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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPeck's Sunshine - Tragedy On The Stage
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Peck's Sunshine - Tragedy On The Stage Post by :loudenson Category :Long Stories Author :George W. Peck Date :May 2012 Read :2228

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Peck's Sunshine - Tragedy On The Stage

The tendency of the stage is to present practical, everyday affairs in plays, and those are the most successful which are the most natural. The shoeing of a horse on the stage in a play attracts the attention of the audience wonderfully, and draws well. The inner workings of a brewery, or a mill, is a big card, but there is hardly enough tragedy about it. If they could run a man or two through the wheel, and have them cut up into hash, or have them crowned in a beer vat? audiences could applaud as they do when eight or nine persons are stabbed, poisoned or beheaded in the Hamlets and Three Richards, where corpses are piled up on top of each other.

What the people want is a compromise between old tragedy and new comedy. Now, if some manager could have a love play, where the heroine goes into a slaughter house to talk love to the butcher, instead of a blacksmith shop or a brewery, it would take. A scene could be set for a slaughter house, with all the paraphernalia for killing cattle, and supe butchers to stand around the star butcher with cleavers and knives.

The star butcher could sit on a barrel of pigs' feet, or a pile of heads and horns, and soliloquize over his unrequited love, as he sharpened a butcher knife on his boot. The hour for slaughtering having arrived, cattle could be driven upon the stage, the star could knock down a steer and cut its throat, and hang it up by the hind legs and skin it, with the audience looking on breathlessly.

As he was about to cut open the body of the dead animal, the orchestra could suddenly break the stillness, and the heroine could waltz out from behind a lot of dried meat hanging up at one side, dressed in a lavender satin princess dress, _en train_, with a white reception hat with ostrich feathers, and, wading through the Blood of the steer on the carpet, shout, "Stay your hand, Reginald!"

The star butcher could stop, wipe his knife on his apron, motion to the supe butchers to leave, and he would take three strides through the blood and hair, to the side of the heroine, take her by the wrist with his bloody hand, and shout, "What wiltest thou, Mary Anderson de Montmorence?" Then they could sit down on a box of intestines and liver and things and talk it over, and the curtain could go down with the heroine swooning in the arms of the butcher.

Seven years could elapse between that act and the next, and a scene could be laid in a boarding house, and some of the same beef could be on the table, and all that. Of course we do not desire to go into details. We are no play writer, but we know what takes. People have got tired of imitation blood on the stage. They kick on seeing a man killed in one act, and come out as good as new in the next. Any good play writer can take the cue from this article and give the country a play that will take the biscuit.

Imagine John McCullough, or Barrett, instead of killing Roman supes with night gowns on, and bare legs, killing a Texas steer. There's where you would get the worth of your money. It would make them show the metal within them, and they would have to dance around to keep from getting a horn in their trousers. It does not require any pluck to go out behind the scenes with a sword and kill enough supes for a mess. Give us some slaughter house tragedy, right away.

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