Novelists and the Stage: Sir Conan Doyle's Views
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Novelists and the Stage
Sir Conan Doyle's Views.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who is now daily attending the rehearsals of his new play, "Brigadier Gerard," which Mr. Lewis Waller will produce on Saturday night at the Imperial Theatre, is very enthusiastic about the stage, but nothing in the world, he says, would induce him to take an author's call, no matter how flattering it might be.
"I am only speaking for myself," he said; "and then, after all, ray experience at a dramatist is not a big one. In fact it is a very small one, as 'Brigadier Gerard' is the first whole-evening play for which I am entirely responsible.
"This play is not taken from my published stories. Some of the smaller incidents are, but the main plot is entirely new."
Sir Conan Doyle is not inclined to think that the entrance of the novelist into the theatre interferes with the dramatist pure and simple. "A stage taken by a dramatised novel leaves one less for the purely original — that is obvious; but whether a play that is dug out of the entrails of a novel is as good or better than the other sort depends on many things.
"If a novel is not dramatic it will not make a good play. There have been many instances of hugely successful plays taken from novels. I may mention, for instance, 'Under the Red Robe,' 'The Little Minister,' 'Monsieur Beaucaire,' and 'Trilby.' A play, however, carries with it a big responsibility. The man who writes a novel does not bring down a whole company with him if the public won't have his work."