Rain: A Play in Three Acts, Founded on W. Somerset Maugham's Story, "Miss Thompson"

Rain: A Play in Three Acts, Founded on W. Somerset Maugham's Story, "Miss Thompson"

Rain: A Play in Three Acts, Founded on W. Somerset Maugham's Story, "Miss Thompson"

Rain: A Play in Three Acts, Founded on W. Somerset Maugham's Story, "Miss Thompson"

Excerpt

The art of dramatization has justly fallen into disrepute. In the popular theatre it is futile to recall that Lear and Faust are both dramatizations of prose narrative, that no great dramatist, from Euripides to Wagner, has invented the plots or fables of his plays. The modern dramatizer or adapter is not one who reshapes existent material through the power of his creative vision; he is one who depresses the serious and serene to the level of the multitude and its theatre. Hence this play Rain illustrates, first of all, noble possibilities that have almost been forgotten on our stage, and a return to a great traditional method. Yet a return with a vital and characteristically modern difference, too.

The difference is this, that the dramatizers do not stand above the author of the text that was to be dramatized. Shakespeare glorified Italian "novelle" and English chronicles, Goethe made a rude chap-book immortal. The relation of Mr. Colton and Miss Randolph to their text was essentially different. They had before them, in the story by Somerset Maugham, a work quite brief and not, in itself, first rate. But the work of a master. The master I mean is not, of course, the author of a series of more or less shallow plays and excepting of course Our Betters and The Circle but the author . . .

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