Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Tom Tug' were perfectly inoffen which we know not where to find sive; but at some other houses it elsewhere. Mrs. Vezin is good in is very different, and managers all lines of business. Study her absolutely go out of their way to capacity in her rendering of Lady pander to the most vitiated taste. Teazle-of all the various shades

As for the young ladies them of the character. Consider the selves, we can only assure them, screen scene: her shame, her inthough they will not believe us, dignation against Joseph Surface ; that a thorough exposition of the her distress that, when she feels dramatic art cannot be satisfac how much appearances are against torily compressed into a wink at her, she should be unable to dethe stalls, nor can the higher prin monstrate her innocence: contrast ciples of acting be exemplified in a these sentiments, so palpably exleer at the gallery. If the expo- hibited, and yet expressed with nent of a female part has a song

such reticence and unobtrusiveto sing, and is unable to sing it, ness, with the girlish, light-hearted kicks and vulgar gestures will not scenes with Sir Peter. She plays the fulfil all the requirements of the character almost to perfection. It art of music. But enough of this is Lady Teazle throughout, and one most painful matter. We gladly Lady Teazle. We have seen the turn to the subject of our article, part rendered as though Sir Peter's with a strong desire to please frolicsome wife were three married every one mentioned in it, but a ladies rolled into one; the screen stronger still to tell the truth. scene a modified edition of Lady

Looking through the theatrical Macbeth; the lighter scenes with notices upon the morning we her husband à la soubrette, and write, it is sad and strange to note her raillery with the school and that, amongst all the ladies whose with Joseph before the exposé, names are advertised as forming a realisation of the style adopted items of the best,' or 'most care by ladies in 'modern comedy.' fully selected companies in Lon Actresses soon learn the don, scarcely twenty are in any ventional, or some other set way way worthy to be enrolled in the of expressing despair, anguish, list of popular actresses. It is remorse the whole gamut of further noticeable that several of passion, in fact; but only true the very best of our few English artists show the delicate shades as actresses are not playing in Lon this lady does. Perhaps Mrs. don. There is something wrong Vezin is the only actress on the here, though whether the fault is stage who is entirely equal to the with managers or audiences, we character of Mrs. Beverley in 'The must decline to decide.

Gamester,' a' performance with Without plainly asserting that which we can find absolutely no Mrs. Hermann Vezin is the first fault. Her Clara Douglas, in actress on the English stage, we 'Money,' is also an admirable reshould like to know who could alisation of the character; as was claim precedence over her. This Margaret, in 'Faust,' as played lady is an 'all round' actress of some time since at Drury Lane. the very highest ability. Comedy, The strong situation in 'Miss tragedy, melodrama light Chester,' where she declares hercomedietta, is alike within her self to her son, was given by Mrs. grasp, and she is admirable in all. Vezin with unsurpassable truth There is a finish, a consistency, a and strength. A hundred delicate roundness in her impersonations touches of art stood out vividly

con

or

and distinctly throughout the per- and Wife,' her Anne Sylvester was. formance. In fact, Mrs. Vezin perfect; an improvement on the cannot play badly, and is an artiste character in the novel, and proof whom the English stage may bably also on the author's intention well be proud.

as to the character in the play, for Miss Fotheringay, in 'Pen the original Anne, in the book, was dennis,' was discovered by a unpleasantly shrewish, and it is London manager, went to the easy to imagine from the dialogue metropolis, and made a hit; but that in the drama she would have if it had not been for the strange been no better had Mr. Wilkie series of circumstances which in Collins been less fortunate in the duced Major Pendennis to gain representation of the character. the influence of the Marquis of Miss Foote's connection with the Steyne, the London public would Prince of Wales's Theatre has been never have seen her. This goes to fortunate for her, as showing what prove that careful investigation she can do; but it has also been might result in the discovery of fortunate for the management, actresses in unlikely places. Some which might have searched in vain times by chance an experienced for an equally admirable actress to manager comes across, and digs fill the range of parts which has one out from the transpontine fallen to Miss Foote. The easy theatres: and that was, we be way in which she acquired the exlieve, the manner in which that act tone of Robertson's plays was thoroughly good actress, Miss wonderful. How many actresses Lydia Foote, became known to , on the French stage-what actress West-end playgoers. The training on the English stage-could have which this young lady received given a better Esther Eccles? As on the transpontine boards has Amanda, the wife of the Chevalier been of infinite service to her, for Browne, in 'Play,' Miss Foote undoubtedly she possesses genuine showed her value. One speech—to. artistic feeling and ability. Miss note trifles-especially gave eviFoote has not the strength of Mrs. dence of her ability. The Chevalier, Vezin, but she has versatility in who greedily pouches all the money an equal degree, and is able to ex she earns on the stage, and then hibit it to more advantage, for abuses her for being an actress, says. Mrs. Vezin's position will not per scornfully, 'An actress! to be mit her to assume some characters cheered or hissed, as the audience in which we should not be sur may think proper!' 'Ah, but prised to see Miss Foote.

they never hiss me,' is her reply. Perhaps the secret of this young We do not like the speech ; it is. lady's success is that she throws the mistake which Robertson rarely herself so entirely into the cha made of appealing illegitimately to racter she represents. She possesses the audience; jarring with and the great secret of losing her own spoiling the flow of the character individuality. If Miss Foote has represented. We can imagine to show grief, she does not make how many actresses would have wry faces as if she had done some spoken the line,

line, turning to thing wrong, and was afraid of the house as much as to say, being found out; indeed she re 'This speech has been kindly inalises the position so thoroughly troduced by the author for the that, if tears are necessary to the sole purpose of giving you an fulfilment of the part, real tears opportunity of paying tribute to are at her command. In 'Man my general ability and position in

the theatre.' But Miss Foote spoke that such a creature exists. This the lines so naturally and quietly young lady has wonderful inthat it did not strike you, until a herent dramatic aptitude, ability minute afterwards, that it was and intelligence; but acting is an capable of a double interpretation. art which must be learned, like

In many other instances Miss all other arts. We trust that we Foote has proved her right to the po are betraying no confidence in sition we accord her. (Readers will stating that, for her histrionic inappreciate our difficulty in having struction, Miss Wallis is indebted so small a space to discuss a sub to that admirable actor, Mr. John ject capable of such elaborate Ryder. It is in the exits, the treatment.) The extent of her ver entrances, and a thousand trifles, satility has yet to be shown; but that the novice betrays herself, and we believe that if she were cast for the advice of so good a master has, Rosalind she would astonish those to a very great extent, enabled who have accepted her performances Miss Wallis to tide successfully carelessly. In several other pieces over these difficulties, and, united of the lightest description, she has to her innate talent-we might given ample reason for supposing almost say genius-good instructhat she will fulfil any calls which tion has landed the young lady in may be made upon her for comedy a position which she seems descharacters. Miss Foote is one of those tined to hold firmly. actresses who have been injured by A skilful master can teach much, playing parts too well. In con but still very little. No one could sequence of her success in one or have taught Miss Wallis the two characters, managers have numberless little touches of essensettled that lachrymose widows tially feminine feeling which chaand broken-hearted spinsters are racterise the Cleopatra of Drury her ‘line.' It is cruel to chain a Lane. player down to a narrow range of When, in the course of an afterparts, and call it his or her line. noon, one has seen Antony in an The public would have that pa overcoat, with an umbrella in his thetic old men were Robson's line, hand, drinking sherry with Cæsar and his success with these parts, in plaid trousers and a box hat, it which have, indeed, come to be is rather hard to believe in the called 'Robsonian,' prevented him assumed identity of either when from exhibiting his full capabilities. the former appears in a toga and We cannot call to mind any part the latter in crown and tunic. that Miss Foote has played badly, Shakespeare, to be efficiently reand probably some day she will presented, should, we have always surprise people.

thought, be played by actors of That a young lady, within a few whom the spectator knows nothing months of her first appearance on in private life. In modern comedy, the stage, should be playing Cleo we can imagine the performers in patra at Drury Lane, and playing the position of the personages it, moreover, in a manner which whose characters they represent; perhaps could not be touched by but unless Othello is acted with three other English actresses, is the most consummate art, it is one of the phenomena of theatrical sometimes difficult to distract the history. People who do not un mind from following his career derstand the subject at all will when he is off the stage; 'in his probably call Miss Wallis a 'born dressing-room, changing his attire, actress;' but we decline to admit and putting a renovating touch to

SO

were

his make-up; in the green-room, elaborate gestures which appear to discussing with Iago some incident have been studied; and, worst which appears in the evening fault of all, her enunciation is papers, or at the wing, complain- sometimes defective, the vowels ing to Desdemona of the awful being untrue and too broad; but draught which is catching him in her Cleopatra is a marvellously the small of the back. Cleopatragood performance for so young an as it need hardly be said, is a very actress. difficult part to play; but Miss Pauline, in 'The Lady of Lyons,' Wallis succeeded so admirably in at the Standard Theatre, was, we her rendering of the haughty love believe, Miss Wallis's first appearsick queen-her pathos was ance in London. The novice was, true and tender, her passion so of course, apparent, but there was, real and strong-that we nevertheless, a• smoothness and carried away into a belief in the evenness about the whole perwhole circumstances of the tragedy, formance, wonderful for an amaas we probably should not have teur. In Sir Charles Young's play, been had a less able exponent of Montcalm,' she was also surthe part played Cleopatra in the prisingly good. One strong situarecent revival. The varying emo tion especially, in the second act, tions of her scene with the mes when she meets the woman whose senger, from the eager

apparition she had seen before,

was ably conceived and consistently • Ram thou thy fruitful tidings in mine

worked out. In 'Amos Clarke,' inears, Which long time have been barren,'

crease of stage knowledge brought

increase of strength, and in 'Cromto the end; her fears, her anger well’ she deserved the very highest and sorrow; her agony of mind commendation-her part, indeed, when Antony rages at her in the could scarcely have been played fourth act; her final pathetic better. death-the power to depict them We welcome Miss Wallis to was at Miss Wallis's command. the London stage as one of the We do not mean to imply that we greatest acquisitions which has were entirely satisfied with the per been made to it for several years. formance, or prepared to accept it We have been longing to speak as a perfect realisation of Cleopatra; of Miss Marie Wilton, but were but there was a distinct meaning restrained by a feeling that she and intention in all the actress should not be considered before did, and her actions were invariably some of the representatives of perdictated by high intelligence. Her haps higher branches of art. We postures were graceful and digni say 'perhaps' higher branches fied, and—to note one detail of her because tragedy is supposed to excellent business—the final fall rank before comedy, as appealing was perfect in conception and exe to deeper feelings; but Miss cution. Sometimes, to be critical, Wilton can bring tears as well as we thought her walk scarcely dig- smiles, and suddenly to reach the nified enough-the steps too quick, inner sensations of an audience by short, and girlish ; and sometimes a touch of pathos in the midst of she seems too conscious of her gaiety and sprightly conversation, audience; though this is an in is a sure proof of true art. A evitable failing with all young

wonderful notion is rife among performers. In some instances, certain people that a long and intoo, she has a tendency to over timate acquaintance with the stage

makes an actor or actress 'stagey.' One of Miss Wilton's greatest If any proof of the absurdity of claims to admiration is her orithis idea were wanted, it is forth- ginality. She imitates no one. coming in Miss Wilton. This Her style is essentially her own; lady's great success is of course it was created by her, and lives owing to the fact that she has with her. After seeing with what learned her business. Miss Wilton cruel vigour certain actresses inis another of the ladies who would sist upon emphasising every point have been born actresses, if such they endeavour to make, it is a phenomena ever were born; but, treat to turn to Miss Wilton, so nevertheless, she would not have quiet and undemonstrative, but so attained her present position and thoroughly effective; for she, being popularity but for having passed a true artiste, can 'feel' her through a long and arduous course audience as she goes on. of professional training. Where Unless we are misinformed, it could you find a more entirely na was at the Bath and Bristol tural actress ? 'She acts just as she theatres that Miss Wilton received would in her own drawing-room' her early instruction. Here, years is a verdict frequently pronounced ago, were properly organised comupon her. Of course it is wrong. panies, and these two theatres (if If Miss Wilton, in a drawing-room, they may be called two when they were to behave as she does on the were under one management) constage, the effect would be entirely stituted an excellent training unnatural; but herein lies one of ground for young members of the the secrets of the art of acting: to profession, and have supplied the know what degree of exaggeration metropolitan boards with many is necessary to make a lady on the leading favourites. Miss Wilton stage appear to be acting as she was one of the Strand comwould in private life. Had Miss pany when burlesque was studied Wilton deprived playgoers of a and played, and recognised as a great many pleasant hours, by re branch of the drama ; and before maining out of a theatre until the Lotties and Totties most unto-day, no one will really imagine fortunately found their way upon that she could go on the stage and the scene to bring the stage into represent characters as she does. contempt. How is it that, driven Every minute detail of business is from the music halls as too coarse studied. Another of the secrets and incompetent, they find a home of the art is to hide the evidences upon the stage? It was different of study, and to make every look a few years ago. Miss Marie Wiland movement appear to be en ton, Miss Eleanor Bufton, Miss tirely unpremeditated; but it need Fanny Josephs, Miss M. Oliver, hardly be said that no actor learns Miss Maria Simpson, Miss C. Saunthe words of a part and goes on to ders, and others had more respect the stage trusting to the inspira for themselves than to introduce tion of the moment to suggest familiar diminutives into the playappropriate business. Truly an bills-possibly a slight matter in accomplished artist will change itself, but part of a most objectionthe business of a part from night able system. In the palmy days of to night, in particulars more or the Strand Theatre, actors and less minute; but no one ever goes actresses, even in burlesque, formed on for a part without carefully distinct conceptions of the characconsidering what he will do with ters they represented, and perit throughout

formed them consistently. Now it

« НазадПродовжити »