MISS YURKA BELIEVES IN REPERTORY
An Interview With Miss Blanche Yurka Star of "The Wild Duck" and "Enter Madame."
In costume for her entrance as Gina in the second act of "The Wild Duck." Miss Yurka gave a few finishing touches to her hair, leaned forward resting her elbows on the dressing table and spoke concerning audiences. "The truly discriminating audience is not satisfied always to associate one actor with one role. It is a sign of discrimination when the audience is able to appreciate true dramatic art which is only obtained when the actor makes of his role a vehicle for an interpretation as part of himself. The playwright furnishes only a black and white sketch of his play. It is for each individual actor to add the color. When one actor gives an exceptionally good interpretation of one role but is not above the ordinary in others, he is like a diamond with only a single polished facet. That facet may be beautiful in itself but the diamond itself is not beautiful till other facets are polished. That is why I believe that the repertory theatre is the greatest single activating force in modern drama. For the most part it is only in the repertory theatre that the audience is able to watch the effect of the personalities of the actors coming into contact with many different roles. Not the play but the actor's the thing.
"Because I say that most of the actor's interpretation must come from within himself I do not wish it to be thought that I consider of little moment the work being done by schools of drama. It is now almost banal to say that technique is something which must be learned and then completely forgotten. It has been said so many times. What we need to remember is that technique must be studied and made completely a part of one's acting before it can be forgotten.
"Because it is in "The Wild Duck" that I am now playing I would like to say a few words about my interpretation of Gina. Reviewers and ignoramuses have sometimes asserted that Gina was a slut and a rather frowsy hausfran. I am convinced that Gina, as Ibson saw her, was nothing of the sort. In the first place, Dr. Relling, the only character in the play besides Gina herself who sees the other members of the household as they really are, shows distinct sympathy for her. She is living in an atmosphere of romantic illusion which she knows is the most comfortable thing for her family. In the second place Gina is the only member of the household who ever does any real work. Beside her domestic cares she handled her husband's photographic business while he dreams away over his inventions. The fact that circumstances had forced her to be another man's mistress before her marriage in no way changed her mental and physical capabilities. But do not exaggerate those capabilities. She was no better mentally or morally than the ordinary class of people which produced her. It is as the good natured Philistine that I see her and it is in that light that I wish to interpret my role