chapter  23
2 Pages

On the Production of Maeterlinck’s The Miracle of Saint Anthony (First Variant)

During Anthony, [the audience must always be cheerful.]2 We must make sure that they feel Maeterlinck’s smile: kindhearted and pleasant, without a trace of malice. Maeterlinck addresses this smile to his characters, the people he single-handedly put into such a peculiar situation. Let us suppose that St. Anthony did come to these [rich] heirs. Let us

suppose that this miracle did occur. How would these people respond to it-after all, that they are religious and just prayed for the deceased? Naturally, they would not believe [in the saint] … They would

certainly turn him out, and they would certainly feel humiliated. But the miracle did occur, whether they wanted it or not. Here, they can see it with their own eyes: the deceased old woman is alive. How will they take it now-these petty, ridiculous people? It is so clear: if a dead person has risen, this must be God’s doing; for as long as this earth exists, people do not know another force, except for the power of God, a force that could resurrect the dead. Naturally, these people do not believe that he is a saint. Certainly,

she never really died, since she is alive. Certainly, something is shy. Nevertheless, they are certainly grateful to this strange man. But he wants nothing in return. Strange people-these “saints.” How

do we repay them? Give them money, treat them to a cigar, present

them with a necktie or a pipe … All this seems too modern-sounding, spiritually deprived, and awkward. What is this? At this gentleman’s order, Auntie stopped talking and lost her tongue. Oh, this is blackmail; this is something criminal. We must call the

police. And the police arrive-the only powerful tool people have to protect against crooks, drunks, madmen, and blackmailers, when their impudence reaches the limit. Just think: not only do these people pose as saints, they also act as saints, as far as performing miracles. This is too much. In such a case, we must go all the way. True, calling the police is inviting a scandal … But in this case we

have been left no choice.