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Bureau of Educational Dramatics

Community Service

All over the Old World, the pantomime has made a place for itself, and while it has had fluctuations of favor, it has always been a potent factor in the entertainment of the people. The exact period when the pantomime attained its popularity is so remote that it is lost in obscurity, but it undoubtedly goes back to a very early age, for records of it are found in India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It is also known that the Pantomimi of Julius Caesar introduced the art into Britain at the time of his invasion, 52 B. C., for both the Roman writer, Martial, and the British Queen, Boadicea, mention that the conqueror brought these players with him. Indeed, he never travelled without them, as they provided for him his favorite form of amusement and relaxation. Even their name was unchanged until the early seventeenth century, for before that both Ben Jonson and Bacon wrote of them as Pantomimi, and Dr. Samuel Johnson first mentions them as Pantomimes.

In America, however, the pantomime has never been of more than passing interest until the productions of Gertrude Hoffman and Rheinhardt about ten years ago.

Since then, there has been a steady growth of the ancient art, not only because of its artistic value, but for the training it affords to the actor. As it has to be "gotten over" entirely by posture, gesture, and expression, not only of the face but of the entire body, it imposes the most careful preparation and must be presented with absolute precision and perfection. The action must coordinate with the idea, and no movement must be made that does not convey a pertinent meaning, thus inducing the habit of restraint, control and careful analysis of a part with all its inner motives and aims. It also develops the imagination, does away with self-consciousness, and teaches the artist the knack of "getting over" the particular points he wants to make. It is conducive, too, to physical development, as there must be muscular as well as emotional control in order to give effective expression to an idea or a passion.

As Mr. William Lee Sowers wrote in Drama of May, 1919: "Pantomime training would considerably raise the level of acting. Improved knowledge of gesture, facial expression and miming with the body would enable an actor to make fewer demands on the voice, would give more rhythmic movement, and more beauty of pure design in pose and grouping."

The benefits of the pantomime, however, are not restricted to the actor, but extend to the entire personnel of the theatre, to the director, who is enabled to experiment with new material adapted to express the fantastic, whimsical, poetic and beautiful; to the designer of scenery and costumes who may give rein to unlimited imagination in the employment of all the picturesque background and habiliment of the past; to the electrician who may work out effects in lighting that will reach from the realms of the celestial to the inner depths of the Inferno; to the musician who may set to music the entire gamut of emotions, supernatural as well as human, that can be given body and shape, sense and sound. It may be that one person would combine all these and so at last would be developed the Ideal Director.

For a number of years, the Little Theatres in the United States have recognized all these values of the pantomime, and many of them, notably the Washington Square Players and the Neighborhood Players of New York, have made some exceptional productions. Others that have worked along the same lines are the Portmanteau Theatre, under Stuart Walker; the Workshop, of Chicago; the Stage Society, of Philadelphia; the 47 Workshop, Harvard University; the New England Conservatory, of Boston, under Clayton D. Gilbert; and Sam Hume, at Harvard, and in the Toy Theatre, Boston. It is, perhaps, because of their activities that the movement is becoming so wide-spread, and has especially interested the amateurs of all grades and classes. Teachers in schools and directors of clubs, alike, are employing the pantomime as an approach to the spoken play, and this alone is a good augury for a better drama in all its forms and phases.

The appended list has been made in graded form beginning with simple pantomimes for children and progressing to selective pantomime productions of the Little Theatre groups.


The Shadow Garden of Shut-Eye-Town, Sleeping Beauty, Hiawatha with full instructions for production, lists of music, description of costumes, all may be obtained from the Neighborhood Players, Neighborhood Theatre, 466 Grand Street, New York City

The Penn Publishing Company, 925 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, Pa., and Walter Baker, 5 Hamilton Place, Boston, Mass., issue books of Pantomimes especially adapted to children and junior groups.

Four Humorous Pantomimes and a movie, Wild Nell, are to be found in Icebreakers by Edna Geister. Obtained from Brentano, East 27th Street and 5th Avenue, New York City.

Tony Denier's Parlor Pantomimes with two productions to each pamphlet mostly of humorous nature, may be obtained from Samuel French, price 35c per pamphlet. Pantomimes especially recommended from these pamphlets are:

The Vivandiere or Daughter of the Regiment. Peasants, Hungarian soldiers, Cossacks, etc. 8 males and 1 female

Dame Trot and Her Komical Cat. Very amusing. In same pamphlet with the Vivandiere

M. Dechalumeau or The Birthday Fete. French court costumes. 5 male and 3 female characters

The Demon Lover or The Frightened Family. In same pamphlet with M. Dechalumeau

Jocko or The Mischievous Monkey. Brazilian Comedy. The monkey is played by a boy or man. 5 male and 2 female characters The Conscript or How to Avoid the Draft.

In same pamphlet with Jocko

Cat Fear by Marion N. Gleason. Music by Harold Gleason. Japanese story of a girl who saved her lover by playing on her guardian's fear of cats. 1 interior setting. 2 male and 2 or 6 female characters. Dance introduced. 20 minutes. Obtained from The Woman's Press, 600 Lexington Avenue, N. Y. C. Royalty $5

Fashion Review down Petticoat Lane. Music and posture. I setting. 39 characters. Obtained from The Woman's Press. No royalty

The Potter's Dream by Clara E. Sacket. Art contributions of all the nations brought to the Potter who seeks to find their message. Imagination reads the story of each as it is posed against a vase. 1 scene, 1 interior. 1 male and 13 female characters. Obtained from The Woman's Press. Royalty

Rameses Dreams by Marion N. Gleason. An Egyptian romance of a watchman and the daughter of Rameses. Dancing and a musical accompaniment. 1 act, an interior. 9 or more characters. Obtained from The Woman's Press. Royalty $5.00

Scenes and Songs of Home by Marion N. Gleason. A love story and bits of humor developed to the accompaniment of familiar songs.

6 male and 5 female characters. 15 to 30 mintes. Obtained from The Woman's Press. Royalty $1.00

Three Pantomimes by Betzner. The Fortune Teller, The Awakening of Spring, Celestial Love. All good but the last rather exceptional. Obtained from The Woman's Press, price 45c. Royalty

The Mistletoe Bough by Henry R. Bishop. A story of Ginevra, a bride who hides in a chest and could not be found. Obtained from Drama Publishing Company, Chicago, Ill.

Seven Gifts by Stuart Walker. A Christmas pantomime of unusual beauty may be obtained from The Playground, 1 Madison Avenue, New York City

The Shepherd in the Distance. Produced by the Washington Square Players of New York City, is in press and may soon be obtained from the Drama Bookshop, 7 East 42nd Street, New York City

The Neighborhood Players. The Neighborhood Theatre, 466 Grand Street, New York City, have some especially artistic pantomimes which they would consider releasing upon proper application

The Romance of the Rose by Sam Hume. Produced in Cambridge and elsewhere by the author. Application for production must be made to Sam Hume, University of California, Berkeley, California

Clare M. Tousley Recently two hundred social workers came together, at the Russell Sage Building, New York, to discuss plans for reorganizing the National Social Workers' Exchange.

For some time friends of the Exchange had felt that employment, as its sole function, was not a broad enough one to enlist the backing and interest of the great rank and file in social work. The feeling had also been in the air that some national social work body must shortly take up the larger task of working out the problems in the various fields of social work, that are blocking our attainment of a common goal, recognized professionalization.

A concrete plan was advanced at the meeting that day, which suggested that the employment work become simply one of several departments of the Exchange, instead of the star performer.

First, a Recruiting Department was suggested, whose functions would be to plan a coordinated, broad recruiting program,

Secondly, a department should be organized to start each branch of social work to defining and analyzing its functions. With this data Vocational studies should be begun by experts in this department to start formulating the demarcations between these various fields and work out the relation of one to another. This would involve the consideration of such questions as, Whať training and back-ground are advisable for each field?

A third department would add to the placement work, that of intensive vocational advising. This would entail the compiling and distributing of all such information for constant use of members of the Exchange.

An Extension Department of the Exchange was also advised. A monthly bulletin called The Compass will be published.

The above plan was enthusiastically indorsed by those present at the meeting and a Central Council of sixty members, selected to represent as many kinds of social work as possible, was elected at this meeting.

Working committees from this group have already started putting plans in action. The Exchange will have a general director and associates besides an enlarged staff, to undertake the

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