Louis Jouvet, Man of the Theatre

Louis Jouvet, Man of the Theatre

Louis Jouvet, Man of the Theatre

Louis Jouvet, Man of the Theatre

Excerpt

With a few honourable and notable exceptions -- do we need to mention Shakespeare and Molière? -- the history of the theatre records until this century few actors who could claim with any distinction the title of homme du théâtre. Of this era and in this small and perhaps equivocal category Louis Jouvet was not only in the first rank; he was a leader among leaders. Other modern actors have sealed their claim to fame by their allegiance to the playwright and the playwright's word, which is the lifeblood of the theatre, but Louis Jouvet was the shining example of all that is best in this essentially modern and in some quarters despised practice, this search for balance between the creative and the interpretative and the managerial. The true homme du théâtre has in him a powerful fusion of all three qualities. He is, as the author of this book remarks, a Renaissance man.

If you accept that title, the "Renaissance man" had or has a fusion of talents which most critics and devotees of the theatre, whose approach is primarily a romantic approach, distrust. Such critics think that Coleridge's celebrated verdict on Kean acting Shakespeare "by flashes of lightning" is an . . .

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