Players and Performances in the Victorian Theatre by George Taylor
Arts & Photography | Performing Arts
Players and Performances in the Victorian Theatre
Manchester University Press (January 18, 1990)
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The Victorian theatre was one of "feeling". Whatever the genre, melodrama or farce, drawing-room comedy or Shakespeare, actors developed a sign-system of gestures and stage-business in order to convey the passion and pathos of their roles. This survey looks at different theatrical genres to reveal the range of Victorian actors, and to show how changes in repertoire, organization and the social function of entertainment effected the "purpose of their playing". Evidence is drawn from handbooks, reviews, biographies and treatises on the psychology, physiology and aesthetics of acting, to reveal both general trends and the effect of specific performances. Seven productions, with Irving, Macready, Kean, Terry and many others, have been chosen and are analyzed to illustrate different aspects of the actor's art.
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