All this would be discouraging were not these conditions somewhat counteracted by drama as we find it in our schools, colleges, and social settlements. As far back as the sixteenth century in England and on the Continent the value for pronunciation, enunciation, and deportment of acting by school children was recognized. Ralph Radcliffe, a schoolmaster of Hitchen in Hertfordshire, wrote many plays for his scholars. Nicholas Udall, successively a master of Eton and Westminster schools, left us one of the early landmarks of English drama, “Ralph Roister Doister,” a mixture of early English dramatic practice and borrowings from the Latin comedy. On the Continent, fathers and mothers gathered often, fondly to watch their boys in similar Latin or vernacular plays. In like manner to-day, all over this country, in grammar and high schools, wise teachers are guiding their pupils in varied expression of their dramatic instinct. Many a high school to-day has, as part of its equipment, a small stage on which standard plays of the past, plays selected from the best written to-day, and, occasionally, even plays written by the students themselves are given. From participation in such performances more results than a mere gain in enunciation, pronunciation, and deportment. The standards of a youth who associates often with the best in dramatic literature must improve. Inculcate thus pleasantly right standards of drama, and the lure of vaudeville and picture show is weakened. But the training must be broad: our youth must know the best—comedy, tragedy, farce, burlesque—in the drama of to-day and yesterday. 18No such training of our youth can ever be complete if in the home there is no real understanding, at least from reading, of what the best in drama has been. Otherwise how can the elders sympathize with this natural demand of the young, for probably they will not recognize either the worthiness or the permanence of the appeal which the drama properly makes. While youth inevitably seek entertainment in the theatre, their elders must see to the kind of entertainment provided. That is a fair and natural division.

Year by year we receive at Ellis Island people from all over the world, people little fitted for the responsibilities of a citizenship that was planned for a people relatively homogeneous and trained for centuries in a growing political power which rested on the responsibility of the individual. How shall we reveal to this immigrant what this great varied American life means and thus assimilate him into the body politic? Seeking an answer to this problem, the settlement houses have found one of their most effective means in the drama. The southern or southeastern European, filled with emotion, loves to act. In the settlement house, through carefully selected plays, he learns our language and gains the ideals of the land in which he is to live.

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