Dramatic Technique

Dramatic Technique

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Dramatic Technique

Dramatic Technique

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Excerpt

"The dramatist is born, not made." This common saying grants the dramatist at least one experience of other artists, namely, birth, but seeks to deny him the instruction in art granted the architect, the painter, the sculptor, and the musician. Play-readers and producers, however, seem not so sure of this distinction, for they are often heard saying: "The plays we receive divide into two classes: those competently written, but trite in subject and treatment; those in some way fresh and interesting, but so badly written that they cannot be produced." Some years ago, Mr. Savage, the manager, writing in The Bookman on "The United States of Playwrights," said: "In answer to the question, 'Do the great majority of these persons know anything at all of even the fundamentals of dramatic constructio?' the managers and agents who read the manuscripts unanimously agree in the negative. Only in rare instances does a play arrive in the daily mails that carries within it a vestige of the knowledge of the science of drama-making. Almost all the plays, furthermore, are extremely artificial and utterly devoid of the quality known as human interest." All this testimony of managers and play-readers shows that there is something which the dramatist has not as a birthright, but must learn. Where? Usually he is told, "In the School of Hard Experience." When the young playwright whose manuscript has been returned to him but with favorable comment, asks what he is to do to get rid of the faults in his work, both evident to him and not evident, he is told to read widely in the drama; to watch plays of all kinds; to write with endless patience and the resolution never to be discouraged.

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