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of his confreres, they will confer a favor It is not a reasonable assumption that on Mrs. Smith and her stepson, Mr. In- Mr. Kerr, disguised, retrieved the fortune, ger (who are well-known and highly re- as he would have made a critical clean-up spected residents of Oakland), if he, and would hardly have gone to all the they, will make what appears to him, trouble of building a bungalow and tunthem, as an equitable division of the neling through the rock to reach a spot wealth that dropped into the theological, so much more easily attained by the in lieu of into the transmigratory lega- method pursued by the heroes of this tee's lap.
SAN FRANCISCO'S PASSION PLAY
BY WILL SCARLET
O ANY ONE who does not know in their rented pews on Sunday morning.
San Francisco intimately, the Men of that class elsewhere go to church; idea of a Passion Play being here, they stay at home. Many San Fran
produced in the metropolis of ciscans, it is safe to say, do not know the Pacific Coast must appear something what the inside of a church looks like; of an anomaly. The man in Michigan but those who do know are consistent worwho reads about our graft prosecutions, shipers. They are true to the basic printhe Vassar girl whose cousin Tom lived ciples of revealed religion, and they have here for six months, and the short-skirted the courage of their creeds.
As a consetourist from classic Boston who has par- quence, San Francisco's churches are well ticipated in a specially conducted China- supported, and the men and women who town tour-all these and more ci their ilk support them are actuated by a genuine are very likely to raise their eyebrows, if religious spirit. This it is that made so not decorously to wink, when they read of signal a success of the Passion Play reSan Francisco producing a Passion Play. cently produced under the direction of the Have they not all heard that San Fran- Franciscan Fathers. cisco is the wickedest city in the world? As originally planned, the Passion Play They may not altogether believe it, of was to have been a strictly parochial procourse; but at the same time they are duction designed for the edification of the prone to hold, with a fair degree of cer- German catholics who attend St. Bonitainty, that San Francisco is not precisely face's Church in Golden Gate avenue. The a devotional center.
offering was to be staged in the parish hall We who are on the spot, we who were —the expenditure of time and money was born here and raised here and live here, to be small, and the great world was to know better. We know that San Francisco know nothing whatever of the occurrence. has an unsavory side—how otherwise could Nothing more ambitious was in the mind Eastern visitors find life here worth of Father Josaphat Kraus, who planned while ?—but we also know that the typical the production. San Franciscan is not by any means a But San Francisco thought otherwise. had lot. Furthermore, if we have probed Public sentiment was aroused, and potent a little beneath the surface of things, the influence was brought to bear upon the fact has been brought home to us that San humble Franciscan, with the result that Francisco abounds with men and women the sacred drama was presented on a scale possessed of strong, deep and practical re- of almost unbelievable magnificence and ligious convictions. Too long has San grandeur. San Francisco is now justly Francisco been regarded as a city of res- entitled to the name of a second Oberamtaurants—and other things; it is oppor- merga11—unless, indeed, Oberammergau tune to emphasize the fact that San Fran- deserves to be called a second San Francisco is likewise a city of churches.
cisco. In itself the fact might not count for Twenty-five thousand dollars is a conmuch were we not to bear in mind that servative estimate of the cost of the prochurchgoers in San Francisco differ great- duction, a cost which involved acres of ly from church-goers elsewhere. There is scenery, countless yards of expensive cosvery little smug religiosity here. We are tumes and miles of electric wiring. The not over-burdened with men who cheat largest auditorium in the city was charand steal and lie all week, and then sit tered for the season of rehearsals and
ductions, and a stage constructed 234 feet work—he is an accomplished scholar and long and 65 feet deep—the largest stage linguist—Father Josaphat brought to his ever used west of Chicago. To further routine labors a mind capable of convertthe acoustic properties of the building, a ing experience into knowledge. His duties net of finest piano wire was stretched from in the confessional, in the hospital, in the wall to wall, with results commensurate asylum, brought him
asylum, brought him close to human with the expense and originality of the de- nature. He learned men and the ways of vice.
men, their strength and their weakness; Rightly to understand the Passion Play and this knowledge brought the conviction we must know something of the man who that, despite what prosy moralists may stands sponsor for it. Father Josaphat say to the contrary, the average man is inKraus is the direct antithesis of the popu- fluenced less by reason than by emotion. lar conception of the Franciscan monk. He Father Josaphat is a Catholic monk, is not corpulent, nor florid, nor, in the of- and the reason why the Catholic monk exfensive sense, jolly. Father Josaphat is ists to-day is that he may help his fellow
small in stature and slightly built, with men to live better, nobler lives. So Father a well-shaped head delicately poised above Josaphat sought to do his little share in the expansive collar of his brown monastic the great work of uplifting humanity. And habit. His face is youthful, almost boy- there is no suggestion of cant in the exish—the face of a man who, shielded from pression as it is understood by men like the sordid things of life, has devoted years him. He sincerely strived for the betterto the calm contemplation of
eternal ment of the man in the street-for this he truth.
labored and prayed. And then, finding For something like a score of years, that the man in the street is profoundly Father Josaphat has labored in the work influenced by an appeal, rightly made, to of the Catholic priesthood at St. Boniface's his emotional nature, Father Josaphat Church. Admirably trained for his life asked himself this question : “How can I
make some mighty appeal to the emotional remote German village is one thing; a nature of the man in the street, an appeal passion play in a bustling, cosmopolitan that will result in his becoming wiser and American city is quite another. This parbetter and nobler, an appeal that will ticular aspect of San Francisco's Passion bring him nearer to God and make of him Play demands emphasis. more of a man?”
In the construction of his sacred drama, The Passion Play of San Francisco is Father Josaphat followed, along general the answer to that question. Believer and lines, the play which has made Oberamunbeliever agree on this, the Catholic mergau famous. From the German drama monk devoted to a life of self-immolation he adopted the unique and impressive deand service, and the fool that says in his vice of a triple stage; that is, a central heart, “There is no God," are here at one stage flanked by two smaller stages. On -in all the history of the world, Christ- the main stage was enacted the life story whether considered as man or as Man-God of Christ; on the stages at right and left -is the hero transcendent. What is truly scenes were depicted from the Old Testàheroic tears at the heartstrings, every man ment. The Old Testament scenes were of the red corpuscle thrills at the recital chosen with a view to emphasize the symof deeds of heroism. It is purely an emo
bolism of the sacred drama and to portray, tional appeal; but emotion, and not rea- in a manner at once vivid and convincing, son, rules the world.
the relation between the types and propheThis consideration it was that gave the cies of the old dispensation and their fulSan Francisco Passion Play birth. To bet- fillment in the life of the Savior. ter man, I must appeal to the emotional In the fourth act of the first division of in man; the emotional nature thrills at the production, for instance, while on the touch of the heroic; the supreme hero the main stage was depicted the Last Supis Christ, and the story of his life is the per and the betrayal of the Master by tale of heroism most exalted. Therefore, Judas for thirty pieces of silver, on the the Passion Play will touch man's emotion flanking stages were presented the sacrifice most intimately and will aid him to be- of bread and wine made by the Priest of come truer to himself and his God. Such, the Most High, Melchisedec, and the barsubstantially, was the way Father Josa- tering of the boy Joseph by his brethren. phat formulated the motives for what is Similarly, in the scene which, for dramatic destined to be remembered by all who intensity and depth of appeal must be reknow him as the masterwork of his life. garded as the climax of the production,
This conception of the scope of the which culminates with the Savior, stripped sacred drama is by no means new. The and agonized, hanging on the cross, the same underlying principle was the inspira- flanking stage to the left presented a wontion of those canonized playwrights of the derfully impressive tableau of the brazen Christian Church, Gregory the Roman serpent which Moses held aloft to the Isbishop, and Hroswitha, the German nun, raelites as a symbol of their salvation. and the basis of the elaborate sacred pa- Each production of the Passion Play geants which, in various forms, flourished consumed four evenings. This in itself is for long in Italy, France, Spain, Germany an indication of the extensive scale on and England. Even to-day it is the in- which the drama was performed. The spiration of the decennial passion plays cast consisted of more than 400 performproduced at Oberammergau and in the ers, not including a chorus of 200 voices Tyrol. But, in Father Josaphat's case, and an orchestra of 40 pieces. though the idea was not original, the ap- To give, in anything like adequate plication of it was both novel and new. phrasing, one’s impressions of this superb
Americans are vastly different from triumph of Christian piety and dramatic Germans and Tyrolese. And in
in San art, is totally out of the question. Not Francisco, more even than in self-cen- even the hardened and facile dramatic crittered and provincial New York, worldly ics of the San Francisco dailies were able interests and sophistication are apparent. to record their opinion in a manner apWe are not isolated mountaineers and un- proaching coherence. Like all really great assuming peasants. A passion play in a appeals to the emotions, the San Francisco