Art and Craft of Play Production

Art and Craft of Play Production

Art and Craft of Play Production

Art and Craft of Play Production

Excerpt

The art of play production in its long and by no means always honorable history has suffered many vicissitudes. It has suffered the blights of economic depression, of pestilence, and of war. When the Roman Empire fell before the rising tide of Christianity, play production, tainted with the corruption of decadent Roman society, fell with it. For hundreds of years the art of play production was apparently dead, and then miraculously it was reborn in the heart of the Roman Catholic Church itself, flourished, and grew into new greatness. Apparently it fulfills some universal human need, too great to go long unsatisfied.

Today in the United States the moving pictures have driven professional play production to the shelter of a few large cities, but this does not mean that the art is dead, or even that it is dying. On the contrary, it flourishes in amateur theatres throughout the length and breadth of the land. School theatres, church theatres, community theatres, and college and university theatres produce thousands of plays every year. In them the art of play production is very much alive.

The professional theatre worker may ask, "What have amateurs to do with the art of play production?" True, if one judges play production in the amateur theatre by any absolute standard, one must call much of it bad. The same may be said, however, of the professional theatre. As a matter of fact, the amateur sometimes brings freshness and simplicity to the art, virtues which are rare in the professional theatre. On the other hand, it is undeniable that he is almost always weak in the techniques of the art, particularly in the technique of acting. Some amateur faults are due to lack of time, energy, and experience, and so for the most part must be tolerated, but many are due to an imperfect understanding of the nature of the art.

An imperfect understanding of the nature and fundamental . . .

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