Sitting before the mirror in his dressing room, engaged in the task of remodelling his face for the foot-lights, Leon Errol, famed master-comedian, last night expressed his views on various phases of the theatre in an interview with a CRIMSON reporter.
"You know',, he began, "it's surprising the number of letters I receive daily from young men, asking me what they must do to become successful actors. They believe invariably that acting is something to be learned, that experience and study will make them good actors, just as experience and study make a man successful in the business world. They don't realize that an actor or comedian, like a poet, is born and not made. Of course, experience and hard work help develop whatever dramatic ability a man may have, but they cannot make an actor out of a man if he is not an actor to begin with."
College Men Poor Actors
Asked whether college men attain unusual successes on the stage, he replied, "College men as actors are, as a rule, remarkably successful at football. No, I have noticed few college men do anything sensational in dramatics. Schools of dramatic art an universities are fine for the student's amusement, but I'm convinced that they cannot manufacture actors. Nothing can give a man what he must have to be a good comedian, for example. A comedian to be successful must be intensely sincere. He is not an actor, he is a comedian. He must have comedy and laughter in his heart, and," he added wistfully, "sometimes a little tragedy.
Comedian a Psychologist
"Then, too, a comedian must have a profound understanding of human nature, he must understand the psychology of the human brain. I find that one of the most effective ways to get a good laugh is to produce a rapid change from one emotion to another, from tears to laughter for example.
"Will the musical comedy ever give way to the operette? I should say not. The operette comes and goes, as it did twenty years ago and as it is doing now, but the musical comedy will always maintain its place in the hearts of the amusement-loving public. Amusement is essential to the average man's diet, and good wholesome amusement is best presented in the musical comedy.
Never Tires of Acting
"Yes, I love my work. I never tire of playing the clown, although it is sometimes very hard. In my experience in motion pictures. I found that while the picture was being taken the work was far more trying than my work on the legitimate stage, but it doesn't last so long and when the picture is 'shot', the actor's work is done. On the whole I prefer the stage.
"Why is it that every reporter invariably asks an actor if he likes Boston audiences? I have always found them at least as agreeable as audiences of other cities, and just as demonstrative. Some of my most vigorous applause and warmest receptions I have had in Boston."