By Eugene Benson (auth.)
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But it was there in the poetry of Villon and Herrick and Burns, as Synge pointed out in the same preface. Again, he may have been thinking of Yeats's work when he claims that the poetry of these men was read by 'strong men, and thieves, and deacons, not by little cliques only'. Synge had little liking or affinity for the melancholy spirituality of the Celtic Twilight or the artificiality offin de siecle poets. The timber of poetry, he argues in a striking phrase, must have 40 Synge and the Theatre 'strong roots among the clay and worms'.
I can only afford to make a very little Theatre,' she wrote to Yeats in 1904, 'and it must be quite simple. ' The new theatre seated 178 persons in the stalls, 186 in the pit, 198 in the balcony. The lighting was by electricity and the stage itself was lit by foot and head reflectors that were used to reinforce the mood and action of the play. The proscenium opening was 21 feet, the width of the stage 40 feet, the depth a little over 16 feet. 24 The new theatre opened on 27 December 1904 with plays by Synge, Lady Gregory and Yeats.
Prose, p. ' One might question Synge's account of life and death on the Aran Islands on the grounds that he is, in fact, projecting his own obsessively tragic view of life on the islanders. Nowhere in his account does he show any feeling for the fervent Catholicism of the islanders which, presumably, might offer strength and solace in time of sorrow and death. Synge, rather, emphasizes their paganism. ' Synge preferred a Greek and pagan ananke, for it allowed him to exploit and dramatize the starkness and despair of the human condition as he perceived it.