chapter  XXIX
7 Pages

Alas for a Beautiful World!

With my legs straightened, I returned to the theater, which looked like a ripe wheat field bearing a bumper crop in my faraway, flat Galician homeland. It was the season of 1913-14, the harvest time of the Reinhardt Theater, the high point in the development of that great artist. The previous years had already brought productions that were like great theatrical festivals. After the Oedipus in the Schumann Circus, both parts of Faust came to the main stage. The second part of Faust took Berlin by storm. The performance began at fivethirty in the afternoon and ended at twelve-thirty at night. From eight to nine there was an intermission, and the audience went out to dinner. And the Kaiser’s chancellor, Bethmann-Hollweg, came to the theater in the afternoon in a frock coat and after the intermission he reappeared in full dress. Not only the actors, the audience too changed their costumes. The leading parts were prepared by two or even three actors. As at the races, if anything happened to one horse there was another ready to continue in his place. The papers were full of theatrical news and greenroom gossip. Then The Miracle returned to the circus, and after it, the Oresteia. Orestes (Moissi) was hunted therein by the Furies of Greek mythology with strongly plastic, alfresco-like gestures, supported by a powerful speaking chorus which made the five thousand spectators shudder.