Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries

By A. C. Ward | Go to book overview

A CREATOR

I SUPPOSE that every ordinary regular theatre-goer has his complaints about the dramatic critic, and most certainly, every dramatic critic has his complaint about the ordinary theatre-goer.

Myself, I love the dramatic critic, especially when he tells me how desperately full his daily letter-bag is. All I want is to see him happy, and for one's letterbag to be full is apparently, for a dramatic critic, the height of happiness! But at times I would like a point to be made that isn't made. The critics say so many things about the theatre, are, on the whole, so lively and amusing and interested, that it seems churlish to complain, but I do feel that there is only one of them who ever distinguishes between uncreative acting and creative acting.

By creative acting I mean, I suppose, the ability of the actor to make something out of the material given to him that is a created work additional to his material. Irving, whom alas! I never saw, was, I believe, a master creator, and one leading actor of our day is exactly the opposite of this: that is, he shows you to perfection the material that he has been given, neither more nor less.

He is so perfectly accomplished that you don't ask him to do more than he does, but the old pantomime men--Dan Leno, Herbert Campbell and the rest--were masterly creators in the sense that they created a great deal out of nothing at all; indeed, as I get on with my subject I am beginning to wonder whether the actor as creator is not always at his best when he has almost nothing to work on.

-312-

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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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