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An experience of A. E. Thomas, as told by himself, will illustrate this difficulty: "Now and then one has to sacrifice a scene or character for strange reasons. One such character was entirely eliminated from The Rainbow because it was too good. This character, intended to be merely in the background of the main story, developed so strongly in the acting that it was ultimately decided that it seriously obscured and weakened the original theme. Eliminating this character deeply disappointed the actress who played it. But there was no help for it."


Sometimes a character cannot so easily be eliminated, and becomes unmanageable. At the end of the play, the dramatist finds himself with the emphasis all in the wrong place because of this character's domination. If you can always keep in mind the fact that you are writing parts that actors will portray, you will find your opinion of the relative values of your characters much changed. Though a personality may seem of slight importance on the written page, it becomes something very different when clothed in flesh and blood. A striking instance of this came to my notice a short time ago. The writer had had considerable experience as a writer of prose and of many one-act plays. But this was the first attempt at a drama of length. As her central figure she had mentally determined on a young woman of force and aptitude. As a contrast, she had created a villain of a very black dye indeed. But—and I do not believe the author yet knows just how it happened— this villain was distinctly picturesque, and actually "hogged the show." Throughout the play he was consistent, frequently amusing—a character part that any of our foremost character-actors would have reveled in playing. The curious part of it was, when the suggestion was made to the author that she re-write her play so as to make this the central figure, she declared she could not do it—that she would alter the play so as to build up the heroine. And so, a splendid acting character, and the possibility of an exceedingly entertaining play, will be lost in a much more conventional structure because the author is really half afraid of her own picturesque monster —unless she has changed her mind.

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