The Craftsmanship of the One-Act Play

The Craftsmanship of the One-Act Play

The Craftsmanship of the One-Act Play

The Craftsmanship of the One-Act Play

Excerpt

In the ancient and honorable family of the drama, the one-act play is a newcomer. Whether its first exemplar date from the eighteen-eighties, or whether, by some stretch of the imagination, works of even remoter origin may bear the designation "one-act play" is beside the point: compared with the antiquity of its kindred, the one-act play is an infant, whether thirty, fifty, or even a hundred years of age.

Due to its youth, no considerable body of theory has grown up about it. In art, theory oftener follows than precedes luxuriant development. It is for the artist to show that the thing is possible; theory, by consolidating his gains, may sometimes lay the foundation for a still loftier development.

It is for this reason, doubtless, that so little has been written upon the craftsmanship of the one-act play. The works of the Russian, Nicholas Evréinov, being inaccessible, even legendary, to the English-speaking reader, it has remained for Professor Lewis' pioneer volume to indicate the existence of an unsuspected field. Into that field the present author has dared to wander only because his practical familiarity with his subject, his profound study of it as a practitioner, and finally, his love for the form itself may, to some extent, compensate for his shortcomings in many other directions.

While scrupulously giving credit to earlier writers upon allied subjects, he has refrained from indicating what, in the following pages, is original with him, and what, in more or less modified form, is drawn from general dramatic theory. For the well-informed reader . . .

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