Spring 1945 • Vol. VII No. 2 Nonfiction |

The Drama at Ebb

"The drama is always at a low ebb." —Bernard Shaw. No one could deny that the situation of the theatre is today very problematic. Many discussions of the problem, however, go wrong not in denying its existence but in regarding it as new and peculiar to our generation, and thus in attributing it to some localized cause, such as the rise of movies or the high Manhattan ground rents. It should be recognized that the theatre is almost always a problem. Over a century ago Carlyle wrote: "Nay, do not we English hear daily for the last twenty years, that the Drama is dead, or in a state of suspended animation; and are not medical men sitting on the case, and propounding their remedial appliances, weekly, monthly, quarterly, to no manner of purpose ?" Such statements are to be found not only in times of dramatic drought but also in the harvest seasons. Looking back on the 1890's today, we regard them as years of considerable dramatic achievement; but Bernard Shaw's Dramatic Opinions,

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