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"Why do I hope to start a repertory theatre company in New York? Because only by the expansion of good repertory companies can the drama come into its own once more in this country," declared Hamilton MacFadden '21, to a CRIMSON reporter. Mr. MacFadden, who was the head of the American Repertory Theatre at Salem last summer, is at present director of "The Carolinian."
"A repertory company made up entirely of excellent actors, should it stay intact for three years, would become the most remarkable body of actors in the country; they would be able to take almost any play and make a success of it.
"The reason the repertory players have the advantage over other actors is that the men and women who take a different type of part each week are in no great danger of making a hit in one part and remaining in that role or roles much like it all his life. An actor who can make himself more bow-legged than Greeley Kelley, or can toe in more than Glenn Hunter, is supposed to be successful; but in reality he is merely grotesque. And he has to stay grotesque all his life. Charlie Chaplin is the only exception--he is a real artist.
"By getting a body of first-class actors together for at least three years, actors who are trained in any and every part in a play, a company might be formed that would even compete with the moving pictures in California," said Mr. MacFadden, who has directed amateur dramatics in Santa Barbara. He declared that although in California it cost $1.65 to see a moving picture, the cinema had the "legitimate" drama "backed off the map."
If he can obtain the capital to start a company in New York, Mr. MacFadden will be prepared to lose $100,000 in the first year of the company's existence. But the investment is a good one, he declares, for in the second year an even break can be expected and great financial success can be looked for thereafter.
"But beyond being financially profitable," continued Mr. MacFadden, "the scheme is one which may be useful in other ways. The art of the theatre should not be used for propaganda, but it should be propaganda. This sounds like a paradox, but what I mean is that plays can be effectual and lasting, can be true art, only when they deal with matters vital to the people of the world, only when they strike truly and deep. Too many of today's comedies are based on clever lines: they are distorted photographs of modern superficialities.
"I am not a believer in realism on the stage; true art can deal with the potentialities of life and its ideals.
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