Maude Adams: An Intimate Portrait

By Phyllis Robbins | Go to book overview

Chapter Nineteen

PERHAPS the best interpretation of Maude's work at Stephens and her place in the college community appeared in Theatre Arts, August, 1954, in an article by Miss Louise Dudley, Head of the Division of Humanities at Stephens College. Entitled "Notes on the Dramatic Theory of Maude Adams", it gives the impressions of an on-looker who was closely connected with Maude's work at the college. Miss Dudley writes:

When Maude Adams came to Stephens College in the fall of 1937 to head the work in dramatics, I was one of the small group chosen to meet her in St. Louis. As we drove back to Columbia in the clear October sunshine she began to talk about her plans. She was always more interested in what she was to do tomorrow than in what she had done yesterday. These plans were adjusted as she met the actual situations of the classroom. . . . They were working plans, blueprints for a college department of drama.

Miss Adams felt that the theatre is not just a place for entertainment. Nor is the actor a mere craftsman who carries out the wishes of the director. The actor is an artist, and is himself responsible for what he says and does and for the emotions he portrays. She said: "No actor wants to teach people to laugh at those things that should not be laughed at, to interest them in things that should not be seen on the stage, or to deride the values that he himself holds dear."

To Miss Adams the theatre was the chief of the arts because of the immediacy and universality of its appeal. Everyone likes it and everyone understands it. She was not interested in training actors. She wanted to train intelligent audiences. They should

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Maude Adams: An Intimate Portrait
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Chapter One 3
  • Chapter Two 21
  • Chapter Three 40
  • Chapter Four 58
  • Chapter Five 75
  • Chapter Six 89
  • Chapter Seven 110
  • Chapter Eight 124
  • Chapter Nine 140
  • Chapter Ten 155
  • Chapter Eleven 165
  • Chapter Twelve 174
  • Chapter Thirteen 186
  • Chapter Fourteen 201
  • Chapter Fifteen 213
  • Chapter Sixteen 232
  • Chapter Seventeen 247
  • Chapter Eighteen 257
  • Chapter Nineteen 263
  • Chapter Twenty 284
  • Appendix 292
  • Index 299
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