Theatre, the Rediscovery of Style

By Michel Saint-Denis | Go to book overview

THE CLASSICAL
FRENCH TRADITION
CONTRADICTIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN . Knowing the names of the poets, the scholars, and of the men of the theatre who have spoken here before me, I realise the great honour you have paid me in inviting me to speak for the first time in Harvard in memory of a man whom you cherish for all that he did for letters, the arts, and the theatre of your country.

I shall try to tell you simply of my experience in the theatre. Next year I shall have been in the theatre for forty years. I began in 1919, just after the First World War; I've only been interrupted once in that work, and that was by the Second World War. I mention the two wars because they have been of great importance to me: in tragic circumstances, they have connected me with other men. It is thanks to these wars, perhaps, that I have avoided being confined to the world of the theatre, the atmosphere of which is sometimes rarefied and artificial.

If I have partly escaped the theatre, I am glad also that I have partly escaped my French nationality. I know that that is a dangerous attitude to take . . . I've spent twenty years of my life, the best years of my maturity, living in England and working with the English theatre. What I probably mean is that I feel in

-17-

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Theatre, the Rediscovery of Style
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Plates 8
  • Introduction 9
  • Preface 13
  • Part One the Classical Theatre 15
  • The Classical French Tradition Contradictions and Contributions 17
  • Part Two Classical Theatre and Modern Realism 35
  • Style and Reality 37
  • Style and Stylisation 55
  • Style in Acting Directing and Designing 72
  • Training for the Theatre - The Old Vic School 90
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