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January 27, 1924 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1924-01-27
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T,, L. VA.LA ; IL

__ 7

EGO Scogan
And for the evening I was lucky enough to get a single for Walter
Hampden's Cyrano de Bergerac.1
Those who, a couple of weeks ago, read my first impressions of Trinity
Church and the Woolworth Building will know that I had checked myr
bag and was making my headquarters at the Commodore Hotel. From 1
there it is not far to the National Theater, so I took the opportunity and
walked. "I walked down Fifth and came up-" Broadway to Times Square.!
This had been my first opportunity to walk down Fifth avenue-it
being the first time that I had found it-so, now that the shops were closed,
I enjoyed myself to- the limit. It was here that I saw the first necktiesj
of the day which the average man at Michigan would wear,.
It had really been a keen disappointment to me that I had not even
seen anyone with distinctive neckwear. I had appeased my own mind,
however, by the supposition that this morbid display was the havoc caused
by Christmas. But here in the windows of Peck there were ne:ktie.
But I can restrain myself no longer. Those of you who have seen
Walter Hampden's productions in Ann Arbor know only the ability of that
man, himself, as an actor and interpreter; for of necessity the' repertoire_
productions were not of the calibre that he has given to his Cyrano de
Bergerac. And you will regretfully. remember his leading lady and her
"weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth." You remember her-that
wailing Desdemonia and that simpering Ophelia? Well-rejoice with me
as I did when in that opening pre-concert scene of Cyrano I recognized
that sob-choked nasal crying out: "Oranges, milk, rapsberry syrup, lemon-
ade". Reduced to the ranks of Orange Girl, a super! What justice this
seemed to be, that she was humbly about with shorn epaulets; such is her
due for so harrowing her performance of Shakespeare. And so Carroll
McComas takes Mabel Moore's place as Hampden's leading lady. In an
announcement of future productions I find, in Romeo and Juliet he will
have a new Juliet, in Hamlet a new Qphelia and in The Merchant of
Venice a new Portia. Hoggishly I wish that he would give this new lead
his Desdemona.
This particular evening for which I happened to be lucky enough
to get a single for Walter Hampden's Cyrano de Bergerac, was the 26th
anniversary of the play. For it was on December 28th, 1897, that Paris
first saw Coquelin in this, Rostand's greatest play. Robert Mansfield
played it in this country, a couple of years later. And that is the last that
it has been seen here._
But now Hampden has produced this new Brian Hooker translation;
and he has done it with such skill and adeptness that even George Jean1
Nathan, avowedly prejudiced against Hampden productions, has ranked
this as far superior to the. Mansfield Cyrano.
It is a tale of those grand old days of 1640, when a delectable old
bruiser like Cyrano could forbid the appearance on the stage of an over-
done actor-even though he was a favorite-and get away with it. In fact,
it is in the little business of enforcing his demands that Montfieury retire,
that we first meet Cyrano. And the first thing that we notice is his nose.
It is upon this-the nose-that the whole story is based; and to that state-
ment he would.have taken exception, and I would have been picked up in
pieces, for he was very sensitive about his nose.
I will not tell you the story, however, for those of you who do
not know it, there awaits this beautiful Brian Hooker translation, which
has been published by the Henry Holt & Company. It is a man's love story
-a soldier and a poet, he loves Roxanne-it is a tragedy.
And what a delectable old bruiser he is. He would fight at the drop
of a hat; and the next night make words like these:
"And what is a kiss when all is done?_
A promise given under seal-a vow
Taken before the shrine of memory-
A signature acknowledged-a rosy dot
Over the i of Loving-a secret whispered
To listening lips apart-a moment made
Immortal, with a rush of wings unseen-
A sacrement of blossoms, a new song
Sung by two hearts to an old simple tune-
The ring of one horizon around two souls-
Together all alone!"
(Understand, this was in 1644!) And he again draws such a figure as

F, L. Tilden...........Editor
Donald E. L. Snyder......Books
Normand Lockwood......Music
Robert Bartron Henderson...
......... Drama
Gordon Wier....... ....Art
Lisle Rose, Halsey Davidson,
Newell Bebout, Samuel Moore,
.Tr., Maxwell Nowles, Philip Wag-
ner, Dorothy Sanders.
The Sunday Magazine solicits
manuscripts from all persons af-
filiated with the University. Man-
uscripts must be typewritten,
triple spaced and written on one
side only. * * * *
The Sunday Magazine acknowl
edges The American Secular Un-
ion review service for "The Un-
official Observer" department. *



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It is the policy of this magazine to
publish articles of opinioni by both
students and faculty members if, in
the judgment of the editor, these arti-
cles are of intrinsic value and interest.
This does not mean that manuscripts
solicited or voluntarily offered are
necessarily in accord with editorial
opinion either in principle or form.

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Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra," for Of course he .va
example, he makes the stage into a he said this, some
huge rat-trap-you rkvle read tfhe ive manager had 1
play, of course, and know the reason nothing, in fact, c
for this-in which nothing is accur- acteristic of his v
ately distinguishable save a squatty universal appeal.
pair of steps on which the one real viously, that is na
figure of the scene-the comic-tragic proved, but the t
Ftatateeta-is presently to appear and , man who first apI
dominate the action. the simple dignif
'One can go on with similar examples practical theatre
almost endlessly-the remarkable set- himself famous th
tings for "Hamlet," the design for
the tents in "Henry V," the Forum A NEW MONTHLY
in "Julius Caesar," the Wapping Old An imposing It
Stairs--but before you are tired let writers appears on
me show you his design for Sopho- of the first numbs
cles' "Electra," the design, I should lantic Review," a n
add, for any great tragedy. 'In the zinc which made
background there is a vast forbidding ance January 7, 19
door, say eighty or a hundred and Paris by Ford h
eighty feet high according to your im- adox Hueffer)
agination, with bulky steps further Aeiab hm
downstage on which some tiny people Conrad, Thomas I
putter up and down in their agony, CnAdETo
with great bursts of light and shadow, A. E. Coppard, T
and with a powerful nobility of line. Cummings, Ezra I
The archeologist, of course, will tell Phillippe Soupault,
you that this is hardly historically 'Jean Cassou, Luke
correct. But you have come to the M. Foster are amon
theatre for a drama that is a living to the initial issue.
whole, not alone in the brain, but tain the first insta
through the eye and ear as well, and novel by Ford Mad
not for history. . . . and so you are "The Transatlant
more than satisfied. modeled on "The
The question always arising after which under Mr.
finishing such a eulogy is why these waS 'unquestionab
designs have not been snatched up liant periodical put
by the commercial stage. The answer Englani during the
is two-fold-the first, that this pro- according to Doug
fessional stage is not interested with recent letter to the
nobility and power, and the second, une, in which he
conversely, that his designs have 'review.
been accepted through their almost "Ford Madox For
universal plagarism. You point out abl eposition in th
to me any of our successful artists- ern English literatu
Joseph Urban, Norman 13e1-Geddes, merit of his own w
Robert Edmond Jones, Claude Brag- Douglas Goldring,
don, Sam Hume-and I can point out vided a medium t
the influence of their master in every the best and most v~
case, Ithe day could reach
Gordon Craig carries his proposi- out their having to





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tions to even further conclusions in
his latest book, "Scene." After pre-
senting a comprehensive history of the
developement of stage design, he
launches his most revolutionary ideal,
' really an apology fpr the theatre he
is about to found in London. Hispur-
pose, briefly, is to create a universal
setting, a setting, in other words,
that can be all settings, and after some,
two hundred and fifty experiments he
{ bas concluded that, plain, angular'
screens-pylons, if you will-are the
most perfectly adaptable units.,
As{a still further step-and easily
the more significant-he is making
these screens pure white without a
single pigment of paint about them.1
In place of the painter, then, he will'
produce his colors entirely with;
lights, his shadows with darkness..
While his actors read the play, the]
color will be constantly shifting, and#
-mirabile dictu!--the settings too!
And how does he do all this?-hej
promises to publish the trick a year
after it has been presented on hisI
stage. For -once, his devices will]
not be stolen to glorify a brother me- t
Of course, it is always a questiont
whether such an enterprise will be!
successful;' twenty years ago the
stage rejected him, and it is doubtful
whether it hlas advanced sufficiently
since to appreciate him now. And
after all, one questions whether Gor-
don Craig even needs to succeed-in
dollars and cents on a world's Broad
way. .. .
This brings us to the final question
always raised by his critics. Even
if it is admitted that his work is the
highest artistic echievement for the
l theatre in the century, his designs
are all for romantic far-away fantastic
Mlays which can only succeed -with s
the few. How does this, they cry. I
help the ordinary realistic drama?
Gordon Craig's own rebuttal is that it
doesn't help such fare at all; his is
a world-theatre, and a world-artist,
cannot concern 'himself with plays of
the mob.

rial interference o
tions of commerci£
One of the first
with the new ye
within one cover a
tributing authors.
together under the
of C. K. Scott Monc
to another author
made a profound i
literature of our ti
"Marcel Proust; An
and will be publi
Seltzer early in Jar
twenty-one contrib
ume are Joseph Co
nett, Arthur Symo
kenzie, Clive Bell, (
Logan Pearsall Smi
J. Middleton Murry
son. Mr. Moncrieff
his masterly transl
Way," the first title
great "Remembrai
Past." The second
this series entitled
Grove," which Mr. 1
translated, will I
Thomas Seltzer ear

pay you $......... I shall expect the work to be
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"Overhead the moon
Hung like a gold watch at the fob of heaven,
Till suddenly some Angel rubbed a cloud,
As it might be his handkerchief, across
The shining crystal; and-the night came down."'
And then I was out in the night, with my hat brim pulled down over
one eye. First the lights struck me as inane gymnastics and I sympathized
with Gumbril in Aldous Huxley's latest book, Antic Hay, when he expos-
tulates to Mrs. Viveash that: "These things (electric signs) are the.
epileptic symbol of all that 's most bestial and idiotic in contemporary
life-there flickers, there gibbers and twitches--what? Restlessness, dis-
traction, refusal to think, anything for an unquiet life.:' And still some-'
thing rushed up and with Mrs.~Viveash answered: "How I adore them!
Too lovely! "
And so it was at the end of my first day in New York city. I had'
walked miles, had seen The Swedes and Cyrano, the Commodore HotelF
and Trinity Church, Wall Street and the Bowery, so I climbed into a taxi'
and watched the meter spin 'round as I whirled to the Twenty-third street
station and my train, which started back to Cinderella's pots and pans just I
an hour and fifty-five minutes later than fairy story schedule.1

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