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David Belasco, who produced the play, also complied with naturalistic requirements, making the most of the sordidness of the fallen Laura’s furnished room, as well as doing his eye-filling best by her previous installation in a luxurious •hotel.
And three years earlier William Vaughn Moody, turning from poetry to prose drama in The Gredt Divide, had already made a rent in the curtain of prissiness that had veiled the theatre.
The man and woman with a muckrake (Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell) were at work in the nation and some of the sweepings fell on the stage.
Humor is pre- ^2ks two levels of “high” comedy £ ,if K 9 V, and Poor own other example of the twenties’ irreverent way with history, Saturdays Children as an example of how far the playwrights can to travel the road o c economic fac| tion before 1930, and Strictly Z A supplementary list of the back of the book. * \ yj\V one-acters the lasf section oj justice to the .
Over five thousand professional theatres flourished on the American scene as against about two hundred and thirty in 1946, and this small number included opera houses.
In the glorious twenties, as a matter of fact, the process of contraction had already set m as a result of costlier railroad transportation and of growing competition from the film industry.
Yet even in this respect some circumspcofieseftty^ns. There had been stirrings of a sort in the American theatre since 1887 ^hen Bronson Howard, had ventured to brush the theme of capital and labor six in Baron Rudolph , treated Wall* Street ^speculation with, some realism in The By 1, too, James A 0 Herne had written his Margaret Fleming, a.notewortly a in realism with its story of a weakling embroiled in an extra-marital situation and a TO • tii overriding convention by accepting his illegitimate child. And den when I come to 4nd seen it was a real skpit and seen de way she was lookin’ at me— like* Paddy said— 13 Christ, I was sore, get me?
William Dean Howells, champion of r&lisrn in the novel and himself a contributor to a new dispensation in American letters, was virtullly acclaiming a new outlook in the theatre when he wrote of Herne’s dlama that, “It was common; it was pitilessly plain; it was ugly, but it was true,” and William Archer, Ibsen’s translator and exponent, could laud another play by Herne as “original American art.” Ibsen was beginning to exert an attraction in our land, giving America’:, dean of cold-storage dramatic criticism, William Winter, a bad case of jitters as he protested that the explanation for Ibsen, as for Jonathan Swift, was a disordered brain.