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after death. Irving roared, For the most part! For the

source:Believe it or notedit:maptime:2023-11-28 20:35:12

For myself, I know that I act best when the heart is warm and the head is cool. In observing the works of great painters I find that they have no conventionalities except their own; hence they are masters, and each is at the head of his own school. They are original, and could not imitate even if they would.

after death. Irving roared, For the most part! For the

So with acting, no master-hand can prescribe rules for the head of another school. If, then, I appear bold in putting forth my suggestions, I desire it to be clearly understood that I do not present them to original or experienced artists who have formed their school, but to the student who may have a temperament akin to my own, and who could, therefore, blend my methods with his preconceived ideas.

after death. Irving roared, For the most part! For the

Many instructors in the dramatic art fall into the error of teaching too much. The pupil should first be allowed to exhibit his quality, and so teach the teacher what to teach. This course would answer the double purpose of first revealing how much the pupil is capable of learning, and, what is still more important, of permitting him to display his powers untrammeled. Whereas, if the master begins by pounding his dogmas into the student, the latter becomes environed by a foreign influence which, if repugnant to his nature, may smother his ability.

after death. Irving roared, For the most part! For the

It is necessary to be cautious in studying elocution and gesticulation, lest they become our masters instead of our servants. These necessary but dangerous ingredients must be administered and taken in homeopathic doses, or the patient may die by being over-stimulated. But, even at the risk of being artificial, it is better to have studied these arbitrary rules than to enter a profession with no knowledge whatever of its mechanism. Dramatic instinct is so implanted in humanity that it sometimes misleads us, fostering the idea that because we have the natural talent within we are equally endowed with the power of bringing it out. This is the common error, the rock on which the histrionic aspirant is oftenest wrecked. Very few actors succeed who crawl into the service through the "cabin windows"; and if they do it is a lifelong regret with them that they did not exert their courage and sail at first "before the mast."

Many of the shining lights who now occupy the highest positions on the stage, and whom the public voice delights to praise, have often appeared in the dreaded character of omnes, marched in processions, sung out of tune in choruses, and shouted themselves hoarse for Brutus and Mark Antony.

If necessity is the mother of invention, she is the foster-mother of art, for the greatest actors that ever lived have drawn their early nourishment from her breast. We learn our profession by the mortifications we are compelled to go through in order to get a living.

The sons and daughters of wealthy parents who have money at their command, and can settle their weekly expenses without the assistance of the box office, indignantly refuse to lower themselves by assuming some subordinate character for which they are cast, and march home because their fathers and mothers will take care of them. Well, they had better stay there!

But whether you are rich or poor, if you would be an actor begin at the beginning. This is the old conventional advice, and is as good now in its old age as it was in its youth. All actors will agree in this, and as Puff says, in the _Critic_, "When they do agree on the stage the unanimity is wonderful." Enroll yourself as a "super" in some first-class theatre, where there is a stock Company and likely to be a periodical change of programme, so that even in your low degree the practice will be varied. After having posed a month as an innocent English rustic, you may, in the next play, have an opportunity of being a noble Roman. Do the little you have to do as well as you can; if you are in earnest the stage-manager will soon notice it and your advancement will begin at once. You have now made the plunge, the ice is broken; there is no more degradation for you; every step you take is forward.

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