BUT CATHOLICS MUST WRITE HONEST PLAYS Catholic Stage Guild's Annual Meeting
By a CH. Reporter Mr. Frank Sheed had some trenchant things to say about the stage and propaganda at the annual general meeting of the Catholic Stage Guild at Wyndham's Theatre, London, on Tuesday afternoon.
" Almost anyone who gets an audience gets also an urge to do that audience good. There is the awful danger of actors giving sermons instead of acting. That may he edifying for the actor, but it is fatal for the onlooker.
"There is a tendency to suggest that the Catholic actor can advance the cause of the Church by his acting. if an actor gets that into his head, then it's time to shoot him. The business of the actor is to act and not to preach.
Messy Little Things
" As a publisher, I have a lot of plays sent to me by Catholics. Usually they are accompanied by letters explaining that they are just the kind of propaganda plays that the Catholic public needs. They all go back.
" What's wrong with most of us is that we see through two eyes, the eye of the Church and the eye through which everyone else sees, and we see out of focus.
"Unless we can so order our mind as to see the world in focus, and can write plays, we shall go on writing those messy little things which the public can avoid if they have been warned in time.
" True seeing is absolutely needed. We must see things as they are, not as we should like them to be."
"Like Chewing Fur " Mr. Shoed accused some of the biographers of the saints as having thought of them not as human beings but just as woolly perfections.
" I can only think that some lives of the saints have been written by very old nuns, too weak to do any other work and too deaf to answer the telephone. They are written in such style that to read them is like chewing fur."
Mr. Gyles 'sham, in a short speech, emphasised that anyone who is a theatregoer can belong to the Catholic Stage Guild.
The treasurer then presented his report, which showed that £100 had been lost in the year because of unpaid subscriptions.
"Don't Be Squeamish " Mgr. Myers, Bishop of Lamas, the chairman, said that he was pleased at the evidence of closer co-operation between the Interval Club and the Stage Guild. He asked the members of the Guild to help their non-Catholic fellow workers in the profession. " You people know something of life and of the duties we owe to God, and you know that your friends are often in need of help both spiritually and materially."
Fr. Finbar Synnett, 0.P., the new Chaplain to the Guild, made the last speech.
" We are registered as a play-producing society.
" In all art today there is a lack of construction. The new novelists arc dinning into us the psychological phenomena of life, but nothing of the meaning of life. Catholics, in their writings, must show what is the purpose of life.
" Great truths will always have an audience, therefore we must encourage Catholics to write plays and not be squeamish about putting the great truths of Catholicism into them."