Before the Footlights and Behind the Scenes: a Book about "the Show Business" in All Its Branches: from Puppet Shows to Grand Opera: From Mountebanks to Menageries; from Learned Pigs to Lecturers; from Burlesque Blondes to Actors and Actresses: with Some Observations and Reflections (original and Reflected) on Morality and Immorality in Amusements: Thus Exhibiting the "show World" as Seen from Within, Through the Eyes of the Former Actress, as Well as from Without, Through the Eyes of the Present Lecturer and Author
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Page 55 - Othello; the mixture of love that intruded upon his mind, upon the innocent answers Desdemona makes, betrayed in his gesture such a variety and vicissitude of passions, as would admonish a man to be afraid of his own heart, and perfectly convince him, that it is to stab it, to admit that worst of daggers, jealousy. Whoever reads in his closet this admirable scene, will find that he cannot, except he has as warm an imagination as...
Page 58 - A distinguished theatrical performer, in consequence of the sudden illness of another actor, had occasion to prepare himself, on very short notice, for a part which was entirely new to him ; and the part was long and rather difficult. He acquired it in a very short time, and went through it with perfect accuracy, but immediately after the performance forgot every word of it. Characters which he had acquired in a more deliberate manner he never- forgets, but can perform them at any time without a...
Page 606 - His folly bears him. Boldly, I dare say, There has been more by us in some one play Laugh'd into wit and virtue, than hath been By twenty tedious lectures drawn from sin And foppish humours : hence the cause doth rise, Men are not won by th
Page 63 - Hamlet sitting down comfortably while talking to the ghost of his father ; or Macbeth inquiring — " Is this a dagger that I see before me, The handle towards my hand ?" from amidst the soft cushions of a parlor sofa ! A great many male tragic parts require the actor to fence, and that this is hard work for a slender man (or a stout one either, for that matter,) any one will testify who has seen Edwin Booth in Hamlet, or Romeo, or Richard the Third, or Forrest in \^QjGrladmtor or Jack Caglf.
Page 54 - Mr. Betterton (although a superlative good actor) labored under ill figure, being clumsily made, having a great head, a short thick neck, stooped in the shoulders, and had fat short arms, which he rarely lifted higher than his stomach. His left hand frequently lodged in his breast, between his coat and waistcoat, while, with his right he prepared his speech.
Page 532 - The Fine Gentleman in Garrick's little comedy of " Lethe " describes to jEsop his manner of spending his evenings : " I dress and go generally behind the scenes of both playhouses — not, you may imagine, to be diverted with the play, but to intrigue and show myself; I stand upon the stage, talk loud and stare about, which confounds the actors and disturbs the audience, upon which the galleries, who hate the appearance of one of us, begin to hiss and to cry, 'Off, off!
Page 59 - ... he has been obliged each time to prepare it anew, and has never acquired in regard to it that facility which is familiar to him in other instances.
Page 54 - He had little eyes, and a broad face, a little pock-fretten, a corpulent body, and thick legs, with large feet. He was better to meet, than to follow; for his aspect was serious, venerable, and majestic; in his latter time a little paralytic His voice was low and grumbling; yet he could time it by an artful climax, which enforced universal attention, even from the fops and orange-girls. He was incapable of dancing even in a country dance; as was Mrs. Barry: but their good qualities were more than...
Page 55 - Shakspeare himself, find any but dry, incoherent, and broken sentences : but a reader that has seen Betterton act it, observes, there could not be a word added ; that longer speeches had been unnatural, nay impossible, in Othello's circumstances. The charming passage in the same tragedy, where he tells the manner of winning the affection of his mistress, was urged with so moving and graceful an energy, that while I walked in the cloisters, I thought of him with the same concern as if I waited for...