« PrejšnjaNaprej »
palace from which the pearl has been stolen.
Mrs. Carrington: You still have Jim and the boys, Marcia.
Marcia: And Jim and I are apart. The last thread that held us in any sort of nearness is snapped. He says nothing; but he blames me. How could he help it? How can I ever cease blaming myself? In the old days he would envy me my right to bathe and dress and visit with the little creatures. He envied me my right to hear at first hand the quaint sayings I would recount for him at night. If we could only weep our hearts out together over our grief! But we can't. The touch of my arms would stifle him. Why could not the ice in my heart have melted years ago? Why did it ever congeal?
Mrs. Carrington: You are tired. dear, and overwrought. Let me get you something.
Marcia: No, no, I must tell you now. Tomorrow conventional reticence will seal my lips, feminine loyalty hold me silent. Because of one hard, mean, trivial, tremendous misunderstanding we pulled farther and farther apart. And each time the coming back was harder, the barrier less surmountable, the breech more easily resumed. And all because of what? Do you know, Julia? Do you know, I say? Does your heart sing about your work? you listen eagerly to the children's prattle? Do you leave your work gladly to place a cloth and a kiss on the cut finger? Do you pick up their strewn toys as though it were a blessed privilege, even when your back aches and your knees throb? Do you do it? Or is it work, every bit of it? Happiness! What is it to be a married woman? Maybe it is a new linoleum for the kitchen floor.
Maybe it is a new dress which she can buy by saving and not by wheedling her husband or apologizing to him with the assurance that it will do for several seasons.
Mrs. Carrington: But surely you had your allowance? Every woman demands it for herself nowadays.
Marcia: Does she, Julia, does she really? Or does she charge everything at the store, while her husband pays cash? Do you suppose a clerk gets no line on domestic relations from such revelations? And it isn't
only the poor and the middle class who do such things. You know the Harcourts and their wealth. Our instructions, at the office are to present the bill in person at noon when the head of the house is home eating his luncheon. Of course, his wife has her regular allowance but her husband waves goodby humorously to the bill he gives her with which to pay us. She forgets to return the change, as I did; but she doesn't prefer to do business that way.
And for that, for the privilege of spending lavishly and making his wife a pensioner of his bounty, he sacrificed the great gift of his love and hers. For that, they missed the fine ecstasy! I was with Adeline when Tom sold his wheat. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars, he received. She had been scrimping along, waiting for the event. She had just told me that she was waiting for him to close the deal so she could buy winter clothing for the children. He came while we were talking. Do you know how much he handed her? Fifty cents. And do you know what she gave him? A look that said, "I hate you, I detest you." She didn't hate him, she only hated the meanness in him and he despised her because he had wronged her. He might have loved her as he did his prize colt. if he had dealt open-handedly with
her, spent on her generously, joyously as he did on his prize colt.
Who are the happy couples now, Julia? You know them as well as I do. They are the women who lean on their husband's shoulders, who invite their caresses. They are the men who gaze at their wives with the pride of having chosen one so charming, so altogether delightful. They are the couples who share in all things. And it isn't the amount they share, it is the fact that great or small, it is shared. It is never the size of her husband's income that troubles a woman, it is the fact that he insists on spending nine-tenths of it.
Mrs. Carrington: But why doesn't she tell him, Marcia?
Marcia: Yes, why doesn't she? Is it because she is too proud or because she begins wrong and then keeps hoping that some day he will see the injustice of it? I always meant to say, "No, let us do differently." But instead I merely surrendered one dream after another. Then I ceased to dream. And then the joy and enthusiasm went out of life along with the dreams. Where was the use of dreaming of little joys for me and the children when every wish had to be submitted to Jim who felt that his one prerogative was to place an embargo on every desire or necessity? Soon I was back with Hope, Stanrod, clerking in my old place. They considered me worth a hundred dollars a month. My husband had not felt that I could be trusted to spend my share of his seventy-five. It was exhilerating to get back my self-respect, to be financially independent. The new joy came back into my life when I could look ahead and say. "This month I can buy Charlie a new suit, brown to match his curls. I can also get new rugs and a chair for the living-room. Next month the front porch shall be made at
tractive and restful, for whom? For the maid, seven days in the week, for me on one tired afternoon and Sunday."
Mrs. Carrington: You shan't blame yourself, Marcia. You did what any woman of spirit would have done. A woman should return to her profession when the children are old enough that she can leave them. I know just how you felt. Blythe's tragedy might have occurred anyway.
Marcia: Might yes, but this is the tragedy that did occur. I hadn't figured on the precise effect it would have on Jim. I thought when he found that Hope, Stanrod estimated me so highly his respect for me would return, that we might be good fellows together. fellows together. Instead we were soon pitted against each other, scheming to see which could first dispose of his salary and dodge paying the household expenses. If I paid them all where was the use of working away from the home? Hope would have been cut off as before. If I suggested that Jim take the children to a picture show, intimating that I was too tired to go, Jim would get ready with alacrity. If, after a while I changed my mind, as I thought of the long evening alone, and decided to go also, Jim became listless, even sarcastic. He begrudged paying my way into the ten cent show. Had you counted on that, Julia? Had you thought it would be possible? And it was the same Jim who bought railroad tickets and dress circle seats for the season of Grand Opera at Carrollton, before we were married, and begged me to get a vacation from the store so I could be with him. Dollars and dollars he spent on me then. Now, ten cents is too much. I could see that it wouldn't do. I meant to give up my position at the store and draw Jim out of the selfish
queens and we have not adjusted ourselves. Why don't you tell us? Why can't we see that we are bartering the priceles treasure of your love for the petty tyranny we used to enjoy?
(There is a ring of the doorbell and Mrs. Carrington answers the door. Hattie, the maid, comes in. There is a constrained silence between the group. A cry from the next room for a "Drink tup me," breaks the silence. Hattie brightens joyously.)
Hattie: It is Todkins, the darling. Let me take it to him.
Mrs. Carrington: No, no, I couldn't, not tonight, Hattie. He might say something I would miss. He looks so helpless and dependent sitting there with his eyes closed, former room, Hattie, I cannot send drinking so eagerly. Go to your so late. But we have changed our minds. It doesn't make
me tired to wait on the children. It is all joy, joy. Too soon they will grow away from me and never need me again. I cannot spare a precious minute with them now.
(The baby calls again and Mrs. Carrington goes toward the sound. Hattie stands for a minute puzzled, then goes toward another room. Carrington takes his wife in his arms as she comes back. He buries his face in her hair and a sob escapes him. She clings to him convulsively.)
Mrs. Carrington: Suppose it were little Miriam!
Mr. Carrington: Helpless and dependent, clinging to you. That is what you love in Todkins, dear. That is what we men once loved in you. We haven't got used to the splendid, help-meet, the tower of womanliness that now stands beside us. You must teach us, your Jims and Georges, blundering boys beside you, teach us and save us from spoiling our lives and yours.
By Maud May Babcock
III. THE REHEARSAL
Our organization is complete, the director has selected the play, now for the real work and enjoyment, First how shall we cast our play and get our actors? The heart aches and jealousies are lessened-oh for some way to eliminate them by the try out method. This way will bring out more unknown talent and give every body an opportunity who has a desire to act. It eliminates the persistent person who is always on hand and who imagines he or she can act, or the one who is ready and anxious to volunteer but never shows up at rehearsals and others who make the life of an amateur director miserable. Give plenty of notice of the reading of the play and urge all who are interested to come; make a point of seeing personally or calling on the phone people who you know have talent or need developing. The director should read the play as he or she will know best the type of characters and has the most accurate conception of the play he desires to create in the imagination of the actors to be. After the reading of the play is over give copies of the play to those interested, announcing the act or scene which will be used for try outs. Always select a scene which takes in all of the characters, if possible, and one which gives the actors the best opportunity in the play. The Candidates should only be allowed to take the book of the play one day in order to copy their parts. If you can afford it or some member of the Mutual will do it, have made ten to
twenty carbon copies of each part for the try-out act. This will be much more convenient and preclude the chance of losing the copy, and at the same time give everyone a part so there will be no excuse for anyone's not learning his part. These copies should be made for each character with the last two or three words of the "Cue" speech with the complete speeches of the character to be played.
Select the leaders among your prospective actors and make them try-out directors responsible for one cast. The casts can be either made up from persons who desire to work together or put together as the names are handed in. Ten days is sufficient for learning parts and cast practice, after which the try-out should be called and places and time set for casts at the try out. Have your committee of judges, with the director as chairman. Although the judges will help the director very much to see the actors from a laypoint of view, which is the point of view of the audience, yet no actor should be forced on the director. The director may see no possibility of progression in certain persons. Previous knowledge and experience with the try-out actors may help very much in making a decision. Some people show up very well indeed in a try out, but are like a flash in a pan, the fire is soon dead; or they will not grow, or are lazy, etc. We cannot tell you how and whom to select, so with these very general suggestions the final word must rest with the judges.
It is wise to select a first and sec
ond cast so as to have an understudy if anything happens to your actors. The business manager and director should have already decided on the date of the performance-which should be three to four weeks ahead in case of a one act play and six weeks to prepare a long play. Never begin to rehearse an indefinite time ahead. You will not be able to get good work from your actors and everyone will lose interest. The business manager sees to it that all dates and arrangements for the hall, etc., are made to conform with the plans of the director.
At the first call for rehearsal-all actors must be there, and the time should be so arranged that no one will have an excuse. If the actors are not there, the next ones in the part at the try-outs should be given the place. A little definitness and decision at the first will save a good deal of worry later on. At the first rehearsal, the regular days and hours for rehearsals should be set after thorough discussion, at such times when everybody is at liberty to come. If the actors are in school, a daily rehearsal from four to six, and one from nine to one on Saturdays will be excellent as it will not keep these young people out at night. If your actors work during the day, fix three nights from as early as seven to nine-thirty. Two hours and a half is as long as a rehearsal ought to be made to be profitable at first. After the rehearsal times are decided, no engagements must be made by any actor for the times designated. Nothing but sickness and death must be allowed to interfere with attendance at rehearsals. The director should see that the places of rehearsal are opened, lighted, and warmed.
If an actor fails to come to a rehearsal, and has no good excuse, he should be named and for a second of
fense should be dropped from the cast and a person from the second cast put in the place. This may seem dictatorial and autocratic but it is the only way to save trouble, and worry. poor preparation, waste of time, and a bad performance. On the other hand if all are on time, and work hard during the rehearsals-the company becomes like a large family, happy, contented, finding joy in the companionship, and fun in the amusing things which are bound to happen in producing any play.
The first week of rehearsal, the play must be carefully read; reading lines to get the meaning settled, characters blocked out. The director must get clear in the mind of the actor the kind of man or woman he or she is to portray, so the character may be sensed and visualized by the actor. Make-up and costume may be suggested by the director to make the characters clearer in the minds of the actors. This is most important, for the first thing necessary to act is to be able to conceive character. The second week should be spent in "placing," that means all the business of the actor learned, furniture set and properties put in position. The amateur will do well to imitate the professional who learns lines with business. For instance the actor says, "I will stay here," and repeats out loud the business accompanying the line which we will suppose to be, "Sit R. of Table, take up letter read slowly to self," etc. From the first, things that will do for props must be used and handled, and no piece of "business" hurried over. If you have not the exact thing, the action must be realistically imagined and gone through in pantomine. The only thing to make our movements on the stage natural, in harmony with our character is to repeat them until we are unconscious of our