BREAD FOR ART
The sophisticated tourist who saw the Passion Play at Oberammergau last summer may have heard the devil whispering in his ear. "It's queer but is it art?" Yet whether he shuddered at the obtrusive realism or twitched in his seat through the long choral renditions, he could not but be impressed by the character of the players. Nobody could quesion their zeal, their industry, and their lack of business ability, which is an earmark of the artist.
While the value of the mark was dropping almost to that mythical region in mathematics, infinity, the Passion Players continued to charge their old prices for seats and finished the season with a dividend which would just about buy each of them three pounds of butter or half a pair of shoes. The players have their crafts; they make enough pottery and carve enough wood to keep body and soul together under ordinary circumstances. But during the long and arduous season of training through which they must go to produce the play, the baying of the wolf grows louder and louder. In order to continue to give the play, in fulfillment of their vow made over three hundred years ago, they must resort to drastic measures. And so they are coming to the United States during next October.
Foreign notables in straightened circumstances have made such expeditions before, and Americans have sometimes resented the sight of a stranger picking up nuggets of gold in our fields. But the bald from Oberammorgau is not coming entirely to take. It will refresh the jaded appetite of the land of mechanical efficiency with an exhibition of its own handiworks in wood and clay. And in order that these may not seem out of place in our marble halls, it will display its wares in a miniature setting of Oberammergau. A model of German village life, its daily tasks, and its festivals will be something of a revelation to the stay-at-homes and to the annual Paris-in-a-day Americans as well. If the Passion Players are able to line their purses, they will at least render us some quittance and they will bear their treasure home to an unselfish cause.