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A HISTORICAL STUDY OP THE LITTLE THEATRE MOVEMENT IH THE CITY OP SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the School of Education The University of Southern California In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science in Education by Raymond Mulford Mason August 1941 UMI Number: EP54260 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. Dissertation PVbiisMng UMI EP54260 Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code ProQuesf ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106- 1346 Gtst 4*n T h is thesis, w r it t e n u n d e r the d ir e c t io n o f the C h a ir m a n o f the candidate'fs G u id a n c e C o m m itte e a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l m em bers o f the C o m m itte e , has been p resen ted to a n d accepted by the F a c u lt y o f the S c h o o l o f E d u c a t io n in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t o f the re q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f M a s t e r o f Science in E d u c a tio n . , .. 7 1941 Guidance Com m ittee M ..__M. Thompson C hairm an Cloyde D. Dalzell Irving R. Melho ,tTABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. - PACE THE PROBLEM .AH) RELATED INVESTIGATIONS........ The p r o b l e m ............. 1 1 Statement of the problem . . . . . . . . . . 1 Importance of the s t u d y ................... 1 Investigations in regard to this survey * . * . 2 Related investigations . . . . . . . . . . . Scope of the investigation Data and method of procedure Data and method of procedure Organization of the thesis II. GENERAL BACKGROUND • 4 . . . . . . . . . 5 ......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................. The name: Little Theatre Definition 2 .......... . . . . . . ........ . . . . . . . . . . . The name misapplied 6 7 7 7 7 The Little Theatre idea . . . • • • • . • • • • The essentials 8 8 Leisure and labor . . . . . theatre for audience ... 8 .............. 11 History of the Little Theatre Europe 5 ............. 12 12 Differences between European and American . • 13 Origin of the American Little Theatre . . . . 14 After the Irish Players 17 iii CHAPTER PAGE After the Irish Players Opposition III. ..... THE YORICK PLAYERS . . . . . . . . . . 16 ................... 17 ...................... 19 19 The beginning................... O rganiz a t i o n......... 19 The housing................. 20 Original plays 24 ......................... Appreciation.......... 24 An open air performance . . . . « • • • • • 26 Difficulties 28 ......................... A move ......... 28 Aid to d r a m a ........................... 30 A new l o c a t i o n ......................... 32 ......................... 34 Hew troubles A permanent h o m e ............... A true home 35 ................. The w o r k ............. 35 35 Yorick passes • • • • . • • . . . ........ 37 Change of n a m e .......................... 37 A contest............................... 38 Best performances 38 Active members Readings ........ ......................... 39 ............................. 39 Change/of Director.• • ................. 40 iv CHAPTER - PAGE S u m m a r y ................................. IY. THE BARE PLAYERS .................... Pounding of the Barn players................ The founding ■ The plan .................. -.43 43 43 ............................. 44 The Town C l u b ........................... 44 The n a m e ................................. 46 Rebuilding................... 46 .................. Membership . . . . . . . The first production ..... The summer of 1934 * •• The 48 ......... 48 ............... 50 idea of the B a r n ..................... 50 failures ............................. 51 S u c c e s s e s ........................... 51 Difficulties encountered .................. 51 An a p p e a l ................................ 52 Breaking u p ............................. 54 A revival attempted 55 Summary Y. THE GLOBE The 42 ...................... ............................... 55 T H E A T R E ............................ 56 Old Globe ............................ 56 The first s t e p ............................. 56 History of the Old Globe 59 The Globw Theatre today ..................... 60 Theatre f i n a n c e ........................... 60 V CHAPTER .PAGE Properties............... 61 Membership............... 61 The Workshop Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Educational*' Extension' ................... 63 Children1s Theatre ....................... 63 The repertoire . ............... 63 Original plays . . • .......... * ......... 65 Difficulties .................... 65 Other uses of the T h e a t r e ................ 66 Future of the G-lobe T h e a t r e ........... 66 Summary . • • . . . » • « • .................. 68 YI. THE C O N C L U S I O N S ............................. 69 The s u m m a r y ............................... 69 The o u t c o m e ............................. 69 Basis of Little Theatre t r o u b l e .......... 70 Impediments of the little Theatre ........ 71 Correlation of the a r t s .................. 72 Future ................................. 73 B I B L I O G R A P H Y..................................... 74 A P P E N D I X ......................................... 78 LIST OP TABLES TABLE PAGE I. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1919-20 21 II. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1920-21 23 III. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1921-22 25. IV. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1922-23 27 V. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1923-24 29 VI. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1924-25 31 VII. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1925-26 33 VIII. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1926-27 36 IX. The Yorick Players Season of Plays 1927-28 41 X. The Barn Players Season of Plays 1933-34 45 XI. The B a m Players Season of Plays 1934-35 47 XII. The B a m Players Season of Plays 1935-36 49 XIII. The B a m Players Season of Plays 1936-37 53 XIV. The Globe TheatreTs Season of 1937-38 58 XV. The Globe Theatrers Season 1938-39 62 XVI. The Globe Theatre’s Season 1939-40 64 XVII. The Globe Theatre’s Season 1940-41 67 CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM AID RELATED INVEST IG-ATIOHS The true theater of America must be created by the people themselves* Their demand will create the supply* The theater must be an integral part of the life of the community. Eva Le G-allienne 1. THE PROBLEM Statement of the problem* It was the purpose of this study to review the historical development of the Little Theatre movement in the city of San Diego, California. In other words, the purpose of this study was to answer the fol lowing questions: (1) What is the general background of the Little Theatre both in America and Europe? (2) When and un der what circumstances did the first Little Theatre begin in San Diego? (3) What was the result of the organization of the second Little Theatre group of San Diego? (4) What was the final outcome of the various Little Theatre activities in San Diego? Importance of the study. The true progress of drama tic art in America is coming in the amateur and semi-profes sional theatres and dramatic societies which have sprung up in the last few years to satisfy a longing which the profes sional playhouse entirely overlooks, as a protest against the commercialization of the regular theatre. These theatres and societies have advanced far beyond the professional play houses because their ideal lies in the realm of dramatic art rather than of commercial success, and their methods are ex perimental. The value of a permanent place for community drama tics is high. Many high school and college students receive a start in community theatre activities while in school, but have no place in which to carry on after they return home or graduate. The little Theatre of San Diego fills a very defi nite cultural need, in the community. Educational classes in voice and diction, dramatic technique, and drama history are provided for the Active Working Members through an affiliation with the State Adult Educational Department. Teachers, workers and group leaders everywhere report- ■ the keen interest of young people, who are coming for the first time into contact with the living theatre. II. INVESTIGATIOKS IK REGARD TO THIS STUDY Related investigations. The investigations previously made which are related to this subject are few. There are short articles, pertaining to the subject, found in the two periodicals, "Theatre Arts Monthly" and "Drama," based on both experiment and. experience. 3 The Little Theatre in relation to the problem of the use of leisure time was discussed at some length by Percy Mackaye He concluded the qualifications of a Little Theatre to be: ”Pirst, absolute independence from commercial competi tion, through adequate endowment; second, highest technical standards compulsive of artistic competition, under the leader ship of experts; third, policies dedicated to public service under such leadership.” In this same book the author cites Gordoh Craig1s opin ion of the Little Theatre as intrinsically a ritual of the people; he does so, as an artist of the theatre, by reconstruct ing from tradition and imagination its large impersonal aspects in relation to an audience convened by an instinct essentially religious in its demand for art. Ifir. Percival Chubb describes the manifestations which directly point (although he -does not say so) to the art of the theatre as the only authentic form for that ritual; and he does so, as a civic leader outside of the theatre, who recognises the need of large impersonal forms, reconstructed from tradi tion and imagination, in order to give adequate expression to the fact of our peopleTs religious instinct for art. Thus, forces both within and without attest the need for Percy Mackaye, The Civic Theatre In Relation to the Redemption of Leisure. (Hew York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1912), pi 2o. the Little Theatre* In the foreword to "Curtains Going Up,” G-ilmor Brown says of the Little Theatre, ,!This is American Theatre.” He goes on to give a picture of the development of the Little Theatre throughout America. The greatest numbers of theatres were started in the years 1933-1935. In these years of de pression people had more leisure and so turned within them selves for pleasure. Gilmor Brown also says that the Little Theatre is closer to the people than any professional theatre can be and, therefore, at its best it presents a truer and more fun damental reflection of American life and thought. "The primary object of the Little Theatre is always wrapped up in that of the art theatre" is the conclusion reached by Prank Shay. The author goes farther to say the entire body of dramatic leterature would have been enormously beggared by the non-emergence in the Little Theatre of such front rank writers as Strindberg, Schnitzler, Lunsany, and Brighouse• Scope of the investigation. 2 Plays. In scope the Little Thea- Bernard Sobel, The Theatre Handbook and Digest of (Hew York: Crown Publishers, 1940), "p.’169-171* ^ Prank Shay, The Plays and Books of the Little Theatre. (New York: The Theatre GrafIs Exchange, 19^9) , p. 11* 5 tre differs from that of the established theatre. The Little Theatre ideal, involving as it does the whole recreative art of the community, involves the sociological as well as the aesthetic aspects of recreation. Theatrical by-products of the community do not come within the purview of this investigation, lach year large numbers of plays, minstrel shows, revues, burlesques, masques and pageants are put on by lodges, Sunday schools, men's and women's clubs, parent-teacher associations and many other or ganizations. Such productions yield entertainment to those immediately concerned, and, while a survey of them if carried over a sufficient period of time might disclose something of significance regarding general standards, no such attempt has been made in this inquiry. III. DATA AND METHOD Op PROCEDURE Data and method of procedure. The greater part of the data used for this investigation came from first hand informa tion principally interviews. The many interviews revealed a certain amount of haziness regarding dates, but these were quickly checked and verified by existing newspaper files. The essential parts of the Little Theatre movement in San Diego were outlined by the newspaper files, but the exist ing problems during a period were gathered from the individuals 6 who participated in the movement. After several interviews, it became apparent to the investigator that this study was divided into three distinct periods--The Yorick Players, The Barn Players, and the G-lobe Theatre. Organization of the thesis. The second chapter will deal with the general background of the Little Theatre in its entirety--the definition of the term, "Little Theatre,” the history of the movement, the opposition to the Little Theatre in the beginning, and the gradual acceptance of this movement. The third chapter is devoted to the organization of the first Little Theatre group to begin in San Diego with- the many difficulties which were encountered in regard to the housing, the casting, the finance, and the collapse. The fourth chapter tells the story of the second Little Theatre group started in the San Diego community with the varA ious barriers it came up against. The fifth chapter relates the history of the ultimate success of the Little Theatre movement in San Diego, however, there are still a great many problems to be met and solved for the continuance of a true Little Theatre in San Diego. The sixth and final chapter of this study presents the summary and conclusions. CHAPTER II GENERAL BACKGROUND OE STUDY I. THE NAME: LITTLE THEATRE In the preceding chapter the problem of this study was stated. A brief review of the literature related to the sub ject of the Little Theatre was given. Finally, the organiza tion of the entire investigation, was outlined by chapters. Definition. Percy MackayeTs definition of the Little Theatre, “There is participation; there is creative expres sion; there is neighborly ritual•" has become the understood slogan of the various Little Theatre groups. Arthur Perry uses the term “'Little Theatre11 to apply broadly to bodies which engage, more or less regularly, in dramatic production and which are animated by intrinsic enjoy ment rather than by monetary gain. The investigator uses Percy Mackayers more definite thought throughout this study. The name misapplied. In the past years “Little Theatre" has been used indiscriminately to designate any piece of com munity dramatics. This use is indeed unfortunate since this kind of production, while there are undoubtedly exceptions, will fail in at least one of the requisites demanded by the definition accepted above. 8 II. THE LITTLE THEATRE ILEA The essentials♦ The Little Theatre idea, as a distinc tive issue, implies the conscious awakening of a people to self-government in the activities of its leisure. To this end, organization of the arts of the theatre, participation by the people in these arts (not mere spectatorship), a new resulting technique, leadership by means of a permanent staff of artists (not merchants of art), the elimination of private profit by endowment, and public support dedicated in service to the whole community, these are chief among its essentials, and these imply a new and. nobler scope for the art of the thea tre itself. Leisure and labor. To the average man, the arts are concerned only; with leisure; the daily vocations of men with labor. Until recently our people, through public opinion or government, have never recognized the occupations of their leisure as related to labor; nor the vocation of their labor as related to recreation. In the vocations of modern industry the differences between joy an;d‘labor have become too absolute to reconcile. Therefore the increasing cry and the protest arise for short er hours of industrial labor; but to wrhat end? The answer of the foresighted is: art— the recreative occupation of leisure. For by art, free from industrialism, labor is again reconciled 9 with joy. The reorganization of leisure thus becomes of tremen dous importance--the real goal of all the vast strivings of our age, in which countless millions are battling desperate ly, often blindly, to emancipate the deepest instinct of humanity— the need for happiness. This reorganization of leisure is the aim of the Little Theatre; its means is the correlation of the arts of leisure under the leadership of the art--fundamental and foremost to that end— the dramatic.^* Whatever the future may hold for this amateur, local theatre, the present is undeniably important from two differ ent points of view--the aesthetic and the social. The social angle may be put with a fair amount of breity. It deals with two facts. the modern American lives. One has to do with the way The other has to do with the pe culiar nature of amateur theatres. With the advent of the machine men fotuid themselves with shorter working hours and as a result more time for lei sure occupations. Kenneth Macgowan-' admits that the masses as a whole are not as yet embarrassed by any great surplus of leisure. But he adds that a considerable portion of society has discovered a great many idle hours. Sociologists, philosophers and edu cators have taken this topic of leisure for discussions and 4 Clarence Arthur Perry, The Work of the Little Theatre (Lew York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1"9T3T, 2£Tpp. 10 reports. The author sums his thoughts together by saying with 6 Romain Holland: It is a question of life and death for art and for the people. If art is not opened to the people, it is doomed to disappear; and if the people do not discover the pathway of art, humanity abdicates its destinies. The Little Theatre movement is one of the most unusual, too, for it means that Mr. or Mrs. Busy-During-the-Day-America, at night steps into the theatre and engages in active play pro duction as producer, actor, scene shifter, electrician, prop boy, scene and costume designer, and box office manager; not because he wishes to make money and commercialize the stage, but because he loves the theatre and has found a new outlet for his leisure time activities. Today this Little Theatre movement means that a new type of theatre has come into being; as a non-profit making, non-professional, educational, social, and recreational theatre. It may rightly be said to be the Theatre of Democracy, for it is a Theatre of the people, by the people and for the people. It represents the coBperative effort in every community of the people of that community, a cross section of the entire town: bricklayers and carpenters, stenographers and dowagers, doctors and debutantes, all drawn together by a common interest. 7 5 Ibid, p. 5. ^ Ibid, p. 6. 11 Theatre for audience. This study is not written to prove how large a part the little Theatre should take in the •\ utilization of leisure. That part is assumed and taken for granted. Amateur acting has plenty of short-comings. The ama teur actor has little of the instinct and none of the train ing by which a Broadway player makes points with a minimum of effort. However, the amateur has other qualities which at times seem more valuable. .They are not education and intelli gence; these things merely make it easier for him to work with less technical means. H.T. Parker says of the amateur: 8 Time and again amateurs attain simplicity because they do not suspect intricacy, and truth because they see it and embody it in their acting with veils of habit, method of precedent. Given histrionic instinct, aptitude, and observation, they act with ease, freedom, and variety, and with full self- surrender to their parts. If the means are not the professional means, they do their office, which is to bring the personages to life in the terms of the play. Acting for themselves in their own way, they are not weighed down with selfconsciousness, traditions, or imitation. The little Theatre appeals to a peculiarly responsive and intelligent audience. By virtue of its air of intimacy, it seeks to bring the actor and the auditor into rapport. is especially true of the Little Theatre that the audience meets the actors halfway. The question arises, then, what 7 Bernard Sobel, The Theatre Handbook And Digest of Plays. (Hew York: Crown Publishers, 1940), p.~TF9. ^ Ibid, p. 18. It 12 sort of play shall the .Idttle Theatre of today and tomorrow specialize in, if at all? There is, of course, the precious piece, the typically ”art thing,” there is the play of search ing realism, and there is also the typical commercial, mechani cal play. Independent groups are economically dependent upon au diences. Prom the outset the little Theatre must cater to them since their main support is the box-office. They may se cure a working fund from membership fees, but any outlays made from this fund must eventually be replaced by earned income. Sometimes productions are financed through subscription obtain ed from friends, but these are in reality only an advance sale of tickets. Even a benefactor must be won by their actual work, or some promise of achievement which the group shows. Thus the relationship between an independent group and its audience is in a higher degree truly reciprocal. III. Europe. HISTORY OP THE LITTLE THEATRE The worldfs first community theatre is the Oberammergan or Passion Play in the little Bavarian village which has produced this play for three hundred years with scarcely no intermission. The players are supplied from the surrounding community and the play is presented every ten years. However, other plays are presented every summer to keep the players from becoming stale. 13 In more m o d e m times, there is the father of all Lit tle Theatres, AndreT Antoine, leaving his desk in the Paris Gas Company to open the Theatre-Libre in 1887* In 1897 the Moscow Art Theatre was emerging from-Stan islavsky’s group of amateur actors, the Society of Art and Literature, and from Dantehenko’s dramatic .school in the Phil harmonic Society. In Germany in 1902 Max Reinhardt graduated from a kind of amateur cabaret to open the Kleene’s Theatre. In Dublin there were the Irish Players, and Synge and Yeats and Lady Gregory. In London at the Independent Theatre a series of matinees were given of the plays of Bernard Shaw; a decade later finds the London Stage Society breaking ground for Galsworthy, Somerset Maughan, Granville Barker and Arnold Bennett. Kenneth Macgowan remarks that this page of Little Theatre history should be required reading of all sneerers. Differences between European and American. The Ameri can Little Theatre and its Continental forbear differ most in their relation to playgoers and plays. They both cultivate subscription audiences--again from financial necessity--and they both give their audiences plays superior to the commer cial average. But the Little Theatre in America set itself the task of bringing nourishment to the play-starved men and women in cities, while the Little Theatre of Europe tried to bring nourishment to playwrights who were starving for an au9 dience of any sort. 14 Origin of the American Little Theatre. The history of the Little Theatre movement in .America is a history of many things. In short, the Little Theatre movement is the history of the aesthetic, the social and the economic change. Various factors have entered into it, some slowly developing, some flickering in and out. Nobody knows where amateurism began in America. The North Carolinians insist upon the Thalian association1s being the original Little Theatre in America. Macgowan would rather start with Brigham Young. While Joseph Smith was still alive in lauvoo, Illinois, the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints built a combined theatre and dance hall. These peoples had been settled less than five years in the Salt Lake region when they built a Little Theatre called "The Social Hall," organized the Deseret Dramatic Asso ciation and performed the romantic melodrama, "Don Caesar de Bazan" on January 17, 1853* In 1862 they built a modern thea tre and thus helped to spread the dramatic gospel. It was not through professionalism that the local thea tre and the newer theatre of America was to develop. When the interviewer refers to amateurs, amateur acting societies are not included. They have always been in existence and only contribute as renegade players to the Little Theatre movement. 9 They were interested in nothing more than a small Kenneth Macgowan, Liveright, 1921), 302 pp. The Theatre of Tomorrow. (Boni and 15 social audience, and they neither attracted nor held the kind of artistic rebel that would make an amateur company a piedq ’-terre for an attack on the general stage. A sort of quasi-dramatic club, however, must be exemp ted from inclusion in the above statement. of organization the first impulse cane. acting club of the settlement house. cess is not difficult to locate. exclusive. Out of this kind It was the amateur The secret of its suc It could never be socially It lay in the very lap of an audience. In the Hull House Players of Chicago the first true Little Theatre was begun in 1899 in the Jane Addams1 settlement house which blossomed out into serious activity about 1907 under the diwe rection of the late Laura Dainty Pelham. Irene and Alice ...... Lewisohn trained the young people of the Henry Street Settle ment in Hew York in festival plays in 1907t*staging spoken drama in Clinton Hall in Clinton Street in 1911 and opening the Neighborhood Playhouse on G-rand Street in 1915In 1929 the Hull House Players were working steadily, still giving plays in the auditorium of the settlement house at one fourth the commercial prices, and still presenting in the main, Shaw, Galsworthy.and other serious, social and for eign playwrights. Since 1927 the Neighborhood Playhouse has been a thing of the past. The forerunners in 1911--the Wisconsin and the Lake for est groups--need stressing because they preceded by some months the first tour of the Irish Players from the Abbey Theater, 16 Dublin. This group made the year 1912 fruitful all over the country, hut it is well to remember that the Wisconsin and the Hake forest groups were starting amateur playhouses the year before, and still more, they were devoting them to the thing the Irish Players lived for and lived by--the production of native local drama. The universities had been busy also. In 1908 the Har vard Dramatic Club had been formed to produce only original plays by Harvard men., Fredrick Koch and Alfred Arvold, in 1914? were instigating young people to write drama about their own people. Walter Wanger, now in Hollywood, was founding the Dartmouth Laboratory Theatre in Hanover, Hew Hampshire, as.a sort of town theatre intended to cooperate with the playwriting course in the college. The next year Thomas Wood Stevens --one of the finest and most modest of the Little Theatre pio neers- -opened a theatre through which the dramatic department of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh has given the country trained actors and directors. After the Irish Players.. After the visit of the Irish Players, Mrs. Lyman V/. Dale of Boston set up a Little Theatre by turning a stable on Lyme Street into the Toy Theatre. Its failure was due to moving into a larger building before enough organization has taken place. Maurice Browne opened his Little Theatre, which seated 17 ninety people, in which he gave beautiful and deft perform ances of Schnitzler and Strindberg. Finally, he did profes sionalize his actors somewhat. Numerous other little Theatre ventures too many in number fo discuss here started before the World- War dealt a staggering blow to all amateur effort. T|ie rounding out of the Little Theatre movement into the reasonably prosperous, very active, and surprisingly skillful thing it is today might have come sooner if the war had not intervened. The war killed and crippled, here in the theatre as on the battlefield. And yet, there is some ques tion whether the communities of America could have done their part in producing'an aud.ience as the amateurs produced plays if the war had not done its share to destroy the weakened tour ing system which brought Broadway plays into even the one-nqght stands. The war halted the little Theatre and delayed the com munity audiences, but it could not annihilate them as it could and. ddid' annihilate the 'Road. Opposition, little The'atres were the subject of much laughter at first. Belasco, in the Saturday Evening Post, ri diculed taking seriously Hthe mere boys and girls who combine to form community playhouses, suitcase theatres, and neighbor hood players, and who produce .......... inutile, undramatic, freakish, interlocutory compositions'miscalled plays. All of these movements are nothing more than parlor theatricals, and ought not to be regarded as anything else.” it Within five years* Mr. Belasco had given the Belasco cup for the trophy of the first National little Theatre Tour nament • George Kelly satirized them in his play, rightly named, nThe Torchbearers.” But their lights were not dimmed, and the movement grew and spread from the large cities into towns and villages throughout the nation. This chapter was written to give the reader a general background of the Little Theatre movement. The term, Little Theatre, was defined precisely and the essentials of the Lit tle Theatre idea were discussed. Finally a brief history of the Little Theatre was traced to present day activities. CHAPTER III THE YORICK PLAYERS I. THE BECIEHIHa In the foregoing chapter a general background of the Little Theatre was given with regard to the time of its ad vent into this country, the very elementary start of the move ment, the intervention of the war, and the slow change of the outlook of people in general with reference to the Little Thea tre. It is now imperative to review the specific groups in San Diego. Organisation. A theatre arts guild, for the purpose of establishing a San Diego theatre, was organized at a meeting held during the fall of 1919. The members of the organization planned to build up a company of players, playwrights and stagecrafters to put on original productions, as well as the best plays of modern dramatists. As an adjunct to the Little Theatre itself an experimen tal workshop where amateur talent could be enabled to develop in theatrical lines was opened under the direction of Turbese Lummis Fiske. This group planned to secure a room in the Sacramento building in Balboa park, which was already partially fitted up for theatrical performances from the days of the Exposition. 20 The necessary funds for carrying on the work was to he raiseed by an advance sale of season tickets to associate members of the guild. They planned to put the proceeds of their work toward a fund of §10,000 which was to repair and eguip the Sacramento building in order to preserve this building in Balboa, park. Membership tickets were five dollars a year, entitling to participation in all activities of the associa tion and admission to the performances. The executive committee, elected for this little Thea tre, obtained Edward Ewald as directory he brought profession al impetus to the undertaking. Mr* Ewald had been associated with Sarah Bernhardt, and with Norman Hackett on the stage. The fact that the work was to be directed by a professional, rather than by an amateur, gave added interest to the audience as well as to the players. The San Biego Community Theatre Association made its first bow to an audience when four one-act plays were given at the Francis Parker School, April 12, 1920* That the school auditorium was packed to capacity limit with the first offer ing of the group showed that there was sufficient interest in the community to foster such a group as well as real talent to be found and developed. The housing. After some trouble in obtaining a proper place, the stage in the Sacramento building at Balboa park had been adapted to the needs of the players. The third perform- TABLE I THE YORICK PLAYERS SEASON 1919-1920 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE Pour One-Acts The Price OP Coal Harold Brighouse Suppressed Desires Susan Glasgow The Sidi of Ben Mor Ruth Sawyer Conscience In The Clouds M. Victorien Clement Pelleas St Mfclisande Fantasy Maeterlinck Mystery Lord Duns any Fantasy Two One-Acts Tents Of The Arabs Goodness Gracious Napoleon Farce 22 ance of the groiip was given in a permanent home. They pre* sented two one-act plays which consisted of Lord L>-imsany!s fantasy "Tents of the Arabs1' and a farce, " Goodness Gracious Napoleon.” The outlook at.this time was splendid with the group having their own theatre building and equipment, enthusiastic and efficient groups all working in harmony. A degree of success, far beyond the hopes of the small group which first conceived the idea of a Little Theatre for San Diego, seemed possible. By the time the San Diego Players were ready to put on the next performance, Maurice Maeterlinck1s "Mary Magdalene,” November 18, 1921, it was necessary to leave their permanent home since there was no money to provide for heat in the build ing, and go to the Wednesday Club House instead. It was also about this time that the interest of Edward Ewald, the direc tor,..waned. Since he was engaged on a percentage basis for salary returns and the salary grew smaller and practically ceased, Prank Buckley gradually took over the direction of the group. He had had much previous -work in the Little Theatre, having been one of the founders of the Players1 Club of San Francisco, which he served a number of years as director. Members were invited to turn their talent in any direc tion, from acting to carpenter work. Those with a gift for artistic designing could help by making posters and others 23 TABLE II THE YORICK PLAYERS SEASOH 1920-1921 PLAY AUTHOR The Woman on the Wall M. Victorien Clement Mary Magdalene Maurice Maeterlinck TYPE Comedy Three OnewActs Maker of Dreams Olliphant Downs Fantasy Dust Of The- Road K.S. Goodman Christmas The Man In The Stalls Alfred Sutro Comedy Austin Adams Comedy Susan Glaspell Psychologi The Double Cross Four One-Acts Trifles cal A House of Cards Percival Wilde Tragedy Sham Frank G* Tomkins Satire Dawn Percival Wilde Fantasy 24 were invaluable in helping with stage sets# One performance (March, 1921) was held up several weeks because of the lack o of funds to build a stage# The playhouse was of a size to establish the sense of close sympathy between the players and the audience which greatly enhanced the value of the production from the artis tic point of view. Since the theatre was limited to two hun dred in seating capacity, it was always necessary to run a play three or four nights at least in order to serve all of the audience•. Original plays. The Players Club did a good deal with experimental and original plays. May 10, 1921, opened the first night!s performance of Austin Adamsfs satiric comedy, "The Double Gross.” The characters in this play were all types of what is sometimes called *ifche Smart Set,? and the set ting or background is in Coronado, California. There is ade quate "local illusion” in the play, but so far as the plot and characters were concerned, it would apply to any place where the "leisure class” foregather to while away ennui and to make merry over the follies and foibles of their friends and often times even of their acquaintances. Appreciation. Mr. Clough said of the San Diego Players, I have found in the San Diego Players* Club and its associate membership an exceptionally earnest endeavor to accomplish something really worth while in dramatic 25 TABLE IIITHE YORICK PLAYERS SEASON 1921-1922 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE WhO Knows? Austin Adams Comedy Jane Clegg St. John Irvine Comedy The Worm Austin Adams Comedy Lady•Hamilton Mrs. Norman Smith, Comedy Wife of Comdr. Smith 26 expression, I am convinced that these young people and their friends are destined to give this city an asset of art superior in value to much that has been attempted heretofore in similar direction, This conviction is baseed largely on the circumstance that the Players have crea ted what they now possess solely by their own effort, They have received nothing tangible from outside sources, and only such encouragement as came from those who know the drama, love it, and can appreciate the worth of the work that is being done by t£is group'of actors. Under the guidance and direction of Francis P. Buckley, ably assisted by Jeanette Cyr, William L. Hubbard, and Prank C. Spaulding, the acting organization has brought the In timate Theatre in Balboa Park up to the best standard of the little theatres of the United States. The versatility of the Players was exemplified in the wide range of their offerings during the years of their or ganization, exclusive of tragedy, farce and comedy in every essay of which they had merited professional criticism--an achievement always worthy of the highest effort of the best non-professional players. An open air performance. Arrangements were made with the park board for the use of the Montezuma gardens, located Just in the rear of the pansy garden in Balboa park. The site was ideal for the open air production of Stephen Phillips1 "Paolo and Francesca.11 A pergola at the west end of the gar dens formed the background of a natural stage. The lawn sloped gently away from the stage and formed an auditorium capable of seating two thousand people. On The Margin in The San Biego Union, June 25, 1921. 27 TABLE IV THE YORICK PLAYERS SEASON 1922-1923 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE Paolo and Prancesca Stephen Phillip Tragedy And Then What? William Connselman Original Satire Three Operalogues I Pagliacci and Anima Allegra Lie Toten Augen Haensel And Oretel Alice-Sit-By-The-Eire Barrie Comedy 28 ”Paolo and Prance sea" was generally reported to be the best example of Phillips1 art. It was first produced by Sir Beerbohm in London, and was later given successfully in New York. Difficulties* About this time the auditorium associa tion drew up a rate schedule for rooms in the Sacramento building. The Intimate Theatre, occuping one of the wings of the auditorium, shoiila provide a revenue, it was decided, and a tentative rate was fixed. This rate, the players contended, would mean financial ruin or the virtual abandonment of the building by the company. The rate tentatively given out for the theatre was twenty dollars a day, or thirty-five dollars for two days5 each additional day would be charged for at the rate of fifteen dollars a day. The theatre seated about two hundred persons and the revenues were slight. It was contended that the building, under the terms of the grant, was for all people, and should not be monopolized by one group, a practice which would be contrary to the policy. It was decided that the arbitration board should settle the future of the theatre in the Sacramento building. This edifice was later t o m down and at the present time the Pine Arts Gallery stands on the former site. A move. nWho Knows?” an amusing comedy written by the 29 TABLE V THE YORICK PLAYERS SEASON 1923-1924 PLAY AUTHOR Agnes Austin Adams The Boomerang Winchell Smith Victor Mapes To The Ladles Grandma1s Legs TYPE Satire Comedy Kaufman Connelly Comedy Austin Adams Comedy 30 same author as ”The Double Gross” mentioned above, was given downtown at the Spreckels Theatre since the wing in the Sac ramento building was no longer available. The money, nine hundred dollars, made from a benefit was given to Dr. Adams to finance a trip to 13ew York to see about getting his plays on Broadway. The Little Theatre had been successful in generalizing the art of the theatre, and in special instances it had sur passed the product of the professional stage because it. had attacked its problem in a spirit of love for the drama rather than with a view to the profit of the enterprises. The Little Theatre had, as a rule, substituted brains for money and co8peration for commercial organization. It had sought for and encouraged stage ability aside from the ranks of the acting profession and it had found this ability in every walk of life. The Little Theatre must have an intelligent conception of dramatic expression both in theory and practice, which requires but small training to raise it to the level of the require ments. Apart from the habitual facility of tjie actor1s rou^ . tine, characterization, impersonation and exposition are as readily adaptable to all phases of action as the best average of the professional stage. Aid to drarfta. The San Diego Players’ design was to help San Diego to procure such drama as might be desirable in addition to that which was furnished by the professional shows 31 TABLE VI THE YORICK PLAYERS SEASOU 1924-1925 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE Just Suppose A.E. Thomas Comedy Dulcy G-eorge S. Kaufman Comedy Marc Connelly A Single Man H.H. Davies Comedy Icebound Owen Davis Drama Alice In Wonderland Emma Lindsay Squier Pantasy Midsummer Right1s Dream Shakespeare Eantasy 32 that came to San Diego. ther than competitive. The players were complimentary ra They gave only that which could not be given otherwise and it was always the best. The aim was to duplicate the work of the Provincetown Players and the finished product of the Guild Theatre and other exemplars of the Little Theatre movement. Prom late in the year of nineteen hundred and twentyone until the fall of nineteen twenty-two the San Diego Play ers put on all productions downtown at the Spreckels Theatre. The active members felt a definite handicap in the use of this building since it was necessary to rehearse any place that was available and for the final productions the sets had to be taken down each night after the performance in order that the building could be used for other purposes. However as the Players enjoyed a much larger seating capacity in the Spreckels, as a rule the proceeds taken in were larger. The group was doing its best to save a little money ahead in order to fully equip „a permanent home when such a location could be found. A new location. It was in the year 1923 that the San Diego Players secured the rights to use as a permanent home a room in the Civic Auditorium at Balboa park which had formerly been used as a room to show agricultural movies during the 1915 Exposition. 34 Members immediately went to ’ work getting the room ready for use of the little Theatre. The Players put one hun dred and eighty dollars of hard-earned money into lighting equipment. Everyone devoted as much time as he or she could possibly in an effort to save money on the labor. One perform ance was give2i to the public in this location before difficul ties began to arise. hew troubles. Because of the antagonistic attitude of two members o-f the Civic Center, the Players were not to have exclusive control of the theatre, and the stage and paraphenalia was to be at the disposal of the larger organization when ever anybody was willing to pay thirty-five dollars a night for the use of the auditorium and its theatrical accessories* Nothing was said regarding any remuneration to the Players. This situation was impossible to the Players because an Inti mate Theatre is not a Community Theatre, and because- the San Diego Players could have nothing in common with the objects of t^Le Civic Center in dedicating the Southern Counties buildings to the public for hire* This situation was in no wise deroga tory of the purposes of the Civic Center. Those purposes were very noble; but on intimate inspection they did not fit in with the purposes of the intimate Theatre, which were artistic ra ther than philanthropic, and special rather than general* Therefore, the Players had to move again. It was only a short while until the Civic Auditorium fell victim to flames caused by the ignition of decorations the night the San Diego Firemen 33 TABLE VII THE YORICK PLAYERS SEASON 1925-1926 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE Mary, The Third RaehelECrothers Drama Hellbent Por Heaven Hatcher Hughes Drama Sun Up Lulu Vollmer Drama Tea Por Three Roi Cooper Megrue Comedy Aren't Y/e All Prederick Lonsdale Comedy Paolo And Francesca Stephen Phillip Tragedy Upstairs And Down Prederic and Fanny Comedy Hatton Little Y/omen L.M. Alcott Drama Dead Eyes Hanns Ewers and Poetic Mare Henry Drama Yon And I Barrie Comedy The Dover Road A. A. Milne Drama 35 were to hold a Grand Ball in the main auditorium. in order to continue productions the Players went back to giving their presentations in the downtown Spreckels Theatre until a truly permanent home could be secured. II. A A PERMANENT HOME true home. The authorities were assigning the Exposi tion Buildings to groups that would care for their upkeep. The United States Fisheries was destined to be torn down for the huge tanks underneath seemed worthless for other uses. Mr. Buckley and Mr. Frank Spaulding who was a vice-president of a local bank, joined with others in securing rights to the Fisheries Building. A certain number of coworkers and admir ers were induced to give promissory notes of fifty dollars each--there were one hundred--which pledge was deposited with the bank and served as a fund for the remodeling of the build ing. The work. A cement, sloping floor was put in over the tanks and a stage was built and seats were installed. The stage was little other than a proscenium, a floor, and some four feet of space above the proscenium tip where lights were hung and a few pulleys installed. and strip lights. There were also footlights On either side there was not over ten or fifteen feet of space and a more inconvenient spot for produc ing dramas could scarce be imagined. And yet such was the 36 TABLE VIII THE YORICK PLAYERS SEASOH 1926-1927 PLAY AUTHOR Her Daughter1s Mother Margaret Penney Belinda A.A. Milne TYPE Two One-Acts The Valiant Halworthy Hall Robert Middlemass The Drums of Oude Austin Strong Anything To Oblige Austin Adams Comedy The Love of Three Kings Sam Benelli Operalogu©' Tragedy Two One-Acts Lackeys Of The Moon Mary Cass Canfield The Man Who Married Anatole Prance Farce Gilbert Emery Drama A Dumb Wife Tarnish 37 spirit, the enthusiasm, and the cooperative functioning of the members of the group that performances of incredible size and rell merit were achieved. There could never have existed anywhere a group so sincere, so unselfish, so geniune in devotion to the work in hand as the Yorick Players. Certainly there could nev er be a group more splendidly endowed with these essen tials .H Yorick passes. Mr. Ddwin Clough, who wrote the editor ial, f,0n the Margin” signed Yorick every Saturday in the San Diego Union and The Tribune, contributed much in the way of encouragement to the Intimate Theatre, original organization. He was a member of the Mr. Clough never received one cent of extra pay for this huge extra work, but wrote just for the sheer love of writing and for the outlet it afforded him for expressing his thoughts on all sorts of subjects. It was as brillant newspaper work as could be found throughout the leng th and breadth of the land. He was deeply interested in drama and the Little Theatre appealed to him. The Clough home on Ivy Street was always ciipen to gatherings for talks by the fire side after the Little Theatre rehearsals. His death, January thirteenth, in nineteen hundred twenty-three was a great shock to all who knew him. Change of name. It was shortly after the opening of the nineteen hundred twenty-three to nineteen hundred twenty-four season after tjie sudden call to Yorick had struck the pen from 11 An unpublished letter, v/. Hubbard, Appendix, p. 85* 39 sentation, but would not be accorded a hearing in the com mercial theatrical world* Active members * 'The personnel of the organization was composed of business people and others of the community who wished to make the encoiiragement and presentation of plays their recreation and hobby* The Yorick was incorporated, October 14, 1927 since' it was managed on a no profit basis to anyone • Readings. There were many successes of the eastern stage-which San Diego patrons would have liked to see the Yor ick Players produce, but it was not often practicable to do so, because of either prohibitive royalties, or limitations of cast or scenic production. These were the plays that were read on the "play re-ading nights” which were open to the public interested in drama* The plays were not merely read, however, by one person, and commented on by others, but the parts were assigned as thoiigh it were to be produced, and the lines read as though for rehearsal. was found in this manner* Much hidden talent among San Diegans Such plays as Paul Green’s "In Abra ham’s Bosom”, Philip Dunning and George Abbott’s "Broadway,” ,fA Constant Rife” by Somerset Maughan, "The King’s Henchman” by,. Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Overtones” by Alice Gerstenberg, "X Equals Hothing" by John Drinkwater, Robert Sherwood’s "The Road To Rome,” "Escape” by John Galsworthy, "Marco’s Millions” by Eugene O ’Heill, "Rea Me Cobb’s Daughter” by Sidney Howard* 40 Change of Director* It was in the latter part of the year nineteen hundred twenty-five that the director, Prancis Buckleyfs business duties became heavier and it became impera tive. that someone relieve him of his task, William Hubbard w as'asked to take over the directorship and he consented. It was then decided that the performances should occur at fixed intervals and thus subscriptions for the season could be taken rather than depending on an uncertain and irregular income. It was planned to have a production a month from October through June, three or more performances t o ’be given and. the dates to be the first Thursday, Priday and Saturday in each month. was adhered, to for the next two seasons. This In March nineteen hundred twenty-eight the Building Authorities shut their eyes no longer to the conditions under which productions were being given, posted, a "Closed” sign on the d.oor, and ended activities in the Yorick. The building was later taken over by the Cana dian Legion, As the production "Outward Bound” was ready for presenta tion when the Yorick was closed, the Roosevelt School auditori um was used for the production. presented, there. Gilbert1s "Engaged” was also Then the Yorick Players took the Wednesday Clubhouse and there finished the season and the obligations to the subscribers by giving "Michael Earle or The Manian’s bride” in most approved "melodrammer" manner and also a program of three one-act plays. 41 TABLE IX THE YORICK PLAYERS SEASOH 1927-1928 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE Outward Bound Sutton Vane Comedy Engaged U.S. Gilbert Comedy The Whiteheaded Boy Lennox Robinson Comedy Lennox Robinson Comedy Three One-Acts Two G-entlemen Of Soho The Bruins Of Oude The Valiant Michael Earle Or The Manian’s Bride Melodrama Lilies Of The Pield The Circle Somerset Maughan Drama Paolo And Erancesca Stephen Phillips Tragedy 42 Thus ended the Yorick, save that the bank or its representatives insisted on the givers of the promissory notes "making good" and the whole joyous undertaking ended in a haze of unpleasantness• Summary. The Yorick Players were non-professional actors, but they were not what is called the "amateur" class* They understood the meaning and purpose of the art which they presented,land by careful selection and assiduous application, thej adapted themselves to the letter and spirit of the charac ters in which they appeared. The merit of their work was in the close adaptability to the personality and disposition of the actors; there was therefore, nothing haphazard in their personations, nor was the rendition marred by the defects al most inevitable in the routine, habitual, and oftentimes per functory performances of the professional stage. CHAPTER IV THE BARU PLAYERS I. EOUDDIHG- OE THE BARIT PLAYERS It was evident in the third chapter that the lack of a satisfactory auditorium in which to give the performances was the chief obstacle the Yorick Players encountered. How the story of the second. Little Theatre to be launched in the city of San Diego will be told. The founding. The San Diego Barn Players was founded by Mrs. J. William Eisher who, in the fall of 1933 as chair man of the Drama section of the San Diego University Womenfs Club, a branch of the American association of University Wo men, used the eighty-five dollars in the Drama section trea sury to pay the first month1s rent— seventy-five dollars--on an old. family mansion. The ten dollars remaining was used in clearing up the bam. Eor quite a few years--since 1923--a small group of drama lovers, drawn together through friendship and congenia lity of tastes, had been reading plays for their literary value. Therefore it was not difficult to get working members together. Thus the second Little Theatre in San Diego was begun. By a strange coincidence, whereby an automobile took 44 the lives of Mr. and Mrs. D.F. Garrettson as they were re turning from San Francisco to observe their fiftieth wedding anniversary, their family mansion with large grounds and modernized b a m capable of housing fourteen cars, had been unoccupied for some time. The heirs could not use it; so the Chairman of the Drama section of the University Women* s Club paid the first month*s rent from the treasury. The plan. The rent five dollars a month. of the entire property was seventy Thehouse, consisting of ten bedrooms, large parlors and a full-sized cellar, was partially furnish ed. The chairman.consulted with her secretary and with a dramatic teacher, Mrs. Dwight Earl Easley, a graduate of .the Dew York Academy of Dramatic Arts. Would the .secretary help run the house if it could be filled with lodgers who would be agreeable to the idea of a Little Theatre in their backyard, and would Mrs. Easley be an unpaid supervising director to have direction over whatever might be worked out in the barn? They would and they did. The Town Club. But Little like. Theatre or payrent, just the lodgers would not equip a gas, lights, water, heat, and the And so the "Town Club" was created. Faithful friends and supporters of culture responded with an initiation fee of five dollars and five dollars a year. 45 TABLE X THE BARIT PLAYERS SEASON 1933-1934 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE Three One-Acts The Patal Quest On The Lot Rival'Peach Tre es Young Idea Noel Coward Children Of The Moon Martin Flavin Drama Melodrama The Drunkard A Murder Has Been Arranged Emlyn Williams A Night Off Augustin Daly You And I Phillip Barry Comedy 46 Miss Lucille Spinney, a former professional actress from Boston, took up residence as chaperone and manager. Thus the Town Club paid the rent for the whole property and furnished an intimate haven for teas, lectures, and luncheons, art exhibits, occasional dinners and housed twelve roomers, which kept the rent and utilities paid for all the property the first year. Mr. David Young, a Pasadena Playhouse graduate, came to the first meeting, offered his services as associate direc tor, in which capacity he served throughout the lifetime of the Barn in the front Street location. The name. The Barn was first called the Workshop Theatre” for a short while but it soon became known as the "Barn." Bebuilding. immediately. The Building Inspector condemned the "Barn” Finally by sawing doors on all four sides the building passed specifications. The electrical wiring was carefully put in by an electrician, but the members did all the other work. The first nightTs public performance found the sign "Condemned" all over the theatre proper. It was announced that the sign was not intended as an advertisement for the next show. Bothing further was said concerning the sign and it was down by the time of the next performance. At first as the stage was only two feet high, the audi ence sat on rugs strewn over the cement floor. 1933, an invitation for donations was sent out. In October, A motley set 47 TABLE XI THE BARB PLAYERS SEASOH 1934-1935 PLAY June Moon AUTHOR Ring Lardner TYPE Comedy G-eorge Kaufman Wings Over Europe Robert Nichols Maurice Browne What Might Happen H.E. Maltby Outward Bound Sutton Vane Gandelight P.O. Wodehouse Candida Parce Comedy 48 of* props was received, and also the price of a stage floor. On Hallowe’en of this same year the members gave a carnival to raise money. Membership, The Barn had eighty active members and many more than that number of associate members. The active members included not only the actors but those who contributed time, labor or material for scenery, lighting or costumes. Admission to the plays was by membership card only. The members met every Monday evening, and one-act plays were the course of action. Anyone interested in Little Thea tre was welcome. The first production. November 9, 1933 nThe Rival Peach Trees,” a fantasy, was the first play offered by this group. The other two one-act plays which were presented the same eve ning were nThe Ratal Quest” and ”0n the Lot.” The first three-act play was Noel Coward’s MYoung Idea” presented on January 13, 1934* ly and appreciative. The press notices were friend Mrs. Constance Herreshoff, the reviewer said, ”As the Barn has a leaning to cracks and large doors open to the weather, seating conditions were chilly. and hands grew warmer as the pla$ proceeded. But hearts Hot coffee, served in the patio during the second intermission, helped fortify the morale. It is pleasant,” she continues, ”to see the Garrettson’s iron stag still standing in the shrubbery censoring those who pass his preserves on the way down the carriage drive.” 49 TABLE XII THE BARN PLAYERS SEASON 1935-1936 PLAY AUTHOR There!s Always Juliet John Van Druten Bill Of Divorcement 0lenience Dane Engaged W.S. Gilbert Cock Robin Elmer Rice Philip Barry Tomboy The Devil Passes Benn W. Levy The Shining Hour Keith Winter The Wild Westcotts Anne Morrison Manaechmi TYPE Comedy 50 MChildren of the Moon” a drama by Martin flavin fol lowed. The next offering was the presentation for the first time in San Diego of ,?The Drunkard.” This play was offered Eriday, March 23, 1934. The play could have run on more than its allotted three days. It was shown in several places. The summer of 1934. In the summer Oora Mel Patten, of Los Angeles, took a room at the Town Club and conducted clas ses in verse choir. Many members of the Barn joined and at the close of her course an interesting recital was given. The idea of the Barn. The management of the organiza tion was in the hands of an executive committee composed of the business manager, production chairman, one-act director, supervising director, secretary, treasurer, and several mem bers at large with the chairman and the governing board. The latter body had control of the organization. The "Barn" had one idea in mind and that was to give a play every month which was directed by an associate player, for instance, Arthur Wilmurt, who had had a great deal of pro fessional experience as a translator of foreign plays, would give his whole attention to the three-act play in progress. After two weeks of rehearsal, he would ask the Supervising Director, Mrs. Easley to come to rehearsal. The Stage Manager would be called into conference this early in the production thus insuring a good performance. The Executive Committee met every week. This committee 50 included the Business Manager, the Stage Manager, the Super vising Director, the House member, the Publicity Man, and the Property Man of the current production. This arrangement en abled any problem involving the coming play to be met every we eh. i The one-act plays which were done once a week gave an opportunity to actors who wished to try for major productions. failures. Mrs. Easley reported two distinct failures in the way of productions during the life of the Barn. The first was nManaechmi,f a burlesque which was poorly done. No body liked it. *The second was "Springtime for Henry" given as an opening number of the 1935-1937 season. It was too shocking to the audience and did not meet approval. Successes. The three outstanding successes of the Barn were "Bill of Divorcement" presented in the 1935-1935 season as well as "Wings Over Europe" and "June Monn" of the 19341935 season. Difficulties encountered. The Barn had a group of ac tors who had had much previous experience. The temptation was to use them since the public had to be considered. In the be ginning of the organization, before the one-act plays were arranged, people would join the group with the idea of playing. The director felt that each one had to have a chance, but the 52 fact that the play had ten characters with fifty persons wanting to play it did complicate matters. gg it was deter- mined that a new member had to play in a one-act play before being eligible to play in a major production. There was a certain amount of criticism that there was too much favoritism among the group. jealousy, There was also a great deal of professional finally Mrs. Easley made the statement at a rehear sal, MWe are making ho apologies for our casting of this play. We are going to sell tickets. We are going to present this play to an audience. Therefore beginning with this play our method of casting is thus with no explanation or apology. shall choose the best person to act the part. We We are going to give try-outs if there are two or three persons that seem fit'-V ted for the same part. manner.” And from now on we are casting in this : This episode came about in the second year of the BarnTs existence. An appeal. August 11, 1936 an appeal, in letter form, was made to Mr. Julius Wangenheim, in the allotment of a build ing for theatrical purposes in Balboa park because the owners of the Garrett son home, where the B a m was located, had an ur gent desire to sell the property, and because of the high cost of royalties for good plays, it was necessary to have a loca tion with more seating capacity than the one hundred twenty seats which the B a m afforded. In the fall of 1936 the Garrettson house and b a m were 53 TABLE XIII THE BARE PLAYERS SEASON 1936-1937 PLAY AUTHOR Springtime Eor Henry Benn W. Levy Behold This Dreamer Pulton Oursler TYPE Aubrey Kennedy What Might Happen H.P. Maltby Pygalion And G-alatea W.S. Gilbert Ten Minute Alibi Anthony Armstrong Murray Hill Leslie Howard Parce 54 sold to ¥. .F. Wilmurt, who had been the technical director and one of the operators of the Barn, It was necessary.for the Barn Players to find other quarters at once since there were several plays left to be done to complete the season. And so an appeal was sent to the Committee for the al location of the Exposition Buildings, Mir. Julius Wangenheim for a special permit to use the theatre known as The Puppet or The Hollywood Theatre for one year. About this same time Mrs. Mary Belcher Trapnell start ed a drive to restore the Old Globe Theatre building in Bal boa park. Her committee was called the San Diego Community Theatre and started the work in November of 1936 to raise the sum of $7,500. Mrs. Trapnell and the campaign committee rais ed enough so that it was deemed feasible with the aid of the Works Progress Administration to start the restoration of the building. Breaking up . Mr. Dave Young, the Barnfs Production Chairman, became a member of the Globe Theatre Board. Many of the Barn Players eagerly joined the Globe Theatre group and went so far as to obtain a truck and haul all the properties and belongings of the group to the Exposition Building. But as the disposition of the properties by the terms of the by laws were all vested under the control of the chairman of the Town Club, it was possible to recover them. At the time of the last meeting of the B a m Players at the Barn, the Supervi- 55 ing Director, Mrs, D.E. Easley had resigned her position with the group, A revival attempted. When the Governing Board of the Down Club decided that an obligation to the membership for a season that had always carried on until June should he fulfill ed, the Barn properties were moved to a new location in Old Town. The yellow sign from tjie Building Inspector prohibited the use of the building for any kind of assembly purposes. So with the assistance of the drama students at San Diego State College, interesting one-act plays completed the season through June. The last remnants of the Barn Players finally y^ent into disintegration. Summary. The past chapter tells the story of a little Theatre group Y/ho never worked for the same goal; thus the unity of the entire group crumbled to pieces upon the change of the location of the auditorium and meeting-place. CHAPTER Y THE GLOBE THEATRE I. THE OLD' GLOBE The preceding chapter tells the story of the assimila tion of the B a m Players into the Globe Theatre mainly be cause there was too much dissension among the members. How the story of this undertaking wull be traced. The first step. In order to assure the future of the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa park, 07,500 had to be raised. All of the English buildings that had attracted lovers of the Shakespearian drama during the two seasons of the San Biego Exposition would be saved. Otherwise the wrecking company would take over. The campaign to raise the funds necessary to fireproof the Old Globe was put' in the hands of a committee which hoped to make the structure the center of community theatrical acti vities in November of 1936. The Committee estimated between two hundred and three hundred San Diegans were actively interested in various Lit tle Theatre movements. Pew of the groups had satisfactory quarters and considerable interest had been shown in the Old Globe since the Exposition closed. But the cost of making the structure fireproof had stood in the way of any definite 57 action prior to this time. It was the purpose of the committee upon raising the necessary funds, to organize the San Diego Community Players. It would welcome membership from those who belonged to any of the other groups, the only purpose of the new organisation being to create one that would be responsible for the future of the building. Inasmuch as none of the existing groups had been able to handle the proposition alone, it was deemed wiser to organize a new one, the membership to be composed of a representative section of those interested in community thea trical activities. The Committee was so confident of suedess in raising the necessary funds that it obtained an option upon the old Falstaff lavern and the English Curio Shop, next to the thea tre, itself, which would be used as -work rooms. Facilities for scenery and costume making would be provided in connection with the theatre itself. The drive was expected to end in December after which the Community Players was to be organized and a date set for the first presentation, which would follow the completion of the fireproofing work. Calls would be issued for tryouts for each play, thus enabling all those with talent and ambition to participate. The aim of the Players would be to encourage not only talent in dramatics, but also those who desired to write. 58 TABLE XEV THE GLOBE THEATRE SEASOH 1937-1958 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE The Distaff Side John Van Druten Comedy Small Miracle Horma Krasna Melodrama Comedy Her Master’s Voice Once In A Lifetime George S. Kaufman Comedy Moss Hart Holiday Phillip Barry Comedy Kind Lady Edward Chadorav Mystery Dear Bratus James Barrie fantasy Hedda Gabler Ibsen Character The Merry Wives Of Windsor Shakespeare Comedy The Gambler Drama 59 The campaign for funds was in the form of requests for outright subscriptions. After the Players group was for med, low annual dues would be assessed to defray expenses of operation. The Community Players will not seek to duplicate efforts of any other amateur dramatic group in the county, but instead, will endeaver to draw from all groups the finest talent available and organize a company for the staging of drama that will make San Diego unique in the country. Thus said William Hubbard, art and dramatic critic, and one time director of the earlier Yorick Players. History of the Old Globe♦ The Old G-lobe Theatre, lo cated just back of the exquisite California Tower in Balboa park, is a replica of the original Shakespearean theatre in London. In the remodeling it was made to accomodate many types of dramatics,, it has nearly perfect acoustics, a capa city of 450 cushioned seats, modern ventilation, circulating heating, complete house and backstage lighting and box office facilities. Its deep stage apron is ideal for presenting mu sicians, speakers, and specialty numbers. The Old G-lobe was built for temporary use during the 1935 Exposition held in Balboa park. A group of professional players from Chicago put performances on there during the time of the Exposition. It was built in Shakespearean style with Palstaff!s Tavern on one side and the English Curio Shop on 60 the other. At the close of the Exposition all such tempora ry buildings were sold to a wrecking corporation when the drive for restorement was under way. With a total of §10,000 by popular subscription which bought the materials and a Works Progress Administration grant of another §10,000 which supplied tne workmen, the Old Globe theatre was brought to comply with city ordinances in regard to Little Theatres. The Old Globe Theatre enjoys a central location in Bal boa park with sufficient parking space for performance nights. II. THE GLOBE THEATRE OP TODAY Theatre finance. The Globe Theatre is owned by the city; however, all upkeep on the building such as roofing, plumbing, et cetera is the responsibility of the San Diego Players. The current Executive Director, Betty Crates Dennis, is hired on a percentage basis. She is selected to assist in the promotion of the theatre as a whole, including publicity, but as the Executive Director is at all times direct^ respon sible to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors are in turn elected by the actual members. The San Diego Players build all of their own sets and each play is budgeted to a certain amount, approximately three hundred dollars. Should one play be underestimated as to cost, the deficit has to be met in the next production. The finan- 61 cial statements of the present group does not show many dol lars in the treasury, but the group is not in debt. Costumes for the productions are made in the Old Cur iosity Shop by active members who have an inclination in that direction. Properties. This group has been most fortunate in so far as properties go since the Fine Arts G-allery is close by and most cooperative about lending, period furniture and other properties which are generally almost impossible to secure for stage use. Membership. The San Diego Community Theatre has no subscription or support other than the two types of member ship- -active and associate* The dues are two dollars a year for active members which membership is limited to two hundred persons seriously interested in drama production as a hobby or to prepare for professional training. There are several types of associate memberships including: Honorary, $50 or more per year; Sustaining, #25 or more a year; Season, $6 per year. This group is incorporated in the state as a non-profit, educational organization. The Workshop Theatre. Monday night. This group meets regularly every Anyone coming into the group is on a probation ary basis for a period of six months and cannot appear in' a major production until proving his merit. In this meeting one- 62 TABLE XV THE GLOBE THEATRE SEASON 1938-1939 PLAY AUTHOR TYPE A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare Fantasy Three Men On A Horse John C. Hohm Comedy George Abbott Heartbreak House Bernard Shaw Drama The Taming OP The Shrew Shakespeare Comedy A Christmas Carol Dickens Drama Rain John Colton Drama Clemence Randolph Woman Without Armor Luther Kennett Histori The Petrified Forest Robert Sherwood Comedy Twelfth Right Shakespeare Private Lives Roel Coward Comedy act plays are presented and used to develop each individual in the particular field in which he is adept. Educational Extension. Morita Treganza is the work shop supervisor. Since she is authorized to teach in this state, credit for high school or college work may he obtained under the State Adult Educational Department* The proposed classes in diction were definitely not successful. There has been no further attempt with this kind of class since 1939* ChildrenTs Theatre♦ The first year with Betty Crates Dennis in the post of Executive Director saw the production of the Hew York Children's Theatre plays, "Rip Van Winkle," "Under the Lilacs," and "Aladdin and His Lamp." These plays were moderately well received by the public of San Diego. During the current season (1940-1941) no such attempt was made in the field of children’s theatre because the Junior Women’s League put child drama as one of their two objectives. Therefore the Board of Directors agreed it was best to drop work in this department, at least for the present. Repertoire. It was planned to have eight major produc tions, starting in mid-October, during each season. Outstand ing guest directors, from out-of-town as well as local, have been invited to direct these plays. It is planned that the re pertoire of each season will include comedies of tested laugh TABLE XVI THE GLOBE THEATRE SEASON 1939-1940 PLAY AUTHOR The Late Christopher Bean Sidney Howard The Shining Hour Keith Winter A World Elsewhere Lynn Riggs Whispering Walls Wall Spence The Ivlad Hopes Romney Brent The Firebrand Edwin Justus Mayer ( TYPE Drama Comedy 65 value, one mystery play, possibly two Shakespearean comedies, some immortal old favorites whose appeal and dramatic quali ties have survived a quarter of acentury, as well as one ori ginal play if such a play becomes available. It will be no ticed from the tables included in this study that this policy has been adhered to rather closely throughout the lifetime of the Globe Theatre. Original Plays* The Globe has only presented two plays of an experimental nature. The first one was written by Lynn Riggs of La Jolla, California; it was called MA World Else where" and was presented in April of 1940. The second one was written by Luther Kennett, former executive director of the Globe Theatre (1936-1938), now di rector of the Dine 0 fClock Players in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the Yale Dramatic School; his home is in Coronado He and George Ewing collaborated, in writing the play, ’’Pull Circle," presented November, 1940. Press notices of the San Diego Union and The Tribune said it was "tense, moving, and .' frank in its portrayal of the loves and hatreds of a family of the nineties." Difficulties. Since the Globe Theatre started opera tions under very favorable conditions with a modem, up-todate building given them as a permanent playhouse, and a work ing fund of several thousand dollars to begin work, it should have had few difficulties. The first year was wonderful with 66 a large list of members, but by the second season when the novelty had worn off for those who were not habitual Little Theatre supporters the list of members grew smaller than was anticipated. The beginning of the season of 1938-1939;found the group in debt several hundred dollars. That year was a year of struggle, but, after a strict budget.was worked out and supported, slowly the funds bjegan to accumulate. By the fall of 1939 with the production of rfThe Drunkard," the group was out of financial trouble. Since that time the sum of three hundred dollars per production is strictly followed at all times and the financial status is good. Other uses of the Theatre. In 1939 a Steinway grand piano was bought from the proceeds of a benefit given by Lyle Barbour an artist who had given concerts in Belgium, London, France and Hew YorkTs Town Hall. The Board of Directors welcomes applications by musi-' cians, teachers, and cultural groups to rent the Theatre for legitimate non-commercial purposes. Future of The (Globe Theatre. The group of Little Thea tre workers has an organized theatre with a clear program, not only of plays, but of policy, including the practical as well as visionary goals. The G-lobe Theatre appears to have a defi nite future as a cultural centre in the city of San Diego. The Little Theatre is something,unique--something people cannot get 67 TABLE XVII THE G-LOBE THEATRE SEASON 1940-1941 PLAY AUTHOR Yes, My Barling Laughter Mark Reed Full Circle Luther Kennett TYPE Drama George Ewing Here Today George Oppenheimer Comedy Margin For Error Claire Booth Comedy George And Margaret Gerald Savory Cherry Orchard Checkov Our Town Thornton Wilder 68 any place. San Diego is indeed fortunate in having many re tired people to support such a Little Theatre movement. The San Diego Community Players aim at having a per fectly equipped building, but above all they aim at produc ing the best possible plays. Summary. In the above chapter the final act of the Little Theatre drama of San Diego was unfolded. The two earlier groups suffered various handicaps which The G-lobe Theatre was never allowed to endure. Thus The Globe Theatre which is located in a beautiful site has everything to look for in the future. OHJIPTER VI CONCLUSIONS I. THE SUMMARY The history of* the Little Theatre movement in San Diego proves rather conclusively that there is a definite place within the community since the movement has had a slow ly burning interest dating from the fall of 1919 when the first organisation took place until the present date with no sign of the interest diminishing. The outcome. The relationship between art and commu nity life is noticeably in the process of change. In the busy days of our industrial work, people are too likely to think of art--and specifically of the theatre as entertain ment, wit^L no essential tie to, or value for, organised so ciety. Gradually the theatre is coming to be recognized as a medium for the collective expression of community life and hopes, the mirror of political and social problems, as well as the home of community entertainment. nImagination in re creation" can be used as a motto for the Little Theatre and that, or its equivalent, will ever ring loud in the public utterances of educators, civic leaders and legislators, back ed by the demand of a people asking for regeneration through their leisure. 71 copy Broadway and the Loop theatres both as to choice of plays and method of production. Second, the backstage organ ization is handled too much as a community activity. Casting is often decided more for social reasons than for ability or fitness. Different players are used in successive produc tions instead of experienced ahd dependable people. Third, the choice of material is often not chosen witji the audience in mind, fourth, the Little Theatre suffers tfco much inter ference from communities and a lack of sound business judge ment. Impediments of the Little Theatre. drances in the Little Theatre movement, There are two hin first, the royalties charged by french and other owners of copyrights are exorbi tant. There should be some reduced rate possible for Little Theatre groups, as the present prices are bankrupting. There is no quarrel with the statement t|iat the author should re ceive pay for his work, but more frequent presentations of his plays at lower prices for small groups and before small audi ences certainly would pay the author better in both dollars and repute than would one or two at the prohibitive terms now demanded• The second hindrance is the building ordinances which demand that every Little Theatre shall be constructed as ela borately and completely as is a large professional theatre, it makes the building of small theatres impossible and prevents 72 much work from being done which would otherwise be of worth to the cultural life of a community* That danger must be avoided is true, but the law leans over backward in its atti- tude toward the little playhouses. Correlation of arts♦ The theatre is the embodiment of all arts: color, music, diction, poetry, action; it is the home of illusion, the mimic world of all realism. The range of the theatre is through all the emotions of the human heart: love, pity, terror, hope, despair, laughter, hatred, joy, sor row, even faith. ¥othing that can appeal to the senses of man or to his profoundest imagination is lacking from the pur poses or possibilities of the little Theatre. It is the mir ror in which people are ever seeking and seldom achieving the dream that cornes true; the fulfillment of the visions of the soul, because in the Little Theatre the soul of man speaks to the soul of his fellow man, oftentimes by the lips of truth; sweetly or bitterly, but always striving to picture the things of life as they ought to be in compensation for the things as they are. The new theatre from Shakespeare to Belasco has added nothing in material, butit has progressed in method and pre sentation: in mechanics, color, atmosphere, interpretation. sometimes even in Little Theatres have been successful in gen eralizing the art of the theatre and in special instances they have surpassed the product of the professional stage. 73 The day of "The Torch bearers" is past. Mr. Kelly1s gentle satire can now be regarded with a calm smile. Little Theatre in some form has come to stay. The No on doubts this statement who has followed the movement since its be ginning in 1911. It has gathered force and ceased to be sus- spected as it was in its youth. When Maurice Browne went to Ohicago to establish a minature theatre, he was proclaimed as a faddist. future. What is the future? There must be constant effort for better plays of a higher standard. The Little Theatre is useful for the community in all branches of Ameri can dramatic art. This theatre is America1s theatre, a true people!s theatre, the expression of their culture and their art. Ulti mately from these Little Theatres, there may arise in this country a true national theatre. BIBLIOGRAPHY BIBLIOGRAPHY A. BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES Anderson, John, The American Theatre. New York: The Dial Press, 1938* 430 pp. Bergman, GBsta M. , "Folk Theatre,” Theatre Arts, August, 1940. 583-586 pp. Bishop, G.W., The Amateur Dramatic Year Book. 0. Black, Ltd., 1 9 2 8 - 1 9 ^ 20l pp. London: A. & Brom, John Mason, The Modern Theatre In Revolt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1921. 89"pp. Burleigh, Louise, The Community Theatre In Theory And Prac tice . Boston: Little, Brown And Company, 1917 • "T88 pp. De Goveia, C.J., The Community Playhouse. New York: B.W. Huebseh, Inc., 1923* 165 pp. Palk, Sawyer, "A Civic University Theatre,” Theatre Arts Monthly, May, 1937* p. 397* Gassner, John, Masters of the Drama. New York: Random House, 1940. 804 pp. ”The Group Theatre,” Theatre Arts Monthly, October, 1940. pp. 729-735. Gilder, Rosamund, ”The American Theatre 1916-1941,” Theatre Arts Monthly, February, 1941. pp. 15.5-167. Lawren, Joseph, ren, 1924* The Drama Year Book. New York: Joseph Law- Macgowan, Kenneth, The Theatre of Tomorrow. and Liveright, 19^17 302 pp. New York: Boni Footlights Across America. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, T9 297 39B pp. Mackay, Constance D TArcy, The Little Theatre In The United States. New York: Henry Holt And Company,/1917• 277 pp. Mackaye, Percy, The Civic Theatre In Relation To The Redemp- 76 tion of Leisure . New York And London: Mitchell Kennerly, 1912* 308 pp. Miller, Anna Irene, The Independent Theatre In Europe. New York: Ray Long and Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1931. 435 pp. Nathan, George Jean, December, 1940. ’’The Theatre,” The American Mercury, pp. 481-487. Overton, Grace Sloan, M.A., Drama In Education. New York: and London.:.' The Century Company, 1926. ™ 289 pp. •Perry, Clarence Arthur, The Work of the Little Theatres. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1933* 228 pp. Ratcliff, Nora, Rude Mechanicals. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., 1938. T6'3 pp. Sayler, Oliver M., Our American Theatre. New York: Brentano!s 1923. 399 pp. The San Diego Union, April 27, 1930 October"23, 1932 7:1 October 6, 1933 9:1 January 15, 1934 7:6 June 28, 1934 Isl August 12, 1934 8:3 January 27, 1935 5:2 February 1, 1935 2:3 May 18, 1936 14:1 January 3, 1928 8:1 April 16, 1938 3:1 4:2 Shay, Frank, The Pla.ys And Books Of The Little Theatre. New York: The The atre 'OrafT s Exchange,’ 1919”. ”T2 pp. Sobel, Bernard, The Theatre Handbook And Digest of Plays. New York: Crown Publishers, 1940. 900 pp. Theatre Arts Monthly,”A Community Art Centre In A Metropolis,” October, 1940. pp. 757-761. ”Williams College Theatre’ ,1 November, 1940. pp. 827-831. ’’Laboratory For New York State Drama at Cornell,” Decem ber, 1940. pp. 907-909’’History of the Drama,” January, 1941. pp. 70-75. 77 B. INTERVIEWS Jeanette Cyr Barry Juanita Balter Mrs• Ruth Bone Mrs, Benjamin Buker Mrs. E .H . 0lough Dudley Cooper Betty Crates Dennis Mrs. Dwight Earl Easley A1 Eaton Beatrice Edmonds Mrs. William Eisher Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Erantz William Hubbard Sybil Jones Mrs. Stuart Lake Eugene Lyle, Jr. Mrs. Helen Burke. Mac Pherson Roscoe Porter Helene Richards M r . Van Schai ck Mrs• Angus Smith Erank C . Spaulding Lucille Spinney Dorothy Buckley Wannsley Ruth Price Weiss APPENDIX APPENDIX iNote: A statement of faith, incondensed form, given by Lynn Riggs in an address to the San Diego Community Thea tre in the early part of 1940. This condensed form was later published in Theatre Arts of February, 1941, page 16?.] Casual as the personal reasons may be which bring the workers in a Little Theatre together, ual about the theatre itself. one dare not be too cas Iio one should touch any aspect of the theatre without joy, honest-to-G-od delight. For joy is the stuff of the creative impulse, and this impulse must be given a chance if the worker and the audience which comes to see his work are to be rewarded. Certainly no drama group has the right to ask anyone to sit through a production without being in some way changed; not necessarily made over, converted in a moment to something new and strange and unrecognizable, but somehow, somewhere, in at least one cell, different because for a moment something in experience has been made to stand out arrested, fixed in time, made immortal. Theatre people should make these moments happen, or consider themselves failing in their art. The stage is a platform for eloquence, on which life is compressed and heightened, made larger and more significant. It is a rocket that flares and sparkles and bursts, its tenta cles streaming down grandly for a moment against darkness. 80 Sy.ch revealing, thrilling moments happen in life, hut they must he made to happen more often and more grandly in the theatre. The theatre is the place in which to enlarge and illumine life. But in order that this may he done, life must he look ed at: the world crowding ahout, of sections, of city, of state, of farm and'crossroads, of our own .country, of the en tire globe. One must constantly seek to comprehend the flow of the tides of man in the.aggregate, his needs, his impulses, and his right to dignity. the world today. It’s a large order to he alive in It’s strenuous and often demoralizing. But the more we seek to know and to comprehend, and to add Ytfhat we can to make it hearahle for ourselves and others to live, the more revelation we stumhle on, and the more we possess the power to change that world., As revelation comes, we find that we have something to say. As individuals we hegin to have a special and unique wisdom. If we are to draw on this, it’s time to ask oursel ves: what do we know? what have we got to say? how are we go ing to say it in the theatre? this means a very clear program, not merely of schedule and plays, hut of policy, of aims and goal. Nothing on this green earth survives without an idea behind it, a burning abstract compulsion, a pure concept, a central notion and aim. This country would be completely dis organized and probably in ruins--certainly at war— we would be 81 many bickering states and tongues--if.it had not been for some common ideas and ideals. We now largely believe that every man has a right to live and a right to work; true, we have staggered forward, and back a little, then forward again a little farther, trying to achieve a government truly of the people, by the people and for the people. But the point is that we would not be going anywhere--even staggering ing--unless we had that imposing ideal.' One canTt handle it; it canTt be seen, and yet it is stronger than flesh and blood, and it outlasts them both. An ideal, a goal, an intention, an aim--without it, there is no core to an undertaking. It is like a body with out a heart to pump food to the farthermost cell.. A theatre can stand for a time without any hard and fast intentions, but in the long run, if it is to live, it must have visionary as well as practical goals. Actually, these visionary ideals ex ist in every theatre group, often formless and chaotic but nevertheless real. The composite need that has brought the group together is a driving force; however inexact and unclear it may be, it directs the whole enterprise. dent about it. There is no acci Every time we cut a piece of goods to make costumes, or dab paint on a flat, or walk across the stage, or pull a curtain, or put a word on paper, we reveal ourselves, what our nature is, who we are, what we think, what we intend to do. 82 What a betrayal that can be! I should think that, if nothing else would, vanity at least might make us stop to consider what trivialities of soul we are revealing. I should think we would try to find out what we are doing, ■' that re would wait to use our talents truly and deeply, in Vs; order to reveal the exact and timeless, the important, the life-giving truth. seriously* I should think we would take the theatre I should think we would take life seriously. Lynn Riggs 83 -2Cltfote: The following is a letter received by the in terviewer from Mrs. Dwight Earl Easley, the executive direc tor of the B a m Players.] Little Theatre work has a great many objectives. The first of these is to put on a number of plays which will ap peal to the theatre going public. The second is to cast these plays with actors who can portray their parts with, sincerity and ability. The third is to present these plays in such a manner that the production will portray the playwrightrs picture of the story which he has in mind. In order to do these things, there should be at the head of the organization a professional director, which, beeing interpreted, means a director who has been on the profes sional stage and has. had a wide experience in directing pro ductions. This same director should know how to deal with amateurs. There is a wide difference between professionals and amateurs. My personal idea is that a director of am amateur Lit tle Theatre organization should be a guide, an instructor, a whip-hand and the teacher; never for a second letting the di rectorship go out of his or her hands. The director should always leave the cast which he has directed over a period 84 of time with a knowledge of stage technique, technique of acting, and with a background of knowledge which will help him in any other production in which he acts. The ambitions of a Little Theatre are these: To pre sent plays with a professional finish, to win constructive criticism from critics on newspapers, to win the following of the public by the curtain1s going up on time, no long waits between acts, effective stage settings, sincere character crea^ tio^s, and the absence of amateur failures. Little Theatre work is the outlet for expression of those people who have time only for occasional recreation. It is a very valuable asset to any torn or city. It is the outlet for expression for those persons who might otherwise find their experience in dangerous ways. Little Theatre is interesting; it is educational; it is thrilling for those who want creative work and very often it gives the necessary training for those who want a profes sional career. 85 -> [Hote: Below is part of a letter written by William Hubbard, one-time director of the Yorick PlayersJ You will have heard through Mrs. Wannsley as to Prank Buckley*s work in the earlier days and also during the Yorick times. He was first chiefly actor in the days of the San Biego Players which was the name, if I mistake not, of the group out of which the Yorick emerged. When I first knew anything of the activities, they played in the building in Balboa park which stood where the Art Gallery now stands-the Sacramento Building, I think it was called. There was an auditorium there and in it the Players gave their perfor mances. They had as official director one Eddie . . . . . . . whose last name I have forgotten, but which 'Miss Bpinney or Mr. Brantz can give you. He had a remarkable series of op era presentations in minature which he prepared and gave with recordings. He-was a professional actor and I am of the im pression that he was engaged at a fixed salary for directing and managing the performance of the Players. These occurred at irregular intervals--just whenever a production was ready, never less than a month apart and frequently six weeks to two months or even longer would elapse between offerings. They gave the average run of comedies and romantic dramas most of which were selected with an eye to Eddie*s playing the lead. 86 Into this group came Prank: Buckley and he gradually took over the producing. All thus came into the hands of Buckley and it was then I had my first contact with the group play ing a role in an original comedy by Austin Adams of Coronado which was called rtThe Double Cross” and the scene was laid in Coronado Hotel, I at that time was busied with lecturing in the east and w a w i n San Diego only from about April till the end of September. As to the year I am uncertain, but my impression is that the performance took place in a small jetblack auditorium in the Civic Auditorium--a room used during tbhe Exposition for showing movies. It was doubtless a year or two before the Civic Auditorium fell victim to flames. It was from here that the Players moved into the old Fisheries f... Building in the Park...................... There was at this time in San Diego a man of exception al abilities and as lovable a human as ever breathed. He was Edwin Clough and was busied as editorial writer on the Union and each Saturday he wrote a page which bore the title tf0n the Margin” and was signed by Yorick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clough had been a reporter of rare experience, he was the first man to report the Boxer Rebellion and his life had car ried him throughout the United States and far into the Orient. He and Austin Adams were kindred spirits and used to meet and argue just for the sake of arguing. Bo matter which side one 87 of them took the other would instantly take the other and then the sparks would fly* Both were deeply interested in drama and the little Theatre appealed to them. Clough and his dear smiling wife lived in a little hungalow on Ivy Street and the Buckleys, Jeanette Cyr, and others of the Players groups would storm into that little house at any and all hours of' the night . ............ ; ............. "Yorick" was ever the center and the life of the gathering. One night I recall he exclaimed, "Oh, you youngsters are such precious fnuts" I love everyone of you." And from that time forward we became to him and to each other Yorick1s Buts........................................... . There are many "I thinks" and "I believes" in all this, but I have had to dig into memories and dates, etc., are un certain after all of this time.