Winterset: A Play in Three Acts

Winterset: A Play in Three Acts

Winterset: A Play in Three Acts

Winterset: A Play in Three Acts

Excerpt

Experiment in the theatre is made difficult and expensive by the fact that a play must find an audience at once or have no chance of finding one later. There is no instance in the theatre of a writer who left behind him a body of unappreciated work which slowly found its public, as, for example, the work of Shelley and Keats found a belated public after they had left the scene. It follows that the playwright must pluck from the air about him a fable which will be of immediate interest to his time and hour, and relate it in a fashion acceptable to his neighbors. That is the job for which he is paid. But he will also try to make that fable coincide with something in himself that he wants to put in words. A certain cleverness in striking a compromise between the world about him and the world within has characterized the work of the greatest as well as the least of successful playwrights, for they must all take an audience with them if they are to continue to function. Some may consider it blasphemy to state that this compromise must be a considered and conscious act--will believe that the writer should look in his heart and write--but in the theatre such an attitude leaves the achievement entirely to chance, and a purely chance achievement is not an artistic one.

Yet when a writer sits down before white paper to make this necessary compromise he finds himself alone among imponderables. Nobody has ever known . . .

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