; in a word, if there is
something interesting or promising, then it is worth producing.
Doubtless many beginners are discouraged from writing plays for lack of
experience gained by seeing their work staged; for such, the amateur
club is the only resource.

Besides these particular considerations, there remain the minor but
necessary points relating to rights and royalties. A full statement of
the legal aspect of the case is to be found in the first appendix in
this book.


A shallow cyclorama. The simple design forms an effective background for
the grouping of the figures.

(Courtesy of Maurice Browne).]

                               CHAPTER II


A great many more factors go into the making of a successful dramatic
production than may at first be apparent. To organize a staff whose duty
it is to furnish and equip a theater, hall, or schoolroom; to arrange
and efficiently run rehearsals; to supply "props", costumes, and
furniture; to manage the stage during the performance--all this is next
in importance to the acting itself.

Of late years especially it has been made clear that the art of the
theater, although it is a collaboration of the brains and hands of many
persons, must be under the supervision of one dominating and far-seeing
chief. That is to say, one person and one alone must be responsible for
the entire production. Except in rare instances this head cannot know of
and attend to each detail himself, but it is his business to see that
the whole organization is formed and managed according to his wishes.
The function of this ideal manager has been compared with that of the
orchestral conductor: it is he who leads, and he should be the first to
detect the slightest discord. While the foregoing remarks are more
strictly applicable to acting and staging, it will readily be seen that
if the same leader is not in touch with the more practical side of the
production, there is likely to arise that working at cross-purposes
which has ruined many an amateur as well as professional production.
While a great deal of the actual work must be done by subordinates, it
should be clearly understood that the director has the final word of

Much in the matter of organization depends upon the number and ability
and experience of those persons who are available, but the suggestions
about to be made as to the organization of a staff are based upon the
assumption that the director is a capable person, and his assistants at
least willing to learn from him. As a rule, he will have plenty of
material to work with.

=The Director.= The producer, the head under whose guidance the entire
work of rehearsing and organization should lie, is called the director.
However, since this position is often held by a hired coach or by some
one else who cannot be expected to attend to much outside the actual
rehearsing, there must be elected or appointed an officer who is
directly responsible. This officer is:

=The Stage Manager.= As the director cannot always be present at every
rehearsal, and as oftentimes two parts of the play are rehearsed
simultaneously, it is evident that another director must be ready to
act in place of the head. It is chiefly his duty to "hold" the
prompt-book and keep a careful record of all stage business, "cuts",
etc. At every rehearsal he must be ready to prompt, either lines or
"business"--action, gestures, crosses, entrances, exits, and the
like--and call the attention of the director to omissions or mistakes of
every sort. In the event of the director's absence, he becomes the pro
tem. director himself.

It is advisable--though not always possible--to delegate the duties of
property man, lightman, curtain man, costume man (or wardrobe mistress)
to different persons; but even when this is done, it is better for the
stage manager to keep a record of all "property plots", "light plots",
"furniture plots", etc.

It is also the stage manager's business to arrange the time and place of
rehearsals, and hold each actor responsible for attendance.

On the occasion of the dress rehearsal and of the actual production, it
is the stage manager, and not the director, who supervises everything.
His position is that of commander-in-chief. He either holds the book, or
is at least close by the person who actually follows the lines; sees
that each actor is ready for his entrance; that the curtain rises and
falls when it should; that his assistants are each in their respective
places; and that the entire performance "goes" as it is intended to go.

=The Business Manager.= This person attends to such matters as renting
the theater--or arranging some place for the performance--printing and
distributing tickets; in short, everything connected with the receipt
and expenditure of money. It is not of course imperative that he should
have much to do with the director; the only point to be borne in mind
being that every one connected with the production of a play should be
in touch with those in authority. The business manager ought to have at
least a preliminary conference with the director, and report to him
every week until a few days before the performance, when he should be
within instant call in case of emergency. The property, light,
furniture, and costume people must naturally keep in close touch with
him, although no purchases should be made without the permission of the
director, who in this case must be at one with the club or organization.

=The Property Man.= The duties attaching to this position are definitely
and necessarily limited, but of great importance. Working under the
stage manager, he supplies all the objects--such as revolvers, swords,
letters, etc.--in a word, everything actually _used_ by the actors, and
not falling under the categories of "scenery", "costumes", and

It will be found necessary in some cases to add to the staff one person
whose business it is to attend to the matter of furnishings: rugs,
hangings, pictures, furniture, and so forth; but in case there is no
such person, the property man attends to these details himself.

It cannot be too strongly urged that from the very first as many
"props", as much furniture or as many set pieces as possible (depending
on whether the set is an indoor or outdoor one), should be used by the
actors. In this way they will be better able to associate their
thoughts, words, and gestures with the material objects with which they
will be surrounded on the fatal night. If this is impracticable, that
is, if most of these objects cannot be secured from the first, then at
least suitable substitutes should be used. The presence of such
fundamentally important articles as the wall in Rostand's "The
Romancers", and the dentist's chair in Shaw's "You Never Can Tell", when
used from the first rehearsals, always minimizes the danger of confusion
of lines or business at the last moment.

The property man must keep a list of everything required; this should be
a duplicate of that in the possession of the stage manager.

=The Lightman.= Sometimes even nowadays called the "Gasman." He is not
indispensable, because almost always the regular electrician attends to
the switchboard. However, some one should be with the electrician at the
dress rehearsal and on the evening of the performance to give him the
necessary light cues. Usually, however, the stage manager who holds the
prompt-book where all the light cues are indicated can fulfill this

=The Costume Man= (or =Wardrobe Mistress=, as the case may be). Again
the duties are simple. If the play is a classic--Shakespeare, for
instance,--the costumes, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, had
better be rented from a regular costumer. The costume man, then,
together with the business manager, attends to the details of renting,
and sees that all costumes are ready for the dress rehearsal. If the
costumes are made to order, the matter is supervised by the costume man.
But, as with everything else connected with the best amateur efforts,
there should be some expert adviser, not so much one versed in history
and archeology as an artist with an eye for color and style. The
director in any event must be consulted, so that lights, scenery, and
costumes may harmonize. Details as to costumes are to be found in many
books, and need not here be discussed. In spite of a good deal that has
been written to the contrary, historical accuracy is not of vast
importance: so long as there are no glaring anachronisms, Shakespeare
may be presented with actors wearing pre- or post-Elizabethan costumes,
provided they are beautiful, and harmonize.

Among the thousand and one minor details of producing, there are some
which in large productions might be assigned to specially appointed
individuals, but most of the duties to be briefly enumerated below may
easily be given over to the stage manager, property man, or costume man,
or even to the lightman.

_Handling and Setting of Scenery and Furniture._ This is usually taken
care of by the property man and his assistants, under the direction of
the stage manager. As in every other branch of the work, all details
must be planned beforehand, and recorded.

_Music._ The music cues should be marked in the stage manager's
prompt-book. Incidental music, whether it be on, behind, or off-stage in
the orchestra pit, ought to be rehearsed at least two or three times. On
the occasion of the performance, the stage manager gives directions from
his prompt-book for all music cues.

_Crowds or Large Groups._ The management and rehearsing of crowds or
large groups is considered under "Rehearsing" (p. 58). Here it will
suffice to state that it is well to have an assistant whose duty it is
to see that the "supes" [supernumeraries] are conducted on and off the
stage at the right time.

Among the further details which must be looked after are the duties
which are sometimes left to the stage manager: the ringing of bells,
calling of actors at the regular performance, etc. A "call boy" may be
delegated to do this.

_Understudies._ Trouble is always likely to arise, especially among
amateurs, because there is no effective method of holding the actors to
strict account. Often, one or more of the cast finds, or thinks he
finds, good reason for leaving it, and a new actor must sometimes be
found and trained to fill the vacancy on perilously short notice.
Sickness or indisposition invariably give rise to the same problem. If
possible, an entire second cast should be trained, so that any member of
it could at a moment's notice be called upon to play in the first cast.
While this second company should be letter-perfect and know the
"business" in every detail, it is not necessary that their acting be so
finished and detailed as that of the others. Understudy rehearsals are
under the direction of the stage manager, although the director should
witness at least two or three.

Since the performance depends almost wholly on the knowledge, sympathy,
and taste of the director, the greatest care should be taken in choosing
him. Needless to say, the ideal director does not exist; still, his
attributes should be constantly borne in mind. If he lacks the artist's
sense of color, rhythm, and proportion, then an art adviser must be
called in to suggest color schemes as regards costumes, scenery,
furniture, and lighting. Nowadays, great attention is being paid to
these matters, and the subtle effect of background and detail is much
greater than is commonly supposed. The play is of first importance--that
must never be forgotten--but these other matters are too often

Similarly with costumes, music, scenery, it is never amiss to consult
authorities. But once more be it repeated, the whole production should
bear the imprint of the director's personality, because only in this way
can we hope for that essential unity of effect which is a basic
principle of all art.

Coöperation with, but, in the last analysis, subserviency to, the
director, is the keynote of success.


Effective grouping against a simple background. (Courtesy of Maurice

                              CHAPTER III

                           CHOOSING THE CAST

Obviously, the choice of the cast should depend upon the ability of the
actors, although in the case of an organization like a school or college
dramatic club, this system is not always practicable or even advisable.
Every member of such a club should be trained to work for a common end,
and a system by which amateurs are made to understand the necessity of
assuming first small and unimportant rôles and working up gradually to
the greater and more important ones, makes for harmony and completeness
of effect in performances. It should be one of the chief ends of amateur
producing to get away from the curse of the professional stage: the star
system. It has been stated here that the greatest emphasis must be laid
on the play itself, and no actor, professional or amateur, should ever
labor under the delusion that he is of greater or even as great
importance as the play in which he strives to act his part. The average
actor is inclined to judge a play's merit according to the sort of part
it furnishes him; the amateur spirit has done much to do away with this
attitude, and it is to be hoped that no coach will ever do otherwise
than discourage it.

Competition as a means of selecting a cast is in most cases the best
method. The play once selected, the people from among whom the cast is
to be formed are assembled. It is a good plan to have every one read the
play first, and make a study of at least one scene of it. Then, either
alone or in company with one, two, or three others, he reads--or recites
from memory--the scene in question, either before the entire club or
before a committee of judges. Each actor is judged on appearance, ease,
voice, and insight into the character he is portraying. The judges,
seconded possibly by the members of the club (whose votes should, by the
way, be of only secondary importance), then select those whom they
consider best fitted for the parts. In every case the director should
give final sanction to the selection.

In cases where members must at first assume only minor parts because of
club rules, there may arise some difficulty: for example, a beginner may
be better fitted to assume an important rôle than older club members.
Such cases must of course be dealt with individually.

In organizations which are not run on so democratic a basis, the
director selects the cast himself. On the whole, this is much the best
system, as the director is left a free field in which to work out his
own problems in his own way. If it is at all possible, an amateur club
ought to put everything, including the responsibility, into the hands of
a competent director. In this respect, the despotism of the professional
stage is most beneficial. Whether the coach be an outsider hired for the
occasion, or a regular member of the club, in nine cases out of ten he
will establish and maintain harmony, allow no real talent to languish,
and be at least in a position to produce definite artistic results.
Amateur management has spoiled much good material. A director with full
authority can work more easily and efficiently if left to his own
devices than if trammeled with rules and regulations.

The theater, behind the scenes, is a despotic institution; it must be,
but the greatest care must be taken in choosing the right despot. Should
the coach be a professional manager or actor, or should he be an
amateur? The question is a difficult one. There are, it goes without
saying, many excellent directors who are or have been professionals; on
the other hand, it cannot be denied that some of the best amateur work
in this country has been done by directors whose experience on the
professional stage has, to say the least, been limited. Some such
training is beneficial, but to put a professional of many years'
experience in charge of amateurs is likely to make of the amateurs a
company of puppets imitating only some of the externals of
professionaldom. The best director, therefore, seems to be a person who
has some professional experience, but who has likewise dealt with
amateurs; one who enters into the amateur spirit, and understands its
difference from the professional world, and does not try to train his
company to imitate stock actors or "stars."

Understudies may be chosen in the same manner as the first cast.

After the choosing of the casts, the next step is rehearsing. To this
complicated process the next three chapters are devoted.


(Photo by White. Courtesy of Neighborhood Playhouse).]

                               CHAPTER IV



The first rehearsal should be "called" as soon as possible after the
cast has been selected and a place chosen in which to work. If the play
is to be performed in a regular theater, it is wise to block out the
general action and have at least the first two or three rehearsals on
the stage. It would be still better if all the rehearsals could be
conducted there, but as this is seldom possible, the stage manager
should take its dimensions and secure some room as near the size of the
stage as he can find. A room too large or too small, or not the
requisite shape, is more than likely to confuse the actors. As many of
the essential "props" and articles of furniture as possible should be
used from the very first, in order to accustom the actors to work under
approximately the same conditions as on the occasion of the performance.

If the play can be secured in printed form, each actor will have his
copy, and a general reading to the cast by the director or stage manager
be rendered unnecessary. However, a few remarks by him as to the nature
and spirit of the play will not be amiss. It is not uncommon to hear of
professionals who have never read or seen the entire play even after
acting in it for many months. Unless each actor knows and feels what the
play is about and enters into its spirit, there can be little chance for
unity and harmony.

"Cutting", or other alteration, is often necessary. The director should
read his alterations and allow each actor to make his text conform with
the prompt-copy.

When the play is not obtainable in book form, each rôle is then copied
from the manuscript, together with the "cues" and all the stage
business. In this case, a general reading to the cast is imperative.

The preliminaries disposed of, the play is _read_, each actor taking his
part. This is merely to familiarize the actors with the play and show
them briefly their relation to each other and the work as a whole. At
this first rehearsal, there should be no attempt at acting; that is
reserved for the next meeting.

At the second rehearsal[1]--which should take place the day after the
first--the director blocks out the action. If the play be a full-length
one (approximately two hours) then one act of this general blocking out
will be found to occupy all the time. If the play is in a single act,
and provided it be not too long, then the entire play may be blocked

    [1] The system here followed must of necessity be arbitrary, but
        the principle is easy to grasp. A great deal depends on the
        ability of the actors and the time they can afford.

What is "blocking out"? Let us take an easy example and block out the
first few minutes' of Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."[2] Here
follows the text of the first two and a half pages:

    [2] Editions published by French, Putnam, Luce, Nichols, and

    _Scene--Morning-room in Algernon's flat in Half Moon Street. The
    room is luxuriously and artistically furnished. The sound of a
    piano is heard in the adjoining room._

    [LANE _is arranging afternoon tea on the table, and after the
    music has ceased_, ALGERNON _enters_.]

    ALGERNON. Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?

    LANE. I didn't think it polite to listen, sir.

    ALGERNON. I'm sorry for that, for your sake. I don't play
    accurately--any one can play accurately--but I play with
    wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned,
    sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.

    LANE. Yes, sir.

    ALGERNON. And, speaking of the science of Life, have you got the
    cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady Bracknell?

    LANE. Yes, sir. [_He hands them on a salver._]

    ALGERNON. [_Inspects them, takes two, and sits down on the
    sofa._] Oh! ... by the way, Lane, I see from your book that on
    Thursday night, when Lord Shoreman and Mr. Worthing were dining
    with me, eight bottles of champagne are entered as having been

    LANE. Yes, sir, eight bottles and a pint.

    ALGERNON. Why is it that at a bachelor's establishment the
    servants invariably drink the champagne? I ask merely for

    LANE. I attribute it to the superior quality of the wine, sir. I
    have often observed that in married households the champagne is
    rarely of a first-rate brand.

    ALGERNON. Good Heavens! Is marriage so demoralizing as that?

    LANE. I believe it _is_ a very pleasant state, sir. I have had
    very little experience of it myself up to the present. I have
    only been married once. That was in consequence of a
    misunderstanding between myself and a young person.

    ALGERNON. [_Languidly._] I don't know that I am much interested
    in your family life, Lane.

    LANE. No, sir; it is not a very interesting subject. I never
    think of it myself.

    ALGERNON. Very natural, I am sure. That will do, Lane, thank

    LANE. Thank you, sir. [LANE _goes out_.]

    ALGERNON. Lane's views on marriage seem somewhat lax. Really, if
    the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is
    the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no
    sense of moral responsibility. [_Enter_ LANE.]

    LANE. Mr. Ernest Worthing. [_Enter_ JACK. LANE _goes out_.]

    ALGERNON. How are you, my dear Ernest? What brings you up to

    JACK. Oh, pleasure, pleasure! What else should bring me
    anywhere? Eating as usual, I see, Algy?

    ALGERNON. [_Stiffly._] I believe it is customary in good society
    to take some slight refreshment at five o'clock. Where have you
    been since last Thursday?

    JACK. [_Sitting down on the sofa._] In the country.

    ALGERNON. What on earth do you do there?

    JACK. [_Pulling off his gloves._] When one is in town one amuses
    oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It
    is excessively boring.

    ALGERNON. And who are the people you amuse?

    JACK. [_Airily._] Oh, neighbors, neighbors.

    ALGERNON. Got nice neighbors in your part of Shropshire?

    JACK. Perfectly horrid! Never speak to one of them.

    ALGERNON. How immensely you must amuse them! (_Goes over and
    takes sandwich._) By the way, Shropshire is your county, is it

    JACK. Eh? Shropshire? Yes, of course. Hallo! Why all these cups?
    Why such extravagance in one so young? Who is coming to tea?

The first point to be noticed is that the stage directions are not
sufficient. To begin with, the only information we have as to the
morning-room is that it is in Algernon Moncrieff's flat in Half Moon
Street, and that it is "_luxuriously and artistically furnished_." The
next directions--"LANE _is arranging tea on a table_"--prove that there
_is_ a tea-table with tea things on it. We are therefore dependent on
the ensuing dialogue and the implied or briefly described action to
furnish clues as to the entrances, furniture, and "props" which will be
required in the course of the act. It is, of course, the director's and
the stage manager's business to go through the play beforehand, and have
all these points well in mind. Let us now see how this is done, and
proceed to block out the first part of the play.

The room evidently at least has two doors: one leading into the
hallway--up-stage Center--the other halfway down-stage Right,[3] let us
say for the present, as in the diagram:


    [3] Right and Left in stage directions mean from the actors'
        point of view. Up-stage and down-stage mean respectively away
        from and toward the footlights.

Before Algernon's entrance, Lane, the butler, is preparing tea. Where is
the table? Some subsequent business may necessitate its being in a
position different from the one first chosen, but let us assume that it
is up-stage to the right:


There it is not likely to be in the way of the actors; furthermore, it
is not on the same side of the stage as the sofa--which is the next
article of furniture to be placed. If the table and the sofa and the
door were all on the same side of the stage, it would be much too
crowded, especially as the larger part of the subsequent action revolves
about them.

Lane, then, is busied with the tea things for a moment, as and after the
curtain rises. Then the music of a piano is heard off-stage to the
right. It stops, and a moment later Algernon enters. As he evidently has
nothing in particular to do at that moment, he may stand at the center
of the stage, facing Lane, who stops his work and respectfully answers
his master's questions. When Algernon says: "And, speaking of the
science of Life, have you got the cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady
Bracknell?", what more natural than that he should look in the direction
of the table, and perhaps even make a step toward it? Lane then goes to
the table, takes up the salver with the sandwiches on it, and hands it
to Algernon. Here there are no other directions than _"Hands them on
salver_." The other "business" is inferred from the dialogue. Algernon
then "_Inspects them, takes two, and sits down on the sofa_."

This is the first reference to the sofa. The original prompt-copy must,
of course, have made clear exactly where each article of furniture
stood, but, for the reasons above enumerated, let us place the sofa as
in the diagram:


Notice now that nothing is said of the salver. But from the direction
near the top of page 3--(Luce and Baker editions) "_Goes over and takes
sandwich_"--we may assume that Lane takes the salver back to the table.
Undoubtedly, he does this as Algernon sits on the sofa. This stage
direction should be indicated in the prompt-copy, as well as in that of
the actor playing Lane, as follows:


As soon as Lane has done this, or even before, Algernon resumes his
conversation, while Lane turns and listens to him. Lane stands somewhere
between the table and the sofa, at a respectful distance from Algernon.
The next "business" occurs when Algernon says "That will do, Lane, thank
you", and Lane replies "Thank you, sir", and goes out. This brings up
another question which is not answered, as yet at least, in the text.
Does Lane go out Right? Possibly; or is there another entrance Left,
leading to the butler's room? So far as we are able to determine, there
is no good reason why the room to the right, where Algernon was playing,
should not lead to the butler's room, or to wherever he is supposed to
go. And in this case, there is no reason why Lane cannot, during
Algernon's soliloquy, have heard the doorbell ring, answered it, and
been ready to reënter, announcing, as he does: "Mr. Ernest Worthing."
Jack then enters, Right. Although again there is no stage direction, it
is likely that Algernon rises to greet his friend and shake hands with

Once more, the stage directions, or rather the want of them, are apt to
confuse. On the top of page 3, we read that Jack pulls "_off his
gloves_." He wears a hat, of course, and probably a coat. He carries his
hat in his hand, but presumably still wears his coat, and certainly his
gloves. Lane, before he leaves, would undoubtedly take Jack's hat, help
him off with his coat, and take them out with him. Then, before the two
men shake hands--if they do--Jack pulls off his gloves. Jack's line,
"Eating as usual, I see, Algy," is sufficient indication to prove that
in one hand Algernon holds a sandwich. Algernon then sits down. The
dramatist would surely have mentioned Jack's sitting down if that had
been his intention; therefore Jack may stand. Now comes the direction
about Jack's "Pulling off his gloves." What does he do with them? For
the present, at least, let us allow him to go to the tea table, and lay
them on it. A moment later, Algernon "_Goes over and takes sandwich_."
He stands by the table, eating, and this attracts Jack's attention to
the somewhat elaborate preparations for tea. Algernon then says: "By the
way, Shropshire is your county, is it not?" But Jack, too engrossed in
the preparations, scarcely hears the other, and answers: "Eh?
Shropshire? Yes, of course," and so on. Then he evidently goes to the
tea table.

This is the general method of attack to be pursued. It may be that later
in the same scene it will be necessary to go back and undo some of the
"business", because the only available text of this play--and this is
almost always true of printed plays--is not in prompt-copy form. The
making, therefore, of a prompt-copy is a slow process. First, the
director goes through the play and plans in a general way what the
action is to be, but only by rehearsing his cast on a particular stage
and under specific conditions, is he able to know every detail of the
action. By the time the actors are letter-perfect, the prompt-copy ought
likewise to be fairly perfect. It is always dangerous to change
"business" after the actors have memorized their parts.

During this preliminary blocking-out process, little or no attention
need be paid to details: the mere outlining of the action, together with
the reading of the lines by the actors, is sufficient.

Sometimes printed plays suffer from too many stage directions, and
occasionally even the careful Bernard Shaw, as the following extract
will prove, is far from clear. Here are the opening pages of "You Never
Can Tell":[4]

    [4] Published separately by Brentano's.

    _In a dentist's operating room on a fine August morning in 1896.
    Not the usual tiny London den, but the best sitting-room of a
    furnished lodging in a terrace on the sea front at a fashionable
    watering place. The operating chair, with a gas pump and
    cylinder beside it, is half way between the center of the room
    and one of the corners. If you look into the room through the
    window which lights it, you will see the fireplace in the middle
    of the wall opposite you, with the door beside it to your left;
    an M.R.C.S. diploma in a frame hung on the chimneypiece; an easy
    chair covered in black leather on the hearth; a neat stool and
    bench, with vice, tools, and a mortar and pestle in the corner
    to the right. Near this bench stands a slender machine like a
    whip provided with a stand, a pedal, and an exaggerated winch.
    Recognizing this as a dental drill, you shudder and look away to
    your left, where you can see another window, underneath which
    stands a writing table, with a blotter and a diary on it, and a
    chair. Next the writing table, towards the door, is a leather
    covered sofa. The opposite wall, close on your right, is
    occupied mostly by a bookcase. The operating chair is under your
    nose, facing you, with the cabinet of instruments handy to it on
    your left._ _You observe that the professional furniture and
    apparatus are new, and that the wall paper, designed, with the
    taste of an undertaker, in festoons and urns, the carpet with
    its symmetrical plans of rich, cabbagy nosegays, the glass
    gasalier with lustres, the ornamental, gilt-rimmed blue
    candlesticks on the ends of the mantelshelf, also glass-draped
    with lustres, and the ormolu clock under a glass cover in the
    middle between them, its uselessness emphasized by a cheap
    American clock disrespectfully placed beside it and now
    indicating 12 o'clock noon, all combine with the black marble
    which gives the fireplace the air of a miniature family vault,
    to suggest early Victorian commercial respectability, belief in
    money, Bible fetichism, fear of hell always at war with fear of
    poverty, instinctive horror of the passionate character of art,
    love and the Roman Catholic religion, and all the first fruits
    of plutocracy in the early generations of the industrial

    _There is no shadow of this on the two persons who are occupying
    the room just now. One of them, a very pretty woman in
    miniature, her tiny figure dressed with the daintiest gaiety, is
    of a later generation, being hardly eighteen yet. This darling
    little creature clearly does not belong_ _to the room, or even
    to the country; for her complexion, though very delicate, has
    been burnt biscuit color by some warmer sun than England's; and
    yet there is, for a very subtle observer, a link between them.
    For she has a glass of water in her hand, and a rapidly clearing
    cloud of spartan obstinacy on her tiny firm mouth and quaintly
    squared eyebrows. If the least line of conscience could be
    traced between those eyebrows, an Evangelical might cherish some
    faint hope of finding her a sheep in wolf's clothing--for her
    frock is recklessly pretty--but as the cloud vanishes it leaves
    her frontal sinus as smoothly free from conviction of sin as a

    _The dentist, contemplating her with the self-satisfaction of a
    successful operator, is a young man of thirty or thereabouts. He
    does not give the impression of being much of a workman: his
    professional manner evidently strikes him as being a joke; and
    it is underlain by a thoughtless pleasantry which betrays the
    young gentleman still unsettled and in search of amusing
    adventures, behind the newly set-up dentist in search of
    patients. He is not without gravity of demeanor; but the
    strained nostrils stamp it as the gravity of the humorist. His
    eyes are clear,_ _alert, of sceptically moderate size, and yet a
    little rash; his forehead is an excellent one, with plenty of
    room behind it; his nose and chin cavalierly handsome. On the
    whole, an attractive, noticeable beginner, of whose prospects a
    man of business might form a tolerably favorable estimate._

    THE YOUNG LADY (_handing him the glass_). Thank you. (_In spite
    of the biscuit complexion she has not the slightest foreign

    THE DENTIST (_putting it down on the ledge of his cabinet of
    instruments_). That was my first tooth.

    THE YOUNG LADY (_aghast_). Your first! Do you mean to say that
    you began practising on me?

    THE DENTIST. Every dentist has to begin on somebody.

    THE YOUNG LADY. Yes: somebody in a hospital, not people who pay.

    THE DENTIST (_laughing_). Oh, the hospital doesn't count. I only
    meant my first tooth in private practice. Why didn't you let me
    give you gas?

    THE YOUNG LADY. Because you said it would be five shillings

    THE DENTIST (_shocked_). Oh, don't say that. It makes me feel as
    if I had hurt you for the sake of five shillings.

    THE YOUNG LADY (_with cool insolence_). Well, so you have! (_She
    gets up._) Why shouldn't you? it's your business to hurt people.
    (_It amuses him to be treated in this fashion; he chuckles
    secretly as he proceeds to clean and replace his instruments.
    She shakes her dress into order, looks inquisitively about her;
    and goes to the window._) You have a good view of the sea from
    these rooms! Are they expensive?


    THE YOUNG LADY. You don't own the whole house, do you?


    THE YOUNG LADY (_taking the chair which stands at the writing
    table and looking critically at it as she spins it round on one
    leg_). Your furniture isn't quite the latest thing, is it?

    THE DENTIST. It's my landlord's.

    THE YOUNG LADY. Does he own that nice comfortable Bath chair?
    (_pointing to the operating chair_).

    THE DENTIST. No: I have that on the hire-purchase system.

    THE YOUNG LADY (_disparagingly_). I thought so. (_Looking about
    her again in search of further conclusion._) I suppose you
    haven't been here long?

    THE DENTIST. Six weeks. Is there anything else you would like to

    THE YOUNG LADY (_the hint quite lost on her_). Any family?

Shaw's stage directions here are more than sufficient: they are intended
not only for the director, stage manager, property man, scene painter,
and actor, but for the reader as well. His directions are always
stimulating and suggestive, and should be studied by the actors; but,
from the point of view of the director and stage manager, they are
bewilderingly diffuse and sometimes confusing. The fact, for instance,
that the action takes place precisely in 1896, can be of little interest
to the manager. Nor can a clock indicate twelve o'clock "noon." In such
stage directions as these the director will therefore have to separate
the purely mechanical elements from the literary and atmospheric. Let us
now apply ourselves to the rather difficult task of making a diagram of
the stage and its settings.

It is a "fine August morning." The sun is shining out-of-doors and, as
the room looks out over the sea, the stage must be lighted through one
of the windows. The dramatist goes on to say that the room is "_Not the
usual tiny London den, but the best sitting room of a furnished
lodging._" By inference, it is a large room. The operating chair is
"_half way between the center of the room and one of the corners_."
Which corner is not designated. Let us try to plot out the stage on the
assumption that we are looking at it through a window halfway down-stage
on the left (the actor's left, of course). The window which lights the
room is placed thus:


Looking through this window, "_you will see the fireplace in the middle
of the wall opposite you, with the door beside it to your left_":


The next article of furniture mentioned is the easy chair "_on the


Then come "_a neat stool and bench_" and, near them, a dental drill:


"_Near it_" is not definite, but for the time being, let us allow it to
stand up-stage near the stool and bench, but a little toward Center.
Next, you "_look away to your left, where you can see another window_."
The direction here is not practicable, but the window may well go above
the fireplace, instead of below, thus:


Underneath this window stands a writing table and a chair:


"_Next the writing table, towards the door, is a leather covered sofa._"
To add another article of furniture to this already crowded side of the
stage would not only make the room appear unnatural to the audience, but
would render it impossible for the actors to move about with ease. The
director will therefore have to use his ingenuity and judgment as to
where to put the sofa. Some subsequent "business" may necessitate a
change of the disposition of more than one chair or sofa or stool, but
the process here outlined is the first step. To proceed: the sofa, then,
must be placed somewhere else. But where? By moving the drill to the
left, in the corner, the sofa can be placed next to the table, as


"_The opposite wall, close on your right, is occupied mostly by a
bookcase. The operating chair is under your nose, facing you, with the
cabinet of instruments handy to it on your left._"


It is at once observed how necessary it was to move the drill from the
other side of the room to this: over by the table, it would be out of
convenient reach of the dentist.

The difficulty of arranging the stage in this case will at once prove
the imperative need of going through the play with the utmost attention
to stage directions and _lines_, in order to make an accurate series of
stage diagrams, property, light, and furniture plots.

Notice that in the preliminary stage directions the center entrance is
not designated. It soon becomes evident, however, that a center door (or
one, at least, at the back of the stage) is taken for granted.

This elementary diagram will serve as a working basis. A very little
rehearsing will soon make it necessary to arrange the furniture, and so
on, in a manner more pleasing to the eye and more convenient to the


There is one more kind of text with which amateurs have to do: it is the
reprint of actual prompt-copies, and is usually accurate in material
details. The following extract is from the opening pages of the fourth
act of Henry Arthur Jones's "The Liars" (in the special edition
published by Samuel French):

    _Scene: Drawing-room in Sir Christopher's flat in Victoria
    Street. L. at back is a large recess, taking up half the stage.
    The right half is taken up by an inner room furnished as library
    and smoking-room. Curtains dividing library from drawing-room.
    Door up-stage, L. A table down-stage, R. The room is in great
    confusion, with portmanteau open, clothes, etc., scattered over
    the floor; articles which an officer going to Central Africa
    might want are lying about._

The diagram, as given in the text, is this:


This is merely a skeleton, as it were, of a diagram, but first, the
preliminary stage directions--quoted above--and the detailed and full
marginal and other stage directions in the text, make clear every
crossing, entrance, and exit, and designate at least the important
articles of furniture and "props." For example, it is learned from the
text on the first and second pages of the act, that there is a uniform
case "up-Center"--up-stage, that is, in the center of it; a folding
stool by the table; a trunk to the left of Center; and a sofa on the
extreme left. Unlike the quotations from the Wilde and Shaw plays, those
of Jones supply all necessary information to the stage manager and the
actors. Of course, as always, modifications must be made to meet the
exigencies of certain stages and certain actors, but these are minor

The fundamental principles of this preliminary blocking-out having been
laid down, we shall now proceed to a consideration of the infinitely
varied problems of grouping and detailed stage business.


(Courtesy of The Washington Square Players).]

                               CHAPTER V



While it is true that the possibilities of variation in the matter of
grouping, crossing, and so on, are infinite, still there are some
definite principles to be followed.

Suppose that the blocking-out process is over with, and the actors have
a fair idea of their entrances, positions, business, and exits. The two
following extracts (the first from the third act of Jones's "The Liars",
the second from Edouard Pailleron's "The Art of Being Bored") serve to
illustrate two ways of going about the problem of grouping actors on the
stage. The first contains specific directions, the second only the
merest suggestions. Below is the diagram of the stage in the third act
of "The Liars":


Up to page 107, which is reproduced on page 50, the characters are
grouped as indicated:


Following carefully the stage directions in the text and on the margin,
the action is traced as follows:

    Mrs. Crespin shakes hands with Sir Christopher. Then (marginal
    note) "_Sir C. opens door L. for Mrs. Crespin_":


    (_Exit_ MRS. CRESPIN.[5] _They all stand looking at each other,
    nonplussed._ SIR CHRISTOPHER _slightly touching his head with
    perplexed gesture_.)

        [5] _Sir C. opens door L. for Mrs. Crespin; after her
            exit, closes door. They all turn and look at Sir C. He
            sinks into a chair up C., and shakes his head at them._

                                 SIR C.

    Our fib won't do.

                                LADY R.

    Freddie, you incomparable nincompoop!


    I like that! If I hadn't asked her, what would have happened?
    George Nepean would have come in, you'd have plumped down on him
    with your lie, and what then? Don't you think it's jolly lucky I
    said what I did?[6]

        [6] _Lady Jess. sits L.C. Sir Chris. puts hat on
            bookcase C., and comes down C._

                                 SIR C.

    It's lucky in this instance. But if I am to embark any further
    in these imaginative enterprises, I must ask you, Freddie, to
    keep a silent tongue.


    What for?

                                 SIR C.

    Well, old fellow, it may be an unpalatable truth to you, but
    you'll never make a good liar.[7]

        [7] _Lady R. and Lady Jess. agree with Sir C._


    Very likely not. But if this sort of thing is going on in my
    house, I think I ought to.

                               LADY R.[8]

        [8] _Crosses to him C. Freddie sits R.C. annoyed._

    Oh, do subside, Freddie, do subside!

                               LADY J.[9]

        [9] _5th call. George._

    Yes, George--and perhaps Gilbert--will be here directly. Oh,
    will somebody tell me what to do?

Then, "_after her exit, closes door_. _They all turn and look at Sir C.
He sinks into a chair and shakes his head at them._" Into which chair
does he sink? Since in a moment he must put his hat on the bookcase,
Center, he had better sit on the chair to the right of it:


Then, at the end of Freddie's speech, "_Lady Jess. sits L.C._ [left of
Center]. _Sir Chris. puts hat on bookcase C., and comes down C._"


The last speech of Lady Rosamund on this page is accompanied by the
following stage direction: "_Crosses to him_ [Sir Christopher] _C.
Freddie sits R.C. annoyed_."


This is very simple, but only in the rarest instances are stage
directions so carefully worked out and indicated. The director will
usually be confronted by long pages where there are few or no definite
or dependable directions. The original text of Shakespeare affords us
only the most elementary explanations of stage "business", so that when
Shakespeare is produced it is wisest to use one of the many stage
editions, in which the traditional directions, or others equally good,
are given at some length. Usually, however, the director will be aided
by directions which are fairly full and fairly accurate, but never quite
dependable. The following excerpt--from "The Art of Being
Bored"--contains the ordinary sort of directions, the kind that are
found in good plays and bad. The set is described in the first act as

    "_A drawing-room, with a large entrance at the back, opening
    upon another room. Entrances up- and down-stage. To the left,
    between the two doors, a piano. Right, an entrance down-stage;
    farther up, a large alcove with a glazed door leading into the
    garden; a table, on either side of which is a chair; to the
    right, a small table and a sofa; arm-chairs, etc._"

This may be plotted in the following manner:


There are no specific directions as to the position of the sofa and
chairs, but as a large number of characters are on the stage at one
time, a great many will be necessary. The exact number of chairs, as
well as the positions they will have to occupy, depend largely on the
size and shape of the stage. The above diagram will serve at first as a
working basis. Turning to the opening of the second act, we find the
following directions:

    (_Same as Act 1._

    (_Bellac, Toulonnier, Roger, Paul Raymond, Madame de Céran,
    Madame de Loudan, Madame Arriégo, the Duchess, Suzanne, Lucy,
    Jeanne seated in a semi-circle, listening to Saint-Réault, who
    is finishing his lecture_).


    SAINT-RÉAULT. And, make no mistake about it! Profound as these
    legends may appear because of their baffling exoticism, they are
    merely--my illustrious father wrote in 1834--elemental,
    primitive imaginings in comparison with the transcendental
    conceptions of Brahmin lore, gathered together in the
    Upanishads, or indeed in the eighteen Paranas of Vyasa, the
    compiler of the Vedda.

    JEANNE (_aside to Paul_). Are you asleep?

    PAUL. No, no--I hear some kind of gibberish.

    SAINT-RÉAULT. Such, in simple terminology, is the _concretum_ of
    the doctrine of Buddha.--And at this point I shall close my

    (_Murmurs. Some of the audience rise_).

Here two or three--Bellac and Roger, and one of the ladies, let us
say--rise, and chat in undertones in a small group among themselves.

    SEVERAL VOICES (_weakly_). Very good! Good!

    SAINT-RÉAULT. And now--(_He coughs_).

    MADAME DE CÉRAN (_eagerly_). You must be tired, Saint-Réault?

At this, Madame de Céran might well rise, as if to put an end to
Saint-Réault's speech. The others are impatient, and perhaps one or two
start to rise. The others whisper, or appear to do so. Then Saint-Réault

    SAINT-RÉAULT. Not at all, Countess!

    MADAME ARRIÉGO. Oh, yes, you must be; rest yourself. We can wait.

It is likely that here Madame Arriégo would rise and go to Saint-Réault.
Two or three others would follow her.

    SEVERAL VOICES. You must rest!

    MADAME DE LOUDAN. You can't always remain in the clouds. Come
    down to earth, Baron.

    SAINT-RÉAULT. Thank you, but--well, you see, I had already

                          (_Everybody rises_).

Saint-Réault's audience may then form into small groups, somewhat as


Care must be taken not to give the stage a crowded appearance, nor yet
an air of too well-ordered symmetry. To continue:

    SEVERAL VOICES. So interesting!--A little
    obscure!--Excellent!--Too long!

    BELLAC (_to the ladies_). Too materialistic!

    PAUL (_to Jeanne_). He's bungled it.

    SUSANNE (_calling_). Monsieur Bellac!

    BELLAC. Mademoiselle?

    SUSANNE. Come here, near me.

                        (_Bellac goes to her_).

    ROGER (_aside to the Duchess_). Aunt!

The direction "_aside to the Duchess_" shows that (1) Roger, after the
company rose, either went to the Duchess; or that, (2) meantime he goes
to her. This may be done either way, so long as the two are within
reasonable whispering distance.

    DUCHESS (_aside to Roger_). She's doing it on purpose!

    SAINT-RÉAULT (_coming to table_). One word more! (_General
    surprise. The audience sit down in silence and consternation_).

Bearing in mind the change of position of Bellac, Roger, and
Saint-Réault, we may reseat the characters as follows:


While, as has been said, grouping depends to a great extent on the size
and shape of the stage, it should always be borne in mind that the stage
should in most cases be made to resemble a picture as regards balance
and composition. This means that the director must avoid crowding; that
the actors must learn to take their places as part of that picture, and
not attempt either to usurp the center of the stage or to disappear
behind other actors. No grouping should ever be left to chance or the
inspiration of the moment; every actor must have marked down in his own
script every movement he makes. Groups and crowds require a great deal
of rehearsing, in order that they may always assume the right position
at the right moment.

When an impression of vast numbers of people is desired--as in "Julius
Cæsar"--large numbers of "supes" are not needed. Eight or ten or twelve
people, well managed, are sufficient to create an effect of this sort on
a small stage, and perhaps twenty on a large. The basic principle of the
art of the theater is suggestion, not reproduction.

In the "forum scene" of Shakespeare's "Julius Cæsar" there are
practically no stage directions. The management of the mob, therefore,
is left entirely to the director. When the Third Citizen says: "The
noble Brutus is ascended. Silence!" we are of course given to
understand--by the word "Silence!"--that there has been some noise and
confusion. The text affords the most important indications.

Plot out, for practice, the position of the various members of the mob
throughout this scene.

As a rule, the best impression of a crowd is made by massing and
manipulating groups of from three to six individuals. If movement is
demanded, it must be precise and measured out carefully during
rehearsals. Therefore, since it is nearly always impossible to get
trained actors to compose mobs, it is well to intersperse two or three
"leaders" in any crowd, who will give the cue for concerted action.

The foregoing discussion, both in the present and preceding chapter, has
been made largely from the director's and the stage manager's viewpoint.
Let us now go back to the actor, and suggest a few methods which will
help him.

An easy and vivid way of remembering "business" at first is to make a
very simple diagram, thus:


Supposing A, who stands down-stage before the sofa, crosses up-stage to
the small table, as he says: "I'll not stand it any longer!" Just after
this line, the actor places a mark referring him to the margin of his
"script", and makes another diagram:


This represents A crossing to up-stage, left of the small table. In this
way, when the actor is studying his lines, he cannot help studying the
"business", and vice versa; and since lines and "business" almost always
go hand in hand, he will run no danger of having first learned the one
without the other.

Considerable confusion is likely to arise when an overzealous director
insists that his actors be "letter perfect" before the "business" is
well formulated and worked out and thoroughly learned.

In the first chapter on Rehearsing, the blocking-out process was
discussed, but the order in which each act was to be rehearsed, the time
to be spent on it, etc.--these matters were deferred, and will now be
taken up.

At the next rehearsal--that is, after the blocking-out of the first
act--the second is treated in the same way. And after the last act has
been blocked out, the first should be rehearsed with greater care.
Details of "business", grouping, the delivery of lines--especially the
correction of errors in interpretation--must be carefully considered.
Probably some of the "business" blocked out in the first rehearsal will
have to be changed, or at least amplified. Entrances and exits must be
repeatedly rehearsed until they go smoothly. The crossings and
recrossing of one, two, or more characters, can scarcely be rehearsed
too often.

Let us take a few examples of this sort of detail work. A man comes home
late, tired and hungry. Outside the sitting room through an open door,
is seen the hatrack. How can this simple incident be made to appear true
and interesting? Here is at least one manner of accomplishing it: a door
is heard closing off-stage; footsteps resound in the hall. A, the man,
appears, wearing a hat, overcoat, and gloves, at the Center door, looks
into the room to see whether any one is present, seems surprised, utters
a short exclamation, and then turns to the hatrack. His back to the
audience, he takes off his hat, hangs it carelessly on a hook, then
slowly draws off his gloves, allows his coat to fall from his shoulders,
looks at himself in the glass for an instant, and then, with a sigh,
comes into the room again.

The incident, of course, is capable of a hundred variations, depending
upon the character of the man, the circumstances under which he comes
home, and so forth.

Or, a little more complicated instance: A, B, and C, three men, are
seated, talking after dinner. They are stationed as follows:


A sits on the arm of the davenport, B on the davenport itself, and C in
a chair at the lower right-hand side of the table.

Notice first that the davenport is not placed at right angles to the
audience; this is done so that two people, sitting side by side, may be
better seen by the "house." Notice, too, that A is at the extreme
left-hand corner of the davenport. Visualize this for an instant: here
is proportion, line, and balance, but without the appearance of
stiffness or symmetry, which should always be avoided. B rises and
stands before the fireplace: again notice the grouping:


A then rises and goes to the center of the stage, standing near the left
of the table:


This simple moving about the room should never be obtrusive; that is to
say, the audience must never be conscious of the director's hand. First,
every bit of "business", every move, every gesture, must be justified,
otherwise it calls attention to itself. This is a distinct problem with
amateurs, who naturally find it difficult not to move about when they
have nothing else to do. They feel self-conscious unless they are
"acting." The best rule for any amateur--although it is again the
director who is responsible and should look after this--is, never to do
anything unless he knows precisely why he does it, and unless he _feels_

One further example: imagine a five-minute conversation, in the text of
which there are no stage directions. It is between two women: D and E.
They are seated, one in an arm-chair by the fire, the other in an
ordinary chair to the right of a library table:


There are not many plays in which two characters _merely_ converse for
so long a period without well-motivated reasons, but it is well to take
an extreme example. Let us assume that D is telling E the story of her
life, and that for two minutes her speech contains little more than
straight narrative. Suddenly she tells a sad incident, and E, who has a
sympathetic nature, wipes her eyes with her handkerchief. D continues,
and E, no longer able to restrain her tears but not wishing to show her
emotion to D, rises and goes to the left of the stage for a moment or
two. The long conversation scene is now broken up by a natural bit of
action. While in life such a conversation might consume hours, on the
stage it must be made more attractive and emotionally stimulating; in
the theater, the appeal is through the eye and ear, to the emotions.

Such a scene as the one just outlined must be repeatedly rehearsed,
until every detail of the "business" is worked out perfectly.

After approximately ten days' work on the first act--during which period
each of the other acts should be run through at least three times--the
actors should be letter perfect and able to give a fairly smooth

Then the other acts are rehearsed in like manner. Each act, after it is
finished in this way, must be rehearsed at least every three or four
days. When all the acts have been worked out, then each rehearsal is
devoted to going through the whole play. Minor points in acting, minor
"business", rendering of the lines, voice, gesture, etc., must naturally
be insisted upon. Special cases must be dealt with outside the regular
rehearsals, for the play should be interrupted as seldom as possible,
because it is wise to let the actors become accustomed to going through
the entire piece. It will be found expeditious, too, for small groups of
characters who have scenes together to rehearse by themselves. The full
rehearsals of the play are valuable both to actors and the director, for
the latter is given a general view of his stage pictures which could in
no other way be afforded him, and he is in a position to judge of his
general and massed effects. At the same time the actors will more
readily enter into the spirit of the work if they are permitted to play
without interruption. Where the actors forget their lines, they should
be prompted without other delay, but if they do anything actually wrong,
or if the director wishes to make an important change, the performance
must, of course, be stopped for a moment.

The number of rehearsals necessary for the production of a play by
amateurs depends largely on the attitude of the amateurs themselves, and
the amount of time at their disposal. It is safe to say that ninety-nine
out of a hundred such performances suffer noticeably from need of
rehearsing. Nor is this to be wondered at, for the average professional
play usually requires four or five weeks' rehearsing--seven to eight
hours daily--for six and sometimes seven days in the week! Of course, an
amateur is an amateur because he is not a professional, and he cannot
afford very much time for work which is after all only a pastime. One
other point should be well borne in mind: the average amateur has not
the patience of the professional. If he is rehearsed too long or too
steadily, he will grow "stale", and lose interest in his work.

Still, no full-length play can safely be produced with less than four
weeks' work, on an average of five rehearsals of three hours each, per
week. (This does not include special and individual outside rehearsals.)
Four weeks is the shortest time that can be allowed, while six or seven
should be devoted to it. So much time is not necessary in order that the
company may attempt to become professionals; that would be impossible
and not at all advisable. The amateur, if rightly trained, should be
able to impart a certain natural, naïve, unprofessional tone to the part
he is impersonating, but this can only be done by constant rehearsing.
The director usually finds that the amateur's first instinct is to
imitate the tricks of the professional actor, and not allow himself to
_feel_ the character of the rôle. The professional quickly assimilates
mannerisms which are only too likely to become mechanical, but which the
amateur, because he is an amateur, is not likely to learn, if at first
he is trained to avoid them.

There is no particular excuse for presenting plays which can be seen
acted anywhere and any time by professionals; amateurs should strive to
produce classics, or modern plays which for one reason or another are
not often seen, and impart to them that peculiar flavor which charms as
well as interests and attracts. Nor is there much use in the amateur
actor's striving to become professional in manner: he cannot hope, in
the short time he can spare for his work, to become a good professional;
or, if he gives signs of becoming such, then he no longer belongs in
amateur dramatics. Allow the amateur plenty of leeway in the matter of
interpretation, if he has any original ideas of his own; but of course
these must never be at variance with the general idea of the play. Let
him work out his own salvation: here lies the value of amateur
production, both to the actor and to the audience.

Often amateurs are called upon to portray feelings, actions, passions,
of which they have no knowledge or experience. Love scenes, for
instance, are invariably difficult. In this case, the actors must be
taught a few conventional gestures, attitudes, and tricks, but they
should not be permitted--except in rare cases--to lay much stress on the
acting. This also applies to such purely conventional matters as
kissing, dying, fighting, etc., for which a set of recognized technical
tricks has been evolved. Any competent director can train actors to do

One more point before this part of rehearsing is dispensed with: amateur
productions suffer largely from a lack of continuous tension and
variety. Often the action is slow, jerky, and consequently tedious.
Constant rehearsing, with a view to inspiring greater confidence and
sureness in the actors, under a good director, is the best means to
overcome these great drawbacks. The last eight or ten rehearsals, after
the cast are familiar with their lines and "business", are the most
important in the matter of tempo. Details of shading, well-developed and
modulated action, and a well-defined climax, are what must be worked
for. When the actors are no longer thinking of when they must cross or
sit down or rise, they are ready to enter whole-heartedly into the
spirit of the play as an artistic unit.

As an example, on a small scale, of how a scene may be modulated and
shaded, two pages from Meilhac and Halévy's "Indian Summer" (published
by Samuel French) are here reprinted with marginal notes explaining how
these effects are obtained.

                    {ADR. Just a moment ago I forgot that such a thing
                    {was out of the question--
  _Slowly_          {
  _and_             {BRI. Why out of the question--?
  _quietly._        {
                    {ADR. Why, because--

                    {BRI. Because what? How much did that American
  _Slight increase_ {family pay you? I'll give you twice as much--three
  _of_              {times as much. Whatever you want!
  _speed and_       {
  _tension._        {ADR. Only to read to you?
                    {BRI. Why, yes.

                    {ADR. That wouldn't be so bad--there's just one
                    {thing against it--it might be just a wee bit
  _Slowly_          {BRI. Oh!
  _rising_          {
  _tension_         {ADR. Really, don't you think so? Just a bit?
  _and speed._      {
                    {BRI. At my age?
                    {ADR. (_gaily_). Oh, it's all very well--a young
                    {person like me--alone with you. (_Seriously._) Oh,
                    {if you only didn't live alone--!
  _Staccato._       {BRI. If I--? If I weren't alone?

                    {ADR. If you only had some relatives--married
                    {relatives--your nephew, for instance, with his
                    {wife--then I might--

                    {BRI. Once more, don't speak to me of--! He's the
                    {one that brought all this trouble on us--that
                    {letter that forces you to--that letter came from
  _Emphasis._       {him. (ADRIENNE _makes a quick movement of
                    {protest_.) 'Tisn't his fault, I know, but I hold
                    {a grudge against him as if it were--

  _Momentary_       {ADR. And yet, if I told you--
  _pause._          {
                    {BRI. (_stopping her_). Shh! If you please.

                    {ADR. (_moved_). Then I must go. That was the only
  _Diminuendo._     {way; and you don't want to do that. I'm sure I
  _Tense,_          {don't know what will happen afterward. I still
  _but quiet._      {hope--But for the moment, I must (_Mild access of
                    {crying_). Oh I'm sorry--so sorry--(_Falls into
                    {chair at side of table_).

                    {BRI. (_excitedly_). Adrienne!
  _Slight increase_ {
  _again._          {ADR. (_recovering mastery over herself_). I beg
                    {your pardon--there! There! (_Brushing away her
                    {tears_).See, it's all over!

                    {BRI. Adrienne!
                    {ADR. (_rising_). Monsieur!
                    {BRI. It's true, then, if there were some way, you
                    {would--? Not the way I mentioned just now--but
                    {another--you wouldn't leave, would you? You'd
  _Quickly_         {stay here--near me--always--and be happy?
  _increasing_      {
  _rise._           {ADR. (_lightly_). Oh yes, it's too--I say it from
                    {the bottom of my heart!
                    {BRI. Very well, you shan't go.
  _Quickly._        {ADR. I--?
                    {BRI. No, you shan't go.
                    {ADR. But--how?--Why?

                    {BRI. I have found a way!
  _Moment_          {
  _of suspense._    {ADR. And it is?

                    {BRI. To make you my wife!
  _Climax._         {
                    {ADR. (_Sits down again, overcome_).

                    {BRI. I'll do it!--Go and speak to your Aunt--Here!
                    {Come here! (_Enter_ NOEL, _right, carrying a
                    {bundle of papers_). Come here! Don't be afraid! You
                    {may go and get your wife. Bring her here! I'll
                    {forgive her as I forgive you! (_Shakes hands warmly
                    {with_ NOEL).
  _High tension_    {NOEL. Uncle!
  _after_           {
  _the_             {BRI. You were right--now I know it! What do I
  _climax,_         {care if she is a watchmaker's daughter? Go and get
  _and preparatory_ {your wife--bring her here--and we'll live together,
  _to another_      {the four of us us--
  _climax_          {
  _later on._       {NOEL. All four of us?
                    {BRI. Yes, all four! (_To_ ADRIENNE). I am going
                    {to speak to your Aunt--I'll be back at once.
                    {(_Exit Center_).


The simple hangings produce a good cyclorama effect. (Courtesy of Miss
Ida Treat).]

                               CHAPTER VI



The dress rehearsal usually takes place on the night before the regular

Every effort must be made on this occasion to have conditions, on the
stage and behind it, as nearly as possible like those under which the
play is to be given. Scenery, lighting, costumes, must all be ready, and
the performance carried through with as few interruptions as the
director can afford to make. The director should be in the back of the
"house", and stop the players only when they do something absolutely
wrong. It is very unwise to change lines or "business" at this eleventh
hour. The stage manager and his assistants must be in their assigned
places, the lights manipulated, actors "called", the curtain rung up and
down on schedule. The director watches the general effects, sees that
the stage is not crowded, that the lights are in order, and above all,
watches the tempo of the performance.

The actors must be informed that on the occasion of the performance the
audience is likely to distract them by applause, laughter, etc., and
that they, the actors, must pause for a moment when there is any such
interruption. A little advice as to resting, not worrying about lines,
etc., will not be out of place.

Besides the _acting_ dress rehearsal, there should be a scene and light
rehearsal. This is merely for the assistants behind the stage. The
different scenes (if there is more than one) should be set and "struck"
(taken down), furniture and "props" stationed, lights worked, exactly as
they are to be on the following night. Everything should go according to
clockwork, the stage manager "holding the book" on all his assistants.

The performance should begin on time. Every one knows the irksome delay
usually incident to amateur performances, and it ought to be the object
of every director to remedy a defect which is inherent in our usual
slipshod method of reproducing plays. Promptness is the prime requisite
of efficiency, and the production of plays is successful only when the
component elements are organized on a sort of military basis. The actors
must be in the theater on time, and "made-up" in costume, at least half
an hour before the curtain rises. It is well for each actor to see the
property man and make sure that all the "props" necessary to his part
are in readiness. The property man himself must also check up his list
for the last time, in order to avoid confusion during the performance.

When everything is in order, there is little more to be done. The
director might make a few general remarks to the cast, endeavor to
inspire them with confidence and impress upon them the necessity of
playing together harmoniously, and so on, but if his work has been well
done during rehearsals, this will not be necessary.

The prompter must follow the play line for line and be ready to prompt
any actor who forgets his part. It is well for the stage manager to be
near the prompter, in order that every cue for lighting, "business"
off-stage--like ringing bells, shooting, etc.--may be acted upon as



(Courtesy of L. R. Lewis).]

                              CHAPTER VII

                               THE STAGE

A great deal more attention is being directed--in this country, at
least--to the improvement of the physical requirements of the stage than
heretofore. During the past few years, numerous writers[10] have made a
systematic study of theaters abroad and at home, and revealed the fact
that on the whole our theaters, both before and behind the curtain, are
antiquated, ill-equipped, and fall far short of the infinite
possibilities which have been made realized in certain cities of Germany
and Russia.

    [10] Hiram Kelly Moderwell, in his "The Theatre of To-day"
        (Lane), and Sheldon Cheney, in his "The Modern Movement in the
        Theatre" (Kennerley), have rendered signal service in this
        field. The first book contains a thoroughly systematic account
        of practically all the new theatrical experiments.

Revolutionary experiments in lighting, as well as in the disposition of
stage settings, have, during the past ten or twelve years, opened up
fields formerly undreamed of.

It is not the purpose of this chapter to describe at great length these
innovations; the reader is referred to the books of Moderwell and Cheney
mentioned in the footnote above. A few elementary suggestions, however,
which may be used by skilled and intelligent amateurs, will prove
suggestive to the average director and stage manager.

It is likely that by far the greater number of amateur plays will be
performed on a stage which is already built and equipped. In such cases,
all the stage manager can do is to use his own scenery and at least have
a voice in the matter of lighting. Still, many plays are performed on
improvised stages, in private homes, clubs, or schoolrooms, or
out-of-doors. This allows the stage manager a little more leeway, and
often he may modify the size of the stage to suit himself, and introduce
some innovations of his own.

To those who are in a position either to build or temporarily construct
their own stages, this chapter is primarily addressed.

We shall now proceed to a consideration of a few of the more important
innovations on the modern stage. The first of these is undoubtedly:

=The Cyclorama.= This is "a white or tinted backing for the stage, built
in the form of a segment of a vertical cylinder. It may be constructed
of canvas or of solid plaster.... Now, if made of canvas, it is more
usually kept, when not in use, on a vertical roller, at one side of the
stage, near the front, and carried around behind the stage, unrolling
from its cylinder the while, until it connects with a similar cylinder
at the opposite side of the stage. It hangs from a circular iron rail,
and almost completely encloses the stage, rising to the required
distance.... It can be rolled up on its original cylinder when it is not
needed, leaving the stage once more approachable from all sides.... The
chief uses of the cyclorama are evident. It presents a continuous dead
white or tinted background, which, when played upon by the proper
lights, gives a striking illusion of depth and luminous atmosphere....
But perhaps the chief value of the cyclorama, from the standpoint of the
stage artist, has not yet been mentioned. For the new device changes
altogether the problem of lighting. Ordinary sunlight is, as we know,
not a direct light, but an infinitely reflected light, bandied about by
the particles of air and by the ordinary physical objects on which it
strikes. The mellowness and internal luminosity of ordinary sunlight is
wholly due to this infinite reflection. It was the lack of this that
made the old stage lighting, with its blazing direct artificial glare,
so unreal. The cyclorama, and especially the dome cyclorama, permits the
stage to be lighted largely or wholly by crisscrossing reflection. The
mellow and subtle lighting which makes it possible was altogether
unknown under the older methods."[11]

    [11] Moderwell's "The Theatre of To-day." John Lane Company.

The construction of a cyclorama, either of cloth or of plaster, is
rather difficult, but there are certain simple substitutes which may be
used to secure some of its elementary effects. The following system has
been used by some amateurs with signal success.

First take a wooden rod, or better, iron pipes, curved to the desired

Fasten this framework either to the ceiling of the "loft" or, if that is
too high, to the wings. On the rod hang curtains of burlap, or some
similar material, or else two or three thicknesses of cheesecloth, so
that they fall in simple folds. The color will depend on the sort of
play to be produced and the kind of lights used. As a rule, dark tan,
green, or dark red are the best colors, and can be used on many
occasions and for nearly every sort of play. Whether the "cyclorama"
thus improvised be permanent or temporary, this is one of the best
possible backgrounds. In out-of-door scenes, it gives a suggestion of


In Constance D'Arcy Mackay's book on "Costumes and Scenery for Amateurs"
the author describes how a "desert and oasis" scene can be made from the
simplest means:

    "A plain sand-colored floor cloth. A backdrop or cyclorama of
    sky-blue against which very low sand mounds appearing as if at
    great distance, with palm trees, also made small by distance.
    These mounds and palm trees should be painted low on the
    backdrop, since a vast stretch of level sand is what is to be
    suggested. It would even be possible to use a plain blue sky
    drop, and run some sand-colored cambric into mounds across the
    back of the stage, so as to break the sky line."

It is not necessary, though, to _paint_ the cyclorama: darker cloth,
made to represent mounds, thrown across the lower part of the cyclorama,
would be equally effective. Further examples of what can be done with
the cyclorama will be cited in the chapter on "Lighting."

Another of the recent innovations which is of particular value to
amateurs is the system by which the proscenium opening can be made large
or small, according to the demands of the play. Usually the proscenium
looks like the following diagram.


(Courtesy of L. R. Lewis).]

Suppose one scene of a play calls for a large courtroom filled with
people. Obviously, all the stage space is required. But suppose that the
next scene is a small antechamber. On the average stage the discrepancy
is at once observed, and the effect is more than likely ridiculous. Even
if the sets used are "box sets" (that is, with three walls and not mere
conventional screens or curtains), the effect of great size can easily
be obtained in the first scene, and smallness in the second, by means of
the device about to be described. This applies, of course, to plays
where the same set must be used for both scenes. If, however, a
different set is used for the antechamber scene, the new device is


First, construct two tall screens (on a wooden framework), made either
of painted canvas or draped cloth, of some dark and subdued tone, and
place them on each side of the stage, just behind the proscenium arch,
as in the diagram:


These screens can be easily set closer to the center of the stage,
thereby diminishing its size on the sides. Then the "grand drapery"
above, which hangs down from behind the top of the proscenium arch, and
which should be of the same color and material as the side screens, is
lowered. This process makes, from the inside, a smaller proscenium arch.
Many of the German and some other stages have added a fourth side to
this frame, by "boxing" the footlights:


This last, besides giving the effect of a detached picture to the set,
prevents the direct rays of the footlights, when they are used, from
shining up into the gallery.

To return to the smaller scene made by the inner proscenium arch, it
will readily be seen that the cyclorama--if there is one--or back wall
of the set, or else the curtain, must usually be brought forward a
little. The advantage of the inner proscenium becomes apparent when such
a play as "The Merchant of Venice" is performed, and the absurdity of
using a stage of the same size for the Portia-Nerissa scene in the first
act and the casket scene, is forcibly brought to our attention.

=The Revolving Stage= and =The Wagon Stage=. These are fully described
in the books which have been referred to. They are both extremely
valuable, but as yet too complicated and expensive to be seriously
considered for amateurs.

The introduction of simpler scenery and simpler lighting does away with
much that was difficult to manage under the old system, and a few
well-trained amateurs should be able to set and attend to almost any
production without having recourse to the revolving stage and the

As much space as possible should be kept clear behind the curtain;
occasions are likely to arise when the entire stage may be used, and
manipulation of scenery on a full stage is a difficult task.

A few suggestions as to lighting and its relation to scenery and color
and action will be set forth in the next chapter.

                              CHAPTER VIII


It has been rightly urged that recent inventions and discoveries in
lighting constitute the greatest contribution to the modern art of the
theater. This manual is intended primarily to help the producer and the
actor, but the present short chapter may assist the former or his
associates in their effort to improve the physical conditions of the

The prevalent system of using footlights and border lights is on the
whole bad, because it is false, unnatural, and above all unnecessary.
Says Moderwell (pages 107-108, in "The Theatre of To-day"):

    "Before we can begin work in artistic lighting we must do some
    destroying. One element in the old lighting must go, and go
    completely. We can say this with careless ease now that the
    Fortuny system has given us a better way. But even before this
    invention was made known, the case against the footlights must
    have been obvious to any sensitive man of the theatre; that the
    'foots' continued as long as they did indicates the stagnation
    of the old theatre in all but purely literary art.

    [Illustration: From "The Architectural Review."

    "The footlights, with their corresponding border lights from
    above, give a flat illumination. They make figures visible, but
    not living; they destroy that most precious quality of the
    sculptor, relief.... It is the shadows, the nooks and crannies
    of light and shade, that show a figure to be solid and plastic."

The Fortuny system mentioned is a device by which light is reflected and
diffused: "An arc-lamp and several pieces of cloth of various
colours--these comprise the Fortuny apparatus in its simplest form."
While only an expert electrician and, if the effects are to be artistic,
an artist, can erect and manipulate a system built on Fortuny's
principles, still amateur electricians and directors should do their
best, by means of experimentation, to use indirect lighting.

Just how this can be done must rest with individuals, but two or three
experiments may be briefly described.

Suppose that the cyclorama, or the hangings masking the back of the
stage, are made of white or light-colored cloth. In this case, an arc
lamp or ordinary calcium light can be placed up in the loft, above the
top of the cyclorama, and behind it. A little experimenting will reveal
many striking light effects. If one light or lamp is not sufficient,
others can be placed in various positions to reënforce it. As conditions
vary so greatly, it is impossible to supply more concise directions.

Where box sets are used in which there is at least one window, and
provided the scene does not take place at night, it is much better to
have all, or at least an appreciable portion of the light come in
through one window. In the second act of Charles Klein's "The Music
Master" played by David Warfield and produced by David Belasco, the
stage was at one time brilliantly lighted, supposedly by sunshine from
the outside, from the two opposite sides of the stage! If, however,
screens and curtains are used (see chapter on "Scenery and Costumes"),
then it is best to introduce some sort of central reflected light. To
station lights on all sides of the stage will first of all make the
stage too bright, and furthermore produce unnatural and distorted
shadows: there is no chance for effects of relief or any illusion of
plasticity. If possible, the footlights should be entirely eliminated;
if not, then most sparingly used. Our stages are for the most part

The production of Lady Gregory's "The Rising of the Moon" by the Irish
Players was one of the simplest and at the same time most effective of
stage pictures. The following diagram will show in a rough way the
general disposition of the settings:


The back of the stage (the shaded area) was flooded with white light to
suggest moonlight. There were no "foots" or "borders"; anything besides
the single light would have ruined the effect of perfect placidity.

                               CHAPTER IX

                          SCENERY AND COSTUMES

Very little need be said regarding the usual conventional sets, whether
they represent interiors or exteriors. The purpose of this chapter is
(1) to suggest simple but effective means of staging without using the
conventional sets, and (2) to lay down a few principles as to costuming.

By means of the simple devices about to be described, the amateur is
enabled to do without "box sets" and all the paraphernalia of the old
stage. The tendency nowadays is away from naturalism in setting; the aim
is rather to supply simple but beautiful backgrounds with as little
obvious effort as possible; to suggest rather than to represent. When
the word "conventional" is used it is intended to convey the meaning not
of "old" and "hackneyed", but of "simple", "suggestive." Beardsley's
drawings are conventional because attitudes and lines are

In the main, there are three sorts of setting which may be used for
practically all kinds of plays. They have been successfully tried out on
numerous occasions, and few plays have been found which cannot fit at
least one of them.

1. The first and simplest of them all consists of draperies and tall
screens. The Greek classics and Shakespeare are particularly effective
with this sort of background. Where Greek plays are given, a peristyle
of wooden pillars up-stage, behind which may be hung white or tinted
curtains, is especially desirable. Any Greek, and most Latin plays, can
be produced with this setting. Often such plays are given in the open.
If the performance takes place in the daylight, there is no difficulty
as to artificial lighting; but if it is at night, then a flood-light
must cover the stage. This is placed toward the back, or else behind the

Shakespeare is seen at his best with the simple background. A sort of
cyclorama may be constructed by using curtains hung at the back of the
stage, upon which is thrown light from one place: behind the proscenium
arch, from above, or from one of the sides. Suppose that "The Comedy of
Errors" is the play to be performed. The first scene of the first act is
"_A hall in the Duke's palace_." This, of course, should be printed on
the program, but on the stage all that is needed is a suggestion or two,
like a gilded chair, and a painted white bench or two. These are not
needed in the action, but they serve to create an atmosphere. The second
scene is "_A public place_." Absolutely no "props" or furniture are
needed; indeed, their very absence indicates the "place." The first
scene of the second act is the same. The curtains around the stage must
be made in sections, in order to allow the actors to enter and exit
through them. The lines are always sufficient to indicate where a person
is coming from or going to. In the first scene of the third act, Dromio
of Syracuse says:

    DRO. S. (_within_). Mome, malt-horse, capon, coxcomb, idiot, patch!
    Either get thee from the door, or sit down at the hatch:
    Dost thou conjure for wenches, that thou call'st for such store,
    When one is one too many? Go, get thee from the door.

A house is evidently intended to be represented, but it is not necessary
that we see it: Dromio of Syracuse can speak from behind the curtain.
The convention will readily be accepted. Nor is it necessary to
differentiate the various "public places", except for the sake of
variety: perhaps a bench or two now and then will accomplish this
purpose. And when, in the first scene of the fifth act, the public place
is "_before an abbey_", still there is no need of any definite set
pieces. From time to time, doubtless some special article of furniture
or set piece of some kind will be mentioned in the text, not elsewhere,
in which case it can easily be supplied.

This "Shakespeare-without-scenery" is not the only method by which
Shakespeare can be performed, but it is the easiest and, if done with
taste, the most effective.

Let us now take rather a more difficult play, "Twelfth Night." The first
scene of the first act is "_An apartment in the Duke's palace_." The
Duke sits on a sort of throne or sofa. In Max Reinhardt's production of
this play at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, the set consisted simply
of a semicircular lounge extending all the way across the stage. It was
covered with dark blue plush; the hangings were of the same color. A
warm yellow light directed from above flooded the stage.

Either a throne or sofa for the Duke, then, and a few other chairs for
the remaining characters, who sit down--the musicians stand--or else,
following Reinhardt, a semicircular lounge. This is all. The second
scene is "_The seacoast_." The stage is bare here. The third scene is
"_A room in Olivia's house_." Different chairs or sofas and a throne for
Olivia. The following scene is the same as scene one. The first scene of
the second act is the seacoast once more. The next is "_A street_." No
furniture. The third scene is "_A room in Olivia's house_"; evidently
not the same as that in which Olivia first appeared. The room is
probably in or near the wine cellar. A table, therefore, and three or
four chairs, will not be amiss. The next is the same as in act one,
scene one. The fifth scene of the second act is "_Olivia's garden_."
Here the stage business requires a few definitely placed shrubs and a
bench or two. The best arrangement of this scene is suggested in the


Malvolio comes down-stage Center, while the others are hiding behind one
of the benches, either Left or Right. These benches, as indicated in the
diagram, are partially concealed by shrubs. Baytrees, planted in
green-painted tubs, make especially good decorations. They can be used
on many occasions, as will be shown later. Nor, in the case of the scene
from "Twelfth Night", are they so high as to conceal the actors who are
supposed to be hidden behind them. The following scene is the same. The
second scene of the third act is the cellar room again. Following this
is "_A street_"; then "_Olivia's garden_" once more. The next new scene
is the first of the fourth act: "_A street before Olivia's garden_."
Perhaps a little variety can be introduced in the shape of a shrub or
two. The remaining scenes are repetitions of those already considered.

The suggestions above given are extremely summary, but, if acted upon,
will be seen to prove sufficient.

2. Out-of-door scenes of a more elaborate character, in plays like
Rostand's "The Romancers", often require more complicated sets; they may
still be produced with the most elementary sort of background, however.
The stage directions of this play are as follows:

    SCENE: _The stage is divided by an old wall, covered with vines
    and flowers._ _At the right, a corner of_ =BERGAMIN'S= _park is
    seen; at the left, a corner of_ PASQUINOT'S. _On each side of
    the wall, and against it, is a rustic bench._

This is set in the following manner:


The background hangings may be of tan burlap or else dark green. Gaps,
covered by the folds, must be made up- and down-stage to allow the
actors to enter and leave the stage. The wall must be constructed of
solid wood, in order to support the actors, and painted to suggest
bricks. There is a rustic bench against each side of the wall. Though
they are not mentioned in these preliminary directions, there are other
rustic benches, down-stage to the extreme right and left. These are used
later in the act.

In the second act, "_the wall has disappeared_. _The benches which were
formerly against it, are removed to the extreme right and left._ [The
extra benches mentioned in the first act have of course been removed.]
_There are a few extra pots of flowers and two or three plaster statues.
To the right is a small garden table, with chairs about it._" This scene
is set as follows:


The third act stage directions are: "_The scene is the same except that
the wall is being rebuilt. Bricks and sacks of plaster lie about_." A
few bricks may serve to indicate the partly finished wall.

Since the scene of this play is laid at first in parks, there ought to
be some suggestion as to this fact. Here bay- or box-trees can be used.
Perhaps three or four should be arranged more or less symmetrically at
the back of the stage, and as many to the right and left, down-stage.
One or two can be added, close to the wall. This is all that is
absolutely necessary.

The foregoing remarks have been applied largely to romantic plays, but
what is to be done in modern realistic pieces? There are two courses
open, besides the conventional one (using box sets):

The first method is to use the regular hangings as before and set a few
needful articles of furniture about the stage. This is not realistic,
but there are many realistic plays which can be produced without
correspondingly realistic settings. Of course, where windows are
referred to and used, there must be real windows, and where a character
is directed to hang a picture on a wall, there must be a wall. However,
there are many realistic plays where box sets are not required. Hermann
Sudermann's "The Far-away Princess" is a case in question. The author
has definitely suggested a certain setting for the play, but as his
suggestions are not absolutely essential they may be modified. The
directions are:

    "_The veranda of an inn. The right side of the stage and half of
    the background represent a framework of glass enclosing the
    veranda. The left side and the other half of the background
    represent the stone walls of the house. To the_ _left, in the
    foreground, a door; another door in the background, at the left.
    On the left, back, a buffet and serving table. Neat little
    tables and small iron chairs for visitors are placed about the
    veranda. On the right, in the centre, a large telescope,
    standing on a tripod, is directed through an open window._ ROSA,
    _dressed in the costume of the country, is arranging flowers on
    the small tables_. FRAU LINDEMANN, _a handsome, stoutish woman
    in the thirties, hurries in excitedly from the left_."

If the dramatist's stage directions are implicitly followed, a realistic
set will be required. The scene as set according to the diagram, has,
however, often been used:


Once more, the little shrubs may be used in order to give an atmosphere
of outdoors.

Or, to take an example of a "modern-interior" play in which the same
conventionalized scenery may be used to advantage--Alfred Capus'
"Brignol and his Daughter" (published by French) is set as follows:

    SCENE: _An office, fitted up with various articles of parlor
    furniture--rather pretentious in appearance. To the right, a
    table with letter-files, and a safe; beside the safe, a
    bookshelf. At the back is the main entrance; there are other
    doors, right and left, one opening upon a bed-room, the other
    upon the parlor._

Here the setting is so usual, so conventional, that no _actual_ room is
required: merely the table, chairs, safe, etc., as called for. Of
course, it is not imperative that such plays should be set in this
manner: the arrangement with screens about to be described is usually
the best way. The point here to be impressed is that realistic sets are
not always required for realistic plays.

3. By the introduction of screens--not to be confused with the large
screens mentioned by Gordon Craig, however--practically any realistic
play can be produced. The diagram below will afford some idea of the
very simple principle:


Three screens, about seven feet high, made in three sections, and
covered with burlap or some similar material, are all that will usually
be required on a moderately small stage. These can be set in various
ways. If an ordinary room is called for, they may be set as in the above

"Brignol and his Daughter" may be staged by using three screens (as in
the diagram above): the opening at the back is the center door; the
doors on the right and left are the openings left between the lower ends
of the side screens and the inside of the proscenium arch. The furniture
is set in this scene as it is required in the stage directions. If the
proscenium opening is too large, then the grand drapery can be lowered
to within two or three feet of the top of the screens, and the side
screens, behind the sides of the proscenium arch, brought closer
together. Behind the screens representing the room, burlap or a suitable
substitute may be hung. To take concrete examples once more, the setting
of the first act of "A Scrap of Paper" (the adaptation by J. Palgrave
Simpson) is thus described in the text:

    _Drawing-room in a French country house. Windows to the floor,
    R.C._ [Right Center] _and L.C._ [Left Center], _at back, looking
    out on gardens and park. The window L.C. is at first closed in
    with barred Venetian shutters. The window R.C. opens on the
    garden. Fireplace, C._ [Center] _between the windows, surmounted
    by a mirror. On each side of the mirror is a bracket, within
    reach of the hand; the one R. supporting a statuette of_ FLORA,
    _the other, L., empty. Doors, R. 2 E_ [See diagram] _and L. 2 E.
    Sofas R. and L. up-stage. At C. of stage is a round table, with
    a lamp, and an embroidery frame, a book and other objects
    scattered upon it in great disorder. Chairs R. and L. of table.
    Arm chairs R.C. and L.C., downstage. The furniture is to be rich
    but old-fashioned, and a little worn. Carpet down._

Five screens are here required: one at the back, behind the fireplace;
and two on each side of the stage. Only two of the three folding
sections of each are used.


The fireplace must be "practical"--that is, it must have a wooden
framework. In case a mirror is desired, it can be lower than a mirror
usually is, and made of mosquito netting, to avoid reflections. A very
few pictures may be hung on the screens. The hangings at the back of the
stage--masking the bare walls--are of the same sort as have been
described before, but the color of the screens must harmonize with them.

With such a background, and by means of screens, shrubs, and a few
necessary set pieces, like the wall in the Rostand play, the author has
seen a dozen widely different plays produced by amateurs, in not one of
which was the slightest noticeable discrepancy or anything that would
shock even the theatergoer who is accustomed to the elaborate and often
unnecessary settings of David Belasco.

As may be easily imagined, the possibilities of variation upon these
simple settings are infinite. Experimentation, as always, will reveal
new fields.

                               * * * * *

Before closing the chapter, a word may be said of the flat background
near the curtain line. About four or five feet behind the curtain
line--_i.e._ the place where the curtain falls to the stage--hang a
drop, either of burlap, or else a white drop like that used in
stereopticon lectures. This, either played upon by lights in "the
house", or from behind the stage, forms a striking background for scenes
of pantomime, a street--as in "Twelfth Night"--a wall, a forest, almost
anything. Such a screen was most effectively used in one scene of
Reinhardt's production of "Sumurûn." A still more striking effect was
achieved in a performance of "Peer Gynt" at the Lessing Theater in
Berlin. The scene was the one in which Peer Gynt is before the pyramid
in Egypt. About five feet behind the curtain line a white screen was
dropped. Diagonally across this screen was thrown a dark purple light,
while over the remaining space a saffron yellow played. That was all,
but the suggestion of the vast shadow of the pyramid and the yellow
sunlight and the yellow sands of Egypt was far more impressive than any
_representation_ of the pyramid and desert could be.

In case the effect of a distant city is desired, then another (darker
and thicker) cloth, cut to represent the outlines of buildings and the
like, can be sewed against the drop, thus producing the effect of a

In fine, the whole problem of staging resolves itself into this: achieve
your effects in as simple a way as possible; suggest, do not try to
represent; scenery, which ought indeed to be a delight to the eye, is
after all only background. Experiment, but never hesitate to ask the
advice of those who know the basic principles of color, line, and form,
as well as those who have technical knowledge of every branch of the art
and craft of the theater.

=Costumes.= In his introductory remarks to "The Romancers", Rostand says
that the action may take place anywhere, "provided the costumes are
pretty." This is the basis of the few brief remarks to be made here on
the subject of costumes. It must not be concluded, however, that any
costumes may be used on any occasion. A modern play must have modern
costumes--except in such plays as "The Blue Bird" and "Chantecler"--and
a "period play" must at least approximate in spirit the age in which the
action transpires. But it makes little difference whether Hamlet wears a
tenth or eleventh century Danish costume, or one of the age of
Elizabeth. It is a well-known fact that in Shakespeare's days there was
little or no regard for historical accuracy in costumes, and that even
in the historical plays the actors wore contemporary clothes. The point
to be impressed is not that we should play "Julius Cæsar" in dress
clothes, but that such discrepancies as were allowed in Elizabethan days
could not have made very much difference, and that nowadays it is not
worth while to spend too much time over details. In Greek plays it is
well to use Greek costumes, because we have long been accustomed to
associate some sort of archeological detail with plays of a certain age;
and besides, Greek costumes are beautiful. But, and this is of great
importance, do not strive to be historically exact: so long as costumes
are beautiful and harmonize with the setting, and so long as they are
not absurd or too much out of harmony with the play, they are good.
There are numerous exceptions. Where a play definitely calls for a
distinct atmospheric setting--like Bennett and Knoblauch's
"Milestones"--then the utmost effort must be made to obtain correct
costumes and setting. But the reason why the first act of this play
requires historical accuracy is that the audience knows very well what
mid-Victorian clothes are like. If the play were given in the year 2500
A.D., it is safe to say that Elizabethan or Queen Anne costumes might do
just as well.

However, historical accuracy, when it can be obtained as easily as not,
is never superfluous.



(Courtesy of Frederick H. Koch).]

                               CHAPTER X


The following lists, which do not pretend to completeness, will at least
be found helpful in assisting amateur organizations to choose
"worth-while" plays. The general headings "Classic", etc, are clear, but
the following explanations must be made regarding the other markings:

An asterisk (*) indicates that the play is in one act. Those not so
marked are in more than one act, and are in most cases "full length."

The letter "S" denotes serious or tragic plays, intended in nearly every
case for advanced amateurs.

The letter "R" denotes plays of a romantic and poetic nature.

The letter "C" denotes comedies, farces, and plays in lighter vein.

The letter "F" in parenthesis after the title indicates that a fee is
charged for production by amateurs. The publisher or agent (see
footnotes), must be consulted for particulars.

The letter "D" denotes modern dialect plays, like those of Lady Gregory.
Most of these plays are included under the general heading of "Classic"
because the costumes and setting, though they may be modern, are not the
familiar modern costumes and settings.

All plays not included in the first division "_Classics, including
modern costume and historical plays_" are to be found in the second
division: "_Modern plays._"

It is nearly always unwise for an amateur organization to take a play on
faith; it is therefore advisable for it to collect a library of amateur
plays, from which successive generations of members can at least form
some judgment of the field from which they are to select their plays.

This list makes no pretence to completeness. It has been the writer's
purpose merely to mention a number of classic and standard plays which
amateurs can produce without too great difficulty.



(Courtesy of Rollin H. Tanner).]



    RS  Euripides, _Alcestis_ (Samuel French; Walter H. Baker)

    RS  Sophocles, _Antigone_ (Samuel French; E. P. Dutton, in
            Everyman's Library)

    RC  Aristophanes, _The Clouds_ (Macmillan; "The Drama", Victorian

    C   _Lysistrata_ (Samuel French. Another version, by Laurence
            Housman, published by The Woman's Press, London)


    C   Plautus, _The Twins_ (Samuel French)

    C   Terence, _Phormio_ (Samuel French)


    RC  Lope de Vega, _The Dog in the Manger_ ("The Drama",
        Victorian edition)

    RC  Calderon, _Keep Your Own Secret_ (Macmillan)

    RC  Benavente, _The Bonds of Interest_ (in "The Drama", No. 20)


    RC  Goldoni, _The Fan_ (Yale Dramatic Association)

    RC      _The Beneficent Bear_ (Samuel French)

    RC      _A Curious Mishap_ (McClurg)

    RCD     _The Squabbles of Chioggia_ ("The Drama", August, 1914)

    R*  Giacosa, _The Wager_ (Samuel French)


    C   Bruëys (adaptor of 15th century anonymous), _Master
            Patelin, Solicitor_ (Samuel French)

    C   Molière, _The Merchant Gentleman [Le Bourgeois
            Gentilhomme]_ (Samuel French; Little, Brown; Bohn Library,

    C*      _The Affected Young Ladies [Les Précieuses ridicules]_

    C       _The Sicilian_

    C*      _Doctor Love [L'Amour Médecin]_

    C*      _The Doctor in Spite of Himself [Le Médecin malgré lui]_

    C       _The Imaginary Invalid [Le Malade imaginaire]_ (Samuel
            French; Little, Brown; Bohn Library; Putnam, etc., publish
            the above five titles)

    C*  Dancourt, _Woman's Craze for Titles_ (in "The Drama";
            Historical Publishing Company, 1903, vol. viii.)

    C*  Le Sage, _Crispin, His Master's Rival_ (Samuel French)

    CR* Marivaux, _The Legacy_ (Samuel French)

    CR  De Musset, _Fantasio_ (Dramatic Publishing Company)

    CR*     _The Green Coat_ (Samuel French)

    C   Augier, _M. Poirier's Son-in-law [Le Gendre de M.
        Poirier]_ (in "Four Plays by Emile Augier", published by
        Alfred A. Knopf, and in "Chief European Dramatists",
        published by Houghton Mifflin)

    CR* Banville, _Gringoire_ (Dramatic Publishing Company;
        Samuel French)

    CR*    _Charming Léandre_ (Samuel French)

    C   Sardou, _A Scrap of Paper_ [_Les Pattes de mouche_]
        (Samuel French)

    CR      _The Black Pearl_ (Samuel French)

    CR* Feuillet, _The Fairy_ (Samuel French)

    CR* Rivoire, _The Little Shepherdess_ (Samuel French)

    CR  Rostand, _The Romancers_ (Samuel French; Walter H.
        Baker; Heinemann)

    C*  France, _The Man Who Married a Dumb Wife_ (Lane) (F)

    C*  Picard, _The Rebound_ (Samuel French)

    CR  Zamacois, _The Jesters_ (Brentano) (F)

    SR* Bouchor, _A Christmas Tale_ (Samuel French)

    CR* Coppée, _The Violin-Maker of Cremona_ (Samuel French)

    SR*      _Pater Noster_ (Samuel French)

    SR* Theuriet, _Jean-Marie_ (Samuel French)


    C   Holberg, _The Loquacious Barber_ ("The Drama", Victorian

    C       _Captain Bombastes Thunderton_ (in "Three Comedies by
            Ludvig Holberg", published by Longmans) (Requires cutting)

    CR  Hertz, _King René's Daughter_ (Samuel French)


    CR  Lessing, _Minna von Barnhelm_ (in Bohn Library,

    C   _The Scholar_ (in Bohn Library)

    C   Schiller, _Nephew or Uncle_ (Walter H. Baker)


    S   Anonymous,  _Everyman_  (Everyman's Library; Dutton)

    R   Lyly, _Alexander and Campaspe_ (Scribner, and in
        Everyman's Library) (Requires cutting)

    R   Greene, _Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay_ (Dutton) (Requires

    CR  Beaumont and Fletcher, _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_
        (Scribner; Everyman's Library; etc.) (Requires cutting)

    CR  Dekker, _Old Fortunatus_ (Scribner) (Requires cutting)

    CR _The Shoemaker's Holiday_ (Scribner; Dutton) (Requires

    CR  Heywood _The Fair Maid of the West_ (Scribner) (Requires

    SR  Jonson, _The Sad Shepherd_ (Dutton) (Requires cutting)

    CR  _The Case is Altered_ (in any complete set of Ben Jonson)
        (Requires cutting)

        Shakespeare (no plays need be mentioned. The "Ben Greet
        Shakespeare for Amateurs" contains good directions for
        staging and acting)

    C   Udall, _Ralph Roister Doister_ (Macmillan; Dent) (Requires

    CR  Goldsmith, _The Good-natured Man_ (in any edition of
        Goldsmith's plays)

    CR  _She Stoops to Conquer_ (in any edition of Goldsmith's

    CR  Sheridan, _The Rivals_ (in any edition of Sheridan's

    C   _The School for Scandal_ (in any edition of Sheridan's

    C   _The Critic_ (in any edition of Sheridan's plays)

    CR  Pinero, _Trelawney of the 'Wells'_ (Dramatic Publishing
    Company) (F)[12]

        [12] Apply to Sanger & Jordan, 1432 Broadway, New York, for
            acting rights.

    CR  Housman, _A Chinese Lantern_ (Dramatic Publishing
        Company) (F)

    CR*     _Bird in Hand_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SRD*    _A Likely Story_ (Samuel French) (F)

    CR*     _As Good as Gold_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SRD*    _The Snow Man_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SR*     _Nazareth_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SR*     _The Lord of the Harvest_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SR*     _The Return of Alcestis_ (Samuel French) (F)

    CR      (and Barker), _Prunella_ (Little, Brown) (F)

    CR  Shaw, _The Devil's Disciple_ (Brentano) (F)[13]

    CR  Parker, _Pomander Walk_ (Samuel French) (F)

    CR* Barrie, _Pantaloon_ (Scribner) (F)[13]

        [13] Apply to American Play Company, 33 West 42nd St., New

    CR  Bennett and Knoblauch, _Milestones_ (Doran) (F)

    CR  Noyes, _Sherwood_ (Stokes) (F)

    CR  Tennyson, _The Princess_ (in any complete edition of

    CR      _The Foresters_ (in any complete edition of

    SR*     _The Falcon_ (in any complete edition of Tennyson)

    R*  Lord Dunsany, _The Gods of the Mountain_ (Little, Brown)

    CR*     _The Lost Silk Hat_ (Little, Brown) (F)

    CRD*    _The Glittering Gate_ (Little, Brown) (F)

    R       _King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior_ (Little,
            Brown) (F)

    RS* Yeats, _The Land of Heart's Desire_ (Macmillan; Samuel

    CD*     _The Pot of Broth_ (Macmillan) (F)[14]

    RS*     _Deirdre_ (Macmillan) (F)[14]

    RS*     _The King's Threshold_ (Macmillan) (F)[14]

        [14] Apply to Samuel French, 28 West 38th St., New York.

    CRD* Lady Gregory, _The Rising of the Moon_ (Putnam) (F)[15]

    CD*     _The Workhouse Ward_ (Putnam) (F)[15]

    SRD*    _The Travelling Man_ (Putnam) (F)[15]

    CD*     _Spreading the News_ (Putnam) (F)[15]

    CD*    _The Jackdaw_ (Putnam) (F)[15]

    CD*    _Hyacinth Halvey_ (Putnam) (F)[15]

    SD* Hyde, _The Lost Saint_ (Scribner)

    SD*     _The Twisting of the Rope_ (Poet Lore)

    CD* Mayne, _The Turn of the Road_ (Luce) (F)

    CD      _The Drone_ (Luce) (F)

    SD* Synge, _The Shadow of the Glen_ (Luce) (F)[15]

    CD  Boyle, _The Building Fund_ (Gill, Dublin) (F)

    RC* Downs, _The Maker of Dreams_ (Samuel French) (F)[15]


    SR  Kalidasa, _Sakountala_ (Walter Scott, London; and
        Everyman's Library)


    RS  Tagore, _The Post-Office_ (Macmillan) (F)[15]

        [15] Apply to Samuel French, 28 West 38th St., New York.



    S   Giacosa, _As the Leaves_ (in "The Drama No. 1, and by
        Little, Brown)

    S       _The Stronger_ (in "The Drama", May, 1913, and by Little,


    C*  Augier, _The Post-Script_ (Samuel French, and in "Four
        Plays by Emile Augier", Alfred A. Knopf)

    SC      _The House of Fourchambault_ (Samuel French, and in
        "Four Plays by Emile Augier", Alfred A. Knopf)

    CR* Meilhac and Halévy, _Indian Summer_ (Samuel French)

    CR*     _Panurge's Sheep_ (Samuel French)

    CR* Feuillet, _The Village_ (Samuel French)

    C*  Labiche, _The Two Cowards_ (Samuel French)

    C*      _Grammar_ (Samuel French)

    C   Pailleron, _The Art of Being Bored_ (Samuel French)

    C*  Bernard, _French Without a Master_ (Samuel French)

    C*      _I'm Going!_ (Samuel French)

    C*  Donnay, _They!_ (In "Lovers, The Free Woman, and They!"
        (Little, Brown)

    S   France, _Crainquebille_ (Samuel French)

    C*  Maurey, _Rosalie_ (Samuel French)

    C*  Hervieu, _Modesty_ (Samuel French)

    S   Capus, _The Adventurer_ ("The Drama", November, 1914)

    C   _Brignol and his Daughter_ (Samuel French)

    C*  Caillavet, _Choosing a Career_ (Samuel French)


    SC  Freytag, _The Journalists_ ("The Drama", February, 1913)

    RC* Sudermann, _The Far-Away Princess_ (in "Roses", Scribner,
        and separately, by Samuel French) (F)

    S*      _Fritzchen_ (in "Morituri", Scribner)

    C*  Benedix, _The Law-Suit_ (Samuel French)

    C*      _The Third Man_ (Samuel French)

    C*  Gyalui, _After the Honeymoon_ (Samuel French)


    S*  Strindberg, _The Stronger_ (Scribner) (F)

    SB  _Lucky Pehr_ (Stewart and Kidd) (F)

    SC  Björnson, _The Newly-Married Couple_ (Everyman's Library;

    C   _Love and Geography_ (Scribner)

    S   Ibsen, _An Enemy of the People_ (Scribner)


C*  Tchekoff, _The Boor_ (Samuel French; Scribner)

C*      _A Marriage Proposal_ (Samuel French; Scribner)

C*      _The Tragedian in Spite of Himself_ (Scribner)

C*  Andreyev, _The Dear Departing_ (Henderson, London), and
    [same play] _Love of One's Neighbor_ (Boni, New York)


    C   Pinero, _The Schoolmistress_ (Walter H. Baker) (F)

    C       _The Magistrate_ (Walter H. Baker) (F)

    CS      _The Benefit of the Doubt_ (Dramatic Publishing
            Company) (F)

    C       _The Amazons_ (Walter H. Baker) (F)

    C       _Dandy Dick_ (Walter H. Baker) (F)

    C   Jones, _The Manoeuvres of Jane_ (Samuel French) (F)

    CS      _The Liars_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C       _Dolly Reforming Herself_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C   Wilde, _The Importance of Being Earnest_ (Walter H.
        Baker; Nichols; Luce; Putnam; and French)[16]

    C*  Sutro, _The Bracelet_ (Samuel French; Brentano)
        (F--Samuel French)

    C*  Sutro, _The Man on the Kerb_ (Samuel French; Brentano)
        (F--Samuel French)

    C*      _A Marriage Has Been Arranged_ (Samuel French;
            Brentano) (F--Samuel French)

    CR* Barrie, _The Will_ (Scribner) (F)[16]

    CR*     _The Twelve-Pound Look_ (Brentano) (F)[16]

        [16] Apply to Sanger & Jordan.

    CR      _The Admirable Crichton_ (Doran) (F)[17]

    CR      _Quality Street_ (Doran) (F)[17]

        [17] Apply to Sanger & Jordan.

    C   Shaw, _You Never Can Tell_ (Brentano) (F)[18]

    CR      _Candida_ (Brentano) (F)[18]

    C*      _Press Cuttings_ (Brentano) (F)[18]

    C*      _How He Lied to Her Husband_ (Brentano) (F)[18]

    CR      _Arms and the Man_ (Brentano) (F)[18]

        [18] Apply to American Play Co.

    S   Barker, _The Voysey Inheritance_ (Little, Brown) (F)

    SC  Bennett, _What the Public Wants_ (Doran) (F)

    RC      _Milestones_ (Doran) (F)

    S       _Cupid and Commonsense_ (Doran) (F)

    C       _The Great Adventure_ (Doran) (F)

    C*      _Polite Farces_ (Doran) (F)

    S   Baker, _Chains_ (Luce) (F)

    S*  Gibson, _Mates_ (Macmillan) (F)

    S*      _On the Road_ (Macmillan) (F)

    C   Hankin, _The Cassilis Engagement_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C       _The Return of the Prodigal_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C       _The Charity that Began at Home_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C*  Houghton, _The Dear Departed_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C*      _The Fifth Commandment_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C*      _Phipps_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SC  Houghton, _Independent Means_ (Samuel French) (F)

    S   Galsworthy, _The Silver Box_ (Scribner) (F)[19]

    C      _Joy_ (Scribner) (F)[19]

    SC  Hamilton, _Just to Get Married_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SC* Chapin, _Augustus in Search of a Father_ (Gowans and
        Grey, London) (F)

    DCR* Brighouse, _Lonesome Like_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SD*     _The Price of Coal_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C   Monkhouse, _The Education of Mr. Surrage_ (Sidgwick and
        Jackson, London) (F)

    C   Mason, _Green Stockings_ (Samuel French) (F)

    SD  Ervine, _Jane Clegg_ (Holt) (F)

    DCR* Fenn and Pryce, _'Op o' me Thumb_ (Samuel French) (F)


    S   Gillette, _Secret Service_ (Samuel French) (F)

    S       _Held by the Enemy_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C       _Too Much Johnson_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C   MacKaye, _Anti-Matrimony_ (Stokes) (F)

    C   Thomas (A. E.), _Her Husband's Wife_ (Doubleday, Page)

        [19] Apply to Samuel French for producing rights.

    S*  Middleton, _The Failures_ (Holt) (F)[20]

    S*      _The Groove_ (Holt) (F)[20]

    S*      _Tradition_ (Holt) (F)[20]

        [20] Apply to Samuel French for producing rights.

    C*  Macmillan, _Short Plays_ (Stewart and Kidd) (F)

    C  Forbes, _The Commuters_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C       _The Traveling Salesman_ (Samuel French) (F)

    S   Klein, _The Lion and the Mouse_ (Samuel French) (F)

    R   Thomas, _Arizona_ (Dramatic Publishing Company) (F)

    RD      _Alabama_ (Dramatic Publishing Company) (F)

    C       _Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C       _The Other Girl_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C       _Oliver Goldsmith_ (Samuel French) (F)

    C       _The Earl of Pawtucket_ (Samuel French)(F)

    C       _The Capitol_ (Samuel French) (F)

                       COLLECTED VOLUME OF PLAYS

1. _Representative One-Act Plays by American Authors_, edited by
Margaret G. Mayorga (Little, Brown), contains a large number of suitable
plays for amateurs. Among these are:

    R*  _Sam Average_, by Percy MacKaye (F)

    R*  _Six Who Pass While the Lentils Boil_, by Stuart Walker

    S*  _In the Zone_, by Eugene O'Neill (F)

    R*  _The Wonder Hat_, a Harlequinade by Ben Hecht and Kenneth
        Sawyer Goodman (F)

    C*  _Suppressed Desires_, by George Cram Cook and Susan
        Glaspell (F)

    S*  _The Last Straw_, by Bosworth Crocker (F)

2. _Representative One-Act Plays by British and Irish Authors_, edited
by Barrett H. Clark (Little, Brown), contains, among others, the
following plays suited to the requirements of amateurs:

    R*  _The Widow of Wasdale Head_, by Arthur Pinero (F)

    C*  _Rococo_, by Granville Barker (F)

    R*  _The Snow Man_, by Lawrence Housman (F)

    C*  _Fancy Free_, by Stanley Houghton (F)

3. _Fifty Contemporary One-Act Plays_, edited by Frank Shay and Pierre
Loving (Stewart-Kidd), includes the following plays for amateurs:

    C*   _Literature_, by Arthur Schnitzler (F)

    C*  _Françoise' Luck_, by Georges de Porto-Riche (F)

    S*  _Mary's Wedding_, by Gilbert Carman (F)

    C*  _A Sunny Morning_, by the Quinteros (F)


                               APPENDIX I

                         COPYRIGHT AND ROYALTY

The following statement regarding royalties on amateur plays was
prepared by Mr. Allen J. Carter, an attorney of Chicago, for one of the
Drama League pamphlets listing amateur plays:

    "The copyright law of the United States requires that every
    play, whether published or unpublished, for which copyright
    protection is claimed, must be registered in the copyright
    office at Washington, D.C. Until such registration, no action
    for infringement of copyright can be maintained. The register of
    copyrights keeps a complete record and index of all copyright
    entries and publishes a catalogue of such entries at regular
    intervals. Dramatic works are entered under Class D and are
    found indexed under that heading in Part I, Group II of the
    catalogues. Copies of these catalogues are on file in most of
    the larger public libraries, and sets or parts of sets may be
    purchased from the Superintendent of Public Documents at
    Washington, D.C. Anyone wishing to learn whether a particular
    play has been properly entered for copyright need only consult a
    set of these catalogues. If such a set is not available, the
    information will be promptly furnished by the register of
    copyrights, Washington, D.C, upon request.

    "Whenever a play has been published, examination of a copy of an
    authorized printed edition will disclose whether such play has
    been properly copyrighted. The law requires that a notice of
    copyright must be placed either upon the title page, or upon the
    page immediately following, of each copy published or offered
    for sale in the United States. Such notice must consist either
    of the word 'Copyright' or the abbreviation 'Copr.', accompanied
    by the name of the copyright proprietor and the year in which
    copyright was secured by publication. If published prior to
    March 4, 1909, the notice may also be in the following form:
    'Entered according to Act of Congress in the year ----, by A. B.
    in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.'
    Whenever the author of a play or anyone to whom he has assigned
    his rights publishes such play without proper notice of
    copyright in some one of the three authorized forms above
    mentioned, the play then and forever after becomes the property
    of the public and may be performed and printed at will by
    anyone. No subsequent attempt to copyright such play would be
    valid, and any valid copyright previously secured would be

    "A play which has never been published nor offered for sale, and
    which exists only in manuscript form, may be copyrighted upon
    proper entry being made at the copyright office in Washington,
    D.C. Should such play be later published, however, the
    publication must comply with all the requirements of the law as
    to notice of copyright.

    "Any person who infringes the copyright in any play shall be
    liable: (a) To an injunction restraining said infringement; (b)
    to pay actual damages to the copyright proprietor, or in place
    of actual damages $100.00 for the first infringing performance
    and $50.00 for each succeeding one; (c) to imprisonment not to
    exceed one year, or to a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, or both,
    wherever such person has infringed such copyright wilfully and
    for profit.

    "It follows, therefore, that if any group of amateurs perform a
    copyrighted play without having obtained the consent of the
    author or copyright proprietor, they are collectively liable to
    damages of at least $100.00 under whatever conditions the
    performance is given. If they do it wilfully and for profit,
    they are in addition each individually liable to fine and
    imprisonment under the criminal provision of the act."

                              APPENDIX II

                           A NOTE ON MAKE-UP

Make-up as an art and a science does not properly fall within the scope
of the present volume. However, it has been thought advisable to insert
at this place sections from an interesting paper on make-up by one who
has made a thorough study of the subject. The author acknowledges his
obligation to Miss Grace Griswold, who wrote the article, for permission
to make this use of it.

                       _How and Where Lines Come
                             into the Face
                           A Study in Make-up
                            Grace Griswold_

Nearly all great actors are masters of make-up. They must be, for the
illusions of the stage are no less pictorial than those of painting and
sculpture, with the added elements of movement and voice, all of which
must be brought into working harmony with the thought and feeling of the
part, in a perfect portrayal. Any serious incongruity in externals is
felt at once, and destroys the illusion.

Women have not done as much as men in facial transformation, except in
the way of burlesque and grotesquerie. Women's make-ups, on the whole,
are far more conventional. The female face is more difficult to change
without revealing the tricks. Heavy furrows and deep coloring are
possible only for low types. Men can effect great changes by the use of
beards and moustaches. A woman's art must be far subtler.

Look at the men across the way.[21] Notice their eyes. We always see the
eyes first, although the mouth is a more unerring key to character. The
mouth for emotions and impulses, and the eyes for thoughts. As the mouth
is the gateway of the soul, so the eyes are its windows, but, like all
windows, their function is rather to give light and view to the interior
than to expose it to the impertinence of passers-by.... His level brows,
which show him to be of a practical or scientific turn of mind, are
deeply contracted. So much so, that not only are there two perpendicular
lines between them, but one across the top of the nose as well. The
heavy bone formation which the brows outline, indicates rare powers of
observation. But this man has come a cropper. See how restless and
unseeing are his eyes! He is searching for a solution to the problem
which is troubling him. It is a purely intellectual problem, for the
mouth, which is the indication of the emotions and passions, is
unaffected by what is going on above. There is nothing sinister about
the problem: you see that the eyes are wide open. Now it is settled,
because he appears focussed: he is following a single line of thought.

    [21] It was imperative that the long article be abridged. The
        reference here is to Miss Griswold's first sentence: "... take
        a ride with me in the subway, where we may perhaps glean some
        impressions for character portrayal upon the stage."

Now observe the man on the right. He too is thinking hard, but his mouth
is drawn, jaws set, eyelids puckered to a mere slit. He has been
wronged, or believes he has, and is planning retaliation. His nostrils
are dilated, his breathing heavy. Both these men are laboring under
excitement, but we cannot read their natures, because their habitual
expression is distorted.

Do you see that dear soul opposite? There is work behind that face, work
that has brought with it health. There has been good living, but no
intemperance. See the strong muscles and the glow in the cheeks, with
their Santa Claus rotundity. There is passion, too, but it is
restrained: the lips are full, but the center line is straight. With
less control, that line would tend to sag. Melancholia is also indicated
in downward lines. In the case of this woman, the lip is perhaps too
heavy to show delicacy of character, but it shows broad sympathy, and is
redeemed by its upper consort, which reveals, except at the corners, a
cupid's bow, full of tenderness. The Venus de Milo hardly escapes
censure even with the lateral shortness of the lower lip and the
softened outlines of the upper. This woman's mouth is larger, denoting
generosity. Now look at the eyes--open just to the degree of frankness,
but not of insincerity, like those of the vapid young person across the
way. There are radiations from the corners, too: the footprints of many
a pleasant smile. The eyebrows have the sympathetic upward sweep toward
the nose, and there is a whimsical twist of the left eyebrow.
Altogether, a pleasant countenance.

A perfectly straight compressed mouth always implies strength of will.

Now notice the woman just beyond with her high-bred aristocratic face.
The "executive" nose, with its delicate arch, are especially indicative
of her character. The eyebrows likewise are arched, over a full
forehead; very imaginative. The eyes, slightly veiled in their
expression, show her to be plunged in deep and somewhat troubled
thought. Her eyes are veiled because she does not see clearly a way out
of her problem, but that way out will be, we are sure, something noble.
Her problem is not so exclusively an intellectual one as that of the man
we mentioned: it must be some economic or philanthropical question--her
chin is finely chiselled and held with exquisite poise, strong and at
the same time delicate. Her complexion has the "pale cast of thought",
but is not unhealthy however. The flesh lies easily upon its firm base.
It will never warp into deep furrows. See, now she has solved or put
aside her problem, for a moment, and her eyes are open and clear, and
her smile, as she recognizes a friend, is engaging and unaffected. Her
sympathies are less personal, more detached, but none the less real,
than other women's.

And now see this man who has just entered. He, too, is an aristocrat,
but as he turns, we can observe that there is a one-sided twist to his
face. The bone formation in his face is similar to that of the woman's,
but his expression is exaggerated by a muscular habit of the mouth,
possibly occasioned by the loss of teeth. His eyes are open, but they
express impassive coldness. He has taken life with a sneer. His brows
are not arched, although one of them is artificially raised: the result,
undoubtedly, of boredom.

Habitual good-humor ages the face in a pleasant manner. It is the only
thing that never grows old: do you remember what genial sparkling eyes
Joseph Jefferson and Mark Twain had?

Bearing in mind these summary character studies, let us turn to the more
practical side of make-up:

Regarding _straight_ make-up--_i.e._ make-up which is designed to offset
the glare of the lights--it can safely be asserted that most
professionals make-up too heavily. This is partially due to the fact
that the lights in the dressing-room are seldom of like intensity or
kind as those on the stage. Billie Burke and Blanche Ring occur to us as
having achieved happy results in making-up, the former with a rose-bud
prettiness of white and pink, the latter by using so little color and
blending that little so well that it is scarcely perceivable. Both these
actresses use very little rouge on the upper eyelids, an excess of which
is one of the commonest faults. The only purpose it can serve is to
soften the upward and whitening glare of the footlights. The skilful use
of rouge is the most important and least understood of all the numerous
elements of this art. First as to shade, most of the rouge used is blue.
It does not blend with most powders, but produces a hard contrast, and
appears unnatural. The placing of the rouge, too, is very important in
obviating natural defects of proportion in the features, which distances
always intensify. Any spot left white is projected as if with a
high-light. If the nose is too wide, it can be narrowed by shading the
rouge up to its center line. If it is too prominent, it will be less
apparent if shaded slightly all over. The same rule applies to the chin,
the jaw, the ears, and the forehead. Some people lay in a general
foundation of grease rouge before putting anything else on, but this is
likely to give a muddy effect. If used only on the cheeks, with the dry
rouge over all for shading, the effect is far more natural. Some also
lay in a foundation of pink paste--called "Exora"--but the result is
nearly always pasty, and should never be used except to cover some
blotchiness. The lighter the make-up, the greater opportunity will there
be for mobility of expression.

The same moderation should be exercised in making up the eyes and mouth.
Brown on the lashes and eyebrows is softer than black, especially for
blondes. Heavy black leading above and below, accentuated by broad
shadows on the lids of dark blue, make them look like burnt holes a
short distance away. Few eyes are large enough to stand it, and those
that are, do not require it. A little light or dark blue close to the
lashes of the upper lid is necessary, but very few eyes need any make-up
at all on the lower lid, except a faint shadow, perhaps, of light blue.
A little dab of lip rouge in the inner corners of the eye adds an effect
of brilliancy. If the eye itself slants, it can be straightened by a
line of brown or black, drawn in the opposite direction, and beginning
just inside the outer corners. The line of the upper lids and the
eyebrows should be extended in almost every case, to give an effect of
breadth to the eyes.

If the face needs lengthening and the eyebrows are not too heavy, they
can be covered with flesh-colored grease paint, and another pair painted
above them. There is danger in this, however, of opening the frame of
the eyes too much and giving them a foolish expression. The arched brow
tends to elongate, the level, broad effect to shorten, the face.

The mouth also needs careful treatment. As to color: the dark red rouge
so often used gives the appearance of a bloody gash. The English hunting
red, a sort of bluish vermilion, is best, because most natural. Only the
very smallest mouths can stand being made up to the corners, because in
smiling, the mouth stretches, and will look too large if deeply colored
all the way across.

A line of white grease paint drawn down the bridge of the nose will
straighten it; or, if it be too small, lengthen it. The nose may also be
completely transformed by putty.

This brings us to what is known as the "character" make-up. Here again
one is confronted by numberless problems regarding the use of colors. At
best, character make-up is only the adjustment of one physiognomy to the
habitual expression of another: complete transformation is out of the
question. Nevertheless, the human face, being mobile, may assume
expressions which are not habitual to it. However, it must be borne in
mind that to superimpose a purely imaginary countenance over a natural
one, regardless of what that natural one is, is a fatal mistake, because
when the natural face attempts to express itself under the other, the
effect will be lost.

To return a moment to the problem of color: illusion is frequently lost
through a failure to adjust the shade of the high-light and shadow to
the tone of the foundation grease paint, or natural complexion. The
commonest offence is the use of an unmixed, unblended slate for shadows,
and white, and high-lights, whether the underlying color be florid,
sallow, pink, or pale flesh. The result of such treatment is merely

The whole art of making-up is still hide-bound by tradition, because of
stupid ideals which persist in the minds of those whose business it is
to direct, as well as many in the acting profession itself.



  "Alcestis", 4

  Aristophanes, 5

  Art adviser, 17

  "Art of Being Bored, The", 48
    Quoted, 53, 54-57
    Stage grouping of, 54-57

  "As You Like It", 2

  Backgrounds, 106-107

  Barker, Granville, 6

  Belasco, David, 89, 106

  "Blocking out", 24, 61
    Example of, 24-33

  "Blue Bird, The", 108

  "Box sets", 82, 89, 91, 100

  "Brignol and His Daughter", Setting for, 102, 103

  Business manager, Duties of, 11-12, 14

  "Call Boy", Duty of, 16

  Capus, Alfred, 102

  Cast, Ability of, 2
    Selection of, 19, 20
    Size of, 2

  "Chantecler", 108

  Characterization by amateurs, 2, 3, 4

  Cheney, Seldon, 76 (_Note_), 77

  Classics, 2, 3, 4

  "Clouds, The", 5

  Coach, Selection of, 20, 21

  Comedies, 4

  "Comedy of Errors, The", 2, 3, 5
    Setting for, 93-94

  Costume man, Duties of, 10, 14, 15, 17

  Costumes, 14-15
    Accuracy of, 108-109

  "Costumes and Scenery for Amateurs", 81

  Craig, Gordon, 102

  Crowds or large groups, Rehearsing of, 15, 58, 59

  Curtain man, Duties of, 10

  Cyclorama, 78-81, 84, 88
    Construction of, 78, 79-80, 81
    Description of, 78
    Value of, 78

  De Vega, Lope, 4

  Deutsches Theater (Berlin), 95

  Diagram, Making of, 40-46, 60

  Director, Duties of, 8-10, 14, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 28, 34, 52, 58, 59,
      64, 67, 73

  "Doctor in Spite of Himself", 5

  "Doll's House, A", 2

  Draperies, 80, 83, 92, 98

  "Electra", 4

  Electrician, 13

  Euripides, 4

  "Fan, The", 5

  "Far-away Princess, The", Setting for, 100-101

  Farces, 4

  Footlights, 86, 87, 89
    Boxed, 84

  Fortuny lighting system, 86, 88

  Furniture, Handling and setting of, 15

  Goldoni, 4, 5

  Gregory, Lady, 90

  Grouping actors, 48, 58, 59, 61
    Examples of, 50-52, 53-57, 58-59, 63

  "Hamlet", 4

  Handling and setting of scenery and furniture, 15, 17

  Imitation of Professionals, 68, 69

  "Importance of Being Earnest, The", 3
    "Blocked out", 28-34
    Quoted, 24-28

  "Indian Summer", Quoted, 71-72

  Interpretation by amateurs, 69-70

  Jones, Henry Arthur, 3, 46, 47, 48

  "Julius Cæsar", Costumes of, 108
    Grouping in, 58-59

  Klein, Charles, 89

  Kotzebue, 4

  "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," 3,5

  Lessing, 4, 5

  Lessing Theater, Berlin, 107

  "Liars, The", 3, 46, 47
    Quoted, 46, 50
    Stage grouping of, 49-52

  Lighting, Stage, 76, 78-79, 85, 89
    Examples of, 89, 90
    Fortuny system of, 86, 88
    Kinds of:
      Arc, 88
      Border, 86
      Calcium, 88
      Footlights, 84, 86, 87, 89

  Lightman, Duties of, 10, 13-14, 15

  "Lysistrata", 5

  MacKay, Constance D'Arcy, 82

  "Magistrate, The", 4

  "Man and Superman", 4

  "Marrying of Ann Leete, The", 6

  "Merchant of Venice, The", 85

  "Milestones", 109

  "Minna von Barnhelm", 5

  "Modern Movement in the Theatre, The", 76 (_Note_)

  Modern plays, 4, 6

  Moderwell, Hiram Kelly, 76 (_Note_), 77
    Quoted, 86-87

  Modulation, Example of, 71-72

  Molière, 3, 4, 5

  Music, 15, 17

  "Music Master, The", Lighting of, 89

  Original Plays, 6

  Pailleron, Edouard, 48

  "Peer Gynt", Setting for, 107

  Performance, Essentials of, 74 75

  "Phormio", 5

  Plautus, 5

  Plays, "Cutting", 23

  Plays, Kind of, 8-7
    Classic, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14
    Comedies, 4
    Farces, 4
    Modern, 4, 5
    Original, 6
    Problem, 4
    Sex, 4
    Thesis, 4
    Translated, 6
    Reading of, 23-24

  Plotting the stage, Examples of, 41-45, 49-52

  Problem plays, 4

  Prompt-copy, Making of, 34

  Prompter, Duty of, 75

  Property man, Duties of, 10, 12, 13, 15, 75

  Proscenium, 81
    Alteration of, 81, 82, 83, 84, 103-104
    Diagrams of, 82, 83

  Rehearsals, 15, 22, 58, 59, 61, 66, 67, 68, 70
    First, 22-24, 61
    Second, 24, 61, 66
    Dress, 73, 74
    Scene and light, 74

  Reinhardt, Max, 95, 106

  Revolving stage, 85

  "Rising of the Moon, The", Lighting of, 90

  "Rivals, The", 3, 5

  "Romancers, The", 15, 106, 108
    Setting for, 97-99

  Rostand, 13, 97, 108

  Scenery, Handling and Setting of, 15, 17

  "Scrap of Paper, A", Setting for, 104-105

  Screens, 83, 92, 102-103, 104

  Settings, Stage, 77, 81, 82, 83, 85, 89, 91
    "Box sets", 82, 89, 91
    Examples of, 93-94, 95-97, 97-99, 100-101, 102-106

  Sex plays, 4

  Shakespeare's plays, Settings for, 92, 98-94, 94-97, 97-99, 106
    Stage business of, 52

  Shaw, G. Bernard, 3, 13, 34, 47

  Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 3, 5

  "She Stoops to Conquer", 5

  Simpson, J. Palgrave, 104

  Sophocles, 4

  Staff, Duties of members of, 9-17, 73-75
    Head of (Director) 8-10
    Organization of, 8-16

  Stage, Physical requirements of, 76
    Revolving, 85
    Wagon, 85

  Stage "business", 52, 61, 62, 64, 66, 69-70,
    Examples of, 62, 63-64, 65
    How to remember, 60

  Stage directions, 28 (_Note_)
    For "You Never Can Tell", 35-40

  Stage grouping, _see_ GROUPING
    Lighting, _see_ LIGHTING
    Manager, Duties of, 10-11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 22, 23, 28, 74
    Settings, _see_ SETTINGS

  Sudermann, Hermann, 100

  "Sumurûn", Background for, 106

  Terence, 5

  "Theatre of To-day, The", 76 (_Note_), 79

  Thesis plays, 4

  Translations, 6

  "Twelfth Night", Settings for, 94-99, 106

  "Twins, The", 5

  Understudies, 16, 21

  Wagon Stage, 85

  Wardrobe mistress, _see_ COSTUME MAN

  Warfield, David, 89

  Wilde, Oscar, 3, 24, 47

  "You Never Can Tell", 3, 13
    Diagram of, 40-45
    Quoted, 35-40
    Stage directions of, 40

                           Transcriber Notes:

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Passages in bold were indicated by =equal signs=.

Small caps were replaced with ALL CAPS.

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of the
speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate. Thus
the page number of the illustration might not match the page number in
the List of Illustrations, and the order of illustrations may not be the
same in the List of Illustrations and in the book.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted.

On page 115, "Minna Von Barnhelm" was replaced with "Minna von

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