Amazed by the fact that Widener Library was able to show him the original manuscript of his first play, Sir Cedric Hardwieke, the majestic Canon of the current hit "Shadow and Substance," was enthusiastic about the state of dramatics at Harvard and the reception which he received at his talk here yesterday, sponsored by the Dramatic Club.
"The stage has become a lecture platform for intellectuals instead of an exciting and thrilling amusement for actors and audience," he said, praising the informal set-up of dramatics at Harvard in comparison with its curricular study at other institutions. Spontaneous productions have more life in them than those which are produced for credit in courses, Hardwicke said he had observed from his own experience,
He remarked that playwrighting should be included as a part of the function of a college dramatic club as well as the production of plays.
Upholding the future of the theatre as opposed to motion-pictures, Hardwicke stated that "dogs, little children and dumb blondes are the best actors before a camera." He emphasized the importance of the audience to dramatic creation, pointing out that no real acting could be done over a two minute stretch with hours of interval between sections of a scene.
He heartily approves of the tendency of some recent shows, such as last season's "Our Town" and "Julius Caesar," to do away with elaborate and "realistic" scenery, declaring that the stage's limits are the audience's imagination.
"When the stage attempts to be realistic," he said, "actors cease to act, they behave. They carry tea-cups and pat the handkerchiefs in their pockets. In this situation playwrights are controlled by the designers of scenery."
His first play, in which he acted on a provincial four of England 30 years ago, was called "Find That Woman," and was produced for him yesterday from Widener's theatrical collection.