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12 'STAGE MANAGEMENT IN THE IRISH NATIONAL THEATRE' AN UNKNOWN ARTICLE BY GEORGE MOORE? By Jack Wayne Weaver (Greensboro College) In the September 1904 issue of John Eglinton's periodical, DANA: AN IRISH MAGAZINE OF INDEPENDENT THOUGHT, appears "Stage Management in the Irish National Theatre," ascribed to one "Paul Ruttledge."' Aside from the question of who "Paul Ruttledge" was and why DANA should have been publishing an article so blatantly antagonistic to the Abbey Theatre, students of the period must have puzzled over the familiarity of style, method of attack and illustrations used. By assigning the essay to George Moore one can answer the questions the article poses, explain the name or pseudonym of the author, and clarify the meaning of a hitherto vague letter from W. B. Yeats to Frank Fay. In order to assign the article to Moore, however, one must first review some of the biographical facts of his association with several theatres, and examine not only the article in DANA but pertinent meterÃ-ais outside the periodical as well. As biographers of the novelist have attested, George Moore became interested in drama in Paris during the 1870's2 and in staging when he returned to London some ten years later and discovered the benighted state of the English theatres. Having been tutored in the construction of plays by Bernard Lopez and having observed Antoine's techniques of staging,3 Moore, late in the 1880's, began a series of articles on the subject of staging, on the possibility of producing a drama which could be called literature, and on the position of the actor-managers who could control the kinds of play produced.^ Since the tenor of Moore's articles seemed to be calling for an "independent theatre" (in fact, one article was titled "The Necessity of Establishing an English Theatre Libre"), J. T. Grein, when he organized such a theatre, asked Moore to help with the selection of plays and to assume some of the managerial duties, particularly those of stage manager.5 After the demise of Grein's endeavor about 1897, Moore was called upon by W. B. Yeats and Edward Martyn to aid in forming the Irish Literary Theatre, his duties being those of director and stage manager.° According to his own account, which I have been able to substantiate for the most part, he put THE HEATHER FIELD and THE COUNTESS CATHLEEN through the initial stages of production in 18997 and apparently handled all details of staging and directing for THE BENDING OF THE BOUGH and MAEVE for their production in 1900.8 Similarly, in 1901 (the last year of the Irish Literary Theatre's program), after having consigned the poetical DIARMUID AND GRANIA to the directorship of Frank R. Benson,9 he assumed temporarily the duties of directing Douglas Hyde's Gaelic play, THE TWISTING OF THE ROPE.10 From these evidences, one sees that Moore was wel1-acquainted with the process of staging and directing and must have appeared indispenable to Yeats and Martyn in their first attempts at theatrical organization. Yet, before the bones of the Irish Literary Theatre were cold, Yeats, G. W. Russell (AE), Hyde, and Frank and W. G. Fay began anew and neglected to invite Moore to take part in Ireland's second theatrical venture.'1 Several of Yeats' letters to Frank Fay and others, however, suggest that Moore was doing all he could to force his way into the new company.12 One other bit of background knowledge appears essential. In 1901, before the conclusion of the Irish Literary Theatre, Yeats and Moore had discussed the possibility of collaborating on a play in which the hero would renounce all material possessions in order to pursue the path of virtue and sway others to imitate his example. As 13 most students of the period know, the play (eventually titled V/HERE THERE IS NOTHING) was finally done without Moore's official aid and with Yeats' public assertion that the novelist had no claim to materials contained in the pi ay.13 The two writers in fact quarrelled about the play from the inception of the idea in I9OI (or the play's publication in 1902...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 12-17
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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