Indianapolis News, 1/15/1916, p. 14
not I up. I at it von did out re organization of a A of it he " ' ' - last (O.) Author of "On Trial11 Explains How He Happened to Write His' jL. Play Backward ; mF A ONE - LEGGED MAN or a one - eyed woman writes a play, , why that' all very Interesting, but it doesn't make the play Itself any Kjttfsr V.vrt If T im nnlr twentv one I don't see what that's got to do with my play. The New Tork reviewers once having caught him, the lanky boy author of "On Trial" exploded thus with a mild sort of wrath in his tone, and then subsided again into - bashfulness. A voluble lady whom he had encountered on his "first night" had steadily refused to believe him the author of the drama that had taken New York by storm, and referred persistently to "his father's story." For Elmer L. Kelzensteln la nothing Notes and Comment Comment on Plays ' and Players OOTII TARKINQTON'S new play, "The Ohio Lady," has finally been cast after numerous difficul ties in getting the right people and It has been in rehearsal aUrama - T.11? ,l..on the othr hand - no week In New York under the direction of George Tyler, Klaw & Erlanger, and the authors, Mr. Tarkington and Julian Street, preparatory to Its first presentation presentation on any stage Monday evening, . January January 24, in Columbus, O. In addition to Mary Nash, tha choice of whom for the title role was announced several weeks ago, the oompany will comprise Eugene O'Brien, Grace Fliklns, John Flood, Nellie Mclienry, JBvelyn Pyle, Everett Butter - field, Ethel Intropidl, Howard "Kyle. George Abbott, Menifee Johnson and Leslie Ryecroft. , "The Greatest Nation," the work of Mrs. Marian Crighton, the latest edition to the ranks of lioosier playwrights, has been postponed until next Wednesday, when it will be presented In New Haven. Wilmington and" Washington precede the New York engagement. Cyril Scott has joined the company. - Raymond Hitchcock has arrived In Britain, but he hasn't disentanglad his sea legs from his corn tassel mop enough to show the English how funny an American American can be. "Broadway and Buttermilk" never would do for the name of a play, and so Blanche Ring has changed it to "Jane O'Day from Broadway." Whether Jane has devoured the aforesaid buttermilk Is j not made known. , Mme. Borgny Hsmmer, a Scandinavian actress who played under the auspices of Maurice Browne in Chicago, has organized organized a company - of - her own, and at the Fine Arta theater Monday she will begin a season of two weeks In repertory, presenting presenting two plays, "Agnete." by Amalie Skram, and "Theresa Raauin," by Emile Zola. - , John Craig has discovered a new play, Th Woman Hunter." which he will plsy with only four characters at his Castle Square theater, Boston. It is saux 10 oe by a well known playwright hiding under the nom de plume of unes wanton. Andreas Dippel. whose light opera pro duction, i "The Lilac uommo. - was seen here recently, has another - in; rehearsal, originally called "Hoheit Tanst Walzer" In Vienna and renamed "Princess Tra - la - la" for its American production in Atlantic Atlantic City January 2S. After long absence from the New Tork i stage in a new play, Mrs. hiki enters tne metropolis next week in Marian de Forest's Forest's new comedy of Pennsylvania Dutch life, "Erstwhile Susan." Miss de Forest founded her play on Helen Martin's novel, "Barnabetta , Owen Davis landing it again.' This time he has Robert H. Davis, of the Munsey publications, for a collaborator. The piece is called "Any House" and it will be produced produced about February 1 by Sargent Aborft, of opera fame. - Anna 'Pavlowa left some very much needed sketches and notes in Berlin before before the war roke out and now she desires desires a passport from Secretary Lansing to enable ber to go and get them. Grace La Rue ia trying to emulate Yvette Guilbert in presenting a program of costume character songs. . ' Harry Lauder's comedy, "The Night Before," Before," was acted in Boston for the first time this week at the Toy theater, . now renamed the Copley. . - . Nowadays. .'They . tell me Tottie Tiptoes ha gone back something awful." , ,; - . "She surely has. Two or three year ago she could have had a minor part In any moving picture company In the country and' this year she Is only the star in a Broadway production." Puck. CO - OPERATION IS HELD ANNUAL SHORT COURSE FOR THE FARMER ENDS AT PURDUE. SHIPPING BILL DISCUSSED I . Special to The Indianapolis Newsf ' LAFAYETTE. Ind., January 15. The fourteenth annual farmers' short course at Purdue university ended today. The last work was a series of practical demonstrations demonstrations In various phases of farming. The winners of prizes In the corn show also received their awards. Despite bad weather and the large amount of sickness In various parts of the state, more than 1.700 farmers attended the - course. As a result of the enthusiasm shown, greater efforts will be put forth to conserve conserve soil fertility, increase yields and raise the standard of farm life. One of the leading topics discussed was the increasing increasing need of co - operation among farmers. Nearly all of the speakers referred referred to this need. Many of the farmers also said that they realized that the advancement advancement of country life must accompany accompany agricultural development .Vrooman Is Speaker. TO BE INCREASING NEED short of an infant prodigy - Over night no Imuran inn auBject or iiroadway chatter. chatter. Over night he accomplished ; w hat many a seasoned playwright can not hope to accomplish with a single magnum opuj in a lifetime the awakening of the critic s curiosity. "There's not a new thing in" the whole rlay - everythlng there is as old as Aristotle," Aristotle," explained the precocious Mr. llru - enstein with an embarrass - ! iittie grin - "The only thing that Is different Is the way I wrote It.'7 "The way you wrote It?" "Backward." r "But why backward T" "Practice." Mr. Beizentein moohd his already smooth red hair and twiddled bis derby hat nervously,,H Isn't spoiled y et. "Last winter I was reading a ritiM.m by Clayton Hamilton In. which he said the plays then on Broadway were - so Poorly done they could eoull be acted backward as well as forward. "It occurred to m that it wmi,i v lnterenting experiment to try to play backward lust to see how it would work out to make It analytic Instead of antitheticdeductive antitheticdeductive lnstpad of inductive to make It break down instead of build up." This he said aulte calmlv if it tx - r. nothing to upset all the conr5ntions cf ' playwrlting that have obtained since tha dsys of the Stagyrlte, More important : "ptlons; too. are violated in "On i T. L : conventions the dtsresrarl of) which Broadway has strictly forbidden. ! For irstance. there Is no comedy what - 1 ever. There is no tirade full of noble and ' generalizing sentiment to bring a voiiey ; vi oppianse. mere are no quotable epl nnisn. ine conversation Is elm ana cirect. I Just wrote it backward, you see. reaffirmed Mr. Reienstein, as If that explained explained everything. "it's the novelty of it that made it eue - eesful. After lat year's . season f nauseating plays, there was a tremendous I demand for novelty. This play happened to fill that demand, that's all. , . j "Funny how it all happened, too. " I i Vad worked for about three months ort ! it. Then I took it to Arthur Horit!rs,.b - i cause I said to myself that the man who I k - i xno nor i - uue men tiirr wai just the kind who would see the possibilities possibilities of an idea like mine, if there were any possibilities.. I si.nt It to another man. too. , "That was on Monday. Two days later I had notes from both of them ask'n me to come to eee them. I saw Mr Hopkins first and closed with him after we had talked it over for a few mtnutr 'On Trial' isn't the play I sold to Mr. Hopkins, either." "Jt isn't the play?" . "No," returned the amazingly candii youth, who, for all his bashfulness and hesitation, expresses himself with a simplicity simplicity and directness that explains the stralght - f rom - the - shoulder dialogue which is one or the outstanding features of his play. .. - j "No. ' The Idea was the same a min on i trial for murder, and the story worked j out from the end to the beginning. Hut ' In that first play I had backed up a whole generation and gone back to aa old Kentucky Kentucky feud' in the boy hood of the hero's father mixed ide - nrity and all that it wa . quite a complicated plot. "Mr. Hopkins bought it, and then hs j told me it was a good idea, but that I d better get a little more human nature and a little less plot Into it. bo I went ! home and wrote an - entirely fresh piay new cnaractera, new piot merely usnn the same framework. I wrote it in ei days.'; This' second play stands virtually as it came from Mr. Reizenstein'e ren, something something which probably does not happen to one playwright in a hundred. "They blue - penciled it a little," he observed. observed. "But they didn't put anything fit; they cut a bit." - . "You must have had some training to be able to write 'clean copy.' as they say In the newspaper room! "No, I tiever had any professional experience. experience. I'm an amateur." "But you must have had i someguid - ancer "Oh, yes, I read all the plays I can gst my hands on and go to see all the plays I can. Don't you think that's the only way to write plays? 1 mean, don't yovi think it's Impossible to be taught to write a play? All that the books and the professors professors and even the playwrichts them selves can do is to tell you - what not to do what pitfalls to avoid." - 'What have you read?" This a little severely. ' "Most all I could find," hetriswered meekly. "I read William Archer s - book and Brander Matthews's. I even tarkled Freytag. They're all good, sound writers, and when you fiih with them you f.av enthusiastically: 'So that's how they 'il l it. .I'll do it myself. But by - the tliwe you've rustled out your paper and pencil you've forgotten what it is you were told to do." . . i "But haven't you had some exnerl"n In writing moving . picture scenario? - ' . This Is evidently a sore point. L "Why, why?' - demanded the boy plte - ously. "Why do they insist that Kince - I could hold a pencil I have been writing moving pictures? That was In the newspapers newspapers the next morning. Also thst f was said to be a newspaper reporter from the west. I've never wrttten anything for moving pictures and don't - Intend to. I've never been west of - Hcbokerj. "I want to try a lot of different things, firm. imiv. melodrsma Just expert" - ment. I've stopped trying to be a .lawyer" now ana am going to bivo au nu;, to playwriting.f If I have got anything to say eventually maybe X haven't. birT I can only hope I have I want to be is well prepared for It as possible." "What sort of play do you propose to write finally?" "A sociological play." "A play with a purpose?" Mr. Reisenstein refused to be frightened out of the assertion. "Yes, a play with a sermon in it, a moral to It I know thct's a risky - thing to try. But It seems to me that gradually gradually the stage is going to replace the pul - nlt That has been said a good many times, but I believe the tendency ia pxo nounced. . "It may be tendency toward good morals, morals, but won't It make very bad plays in the long run?" "Not necessarily. I don't believe in letting letting the purpose run away with the rlay, but it can rutnmrallel with It I thin 'Kindling' was a good play with a purpose. purpose. It was crude. It made a good many concessions ' to popular tate. but for all that it was a gowfl play.", "Are you a Socialist?" "Yes' - - "Shall you write a soclallstlo rliy? "I'm afraid tshalL But not right away. I vant to practice a grtat deal firet, but take my time." "Practice on the poor pu&itcr.wr. j;etr zenstein?" . . . "I'm afraid that's what In doing in On Trial.' " . , .. "Then you don't think 'On Trial' IS a good play - ?" j "Not especially.' I Technically it's pretty good. And there's no doubt. I r,"f. - Tt it's a successful play. Arthur Hopkins is largely responsible for that he's a genius In his way. But thnt doesn't mean that it's a good play. Few successful plays are good ones. When a man combines a good play with a successful one, then he's a genius. "But there's nothing beyond the technique technique and the Ingenuity of idea in my nlav that is especially commendable. It doesn't have anyftheme, you He. It y doesn't get much of anywhere. H'b Just, a novelty and entertainment." - '