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THE COMIC SPIRIT                    71
We have on our modern stage descendants of these low comedians, but their antics can hardly be considered as art, even of a lower degree. They are useless and auxiliary only to impoverished artists, who are unable to pro­voke a laugh in another way.
To resume! I repeat that I have no inten­tion of establishing a theory of expression of the comic spirit.
I have said the sense of humor is a natural gift and an artist will be able to sing a comic song or play a comedy or a farce only accord­ing to his own sense of humor.
We have in our French literature gems of human comedy in the works of Moliere. Have they been played or are they played as they should be? I hardly think so.
Venerable dramatic artists, possibly without any sense of humor or with a limited sense of humor, have built up a tradition how to play Moliere. We all know that tradition is a strait-jacket put on every artistic tempera­ment. Other artists, familiar with the history of literature, who have read that Moliere was an actor of the streets and that he took lessons from Scaramouche how to make funny faces, how to move his chin, how to lift his eyes, how to move his wig by a muscular effort of his

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III