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from there who interested him in the possibilities of setting

source:Believe it or notedit:naturetime:2023-11-28 22:22:50

Startled at his vexation, convulsed with suppressed laughter at the infantile quality of his profanity, I ventured, in a shaking voice, "I think I'd better go?"

from there who interested him in the possibilities of setting

"I think you had!" be agreed curtly; but as I reached the door he said in his most managerial tone: "Miss Morris, it would be better for you to begin with people's faults next time--"

from there who interested him in the possibilities of setting

But with the door already open I made bold to reply: "Excuse me, Mr. Daly, but there isn't going to be any next time for me!"

from there who interested him in the possibilities of setting

And I turned and fled, wondering all the way home, as I have often wondered since, what was the plan that went so utterly agley that day? Mr. Coghlan he engaged after failing in his first effort, but that other, greater plan; what was it?

[On November 24, 1883, Henry Irving closed his first engagement in New York. William Winter's review appeared next morning in the _Tribune_, It is reprinted in his book, "Henry Irving," published by G. J. Coombes, New York, 1889. Mr. Winter said: "Mr. Irving has impersonated here nine different men, each one distinct from all the others. Yet in so doing he has never ceased to exert one and the same personal charm, the charm of genialised intellect. The soul that is within the man has suffused his art and made it victorious. The same forms of expression, lacking this spirit, would have lacked the triumph. All of them, indeed, are not equally fine. Mr. Irving's 'Mathias' and 'Louis XI,' are higher performances than his 'Shylock' and 'Dorincourt,' higher in imaginative tone and in adequacy of feeling and treatment. But, throughout all these forms, the drift of his spirit, setting boldly away from conventions and formalities, has been manifested with delightful results. He has always seemed to be alive with the specific vitality of the person represented. He has never seemed a wooden puppet of the stage, bound in by formality and straining after a vague scholastic ideal of technical correctness."

Mr. Irving's addresses, "The Drama," copyright by the United States Book Company, New York, were published in 1892. They furnish the pages now presented,--abounding on self-revelation,--ED.)

To boast of being able to appreciate Shakespeare more in reading him than in seeing him acted used to be a common method of affecting special intellectuality. I hope this delusion--a gross and pitiful one to most of us--has almost absolutely died out. It certainly conferred a very cheap badge of superiority on those who entertained it. It seemed to each of them an inexpensive opportunity of worshipping himself on a pedestal. But what did it amount to? It was little more than a conceited and feather-headed assumption that an unprepared reader, whose mind is usually full of far other things, will see on the instant all that has been developed in hundreds of years by the members of a studious and enthusiastic profession. My own conviction is that there are few characters or passages of our great dramatists which will not repay original study. But at least we must recognise the vast advantages with which a practised actor, impregnated by the associations of his life, and by study--with all the practical and critical skill of his profession up to the date at which he appears, whether he adopts or rejects tradition--addresses himself to the interpretation of any great character, even if he have no originality whatever. There is something still more than this, however, in acting. Every one who has the smallest histrionic gift has a natural dramatic fertility; so that as soon as he knows the author's text, and obtains self-possession, and feels at home in a part without being too familiar with it, the mere automatic action of rehearsing and playing it at once begins to place the author in new lights, and to give the personage being played an individuality partly independent of, and yet consistent with, and rendering more powerfully visible, the dramatist's conception. It is the vast power a good actor has in this way which has led the French to speak of creating a part when they mean its first being played, and French authors are as conscious of the extent and value of this cooperation of actors with them, that they have never objected to the phrase, but, on the contrary, are uniformly lavish in their homage to the artists who have created on the boards the parts which they themselves have created on paper.

It is often supposed that great actors trust to the inspiration of the moment. Nothing can be more erroneous. There will, of course, be such moments, when an actor at a white heat illumines some passage with a flash of imagination (and this mental condition, by the way, is impossible to the student sitting in his armchair); but the great actor's surprises are generally well weighed, studied, and balanced. We know that Edmund Kean constantly practised before a mirror effects which startled his audience by their apparent spontaneity. It is the accumulation of such effects which enables an actor, after many years, to present many great characters with remarkable completeness.

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