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I have been brought in contact with all sorts of Jews and Gentiles ; I have seen sights and situations which it is not given to most men to encounter, and all these have sunk into my soul and heart and left their print. The average business man could go through the experiences that I have gone through, settle the problems in so far as he could, and go on his way and think no more of the matter. But with a literary man it is different. With him such things are bound to produce a lasting effect which sooner or later must manifest itself in his writings.

My impressions were all clearly defined, and from those impressions I evolved a plot encompassing the subject. That was how “The Melting Pot” came to be written. I shut my eyes one night, and there before me saw in one vivid flash the whole play, just as it should be on the stage. I saw people fighting, striving, working out their salvation, groping in the dark — and there I had my play! That's the way all my plays come to me ; one flash of an instant, then the whole thing is clear and is three-quarters done.

Difficulties of detail are bound to arise in the working out of any theme ; but where you have the real, deep purpose of your play firmly in mind, these are easily adjusted, and merely make the final achievement all the more worth while.

You ask my purpose in writing plays. I write them to make people feel, and, feeling, arise to responsibilities.

How many words I write a day, and all that, I don't know. I write constantly, constantly ; without let-up from the time I conceive my plot until I have my play finished. Different plays take different times in the working out.

Percy Mackaye : My object in being a dramatist is to express ideas which seem to me worth while to express. When I start to write a play, therefore, I start with an idea — an idea which is the play in embryo. The problem of writing the play, then, becomes one of eliminating from the essential idea all extraneous ideas, of expressing it in such dramatic form as shall project the play's image from my mind into the constructive limitations of stagecraft with least impair

ment of the imagined play. That form may be one which utilizes the various means of metre or of prose to achieve its end, but always the image, the whole image, and nothing but the image, is what I seek to embody. It follows that every new idea for a play will involve a new technique - a fresh striving to project the image truthfully,

For this reason, I can make no generalization as

to my methods, for they are - I think and hope — in constant process of growth, through study of life and of the requisites of stagecraft.

To imagine something dramatic worthy to say, and to say it with truth to that imagesuch is my only creed in the writing of plays.

Clyde Fitch : I write plays of such varying characters that it would hardly be possible for me to say that I have any hard and . fast rules for going to work, but the start of all my plays is with the one basic idea. Take “ Girls," for instance ; there the idea I started with was the life of the bachelor girl of the type which is so common to-day. I took that idea, thought over it, and considered it until I had a plot which would portray the idea truthfully and at the same time appeal to the public, then went to work. That's the method I follow in all cases: get the idea first and think over its possibilities, then go to work.

As I said, the first consideration is to portray the idea in a truthful and convincing

My characters I fit to my idea. Sometimes I find them doing things which

not in accordance with the idea, but which are contrary to their dispositions as I have conceived them. When either of those things happens, I know that either my idea or my characters cannot be true to life, and then I have to start all over again.

I do not take my characters directly from life. Several times. I have had people come to me and say : “Mr. Fitch, I see you put So-and-So in such-and-such a play.” Well, they're wrong – I never in my life put any one individual into any play. My characters are all the result of observation, though. Characters interest me tremendously. I can't walk two blocks along the street without meeting several people who excite' my

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curiosity. But as for taking any one and putting him bodily into a play — no, I don't do it. My characters are taken from life only in that they are composite types and embody a dozen people whom I have met and talked with.

About the actual time spent in writing, I don't know. With me that's the easiest part of it all ; it's a matter in which I'm governed entirely by circumstances and my moods. I never think of touching pen to paper until I know exactly what I'm going to write and have thought over my play for at least a year.

Booth Tarkington : All my plays have been written in collaboration with Mr. Wilson, and that has made the work much easier ; two minds are always better than

My plays have all been ordered by managers for some particular star before they have been written, so for me — and when I say for me, I also mean for Mr. Wil

- the thing of paramount importance has been the character of the leading personage in the drama.

I have first studied the peculiarities of the man for whom I was writing the piece, and found out just what best suited him. I did not necessarily give him the same sort of part that he had been used to playing, but I gave him one that he could do well. Then I drew the other characters in contrast to him, so that he would be made to stand out strikingly. In

* The Man from Home,” for instance, I made the hero a young Indianian of democratic spirit, and, in order to throw his personality into bold relief, I grouped about him a number of Europeanized Americans, and set the scene in Italy. I do not mean to say that I neglect the minor parts, for if they are not convincingly drawn, you might just as well let your star play with a set of dummies, but I make them all subsidiary to the main character. Once having my set of characters well in mind, I set out to weave an interesting plot into which they will fit. That part is easy, for, of course, Mr. Wilson and I work it out together, as we do all else connected with the play.

Usually the characters introduced are com

posite types, which are the result of observation, and these, as a rule, prove to be the most convincing to an audience. Sometimes, though, we take people directly ftom life. The Englishman in “ The Man from Home' is an xample of that ; Mr. Wilson and I met him in Rome and reproduced him as we found him, yet in all the press notices I have read of the play that character has been pronounced over-drawn and exaggerated.

Since Mr. Wilson and I always talk over and write our plays together, the people in them seldom “balk” — not nearly so much as in fiction. Our working hours would probably average five a day, though we sometimes work much longer than that. We first write a brief scenario, then a longer scenario, and then dictate the whole play to a stenographer. In that way the dialogue takes on a live, natural ring. After that we re-write the whole piece at least twice, and finally divide up different acts between us for a last polishing-off. The length of time we have consumed in writing our plays has varied from four to twelve weeks. The Man from Home,” I believe, took about eight.

Eugene Walter : How I write my plays and how I conceive my plays is absolutely immaterial. I could n't tell you it I wanted to. There are certain social problems which have got to be met and counted with, and I write with these in mind. My plots just come to me, that's all, and I write them because I have to - because the times demand them. You'll find all the young playwrights who are doing things will tell you the same thing. They don't know how they write ; they write because they have to.

The American stage has been abused long enough, and we're now approaching a new epoch. in the drama of the world. In the old Grecian days the stage supplied the place occupied by our newspapers of to-day, and ever since that time the stage has been a great big factor in the moulding of public opinion. For the last fifteen or twenty years that influence has been used to debase, not to uplift. The harm that has been done by these cheap musical comedies, which appeal only to that which is lowest in man, is almost immeasurable. For that a certain

tion as

I have been brought in contact with all sorts of Jews and Gentiles ; I have seen sights and situations which it is not given to most men to encounter, and all these have sunk into my soul and heart and left their print. The average business man could go through the experiences that I have gone through, settle the problems in so far as he could, and go on his way and think no more of the matter. But with a literary man it is different. With him such things are bound to produce a lasting effect which sooner or later must manifest itself in his writings.

My impressions were all clearly defined, and from those impressions I evolved a plot encompassing the subject. That was how “ The Melting Pot" came to be written. I shut my eyes one night, and there before me saw in one vivid flash the whole play, just as it should be on the stage. I saw people fighting, striving, working out their salvation, groping in the dark — and there I had my play! That's the way all my plays come to me ; one flash of an instant, then the whole thing is clear and is three-quarters done.

Difficulties of detail are bound to arise in the working out of any theme ; but where you

have the real, deep purpose of your play firmly in mind, these are easily adjusted, and merely make the final achievement all the more worth while.

You ask my purpose in writing plays. I write them to make people feel, and, feeling, arise to responsibilities.

How many words I write a day, and all that, I don't know. I write constantly, constantly ; without let-up from the time I conceive my plot until I have my play finished. Different plays take different times in the working out.

Percy Mackaye : My object in being a dramatist is to express ideas which seem to me worth while to express.

When I start to write a play, therefore, I start with an idea — an idea which is the play in embryo. The problem of writing the play, then, becomes one of eliminating from the essential idea all extraneous ideas, of expressing it in such dramatic form as shall project the play's image from my mind into the constructive limitations of stagecraft with least impair

ment of the imagined play. That form may be one which utilizes the various means of metre or of prose to achieve its end, but always the image, the whole image, and nothing but the image, is what I seek to embody. It follows that every new idea for a play will involve a new technique

- a fresh striving to project the image truthfully. For this reason, I can make no generaliza

to my methods, for they are — I think and hope — in constant process of growth, through study of life and of the requisites of stagecraft.

To imagine something dramatic worthy to say, and to say it with truth to that image — such is my only creed in the writing of plays.

Clyde Fitch : I write plays of such varying characters that it would hardly be possible for me to say that I have any hard and fast rules for going to work, but the start of all my plays is with the one basic idea. Take “Girls,” for instance ; there the idea I started with was the life of the bachelor girl of the type which is so common to-day. I took that idea, thought over it, and considered it until I had a plot which would portray the idea truthfully and at the same time appeal to the public, then went to work. That's the method I follow in all cases : get the idea first and think over its possibilities, then go to work.

As I said, the first consideration is to portray the idea in a truthful and convincing

My characters I fit to my idea. Sometimes I find them doing things which are not in accordance with the idea, but which are contrary to their dispositions as I have conceived them. When either of those things happens, I know that either my idea or my characters cannot be true to life, and then I have to start all over again.

I do not take my characters directly from life. Several times. I have had people come to me and say : “Mr. Fitch, I see you put So-and-So in such-and-such a play." Well, they're wrong – I never in my life put any one individual into any play. My characters are all the result of observation, though. Characters interest me tremendously. I can't walk two blocks along the street without meeting several people who excite' my

manner.

and my

own

curiosity. But as for taking any one and posite types, which are the result of obserputting him bodily into a play - no, I don't vation, and these, as a rule, prove to be the do it. My characters are taken from life most convincing to an audience. Sometimes, only in that they are composite types and though, we take people directly ftom life. embody a dozen people whom I have met The Englishman in The Man from Home" and talked with.

is an example of that ; Mr. Wilson and I About the actual time spent in writing, I met him in Rome and reproduced him as we don't know. With me that's the easiest part found him, yet in all the press notices I of it all ; it's a matter in which I'm governed have read of the play that character has been entirely by circumstances

pronounced over-drawn and exaggerated. moods. I never think of touching pen to Since Mr. Wilson and I always talk over paper until I know exactly what I'm going and write our plays together, the people in to write and have thought over my play for them seldom “balk" - not nearly so much at least a year.

as in fiction. Our working hours would Booth Tarkington : All my plays have probably average five a day, though we been written in collaboration with Mr. Wil- sometimes work much longer than that. We son, and that has made the work much first write a brief scenario, then a longer easier ; two minds are always better than scenario, and then dictate the whole play to one. My plays have all been ordered by a stenographer. In that way the dialogue managers for some particular star before takes on a live, natural ring. After that we they have been written, so for me – and re-write the whole piece at least twice, and when I say for me, I also mean for Mr. Wil- finally divide up different acts between us for son — the thing of paramount importance a last polishing-off. The length of time we has been the character of the leading per- have consumed in writing our plays has vasonage in the drama.

ried from four to twelve weeks. “The Man I have first studied the peculiarities of the from Home," I believe, took about eight. man for whom I was writing the piece, and Eugene Walter : How I write my plays found out just what best suited him. I did and how I conceive my plays is absolutely not necessarily give him the same sort of immaterial. I could n't tell you it I wanted part that he had been used to playing, but I to. There are certain social problems which gave him one that he could do well. Then I have got to be met and counted with, and I drew the other characters in contrast to him, write with these in mind. My plots just so that he would be made to stand out strik- come to me, that's all, and I write them beingly.

cause I have to — because the times demand In “ The Man from Home," for instance, them. You'll find all the young playwrights I made the hero a young Indianian of demo- who are doing things will tell you the same cratic spirit, and, in order to throw his per- thing. They don't know how they write ; sonality into bold relief, I grouped about they write because they have to. him a number of Europeanized Americans, The American stage has been abused long and set the scene in Italy. I do not mean enough, and we're now approaching a new to say that I neglect the minor parts, for if epoch. in the drama of the world. In the old they are not convincingly drawn, you might Grecian days the stage supplied the place just as well let your star play with a set of occupied by our newspapers of to-day, and dummies, but I make them all subsidiary to ever since that time the stage has been a the main character. Once having my set of great big factor in the moulding of public characters well in mind, I set out to weave opinion. For the last fifteen or twenty an interesting plot into which they will fit. years that influence has been used to debase, That part is easy, for, of course, Mr. Wilson not to uplift. The harm that has been done and I work it out together, as we do all else by these cheap musical comedies, which apconnected with the play.

peal only to that which is lowest in man, is Usually the characters introduced are com- almost immeasurable. For that a certain

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type of manager is to blame. We've been it is an association of ideas — the more abtrying to draw away from the old conditions stract and metaphysical, the less important for some time, but they would n't let us. the situations become ; the ideas are conNow there is springing up a class of young veyed in dialogue briefly — plot formulates play brokers who are forcing the managers

itself in obedience to types. to accept the plays that the public wants, and I generally, always, if possible, have in not only wants, but needs. These are the mind some definite effeçt I hope to produce men who are doing more than any one else on the mind of the reader, unless there is a to uplift the stage — and they're going to sensational scenic feature where there is no succeed, too.

reason for the writing apart from its immeI don't care for the fact that they don't diate influence on the spectator's feelings, like my plays over in England. They're certainly not on his reasoning faculties. dead, passé, archaic over there. This is the Indirectly I take my characters from real country where the big problems of the world life. One forms an idea from a particular have got to be worked out — this country and generality in type — for instance, right here, where we've got Jew, Irishman, Ready Money Rider in “The Lion and the Frenchman, German, Italian, Russian, and Mouse” might be one particular millionaire ; black man all fighting for existence. And in it was intended to be a composite. Anton the solving of these problems the stage is Von Barwig, in The Music Master," was going to play a very great part.

an old musician I knew in London. Every play that I've written has been I write every day from eight till one — written with a deep, underlying purpose in

afterward

before. I write, mind. I don't know whether or not the whether I have inclination or not but work public has recognized that purpose I hope

I must — 700 or 800 words a day, to which they have — but at all events it has been are added 1,000 more in alteration and addithere just the same. In that respect there tion to those of the previous day. Of course are a whole lot of other young playwrights obstacles arise. Of course characters balk ; just like me. We're just the pioneers in the and when they do you can depend on the field, though. But after we're gone and for- writer balking, too. 'gotten - we will be — there will spring There is no law forcing these conditions – up men who will perpetuate the work and they happen or they don't happen ; it dewill be great.

pends on the inner necessity. If the ground And so, as I said at first, I don't know is well laid, things go smoothly, if not how I write my plays. I write them because not. The motif of a play or its formulative the times demand them - because I have to. stage is largely dependent on the unceasing

Charles Klein : If I am writing a melo- concentration of the author. He wants an drama or a play frankly for the purpose of idea it comes to him, how or why I know theatric effect, I make the characters sub- not ; but here is the idea, and this depends sidiary to the working out of situation ; but largely on inspiration - or it ought to. To in the presertation of a social problem – in clothe it depends on technique, the author's a picture of conditions — the characters con- good taste in selection, characterization, control the sit'iation; sometimes a character struction, etc. ; in fact, the work of playsuggests an idea, sometimes the idea the

writing is so largely interdependent that I character. It depends on the initial impulse, really don't know where one fault leaves off and this in turn depends on the exigency or and the other begins. necessity of the requirements.

I think it's a great mistake for an author A condition of social life to-day presents to write just what he thinks the public wants, a problem. The problem suggests the means for they don't know what they want (they for working itself out, and the characters want whatever is good), and if one's work most likely to bring out the pro and con of is too largely influenced by the momentary the problem are selected. The situation then taste of the public, he is apt to be influenced follows the story, which by this time is sug- to such an extent by the latest success that gested by the characters ; in its final analysis he may be accused of lack of originality.

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