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P^KT III EIGHT PAGES
Sfow |totfc STrtfcane
Sl NDAY, JANUARY 11, 1920
PART III EIGHT PAGES
KETHER the New York pub- j
lic is seated with "the bed
room farce" and the same
sort .of thing in ?musical
comedy is still a moot question. It all j
depends on the viewpoint. N'ow, Leo i
DHrichstein, who has been on the stage j
foreter so many years and achieved ;
just fame as an actor^a playwright and
a maB of paris, says emphatically it is.
And Eraeat Truex, who, though of
tender years, played Hamlet and
Ingomar and "Romco and Juliet" a
quarter of a ccntury ago, is equally !
sdncere in taking the other end of the j
But Leo is playing the swashbuckling \
royalfst adventurer in "The Purple I
Mask" at the Booth, with every inten
tion'^of putting on Othello next sea- j
son and playing the insidious Iago him- j
self, and Ernest is playing the inno
cenr. but deeply intrigued bridegroom '
from Cohoes in "No More Blondes,"
with a iavender bed and a green plush
dressing gown adorned with sunfiow
ers, at Maxine Elliott's for Al Woods
and has no immediate idea of returning
to thc raelancholy Dane or anything
half so ingenuous as "Little Lord
Fanntkroy*' next season, nor yet the
Ergo, cum grano salis! Or words to
But let them talk; Leo with his
irapenetrable Mansfieldian smile, blase
tt> the Ttth degree; Ernest with his
wid?-eyi>d Delft gaze of innocence;
and draw your own conclusions.
"Actors?" mused Mr. Ditrichstein,
narrow:ng his shrewd eyes to mere
*lits aa he inhaled an Egyptian cigar
ctte. "Great actors? Certainly, we
hare them. Good actors, who would be
C*ea# they had but the chance.
Everything travels in cycles. The last
?Teneration had more than its share of
great actors in every country. There
were Irving and Tree and Wyndham in
Engiar.u; Duse and Rejane and Bern
fiardt and ( oquelin in France; many
in Italy, including that master of them
*u in technique, Ermete Novefli, and
Germany had countless actors with
Proper claim to greatness.
But yon can't rnake great actors
*?tbout gr<;at plays any more than
Jou can make a great writer of a child
H all the reading he gets consists of
'penny dreadfuls.' We have too many
_vml plays, and the public is tired of
them, tircd of the everlasting, silly
->?droom farce and of the equally brain
?*?* twadcile of the average musical
l*M people want more serious
-hrngs, more thrilling things. Take
this new play of mine, 'The Purple
latk.' [< ,,,,. 0f th08e o!d fashioned
--posjible,' if you like; melodramas,
?ot the people seem to like it, to nnd
? ' a pUtted relief. We are doing won
'????fa! basinesa. I expect to make
enoogh money out of it to follow it
' <- ; h my own production
Wbellfl 1 shail p!ay Iago, of
tetlM, ! hare long wanted to do it."
lo'ited to dinmtr, Mr. Ditrichstt-in
* never take more than a bowl of
???P More. g0ine on(? h,. Raid.
"-?- Tru?:x was quite different. He
*** waiting at the L*mb?. At the
**k oi off-ndini: his dlgr.ity, which
tyeasores highiy, Uv*< Umptation Is
g? great. ft mu?t be said: Be is
' .< .** cut* ''fi l*j" *toS.e a* on.
'?'??>m* f,n," he bubbU-d, "we've just
*N to b.ivt a real dinner," and al
**??**_?? it wsi jtt?t Uffore going on for
?'? tee^rwl p-rformanee with the kit
^? *?4 the two brides and the
? > <-r bi??( and the sun-flowered
. *lfJ- fc'jv/,:, he devour*d a large
healthy slice of roast beef, gobs of
mashed potatoes, and lima beans, a ,
huge wedgc of apple pie and two cups
"Farce!" he exclaimed. "Who says
it's done? Not on your life. Why, farce
is only life, spats and troubles and
pitfalls and escapes by the breadth
of an eyelaah. Farce is tragedy played
seriou&ly with a sense of humor.
"I've done the other things. I'm
only thirty, but twenty-five years ago,
as a child wonder, I played Hamlet
and Ingomar and Romeo and Little
Lord Fauntleroy. That's serious
enough for you, isn't it?
"You see, now that I'm grown up, or
rather now that I didn't giow up, I'm
,so little I have to play farce, but I'd
play it if I were seven feet high. I
lovo it. I have played in some bad
ones and I don't like them and I
won't play in them any more. You
see (drawing himself up proudly to
jhis ei.tire four feet nine), I have two
i sons now and I've made up my mind I
won't play in anythino; I'd be ashamed
: to have them see me do.
"I have a lot of fun about my size.
| I had to grow this mustache so the
i streetcar conductors wouldn't shove ;
| me about in the cars and call me
i 'sonny' and tender-hearted old ladies
take me on their laps when all the
seat- were taken, or say in a stage
1 whisper 'Oh, how cute!' when I
gallantly give up my seat to them.
And now,' dash it! The dashed thin^
has come out so blond half of the
near-sighted ones can't see it. Why,
one brute of a waiter at a road house
lonc before July 1 refused to serve
highballs to Mrs. Trfiex and myse!;',
we looked so little and young. She'i
smaller than I am and used to bo a
I "Jules Eckert Goodman is writing
a play for me?a real one?and next
season I expect to have a regular
Fokine and Fokina Again
Because of the fact that hundreds of
persons were' unable to obtain admis
sion to the Metropolitan Opera House
last week when Michel Fokine, crea
tor of the Ballet Russe and composer
of all the dances included in their
repertory, and his wife, Vera Fokina,
appeared there, it has been arranged
that they will make a second and final
appearance at the Hippodrome next
Burton Holrnes Begins
His Travelogues To-niglil
To-night at Carnegie Hall and again
to-morrow afternoon Burton Holmes
begins his double series of travelogues
on the tourist Europe of the present
day with "Belgium" as his first sub?
ject. He has recently returned from
an extended motor trip through Bel?
gium, France and the .occupied Rhine
land; his colored views and motion pic
turies will tell the pictorial story ac
companying his personally delivered
description of his summer's experi
?penings of tf)t Comtng Wtt\
MONDAY At the Theatre Parisien the new program consists of a two-act
i peretta, "Le Poilu," by Maurice Hennequin and Pierre Weber, with
music by Maurice Jacquet, and a timely Parisian farce, "L'Anglais
Tel Qu'on le Parle," by Tristan Bernard.
Tl'KSDAY At the Greenwich Village will be the first presentation in Eng
lish of the Catalonian peasant drama, "La Malquorida," by Jacinto
Benevente, with Nance O'N'eil playing the role of Raimunda, created
by Maria Gucrrerro at the Theatre "Princess, Madrid, five'years ago.
In its English form the play will be known as "The Passion Flower."
It is translatcd by John Garrett Underhill. Miss O'Neil will be as
sisted by Charles Waldron, Harold Hartsell, Bruce Mantell, Charles
Fleher, Charles Angelos, Edna Walter, Clara Bracoy, Mrs. Charles G.
Craig, Gertrude Custin, Alba Anchoritz, Hefen Rapport, Aldeah Wise
and Ridler Davies. The production is made under thc dircction of
TM R8DAY~-At the Garrick Theater the New York Theater Guild will
present for the first time in English on any stuge, Tolstoy's "The
Power of Darkness." H Is a tragcdy of Rusuian peasant life. The
part of Nikita, which is the principal male role, will be played by
Arthur Hohl. Helen Westley, Murjorie Vonnegut. Idu Bahl, Pred G.
Mories, Erskine Sanford* Henry Stillman, Maud Brooka, Bertha Broad
and William Neliton aro also in the east.
Harold MacGrath Tells
How Well and HowBadly
Books Are Movieized
"The movies are rapidly finding
themselves,'* said Harold MacGrath. "A
trend of picture making has begun,
which, from all I can gather, will lift
photoplays to a high level of art. It
seems only yesterday that u surfeit
of 'Mysteries of the Box Car' and other
atrocious things reeled off in the stu
dios made us dospair of the movies
ever doing anything worth while. To
day one can see pictures that give
keen enjoyment. I have seen many
pictures that made me wish for noth
| ing in their portrayal?surprising, I
! suppose this will seem to you, for I
j understand it is quite fashionable in
literary circles to scoff at the movies."
Mr. MacGrath is a prominent writer
; of fiction.
"Not that I think the movie3 per
I feet," he resumed, "oh, a long way
! from it. For one thin*;, too many of
; them underestimate the intelltgence of
I their audience; too many deal in the
j obvious. Too many ntrocitics are still
;beirrg committed on the screen. And
then I recall with feeling having gone
: to see a production of one of my books,
| the picture rights to which l had sold
to one of the big companies. .The
, story was 'The Puppet Crown,' a story
! I was particularly fond of, for I liked
j the heroine of it about as well as any
character I ever drew. She was a
\ strong character. Imagine my feelings
: then when I sat in the theater and
watched my story on the screen. I
' could not recognize it. Back in the
studio they had put it into a chopper
! and ground out hash. That is one
thing I have against the movies?may
| hem of my favorite heroine.
"Yes, and 'The Voice in the Fog.'
That was another high crime. Donald
' Brian played the picture version of
: that ene of my novels. It was his
fir3t and his last nicture. Later I
; saw him, and he said:
"'I'm through. Never again! They
! made me look foolish.'
"'Shake,' I agreed. 'They made me
! look foolish, too. N'obody who ever
1 read "The Voice in the Fog" would
j have recognized it on the screen.'
"The too frequent thing had hap
! pened. The director had not begun to
j realize the possibilitiea of the tale.
j Did you ever notice how often when
the movios present the drawing-room
J of a wcalthy man they have it filled
with teakwood furniture? As soon as
a man becomea rich, does he buy teak
"We hear much about the educa
tional value of the movies. That il
! true, very true. The scenery, customs"'
and all of foreign countries have beenf
brought right into our theaters. Were
a college to use motion pictures it
could educate in the modes and forms
of life quicker than by any other way.
But there is still a great educational
work that the movies have left undone.
In the studios, if they would only teach
show girls who fill in as guests at re
ceptions, if they would only teach thenr
the correct use of the knife and fork!
ln close-ups! Why, the educational
possibilities of the movies are bound-?
"I have watched the movies prettyj
ciosely. So many of my books have"!
been produced that I'm ever trai'dng*
?he 'picture theaters in the hope oC
ihancing upon one. I suppose it's at>
:nd of morbid curioSity, a desire toi.
ee whetber murder or merely assaul?
and battery has been committed upon^
the story. Back in 1903 I saw the firstjvj
movie version of one of my stories. tm-.
was a short story called 'Rajah's Vaca-?|
;ion.' Since then I have seen many ver^jj
sions of my stories, although, of coursejM
the titles were not always the same, nofr;
was I always dojvn as the author, no?|
had I always sold my picture rightsli
They tell me tbey have scenariJ*}
writers in California who can swiptf;
any plot and tinker with it so aij?
author will not recognize it. Unfor
tunately for my peace of mind, I seerrti
to have a nose for plagiarism of mjt
"When I went to see a production of
my 'The* Goose Girl* I got a shock. It
was wonderful. The photoplay had
realized everything I had ever dreamed
of in the story. That quickened my
j interest in movies. I thought: 'If
i they can do a thing so beautifully once
I why can't they do it every time?' It.
. showed me that the movies are capable^
! of conveying to an audience all thet
i romantic charm that comes to the:
reader of a romantic novel. But as I
watched one play after another it em
; phasized that such good productions
i were all too infrequent." .
The Youngest of Them All *
Jack Pickford has juat com-*
pleted his first production for the'
Goldwyn corporation, "The Little
Shepherd of Kingdom Come," by John
Fox jr., and is coming East for a vaca
tion. He celebrated his twenty-thvr>|
birthday not long before he left for
the Goldwyn studios, at Culver City,
j Jack has a sister named Mary. De
' spite his youth, young Mr. Pickford
?'; is a veteran screen actor. He began
I to perform in the movies at the age
?>of thirteen and was then already a
I veteran actor of many years* stand-.
j ing on the legitimate stage. Born m
Toronto, Canada, his father died/when
hc was only eleven months oldf. Soon
he and his aisters, Lottie and Mary;
were called upon to help solve the
?' situation left by the early death of
i' their parent. j
By Silas B.
ELODRAMA as a form of
dramatic expression finds a
strc-ng defender in Chan
ning Pollock. It should.
He has written many suc
cessful melodramas, and now his lat
est one, "The Sign on the Door," at
the Republic Theater, seems likely to
equal the records made by the most
popular of his dramatic efforts.
"Life is melodrama," the playwright
emphasized over the luncheon table,
his bright eyes twinkling, "and that
is where the critics fall down when
they hold melodramas up to life and
find them wanting. Basically, life is
the strongest kind of melodrama, but
as veneer after veneer of culture, of
artificiality and of civilization are put , j
on, the further life gets away from the j j
fundamentals, the further is it re- j
moved from the melodramatic. Critics ] t
look only at the surface when judg- j ,
ing this form of play; they do not cut j
through and see the inside." I
With a fruit knife Mr. Pollock was
outlining stage settings and situations ! ,
which would be condemned as unreal ,
if used. and yet, he said, they had
"The fine mosaic work required
.makes melodrama the hardest form of
jdramatic writing. The bc-t plays that
have ever been written have all been
melodramas. We have just passed
fthrough the greatest meladrama the
.world has;ever known. the war, arhl
yet when playwrights have written
about the war they have been called
melodramatic. How could they do
otherwise and be true to the thing
they are writing about?" he asked.
If it were possible, we should like to
be sent to interview Mr. Pollock every
day in the week. Having run the entire
gamut of newspaper and publicity work
?before becoming a playwright, he is
more like a good-natured Iecturer con
| fiding his Weas to an audience of one
rather than like a man who cannot say
! anything without the aid of leading
j questions. His voice is deep and well
modulated, his eyes br\ght.and cheerful
"I make it a point never to hate any
one, no matter what he does or has
done to me,'' he said.
j Seemingly inconsequential situations
and occurrences often prove to be the
inspiration of not only entire acts. but
; plays, Mr. Pollock pointed out, and
must be sought after carefully.
"How do you write your plays? Do
you start with the incident from which
the play has developed and work back,
or do you have another method?"
"I have made it a habit?and I don't
believe I would be able to write if it
were changed?to start all my plays
with the title, followed by my name,
and then to move along in sequence
.without ever rewriting a page. But the
writing is not the main thing in play
"Unless a man or woman has lived
With his idea for at least a year,
even two years, has tumed it over in
his or her mind, and has matured it, it
is very foolish to attempt to write the
play. If the idea is properly developed
before writing starts, the actual writing
t,yshould not take more than six weeks."
Do you ever have any difficulty in
writing your plays?"
We asked Mr. Pollock if he were
being bored by these questions, but
he shook his head smilingly and said:
"On the contrary, I like nothing bet
ter than to talk shop. If I find it
difficult to move along smoothly with
a play after I have copsiderej every
possibility in my mind, 1 know that
the play c#nnot be worth writing. A
good play writes itself, ar.d you may
be sure that you have a bad play when
the writing is difficult.
"Another mistake made not only by
playwrights but by other writers as
well is to Only half live. A writer i?
not fair to himself ar.d to his readers
if he does not live life to the very
1 thought of Ihscn, whose entire
:ontact with life, almost, consisted
)f a walk' down t!.e main street
>f Christiania and a few hours' read
ng of the newspapers in a small cafe.
rle rarely snoke to a: y one. The mws
iapers seemed to supply al! the con
aet with life he needed. But I did
lot remind Mr. 1'. llocfc of this.
We were walking slowly up Broad
.vay. Mr. Pollock was talking about
:he similnrity of ploi a play he
lad written and <?:.,? . bad ju^:
seen tried out on 1
"X". i sKbu i not ? ? wi t. r.
. pecially m< ?
'; ? t o i
:?-?? .... ..,;'
took p ts fron other ghts.
?They have too
continued. -'1 I ??
day Evening Post,' ?? : m< that. he
wanted to fi
number of ;.?
felt that hc
"After all, the i
combinatior.s of ?
is limited, and the sourccs of uii
are few in nun more
than five or I m are
the 'Decameri Boccaccio; 'IXon
Quixote.' by Cei md thi 'Ara
bian Nights.' Sup tat twx<
playwrights star*.- - plays, each
having the same fundamental idea in
mind. Their creat ons would vary
then only as or.'- rr.ore or
less experienced than the <?
"Take this situation. for instance:
You pick for the setting of the play a
country town, :.: ? char
acters the sheriff. For cot.?;..'. you
choose as another character a city
chap, perhaps a crook, who promptly
falls in love with
ter, and for the
the next eludes led by
the daughter, who furnishes bim with
a hiding place. tt wou to have
him caught in the second act or the
play would be over, but he -^lust be
caught in the third act. For the
happy ending, which the American au
! dience requires, the sheriff, about to
i conduct him to the county juil, listens
i to the plea of his daughter and t.ets
; her lovcr free.
"Two playwrigbta could <tart ettt
with this situation, and the plays
would differ only according to the
superior ability an.i greater experie&ca
of one of the author
At the Neiphborhood
To-night the N< ig'nborhood Playcrt
will give the tenth performance of
Mary Broome," a modcrn comedy bjl
| Allan Monkhouse.