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very Ingenious and not wanting in imagination. He presents an idiiion de lure of the poet, with living pictures. No one can come away from His Majesty's Theatre without having had his pictorial imagination quickened. Every production there Is a kind of objectlesson in the splendor of the dead past. But a poet goes behind the show of things; it is his to interpret for us the minds and the hearts of men and women on whom the eternal silence has fallen; to show us how their natures join ours, and how the same sun shone on them as shines on us. This Is not to be achieved through tableaux, however magnificent they may be. And this magnificence of illustration does still further make Shakespeare chaotic; for, well managed as it is, such a picture as that which illustrates Caesar's description of Antony and Cleopatra in Alexandria is unnecessary:
I' the market-place, on a tribunal
sllver'd, Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold Were publicly enthron'd; at the feet sat Caesarion, whom they call my father's
son, And all the unlawful Issue, that their
lust Since then hath made between them.
The picture was a splendid example of stage management, and, as one of a series of Shakespearian tableaux vivants, would be worthy of all praise; but it did not help the drama In the slightest, and, as a matter of fact, did not even illustrate Caesar's bitter description; for Caesarion did not sit at the feet of Antony and Cleopatra, nor was there any sign of "all the unlawful Issue." At His Majesty's, Cleopatra was followed up the stairs of the tribunal by a diminutive little child, who appeared to be a page rather than one of the imperial offspring. To illustrate Enobarbus's famous word-picture of Cleopatra's barge was a great temptation, but Mr. Tree manfully
withstood it. True, his Antony and Cleopatra made their entrance on a barge, but that innovation was legitimate enough, and did not materially lengthen the action.
If Shakespeare is not to be performed without such interpolated tableaux as that of Antony and Cleopatra at Alexandria, no great harm will be done to the poet Most of us will but feel the same annoyance that we experience in reading an illustrated edition of the plays. Mr. Tree's productions, however, go much farther In the art of grangerism. In Much Ado about Nothing Beatrice speaks of Claudio as being "neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil, count; civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion." Mr. Tree apparently could not understand how so unusual a simile should have entered the mind of Shakespeare's heroine.
To make things clear, by way of a footnote, he invented a handsome orange-tree. Some of the fruit had fallen to the ground, and Beatrice's simile was suggested by her having picked up one of them. It Is quite natural, of course, that an orangetree should grow in a Messina garden, but it is equally natural that the commonness of the orange should have suggested the Idea to Beatrice. Such "business" takes time which cannot be spared in a modern representation of Shakespeare. And if the time it takes be inconsiderable it delays the rapidity of repartee. Then, at every production at His Majesty's Theatre there is a deal of unnecessary processioning. It may give pomp to the productions, and it may be natural, but it seriously delays the drama. To the musician, too, the use Mr. Tree makes of incidental music is rather disconcerting. It is possible that harpists and choristers did welcome the arrival of Cleopatra and Antony, but they certainly did not play or sing modern music. That opening scene at His Majesty's made a pompous picture, but I felt that if Shakespeare had desired to herald the entry of his hero and heroine in an operatic or musical comedy style he would have arranged his play in accordance with his intention. Surely he meant us to slip of a sudden Into the life of Antony and Cleopatra as if the veil were whisked from the past at a wave of a magician's wand; but he could not foresee, of course, how important is the entry of a modern actor. In many such ways time is wasted in these elaborate productions. I had always Imagined, for instance, that when Cleopatra has called for music—"music, moody food of us that trade in love" —and Mardian has entered at the cry of the attendant, the impatient Empress, consumed by her love fever, Immediately changes her mind, and exclaims: "Let It alone." It has always seemed to me a splendid little touch. Mr. Tree thought otherwise, however, and we have a boy stalking round the room and singing a modern drawingroom song. In my edition of Shakespeare no words are given of the countermanded song, and the poet generally inserted lyrics when he meant them to be sung.
The productions at His Majesty's Theatre are full of many such interpolations. In themselves they are not, perhaps, very important, but the spirit which inspires them Is wrong, and In the sum they mean a good deal of delay. It all adds to the necessity of cutting. In the production of Antony and Cleopatra there are a couple of excisions which cannot be excused on any grounds. One Is the death of Enobarbus. Efforts should have been made to spare that pathetic end of the bluff soldier. The other, and more serious, is the interview of Csesar with Cleopatra after the death of Antony.
When her dying lord asks for a poor last kiss, Cleopatra replies:
I dare not, deur (Dear my lord, pardon), I dare not, Lest I be taken; not the Imperious
show Of the full-fortuncd Caesar ever shall Be brooch'd with me.
It was the duty of the dramatist to show us that Cleopatra was true to that resolve—that she would conic to Antony to claim that first kiss in their spirit life with lips unsullied by his conqueror. Mr. Tree evidently thinks the statement of the resolve is enough, and that in showing how Cleopatra cast aside all questions of personal safety, and, In spite of Caesar's pleading, was noble to herself, Shakespeare was guilty of unnecessary length. If It be said that the play was already too long to admit of this fine scene, I would reply that it is worth all the singing girls, the elaborate orgy on Pompey's barge, and the Alexandria tableaux rolled into one. It Is drama; the others are grangerisms, and needless- elaborate ones. Such an excision Is not only a strong charge in itself against productions which Illustrate the material aspects of Shakespeare and ignore the spiritual, but is a condemnation of the actormanager as supreme authority, for In no theatre save one ruled by an actor would so Important a scene for the "leading lady" be omitted.
IV There Is another matter connected with the use of elaborate scenery which touches the very essence of drama. Every student of the drama knows how gradual has been tireJl growth of scenery. Yet In all the hisy? tory of the drama there Is but scanty evidence that the aesthetics of the subject have received close consideration. Wagner. It is true, wrote much on the
matter of scenic art, and be made use of mechanical contrivances as part and parcel of his music-dramas. But Wagner's theories were vitiated by his ideas on the union of all the arts, with music as the predominant partner. Drama is not, and cannot be, a union of all the arts. it has its own convention, its own essentials. One of its conventions is that human life, in all its twists and turns, must be made clear to an audience as it is never made clear to a mere spectator of life itself. The manner of doing this has changed. in the past we accepted long soliloquies as part of the convention, but the modern playwright has found that this particular convention, which made for an appearance of unreality, is unnecessary. He obtains the same result by more subtle means and by a more implicit reliance on the art of acting. But the main convention of drama remains. in its higher manifestations it seeks to bare human souls to our sympathy and understanding. Any device which helps towards that result is permissible as part of the illusion of drama, but the dramatis persona of a play must stand out in a relief stronger than life. Their scenic environment should therefore take the same place as the background in a fine portrait. Anything that too closely approaches reality detracts from the importance of the characters. i had an object-lesson in the truth of this theory when witnessing the Warwick Pageant last year. The historical figures had a background of reality—the beautiful grounds of Warwick Castle. The result was not drama, although some of the episodes were dramatic enough. The mood of the day did not fit in with the pageant. The background was separate from the figures, and they were dwarfed to unimportance. i had the same impression in witnessing the scenic splendors of Mr. Beerbohm
Tree's Antony and Cleopatra. So much color and magnificence of detail made Antony and Cleopatra seem accessories rather than principals, and it was a relief to the senses when a comparatively simple scene followed one of the stage pictures. Even with these scenes, however, the characters were not always in artistic proportion. Cajsar's house, for instance, was too vast in its vistas, and the immense columns seemed to dwarf the characters to the measure of reality, which is precisely what is not required in drama. Then, again, no greater artistic mistake was ever made than is comprised in the theory of the union of all the arts. Each appeals to a different sense, and i do not believe that human beings can exercise all their senses at once in an equal degree. That is the fundamental weakness of music-drama. if you are interested in the music the stage action passes as a dream, and the scenery does not exist; if you are impressed by the acting you hardly hear the music; and so on. in spoken drama the chief appeal should be to imagination and sympathy. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with the free play of these mental qualities. if you are not color-blind, a gorgeous mise-en-scine must make an effect on your visual senses and weaken concentration on the character. indeed, so much is this the case with Mr. Tree's productions that a dramatic critic, to give a true idea of them, must become in part a descriptive reporter. We are made more interested in the environment of Antony and Cleopatra than in what they think and feel, which is the subject-matter of drama. instead of being privileged to understand the inner life of the great member of the triumvirate and the passionate Empress of Egypt through the magic of the poet's verse and the art of acting, we see them as if we were only average spectators of life. Possibly an actor and an actress of genins could pierce through this sensuous environment and make our souls vibrate with theirs. A Garrlck, it is true, was able to hold his audience with a Macbeth attired in a Hanoverian military uniform, as you may see from Zoffany's picture, but it is not safe to order .matters for genins. Besides, the senses might easily accept a Hanoverian uniform without any but a first shock. Mr. Tree, on the other hand, hypnotizes or narcotizes the imagination by the splendor of his mounting and the brilliance of his costumes.
i am not advocating the shabby "adequate" scenery of third-rate Shakespearian productions, but a new kind of mounting in which the envi
Tbe Nineteenth Century and After.
ronment of the characters would be conceived on the lines of impressionistic suggestion rather than inartistic reality. We do not want the essays in eccentric design which Mr. Gordon Craig gave us some time ago in his production of Handel's Ads and Galatea. He dehumanized drama for the sake of pictorial design. Color and light should play their part in the creation of atmosphere and mood, but scenery must be nothing but a suggestive background to the characters. The medium of dramatic impression is acting, again acting and always acting, and the mounting of a play should be managed so that it heightens and does not detract from the art of the
i E. A. Baughan.
THE BiLLINGSLEY ROSE.
"Never heard of it," a gardener will answer you, even in the roserles at Kew; for few are aware of the Billingsley rose. it buds on no standard, it adorns no florist's catalogue, and attar from it was never distilled. You may hunt it like the most precious of orchids, but the trail lies through Bloomfebury and the Kensingtons, and not in Amazonian forests or jungles of Mandalay. With patience and flair you may come upon it yet, though Glamorgan, Derbyshire, and the "sweet shire of Cardigan" have been scoured for it, Holland rifled of it, Cintra, Palermo, Montpelller, Tours, and all the haunts of the English resident abroad in the teens of last century meticulously searched for it, by keen-eyed votaries, illuminati, new Rosicrucians ready with gold for any disc of smooth and shining whiteness that bears the Billingsley rose.
it is a China rose, but it never bloomed in Cathay. Nippon nor Cash
mere ever knew it; the European mainland never grew it; it flouts the flowers from Saxony and the valley of the Seine. in the Peak it budded, a century and a quarter ago, but still it lives in beauty; still the petals seem to throb with the sap of life; still this rose, as one enthusiast sings, "has the soft bloom of youth and floats in being, as not by the agency of the brush but by the volition of the painter." For. yes, (perhaps you read the riddle at once?l, a pencil of camel-hair produced the flower; it is upon saucers and cups and plates of old English porcelain that one finds the Billingsley rose.
Like every rare and peerless thing. it happened happily; the date of its blooming was fortunate. A little later there would have been no soft porcelain to paint on, a little earlier there was no English porcelain at all. The Billingsley rose is the very trinmph and coronal of the efforts of English potters against invasions from the Orient, from Saxony and France. The illuminati know with their hearts the strange tale of that strife—how the Honorable East lndia Company kept pouring "china" in from the East; how Dresden and Sevres imposed upon us their splendid wares; how crowds of merchants and collectors awaited the ships and fought with their moneybags at the ports; how "Why should not we make porcelain?" said English potters, and how they began. Romance encircles the record of their doings; against royal subsidies and patronage by kings of Saxony and France they pitted private enterprise and petty capital; lacking the true material, they invented substitutes, composts, imitative amalgams; and at last they came upon a kind of china that differed as much from the wares of Meissen and late Sèvres as a lyric of Shelley's contrasts with a page of Racine's,
This English soft china was not true porcelain, l know. lt was "an ingenious and beautiful counterfeit," says Professor Church; but he does not rate the real thing the higher. No, it was something better than "true" porcelain; it was something unique and apart, something delicate and ephemeral, dainty and fragile, fit compeer for the Louis Seize fan, a pastel of Vigée Lebrun's, or a Cosway miniature. lt has left the china cupboard and the kitchen rack, to dwell in the realm of lost arts, The paste and the glaze of it, delightful in themselves, to the painter furnished a "canvas" opulently white, softly firm, and gently smooth, shot through with light, receptive, better than ivory; and upon such pleasant surfaces the pencil of William Billingsley began to play and create, at Derby, circa 1775.
The man was blest in the ware on which he wrought, for the glassy and chalky amalgams which made up the paste and glaze of the old English
porcelains gave them tenderness and translucency beyond compare. Light, transpiercing light, the glass-painter's ally, came to his aid. Held to the light, the form and tinting of any flowers he painted in Wales can be seen through and through. Take even a plate of his painting at Derby. Though the chemical action of air and sunlight by now may have veined the glaze with a fine network of brown. it once was white and virginal, pregnable to the colors and wooing the brush. At Meissen and Sevres the artists worked on kaolinic stuff, like that of the Orient—stuff that was dure, refractory to pigments, almost impossible to stain with gentle tints; so that the picture rests upon the surface wholly, kept hard in outline and not interfused with the glaze, just as even the most deftly barbered peruke declines to blend with the nape and the temples, But the English "soft" porcelains had a subsoil, so to speak; the surfaces were sympa thetic and amorous of the brush, the paste and glaze were receptive and absorbent, and the colors became filtered and refined as they sank richly in. lt is this quality in the ware which causes the French illuminati, tired of the hard mechanical perfection of "Sftvres," to rifle the shops of Paris of every piece of plite tcndre anglaise to-day.
Yet tools and materials count for little in art, after all. Plenty of clever brushes had played upon English china before Billingsley's began—reluctant French limners had been bribed to cross the Channel—but none had ever painted the rose so well as he was to come to do. By the time he started off on his dramatic wanderings, the pilgrim of perfection in porcelain, his flowers had become almost famous, and his style had begun to found a school. He was a deviser and inventor. All bis days he showed himself a restless seeker and innovator, never content with the usual and accepted.