Dziennik Chicagoski -- January 28, 1891Our Amateurish Thearicals
(From the editors: This communication is published as we received it. However, we like to express our frank opinion by stating that we do not agree with the writer in some particulars. Other readers are invited to write on this subject).
We must admit that the Polish theatrical movement in our city is very strong, and it is not surprising, because there are hundreds of Poles in Chicago who could give a few scores of amateur plays every year, and each one would draw a large audience.
Whether these theatricals are of benefit to the public, either by furnishing them recreation, or by uplifting them morally, is a question.
Very seldom, is there a theatrical performance given without some kind of additional entertainment, such as dancing, drinking etc., and if it 2so happens that such a performance is held without any supplementing feature, the hall is empty. Do you wish to know why?
For this natural reason we find that a theatrical play alone, performed in the manner as practiced up until now, does not give complete satisfaction. It is true that the most capable persons are selected for this task. It is true that these persons devote much of their time to these plays, frequent rehearsals with great patience, and quite often, after a day of hard work. Yet they do not act well enough to interest the public, because they either do not know their parts well, or cannot be heard. Finally, it appears that they do not understand their roles. At times, they cause laughter at the most tragic moments, and on the other hand, they fail to produce the proper effect at comical scenes. We do not intend to criticize our amateurs unduly, for they endeavor to play their roles as best they can. We should be grateful to them for their gratuitous sacrifice. It is not their fault that they do not play better.3
It is our opinion that a city as large as Chicago ought to have a first-class Polish theater with a personnel capable of giving a performance that would not discredit us in the eyes of the Americans, a performance that would attract the public without any additional entertainments, such as balls or drinking. So far, we have not been able to accomplish this.
The most important factor needed in our own theatrical work is a suitable hall. As we did not have such hall until now, it was impossible for us to conduct theatrical plays. Fortunately, such a hall is under construction now, and it will be ready for use in a short time. Then we should think of organizing a dramatic club.
Above all, we need a dramatic club, which would sponsor theatrical plays regularly at specified times.
It is impossible for such a club to have professional actors. Persons who 4are not young any more, and who work hard, cannot be made good actors. It will be a great accomplishment if they learn their roles well. Such a club can be formed under the direction of our old patriotic organization, Krolowa Korony Polskiej, (Queen of Polish Crown). We are certain that this matter will be taken up at its next meeting.
Such a club would develop theatrical skill, and supply actors. However, it takes a long time to train a person to become a first class actor.
In our opinion, it would be best to establish a dramatic school. Such a school ought to be established and maintained by the people of our parish. We are offering some good suggestions: The school should have a limited number of young students of both sexes, whose ages should not exceed fourteen years for the girls, and eighteen years for the boys. The students should possess such innate abilities and qualifications as: well formed bodies, a good knowledge of reading and writing Polish, and especially good vocal organs, adaptable for singing. The moral conduct of pupils should be under a strict control, and the smallest offense 5against morality should be punished by a dismissal from the school.
The instructions would be given only once a week, on Sundays from 9 to 12 A. M., because we have experienced that evening study does not bring good results. During the first year, the students would be taught, above all, how to speak Polish correctly, how to read and recite poems, prosaic compositions and singing; besides this, the school would give a few easy plays.
Such a school does not need any endowment, because the students would defray the expenses themselves by giving theatrical plays from time to time, and our citizens would surely support it by such large attendance that the hall could not accommodate them.
After a few years of hard work, we would probably be able to see a successful, first class, Polish drama, perhaps "Halka," by Moniuszko, which would satisfy the public in every respect.
II B 1 c 1, I C, II B 2 f
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