The Theatre

  • W. B. Yeats


Iremember, some years ago, advising a distinguished, though too little recognised, writer of poetical plays to write a play as unlike ordinary plays as possible, that it might be judged with a fresh mind, and to put it on the stage in some little suburban hall, where a little audience would pay its expenses. I said that he should follow it the year after, at the same time of the year, with another play, and so on from year to year; and that the people who read books, and do not go to the theatre, would gradually find out about him. I suggested that he should begin with a pastoral play, because nobody would expect from a pastoral play the succession of nervous tremors which the plays of commerce, like the novels of commerce, have substituted for the purification that comes with pity and terror to the imagination and intellect. He followed my advice in part, and had a small but perfect success, filling his small theatre for twice the number of performances he had announced; but instead of being content with the praise of his equals, and waiting to win their praise another year, he hired immediately a wellknown London theatre, and put his pastoral play and a new play before a meagre and unintelligent audience.


Intellectual Tradition Small Theatre Pastoral Play Orator2 Repeat Modern Play 
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Copyright information

© Mrs W. B. Yeats 1961

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  • W. B. Yeats

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