a book about the theater

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: n THE LIMITATIONS OF THE STAGE THE LIMITATIONS OF THE STAGE I Few competent critics would dispute the assertion that the drama, if not actually the noblest of the arts, is at all events the most comprehensive, since it can invoke the aid of all the others without impairing its own individuality or surrendering its right to be considered the senior partner in any alliance it may make. Poetry, oratory, and music, painting, sculpture, and architecture, these the drama can take into its service, with no danger to its own control. Yet even if the drama may have the widest range of any of the arts, none the less are its boundaries clearly defined. What it can do, it does with a sharpness of effect and with a cogency of appeal no other art can rival. But there are many things it cannot do; and there are not a few things that it can attempt only at its peril. Some of these impossibilities and inexpediencies are psychologic subtleties of character and of sentiment too delicate and too minute for the magnifying lens of the theater itself; and some of them are physical, too large in themselves to be compressed into the rigid area of the stage. In advance of actual experiment, it is not always possible for even the most experienced of theatrical experts to decide the question with certainty. Moreover, there is always the audience to be reckoned with, and even old stagers like Henry Irving and Victorien Sardou cannot foresee the way in which the many-headed monster will take what is set before it. When Percy Fitzgerald and W. G. Wills were preparing an adaptation of the 'Flying Dutchman' for Henry Irving, the actor made a suggestion which the authors immediately adopted. The romantic legend has for its hero a sea-captain condemned to eternal life until he can find a maiden willing to...
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