HARLEY GRANVILLE BARKER
GRANVILLE BARKER was born at London in 1877. He appears to have
begun his stage career at an early age, when he became an actor
in a provincial company. His first London appearance was in 1892.
He subsequently acted with Lewis Waller, Ben Greet, and Mrs.
Patrick Campbell, and participated in the productions of the
Elizabethan Stage Society. Becoming identified later with the
Stage Society, he produced and acted in a number of Bernard
Shaw's early plays. In 1904 he undertook, together with J.E.
Vedrenne, the management of the Court Theater, where he successfully
experimented in a repertory scheme, producing many new plays
by Shaw, St. John Hankin, Barrie and Galsworthy.
He continued his managerial activities at the Duke of York's
Theater, the Savoy--where his Shakespearian revivals were produced--the
St. James, and the Kingsway. During his later years, Mr. Barker
adapted plays, wrote about the theater, and lectured, both in
England and the United States.
Granville Barker's plays are, in the best
sense of the word, experiments in form. They are a good deal
more than technical feats, to be sure, but one feels that they
are primarily quests after a newer and more flexible medium than
that which the workers in the traditional form habitually use.
"The Madras House," for example, judged by the standards
is hardly a play at all; its artistic unity lies rather in the
theme than in the actual plot. In "Waste," the theme
again--more concrete than in "The Madras House"--dominates
the form. "The Voysey Inheritance," a study of upper
middle-class English life, comes nearer to the traditional dramatic
This article is reprinted
from Representative One-Act Plays by British and Irish Authors.
Ed. Barrett H. Clark. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1921.
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