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Two 'Scholarly' Theatrical Books Reviewed
By WILLIAM WIEGAND
of-what kind of"ieater'" he.was
THE paperback publisher pro- searching for.
vides the reader no greater
"T HE Idea of a Theater" Is
service certainly than that of re- frankly written by a scholar.
printing wrthwhile books which Although the note on the author
havelltfIer he noo expensive in ists a" couple of years of "prac-7
their original editions or else have tical experience" in New York, Mr.
been somehow overlooked by peo- Fergusson's education at Harvard
1e wlo ail ldave been inteegst? andOxford is evidently, a more
ed in them,'important stumulus for his quest.
In general, however, theub-. Also, his book, originally pub-
lisher will not offer a twenty-five lished by 'the Princeton tniversity
r thirty-five e-e- t reprint- - Prea, makes full use of highly
does not believe has a, chance technical idiom like "anagogue,
o finding a fairly Jarge r udience. histriouic sensibility," and "mi-
eth perception," most of which,
, Highly specialized books an terms are adequately defined buts
.pose of~,greateretgan avezag d'* nonetheless weighty to handle.
pulty, consequenily, often misa-
ed opportunities'r a chea re-- g n' purpoe de
print until the recent int ddue- are, however. clear. He discovers an
t n =f the 75c-95c iercc Informirg principle in _e ch era
rhich ar- peinfArilf aimed a a of the drama and demonstrates its
siveaslty audiese. operation in terms of a tyical
work of the particular -period.
Two such hod ira Francs The organization, clear and
Fergusson's IT1h Idea of=a 'T ea- chronological, begins Witt "Oedt-:
,6"" (Andbnts'arid "Er entiey's pus" and ends with Eliot's "Mu -
n Search of Theater" ,Vintage), der in the Cathedral." To explain
- Neither of -these saie 4oi55g at broadly, Mr. Fergusson defines the
Rapeal to people who, raerely enr Greek theater as one informed by
jgy leafing hrongh t44 a ;vse- "imitation of action" plus "tragic
ment section on Sunday and occa- rhythm."_ This is followel. by bi-
, pnally reading what 'fBrook*At- furcation represented by the split
kanson had toksay about Helen between Racine and Wagner, each
S ayes this week, of whom adopt a usiocal sense
Both volumes requir a eep of form. h
4d abiding interest in he tea- Racine's theater achieves "per-; th
tr and something like the dedf- fect" unity by a consistent belief
cation to its ideals whigh those in enlightened moral will or "rea- S
two writers share: son"; Wagner. on the other hand,
"No casual interest will get ohe redpces the mode of being to pureto
ftrouh Fergusson, fnd even if it "passion." 0m
* possible to skip the "heavier Both, in other words, impose aEl
sliff" in Bentley, yoW would reach corm or rhythm upon the world m+
She end without a 3 earthly idea af action which provides a eo- u
RETURN TO EARLY ARENA STAGING AT
DRAMATIC ARTS CENTER
A "theater," Mr. Ferguson sug-
gests, requires much more.
BENTLEY, though no less dedi-
cated a theoretician, is a
more informal analyst 'of the
He has to be because his book
is not so well organized as Fer-
usson's, dealing as it does with
the manifold manifestations of
theater throughout the world as
Bentley found it in 1947 through
Germany, France, Italy, Eng-
land, Ireland, and this country
are all on Mr. Bentley's long itin-
erary, and his observations about
the theater in these places are
largely off-the-cuff notations of
"what I saw" and "how I felt."
Having done some directing and
producing himself along the way,
Bentley's opinions are, however,
generally responsible ones, and as
a writer, he is both warm and
What Bentley claims to be
searching for specifically is "bed-
rock" drama. He says he is against
the "anti-realists" and he is
This presumably is intended to
give the picaresque narrative some
central focus, some unifying point
A close examination of the book,
however, suggests that Bentley is
usually able to call what he likes
"realistic" and "bedrock" and
what he doesn't like "decadent."
Brecht, for example, whom he
likes becomes a Narrative Real-
ist; Cockteau "who always loved
dressing up" is described as "de-
"In Search of Theater" is ur-
bane and generally thoughtful. But
in gluing together a lot of news-
paper ansi magazine articles,.,Bent-
ley's glue sometimes shows.
He need not have made his
journeys seem like a mission, nor
should he have been ashamed of
a certain eclecticism in his tastes.
He is a very intelligent boule-
vadier and might have settled for
erent and consistent "idea of a
'HAKESPEARE, Fergusson calls,
an analogic dramatist, moving
ward, chaos. After him, the great
irror held up to nature by the
lizabethans breaks into frag-
ents, le Vin gmodern dramatists
sing only pieces.
Ibsen and Chekhov, the modern
realists, depend upon the actor,
Fergusson tells us, and demand a
faith in histrionic sensibility, as
represented by the theories of the
Mioscow Art Theater, to give their
worjc coherence and form.
After them, Fergusson deals
briefly with Shaw and Firandello,
who have attempted to "free" the
theater from the fourth-wall
They pace the way for dramat-
ics like Cocteau, Obey, ard Eliot,
who would return to myth and
classicism as an alternative to
the proliferate incoherence of the
realists. So far, Fergusson says,
these dramatists are operating in
a vacuum; they are not focused on
the life of the times and hence
provide "art for art's sake" only.
MAY 6 7, 8 955 - SIX CONCERTS
PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA THOU4JGHOUT
TOIg ', MA 8' :3O P.M.
kudolf Serkin, P's ist, n the Cncerto No. 2 in B-Uat (Brahms), Prelude and
Fugue in Cminor ( ach-brmandy), and Symph ny No. 5 in C minor (Beethoven),
u &ne rnandy,onduetor,
"$'serRI9&V6t' hAY~st:30 P.M.
t"- Missa Sodenns a ia 0(Bee e) with Lois Meirshall, Soprano; Nell Rankin,
ro trpl; ,esjie ,ChC y, Tenor; Morley Meredith, Baritone; aEd University
ho a1l ,io,: Thor Johnson, oCnductor.
SA tRDAY, MAY'7i 2:30 P.M.
iermese profortj'tn'e6, MitelI, Violinist, in ,Mozort Concerto in A major.
I eazrt linftia' Eoretane, Wh John deLancie, Ob e; Anthony Gigliotti,
Clarinet; .Sa Schoenb ch, Bassoan; and Mason Jones, Horn. Overture, "Donna
D an" Re ict ; gnd S nphony in B minor (Schubert), Eugene Ormandy,
Vieriese Fdk nd Art Songs by feaival Youth Chorus, Marguerite Hood, Conductor.
SATURDAY, MAY 1r .8:30 P.M.
'WilN~nti ',W66eld B'orisdne, in 9ongs by Handel, Brahms, and Aaron Copland,
. esture aand, lleg from "L Sultane" (Couperin-Milhqus); Epigraph (Dello
Joio); and r(ncpr o fpr Orcseftra, iBartok ), Eugene Ormandy, Conductor.
$UlI'fDA AY &7 2:30 P.M." -
Grant Johannesen, Pianist in Concerto No. 3 (Prokofieff). "Carmina Burana"
(Cart Orfft), with Leis Marshall, Soprano; Leslie Cheboy, Tenor; Morley Meredith,
Baritone; nd Unasersty Choral aeon, Thee Johnson, Conduttor.
SUNPAY, MAY ', &:30 P.M '
Rise Stevens;, ezv soprano, in pper tic orias. Corurerto-Grosso for Strings (Ernest
Bloch); Symphony, No.4 in F minor (Tchaikovsky)l', g*ene Ormandy, Conductor.
rograms sub'ect to necessary changes.
SEASON TICKETS: 13.00 - 10.00 - 9.00 - 8.00 NOW ON SALE
'ZINO FRANCESCATTI, Violinist . .- r . Monday, March 7
BERLIN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA,
Herbert yon Karajan, Conductor - . . . Tuesday, March 15
WALTER GIESEKING, Pianist-..-- . .-.-Tuesday, March 22
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC-SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA,
Dimitri Mtropolous, Conductor (2:30 p.r) . Sunday, May 22
INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: 3.50 - 3.00 - 2.50 - 2.00 - 1.50 New On Sale
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