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Patrick, Warren A. (ed.) / Show world
(February 1, 1908)

Tarkington, Booth
Wrote play to express an idea: author of The Man From Home tells why he has joined army of dramatists,   p. [3]


Page [3]

TWENTY-EIGHT PAGES
PRICE TEN CENTS
THE SHOTIT {LORIL D
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AMUSEMENT WEEKLY
Published at 87 South ClarkStreet , Chicago, by THE SHOL iIORLD Publishing Co.
Entered as Second -Class Matter  WAIRREN A. PA TR/CIr, 6MEARALD/RIECTOR atthe Post -Office at ChicaP6,111inois,
June 25, 1907                                    under the Act of Congress of March3,1879
Volume II-No. 6.    CHICAGO
WROTE PLAY TO EXPRESS
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Author of The Man From Home Tells Why He Has Joined
Army of Dramatists.
BY BOOTH TARKINGTON
about the proximity of human beings to ing to take -n ali girl, totally outside
one another that makes them see things of his own sphere of life-nind you, we're
in the aspect you want them to.         not saying sle Isn't his equal in every
Now in Tie Man frona IHone we 're    way on   a:rtlh-and love her and cherish
S    ' Ihave turned for a brief me-
mleet to writing  for the  stage   ini
oampai  with Harry Leon    Wilson,
thairr ceiediany number of letters from
people. some of whom I know, and others
whnalaenevermetnorheardof,asking
asi'  Ididi.
DwsIilt eto give up literature in fa-
,o of the drama; do I intend to sidetrack
ll attempts at putting  forth books or
stories, and confine myself to the drama?
Others want to know why I took up
with tie play business at all, and what
under the sun induced me to ally myself
with Mr. Wilson in turning out The Man
frot [Ioni. In answer to all these I
hatbut one thing to say.
Bothi Mr. Wilson and myself took up
this play idea because we felt we had
something to say. Because we knew    of
a condition that light should be shed up-
on, and because we felt that what we had
in mind would make a play. There are
times, you know, when the best book on
earth won't do what you want it to do;
when tyo start out with a definite idea in
mind, and that idea willfully starts off on
another tack from the course you had
mapped out for It.
Things That Can't Be Written.
Then there are things that can't be
written. 'Ihe mot careful and conscien-
tious juggler of words in the world will
have come to an impasse at one time or
aloltler where  all his words didn't fit the
needs of the moment, and where the vo-
rabulary was about as meager   for  lis
purpose as a package of tin tacks.
Then it is that a man feels he wants
I create some real characters; put the
words they ought to   say   into  their
mouthsn make them walk about and talk,
and io generally what human     beings
would do under a similar set of circun-
stanrces. le wants things to be real, and
yoi oat always make a real character
with ink and paper alone.  It becomes
necessary to call in some good actor with
an artists perceptions to help you out,
and the first thing you know you've real-
ited the limitations of just plain litera-
ture, and you've started out to write a
play.
From time Immemorial men and women
have written of abuses they felt should be
remedled, and sometimes they have suc-
leededin remedying them, and more often
they have not. That is where the stage
comes in.
You can conceive In your mind, for in-
stance, a hopeless ass, and you try to
make a reader understand him, and his
appearance. You may have some success
or you may not, but when you put that
chap upon a stage, you've done at once
what might have taken 5,000 words to
write and explain.
Character from Real Life.
Now, there was a fellow I knew In
Rome. He was an attache at one of the
embassies, and he was without question
one of the most hopeless nonentities I
ever ran across  There never would be a
Chance of my making people see him   as
he was ina book, and so we transferred
him to the stage. You'll find him In The
Man from Home. He is an exact copy
,If the alleged diplomat we all knew In
Rome.
YOU see, one may take a group of char-
ters hte has in mind, place them  on a
stage, and then go about his business of
creating things for them to say without
bothering about how  they are going to
look.
There's another thing. You can get 100
times the effect of a scene when you can
Putiit lireetly before people. Then it Is
oIliring thing. If You have a, message
to sedto the people at large-we all of
is hare serious moments when we be-
erewhave things to tell the world-
tou canudo It by way of the footlights
when you can't any other way.
Abuse Killed by Ridicule.
isln of  e surest ways to kill an abuse
Iutosmake that abuse appear In its most
ldrilo ptform. If you have a man to
Soify pat him on the stage and let the
otter cilaacters show him  In his least
"ttracidelight No man nor woman can
deep, Whdcoe or caricature. It cuts too
thin        you've got a condition of
things that seem  to warrant what you
thatref reformation, the place to start
rachrsormaion is upon the stage. You
oop sene to000 individuals at one fell
Op, aotd tlere's something infectious
dealing with the international marriage
question, and it's a mighty big, important
question, but it would be simply silly for
us to try to write a tragedy about it, be-
cause people wouldn't believe nos in the
first place, and wouldn't want to see it in
the second place. Realizing this, we've
put the whole thing in comedy form, and
we get a laugh out of a serious, vital
thing, but perhaps its effect will be served
just the same.
Actually, many of our fathers and
mothers in this country are fools, for they
make themselves think that a man is go-
her while living in the  atmosphere  to
which he has been accustomed. It's fal-
lacy, pure and simple. The man, nine
times out of ten, takes her for what she
brings. He wants to exploit her, finan-
cially, and to i own profit. Iove or af-
fection seldom enters into his calculations
in any way.
We have not attempted to make this
thing out a lesson in our play, for the
moment you do that, a lot of good people
shy, just as we used to shy at the mo-
lasses and sulphur in the days of our
youth. We had every reason to believe
February 1, 1908
AN IDEA
the medicine was being given to us for
our own bodily health, but we didn't like
it any the better on that account, and so
the moment you say you've got a mission
or a truth to tell, or a lesson to drive
home, or a moral to point, it's all up, for
theatergers insistson beingamused.
But if you can show your audience a
merry situation, and underneath that con-
ceal your real purpose, they'll take the
laugh first and swallow the moral after-
ward-when they get home.
We've tried to show   that   a  young
American girl has a pretty rough time
when she's looking for love and affection
and manly strength and honor and a lot
of other thinrs every American girl has a
right to expect in her husband, from a
chap whose only idea is to get her mon-
ey. If we can make the situation ridicu-
lous, we stand a better chance.
We believe that we have accomplished
something that no amount of book pro-
ducing would ever accomplish.    If the
public grasps the idea, and some of our
fair daughters are saved from the folly
that seems to have beset their parents,
there is nothing more left to be wished
for.
This is one of the occasions when the
stage Is infinitely more Illuminating, than
the book.
HISTORIC DRESSING ROOM.
Academy of Music, New York, Has Inter-
esting and Famous Apartment.
The star dressing-roonm in the Academy
of Music, New York, is probably the most
historic in the country, and undoubtedly
the most interesting. No theater in the
city contains so lage a dressing-room, or
perhaps a rnore comfortable one. Some
of the greatest singers and dramatic art-
ists have dressed in tis room.
The Academy of Music was built for
grand opera, and before the days of the
Metropolitan  and    Manhattan    Opera
houses, this famous playhouse was the
recognized home of the best grand opera
organization in America. The Col. Maple-
son Opera Company, during    its  seven
years' regime, offered the following sing-
ers: Gerster sang there in leading roles
and dressed in this famous room, and
Gerster was probably the greatest lyric
soprano of her day. Del Puenta, the fa-
Trous baritone, the celebrated and world-
renowned Adelina Patti, and    Charlotte
Neilson, also dressed in this room.
At the expiration of Col. Mapleson's
lease, the Academy returned to dramatic
presentations. It was in the   Academy
dressing-room that both   Edwin   Booth
and Lawrence Barrett made up nightly
for their elaborate productions of Shakes-
pearian tragedies, sharing the room to-
gether. Clara Louise Kellogg, Antonio
Farrira, of the older generation, and of
more recent time, Rose Coghlan, In The
White Heather, J. H. Stoddard,E.H. So-
thern, Julia Marlowe, Agnes Booth, Mrs.
Fiske, and William H. Crane, were among
those who have appeared at this famous
playhouse. Gertrude Coghlan, the lead-
ing  woman    in  The   Lion  and   the
Mouse, nightly made up for her part,
where her aunt, Rose Coghlan, saw the
sun rise on her greatest triumph in the
memorable run of The White Heather.
This room. filled as it is with memor-
ies of notable players, is situated on the
north side of the stage, is undoubtedly
the largest single dressing-room in New
York City, and is as big as most of the
stages of the uptown theaters.
Denman Thompson's Defence.
Mr. Denman Thompson says: "People
fsik ne if I don't get tired of saying the
old lines night after night. and I always
tell them that I don't. Why should I?
And that reminds me of tle story of
Charley Backus. the   minstrel. Charley
was playing once in New York, and an
nid friend of his, a groceryman from
Rochester. name to see him. 'How are
you. Charley?' asked the friend. 'So so.'
said Charles. 'I went to see you last
night, Charles, and I wonder how you can
stand it. Don't you get tired of black-
Ing your face every night, telling the old
Jokes, and shaking your tambourine?'
'No,' said Charley, 'I don't know that I
do. But don't you get tired of taking
down your shutters every morning, put-
ting them in again at night. and cutting
the same old cheese year after year?"
I-
MISS FLORENCE HINDLEY
linown as the Girl with the Diamond Drel s andt a comedOiinne of moreo than ordinary
cleverness, Miss Florence Bindley is attracting much attention in the East. She probably
will be seen in a new play on Broadway next season. She is handsome, dainty, talenteod and
has warm admirers everywhere.
i        I


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