Many schools have been established with the end in view of fitting aspirants for the stage, but, under their training, it is only by talent and years of assiduous toil that a pupil is prepared to appear before a critical audience and win applause and fame. It has remained for our own university to solve all doubts, and found a school in which the dull and talented alike are fitted in a week, sometimes even less, for exalted positions on the stage. Of the peculiar fitness of Boston for a debut, on account of its well known "cultured" audiences, nothing need be said.
There is a shade of romance somewhere in the guileless soul of the undergraduate, a longing for the unattainable, perhaps, which suddenly develops itself at the approach of the opera season in particular; this was recognized by the "powers that be," and, with the readiness to supply all actual needs which characterizes all their actions, this branch of the college was founded and liberally endowed.
Nightly, to one seated in the theatre, a wondrous spectacle is presented, and a spectacle, too, that would amply repay the curious any trouble of witnessing. Whenever the panorama of beauty and talent is on the stage, soloists sink into insignificance; chorus and music are alike forgotten, and the attention of every one is fixed on what are generally supposed to be the minor parts of an opera, but are so no longer. No; a revolution has taken place, and hereafter, thanks to the tender watchfulness of Harvard, the "supe" will be the great attraction. The examples of the success of the new method are numerous. Who has not observed the breathless interest with which the entrance of any procession on the stage is now greeted? Perhaps it is the solemnity, the grandeur of a marching host in the background, who wend their stately way along the boards with a polka-mazurka step, each man puffing his chest with martial ardor, and grinning as his Darwinian ancestors did when skipping playfully among the tree-tops. The ease of their postures, the classic, statuesque grace of their attitudes, with head on one side, mouth stretched from ear to ear, and arms akimbo, never fail and never can fail to elicit deafening plaudits from the house.
A word of commendation should be given the costumes for their elegance and beauty. The pupils are always attired in the costliest robes that the school can procure, and each, in his luxurious dressing-room, has a servant to attend to his every need. Truly, if there be no "royal road to knowledge," there is still one to the summit of dramatic art open to our students.
The studies pursued are the acquiring of a graceful step and ease of manner. The importance of these the capable and efficient instructors quickly impress upon one with a club and a choice vocabulary of oaths. No rhetoric is taught the pupils; indeed they are taught that "silence is golden" in every case, excepting when a delicate musical effect is to be produced. Then loud whispering and giggling is firmly insisted on, to heighten the impression. Applications for admission are received at the stage door of the theatre. The fee for instruction is merely nominal. The only requirement is to pass the Cerberus who guards the sacred threshold. "Come early."