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Sibyl Thorndike gives a talk

30 October 2020

October 29th, 1920.

[Sibyl Thorndike was appearing in Sewell Collins’s G. H. Q. Love, part of Joseph Levy’s Grand Guignol experiment at the Little Theatre, in London. It was often referred to as the “lavatory” play. A sympathetic review over C. B. Mortlock’s initials had appeared on 10 September 1921 (page 233).]

THE session of the Church Congress devoted to the subject of “Christ and Recreation” was much more fully attended than the concurrent session dealing with reunion. The speeches of Miss Sybil Thorndike and others have been so fully reported in the daily Press that it is only necessary to add our voice to that of Miss Thorndike in her exposure of the futility of the present mode of censoring stage plays. It is the commonest thing for our dramatists to present situations which deal lightly with sexual immorality. There is not the least difficulty about it so long as the fact is not stated in so many words. The result is that more innuendoes are discovered by the prurient than were ever intended. No form of art can grow wholesomely under imposed conditions of insincerity. A play in which Miss Thorndike is at present acting has evoked protest. We were constrained to defend it on the ground that it made vice appear horrible and repellent rather than seductive. Half the musical plays in London deal with precisely similar ideas, but tricked out with music and gaiety they pass unquestioned. Such plays are infinitely more immoral than a grim and realistic presentation of a sordid view of life that leaves one shuddering.

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