Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries

By A. C. Ward | Go to book overview

GARRICK'S FIRST PERFORMANCE IN LONDON

MR. GARRICK took all the necessary steps and precautions, previous to his appearance on a London stage, to ensure his success when he should come forth a candidate for fame. He had performed a noviciate at Ipswich; and even before his going to that place, he had studied, with great assiduity, a variety of parts on the different walks of acting. The Clown, the Fop, the Fine Gentleman, the Man of Humour, the Sot, the Valet, the Lover, the Hero, nay, the Harlequin, had all been critically examined, and often rehearsed and practised by him in private. After long reflection and much serious weighing of consequences, he fixed upon Richard the Third for his first part in London. He had often declared he would never chuse a character which was not suitable to his person; for, said he, if I should come forth in a hero, or any part which is generally acted by a tall fellow, I shall not be offered a larger salary than forty shillings per week. In this he glanced at the folly of those managers who used to measure an actor's merit by his size.

He could not possibly give a stronger proof of sound judgment, than in fixing his choice on Richard. The play has always been popular, on account of its comprehending such variety of historical and domestic facts, with such affecting scenes of exalted misery and royal distress. Richard was well adapted to his figure; the situations in which he is placed are diversified by a succession of passion, and dignified by variety and splendor of action. A skilful actor cannot wish for a fairer field on which to display his abilities.

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Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • London Theatres in the 1660s 21
  • Betterton's Benefit 44
  • Thomas Betterton 46
  • Garrick's First Performance in London 60
  • Mr. Partridge Sees Garrick 63
  • 'the Beggar's Opera': 18th Century 69
  • Mrs. Siddons 84
  • Others--And Mrs. Siddons 89
  • 'the Beggar's Opera': 19th Century 93
  • Kean as Richard the Third 96
  • On Actors and Acting 101
  • On the Artificial Comedy of The Last Century 112
  • Phelps at Sadler's Wells 123
  • At the Pantomime 130
  • 'Caste' 132
  • On Natural Acting 142
  • Ellen Terry 154
  • Ellen Terry 159
  • Irving in Shakespeare 162
  • 'Ghosts' 182
  • 'Arms and the Man' 190
  • 'trilby' 198
  • Donkey Races 203
  • Forbes Robertson's Hamlet 208
  • 'trelawny of the "Wells"' 218
  • F. R. Benson's Richard II 222
  • Dan Leno 231
  • The Wild Duck' 237
  • 'the Playboy of the Western World'1 248
  • P. D. Kenny 254
  • Granville Barker's Production Of 'twelfth Night' 260
  • 'the Pretenders' 264
  • 'A Bill of Divorcement' 282
  • The Search for the Masterpiece 290
  • 'Peer Gynt' at the Old Vic 294
  • Marie Lloyd 297
  • 'the Way of the World' 302
  • 'Hamlet' in Modern Dress 307
  • A Creator 312
  • Biblical 'tobias and the Angel' 316
  • 'twelfth Night' at the Old Vic 321
  • 'Murder in the Cathedral' 326
  • 'As You like It' at the Old Vic 329
  • Editor's Note 331
  • Descriptive Index 333
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