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audience could supply. In this limited twofold: in the first place he must arsense the speech is on the side of Mr. range his settings so that the least posBeerbohm Tree. Not all the spectacu- sible delay is caused by the change of lar ingenuity in the world could, how- scene; and, secondly, he should not alever, make two kingdoms of the "un- low the drama to be obscured by givworthy scaffold" of the stage. More ing too much prominence to its embelover, if any argument against elab lishments. The first difficulty used to orate scenic productions of Shake- be overcome by a convenient comprospeare were required it is to be found mise. By the employment of front in the very construction of his plays. scenes the action could pass almost as
continuously as in the days of ShakeIII
speare, and the only considerable waits We must honestly accept this chaotic were after each act. Mr. Beerbohm presentment of the stories Shakespeare Tree has made an innovation even has to tell. We need not pretend, in from Sir Henry Irving's method of problind admiration of our great poet, that ducing Shakespeare. At His Majesty's this chaos is a virtue, or anything more Theatre there is never a front scene in than the natural outcome of theatrical the old sense. The less important conditions of the poet's period. But scenes are set with an elaboration it exists in his plays, and no modern which certainly makes it necessary to manager can artistically pass it over. limit their number as much as possible, It should be stated at once, too, that both on the score of expense and of chaotic as the conduct of the dramas time. The consequence is that Shakemay be, the sudden changes of scene, speare has to undergo even more rethe "jumping o'er times" and the “turn- shaping than used to be the case. ing the accomplishment of many years The recent revival of Antony and into an hour-glass," are an organic part Cleopatra is, of course, a glaring exof them. These cannot be cut out with ample. It is one of Shakespeare's most out injuring the main drama and de- chaotic plays, and it is difficult to imstroying many necessary considera- agine what an Elizabethan audience tions. The modern manager has to made of the continual changing of the eliminate some of these scenes or to action from Egypt to Rome and back. incorporate them with others. The I do not believe that the average Elizaonly alternative is the production of bethan troubled his mind about it. He Shakespeare's plays as far as possible was too intent on the characters and in the conditions of their original per- the verse, and he was accustomed to formances.
take a large fund of make-believe with That our public would not accept him to the theatre. The arrangement them in that guise is not evidence that made for Mr. Tree was very skilful in the popular imagination is less strong many ways, but it could not escape than it was in Shakespeare's time, certain anomalies, which were made The audience of Shakespeare's day more patent from the fact that at least had to exercise rather less imagination two scenes had to be omitted at the than is required for the appreciation of last moment. This would not have fiction. It is a question of custom. been necessary had the system of front We are accustomed to scenery, and we scenes been followed, and had much miss it when it is absent. Moreover, valuable time not been frittered away a drama does gain by its scenic envi, in unnecessary illustrations of the text. ronment. The difficulty the manager It must be confessed that Mr. Tree's has to face in mounting Shakespeare is grangerisms of Shakespeare are often very jugenious and not wanting in im- withstood it. True, bis Antony and agination. He presents an édition de Cleopatra made their entrance on a lure of the poet, with living pictures. barge, but that innovation was legitiNo one can come away from His Maj- mate enough, and did not materially esty's Theatre without having had his lengthen the action. pictorial imagination quickened. Every If Shakespeare is not to be perproduction there is a kind of object formed without such interpolated tablesson in the splendor of the dead past. leaux as that of Antony and CleopaBut a poet goes behind the show of tra at Alexandria, no great harm will things; it is his to interpret for us the be done to the poet. Most of us will minds and the hearts of men and but feel the same annoyance that we women on whom the eternal silence experience in reading an illustrated has fallen; to show us how their na- edition of the plays. Mr. Tree's protures join ours, and how the same sun ductions, however, go much farther in shone on them as shines on us. This the art of grangerism. In Much Ado is not to be achieved through tableaux, about Nothing Beatrice speaks of Clauhowever magnificent they may be. dio as being "neither sad, nor sick, And this magnificence of illustration nor merry, nor well; but civil, count; does still further make Shakespeare civil as an orange, and something of chaotic; for, well managed as it is, such that jealous complexion." Mr. Tree a picture as that which illustrates apparently could not understand how Cæsar's description of Antony and Cle- so unusual a simile should have enopatra in Alexandria is unnecessary: tered the mind of Shakespeare's herol' the market-place, on a tribunal
To make things clear, by way of Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold a footnote, he invented a handsome Were publicly enthron'd; at the feet sat orange-tree. Some of the fruit bad Cæsarion, whom they call my father's fallen to the ground, and Beatrice's son,
simile was suggested by her having And all the unlawful issue, that their
picked up one of them. It is quite lust Since then hath made between them.
natural, of course, that an orange
tree should grow in a Messina garden, The picture was a splendid example but it is equally natural that the comof stage management, and, as one of monness of the orange should have a series of Shakespearian tableau.r suggested the idea to Beatrice. Sucb rivants, would be worthy of all praise; “business” takes time which cannot but it did not help the drama in the be spared in a modern representation slightest, and, as a matter of fact, did of Shakespeare. And if the time it not even illustrate Cæsar's bitter de- takes be inconsiderable it delays the scription; for Cæsarion did not sit at rapidity of repartee. Then, at every the feet of Antony and Cleopatra, nor production at His Majesty's Theatre was there any sign of "all the unlaw- there is a deal of unnecessary proces. ful issue." At His Majesty's, Cleopa- sioning. It may give pomp to the protra was followed up the stairs of the ductions, and it may be natural, but tribunal by a diminutive little child, it seriously delays the drama. To the who appeared to be a page rather than musician, too, the use Mr. Tree makes one of the imperial offspring. To il- of incidental music is rather disconlustrate Enobarbus's famous word-pic- certing. It is possible that harpists ture of Cleopatra's barge was a great and choristers did welcome the artemptation, but Mr. Tree manfully rival of Cleopatra and Antony, but
is possible come the out
they certainly did not play or sing When her dying lord asks for a poor modern music. That opening scene at last kiss, Cleopatra replies: His Majesty's made a pompous picture, but I felt that if Shakespeare had
I dare not, dear desired to herald the entry of his hero (Dear my lord, pardon), I dare not, and heroine in an operatic or musical
Lest I be taken; not the imperious
show coinedy style he would have arranged
of the full-fortuned Cæsar erer shall bis play in accordance with his inten- Be brooch'd with me. tion. Surely he meant us to slip of a sudden into the life of Antony and It was the duty of the dramatist Cleopatra as if the veil were whisked to show us that Cleopatra was true from the past at a wave of a magi- to that resolve-that she would come cian's wand; but he could not fore- to Antony to claim that first kiss in see, of course, how important is the their spirit life with lips unsullied by entry of a modern actor. In many his conqueror. Mr. Tree evidently such ways time is wasted in these thinks the statement of the resolve elaborate productions. I had always is enough, and that in showing how imagined, for instance, that when Cle- Cleopatra cast aside all questions of opatra has called for music-“music, personal safety, and, in spite of moody food of us that trade in love" Cæsar's pleading, was noble to her-and Mardian bas entered at the cry self, Shakespeare was guilty of unof the attendant, the impatient Em- necessary length. If it be said that the press, consumed by her love fever, im- play was already too long to admit inediately changes her mind, and ex- of this fine scene, I would reply that claims: "Let it alone.” It has always it is worth all the singing girls, the seemed to me a splendid little touch. elaborate orgy on Pompey's barge, and Mr. Tree thought otherwise, however, the Alexandria tableaux rolled into and we have a boy stalking round the one. It is drama; the others are granroom and singing a modern drawing gerisms, and needless elaborate ones. room song. In my edition of Shake - Such an excision is not only a strong speare no words are given of the coun charge in itself against productions termanded song, and the poet gener- which illustrate the material aspects of ally inserted lyrics when he meant Shakespeare and ignore the spiritual, them to be sung.
but is a condemnation of the actorThe productions at His Majesty's manager as supreme authority, for in Theatre are full of many such inter- no theatre save one ruled by an actor polations. In themselves they are not would so important a scene for the perhaps, very important, but the “leading lady" be omitted. spirit which inspires them is wrong, and in the sum they mean a good deal
IV of delay. It all adds to the necessity There is another matter connected of cutting. In the production of an with the use of elaborate scenery tony and Cleopatra there are a couple which touches the very essence of of excisions which cannot be excused drama. Every student of the drama on any grounds. One is the death of knows how gradual has been the Enobarbus. Efforts should have been growth of scenery. Yet in all the hise made to spare that pathetic end of the tory of the drama there is but scanty bluff soldier. The other, and more evidence that the æsthetics of the subserious, is the interview of Cæsar with ject have received close consideration. ('leopatra after the death of Antony. Wagner, it is true, wrote much on the matter of scenic art, and he made use Tree's Antony and Cleopatra. So much of mechanical contrivances as part color and magnificence of detail made and parcel of his music-dramas. But Antony and Cleopatra seem accessories Wagner's theories were vitiated by his rather than principals, and it was a ideas on the union of all the arts, relief to the senses when a comparawith music as the predominant part tively simple scene followed one of ner. Drama is not, and cannot be, the stage pictures. Even with these a union of all the arts. It has its own scenes, however, the characters were convention, its own essentials. One of not always in artistic proportion. its conventions is that human life, in Cæsar's house, for instance, was too all its twists and turns, must be made vast in its vistas, and the immense clear to an audience as it is never columns seemed to dwarf the characmade clear to a mere spectator of life ters to the measure of reality, which itself. The manner of doing this has is precisely what is not required in changed. In the past we accepted drama. Then, again, no greater arlong soliloquies as part of the con- tistic mistake was ever made than is vention, but the modern playwright comprised in the theory of the union has found that this particular conven- of all the arts. Each appeals to a tion, which made for an appearance different sense, and I do not believe of unreality, is unnecessary. He ob- that human beings can exercise all tains the same result by more subtle their senses at once in an equal demeans and by a more implicit reliance gree. That is the fundamental weakon the art of acting. But the main ness of music-drama. If you are inconvention of drama remains. In its terested in the music the stage action higher manifestations it seeks to bare . passes as a dream, and the scenery buman souls to our sympathy and un- does not exist; if you are impressed derstanding. Any device which helps by the acting you hardly hear the mutowards that result is permissible as sic; and so on. In spoken drama the part of the illusion of drama, but the chief appeal should be to imagination dramatis personæ of a play must stand and sympathy. Nothing should be alout in a relief stronger than life. lowed to interfere with the free play Their scenic environment should there- of these mental qualities. If you are fore take the same place as the back- not color-blind, a gorgeous mise-en-scene ground in a fine portrait. Anything must make an effect on your visual that too closely approaches reality de senses and weaken concentration on tracts from the importance of the the character. Indeed, so much is this characters. I had an object-lesson in the case with Mr. Tree's productions the truth of this theory when witness- that a dramatic critic, to give a true ing the Warwick Pageant last year. idea of them, must become in part a The historical figures had a back- descriptive reporter. We are made ground of reality-the beautiful grounds more interested in the environment of of Warwick Castle. The result was Antony and Cleopatra than in what not drama, although some of the they think and feel, which is the subepisodes were dramatic enough. The ject-matter of drama. Instead of bemood of the day did not fit in with ing privileged to understand the inner the pageant. The background was life of the great member of the triseparate from the figures, and they umvirate and the passionate Empress were dwarfed to unimportance. I had of Egypt through the magic of the the same impression in witnessing the poet's verse and the art of acting, we scenic splendors of Mr. Beerbohm see them as if we were only average spectators of life. Possibly an actor ronment of the characters would be and an actress of genius could pierce conceived on the lines of impressionisthrough this sensuous environment and tic suggestion rather than inartistic make our souls vibrate with theirs. reality. We do not want the essays A Garrick, it is true, was able to hold in eccentric design which Mr. Gordon his audience with a Macbeth attired Craig gave us some time ago in his in a Hanoverian military uniform, as production of Handel's Acis and you may see from Zoffany's picture, Galatea. He dehumanized drama for but it is not safe to order .matters for the sake of pictorial design. Color and genius. Besides, the senses might light should play their part in the creeasily accept a Hanoverian uniform ation of atmosphere and mood, but without any but a first shock. Mr. scenery must be nothing but a sugTree, on the other hand, hypnotizes gestive background to the characters. or narcotizes the imagination by the The medium of dramatic impression splendor of his mounting and the bril is acting, again acting and always actliance of his costumes.
ing, and the mounting of a play should I am not advocating the shabby be managed so that it heightens and "adequate" scenery of third-rate Shake- does not detract from the art of the spearian productions, but a new kind actor. of mounting in which the envi
E. A. Baughan. The Nineteenth Century and After.
THE BILLINGSLEY ROSE.
"Never heard of it," a gardener will mere ever knew it; the European mainanswer you, even in the roseries at land never grew it; it flouts the flowers Kew; for few are aware of the Bil- from Saxony and the valley of the lingsley rose. It buds on no standard, Seine. In the Peak it budded, a cenit adorns no florist's catalogue, and at tury and a quarter ago, but still it lives tar from it was never distilled. You in beauty; still the petals seem to may hunt it like the most precious of throb with the sap of life; still this orchids, but the trail lies through rose, as one enthusiast sings, “has the Bloomsbury and the Kensingtons, and soft bloom of youth and floats in being, not in Amazonian forests or jungles of as not by the agency of the brush but Mandalay. With patience and flair by the volition of the painter.” For, you may come upon it yet, though yes, (perhaps you read the riddle at Glamorgan, Derbyshire, and the "sweet once?), a pencil of camel-hair produced sbire of Cardigan" have been scoured the flower; it is upon saucers and cups for it, Holland rifled of it, Cintra, Pa- and plates of old English porcelain lermo, Montpellier, Tours, and all the that one finds the Billingsley rose. haunts of the English resident abroad Like every rare and peerless thing. in the teens of last century meticu- it happened happily; the date of its lously searched for it, by keen-eyed vo- blooming was fortunate. A little later taries, illuminati, new Rosicrucians there would have been no soft porceready with gold for any disc of smooth lain to paint on, a little earlier there and shining whiteness that bears the was no English porcelain at all. The Billingsley rose.
Billingsley rose is the very triumph It is a China rose, but it never and coronal of the efforts of English bloomed in Cathay. Nippon por Cash- potters against invasions from the