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Newspaper Page Text
THROWING THE SPOTL
NIGHT" WITH r iBY JANE VVHITAKER. A night with the" amateurs. No not before the curtain. Some of us have sat out in front and thought it was all great fun. But be hind well, sometimes that is differ ent. Many of the amateurs are just stage-struck. Some of them serious ly want to- follow the profession and must" go on amateur, nights to-show what talent they have and what grit. Some of them are human derelicts who 'earn their money enough to buy a bed and fill their stomachs for another day. This class shows up nightfaf ter night, month after month, and some of them can count the years. They never bother dressing in the atrical style. You have seen them with sweaters, not all of them clean. You have heard them sing without any voice to speak of. You have watched their grim faces because they do not bother smiling any more. And after they go off, when you are through hooting and cat-calling, and the rest, some manager will say: "Lord, but you're a crumb! Why don't you smile?" But don't be sorry you laughed, be cause that is the object of the per formance to give the audience a good time. No one works harder toward this end than the manager of the house. This "back-of-the-scenes" house is fairly good to the amateurs. It pays the performers $1 a night and car fare. Some of the houses pay 85 cents and carfare; some of them pay 75 cents and no carfare. Most of them double the price of admission; some of them give three performances, some two, some one but the amount the performer gets is tho same regardless of how many iMes he or she must endure the agony." GHT "ON A BEAUTIFUL' HE AMATEURS A blond girl, who is striving to get on the professional list, is going to sing a song. Her name is Hazel. The' manager goes before the curtain and announces: "Miss Hazelnut, sister to Witch hazel, will now sing something new." Hazel has been on the amateur stage before. She has lost some of her timidity, but tonight she is angry. She stands there while the audience hoots and she just glares at them. Suddenly there is a lull and a quaver of a voice springs from somewhere in Hazel's throat, but the cat-calls have recommenced and her jaws snap together. "Come on off," the manager bawls. "I won't," she flares back. "I came here to sing and I'm going to. The audience soon realizes that she is good fdr the night right in the center of the stage unless they grow quiet. So they let her sing. Then they give her "a hand." She had spunk. But she really had a bad temper. A woman of at least forty, wrinkled and much made up, is next intro duced. "The next performer," the man ager bawls, "will sing a song that is not quite as old as she is." And the - forty-year-old amateur starts to sing "The, Holy City." That's all she does starts. Maybe, though, she finishes, but no one knows that but herself. The next performer is an old man, and, because of his age, a certain re spect is shown him. But the manager doesn't want to inject pathos it must be horse comedy. "Hey, you," he says to one of the nervous ten-or twelve behind the. scene. "Walk out on that stage and when you get in the middle pretend you find a piece of money. Pick up something. Make Believe you are bit ing it to see if it is good, then throw It down and walk off." '