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?THE MERCHANT OF VENICE" 15 BELASCO'5 FIRST GUN IN A BARDIAN BOMBARDMENT By BARLE DORSEY. NOW that Mr. Belasco and hia Shakespearean cohorts have departed, and the tumult and the shouting of Venice sounds faintly in the distance, it is possible to approach more analytically the work that Belasco has given the theater in this the first Shakespearan work of hia major producing career. Viewing the production of ? ?Tl? Merchant of Venice" at the National during the past week, it seemed that here stood a fining capstone to the career of both Belaaco and his star. Warfield. The idea persisted that now would be a fitting moment for both to end their labors, to close their case, to let "The Merchant of Venice" ?land to their credit through the ye^rs?to them a monument knd a rebuke to thoee who ?near at the skill that has made emotionally vivid a play hitherto marked for its appeal to the in tellect. ? ? ? MR. BELA8CO, however, has no such ideas in mind, fie not only refuses to rest on hie laurels but he declines to see. in his production of "The Merchant of Venice." anything more im portant than a test of public re action to Shaksspsere done In hie pereonal manner. In short, Belaeoo announces hlrneelf merely started on a producing course that will include, at a date not remotely distant, a production at "Romeo and Juliet" with Lenore Uirlc in the role of JaHet, ae well as another drama by the Bard he did not designate by name. Thla distinctly Important state Kant was made by Mr. Belaeoo In the coarse at a ehat at his hotel during the past week?a ehat in which he eaprssssd his opinion aa many topics but In which he shewed< a gveat reluctanoe at first ta discuss "The Merchant ef Ven ice." He spoke, eventually, tkesik of hie Intention ta do Were Mmkespssrsan plays with hi* present dhreotoral and his trtonle atulpment and be alaa Sadly eptned that "The Merchant ef Ventasr was net apt te prove one ef the hfcr sisnsyi?kera ef hie career, even though eapaetty atteodaaoo be Its fortune. - Without actually toying so, B Jess I intimated that a produc tion sf Shapeepeere in the a*nd It to a deetre that haa Its roots ; In hto iarty stage tralnlns, when a familiarity with Shakeepeare was aa aeeeeeery a part ef aa aoter*e etook ta trade ae Is a fkmlQartty with Joe Miller's Joka> book today. e e e TT 1s poaslble that the marksd suarsity of draauttlo material that baa m badly handicapped (bis ptodnoer lately may have bad a pereuaslve influence la v?the reallaation of hie desire and then too. Mr. Warfield. long credited with an ambition to play "Bhylock." pnay have be come highly Importunate. At any rate, Beleeco hae plunged Into Rhakeepearo with Infinite aset and the first fruits ef his handi work, as evidenced In "The Mer chant of Venlee," are of major theatrical Importance, as anyone who eaw last week's production at the National wW testify. Of the many Intereotlnc obeer vatlona made by Belaaco In the Interview ) had with him, none erae mere illuminative than hie (Continued ea Page /7v&/?lfi?kht?3T W/W ? mi cmtm. /vl/'j 7?/y/&/r 3MA* u /metm I Two* I CQLOm/A. > PAT O'/MlEy AfiP AJALT* /^/?//9/y fitmu** th? j/X4/r/>s/u rmr rj0^,!S" "" /wnr JJM/M 4TA?/rfo rt/Mtow. JJNk1* ?_ / 11M ??;. ??? /., ? THEATER GOERS' TASTE FOR CLASSICAL TO BE TESTED ? BT SHAKESPEARE REVIVAL By ALAN DALE. * A SHAKESPEAREAN explosion threatens to burst. We are going to have so much Shakespeare that we shall end by believing that we are passionately fond of hi* plays and that we have a delightful classical taste. We are threatened with ? virulent attack of Juliet, a doleful case of Shylock, and, for ge?d measure, a few Hamlets. We have waited and waited for this. Shakespeare, as a rule, comes in cycles. Ours not to reason why. That it is a good thing for the theater is without doubt. Actors who can "read" Shakes peare are few and far between. Actresses who can be CoqoOt tlsh, impulsive, utterly feminine and charming as Shakespearean heroines, are the actresses who are worth while. They do say that nobody can play Juliet, who was fourteen, until she is forty, and they also aasert that the present-day drawl and the present-day "repressed" method has incapacitated most actors from doing full justice to the Bard., \ Some of this is true. Some of it is rubbish. A good deal of it eounds much better than it is. At the present moment we have John Bsrrymore playing Hamlet for bettor and for worse. It would bo idiotie to pretend that people who on for Shakespeare are watehing this Hamlet. They are watch ing Hhmlet as Barrymere, rather than ?' Barrymere as (2 ? ? ? A1? then Shylock. It is an nounced that the admirable actor closely associated with the saooharlne sob stuff at "The Muslr Master" will realls* this amblUoa and play the famous Jew. In ad dition, we are premised the mag nlfioent settings that wo are ae custoitMd tt> ee* from David Be laeoo. Wl shan have wobderfui effects and tihenomsttally bsautt ful mountings. It will he a feast for the eye. Frightful stuff can be written anent Shyloek. and usually Is written. The beet Bhylook I ever eaw wae that of Henry Irving, who had his own Ideas and the eour age to sarry them out. Mr. field, however, has IS the theater-i Bhylook cants* win go p ifrjr about T*s# Will pay the to eso "The Music Mas ter's" star doing something new, with the ocenic assent of Mr. le laeoo. They will read the long and pee stbly tlreeome reviews with pus sled expressions. Sometlmee one would think that, theee Shakes pearean reviews were written by disgruntled sstete the sort who say "TheiW aee hotter Shyloeks walking akppt Roadway with out engaged?la.*, The eense of humor,' as ,T . ancee are lowed to In leaeh. frivolous or ject of regarded as good way slightly mi and phi trifle tM ChtTiW.