The Paradox of Acting

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Chatto & Windus, 1883 - Acting - 108 pages
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Page 22 - ... as they are in nature? Certainly not. Were it so the true would be the commonplace. What, then, is truth for stage purposes? It is the conforming of action, diction, face, voice, movement, and gesture, to an ideal type invented by the poet, and frequently enhanced by the player. That is the strange part of it. This type not only influences the tone, it alters the actor's very walk and bearing.
Page 13 - ... going on, both in the physical and the moral world. . . . They dart on everything which strikes their imagination; they make, as it were, a collection of such things. And from these collections, made all unconsciously, issue the grandest achievements of their work. Your fiery, extravagant, sensitive fellow, is for ever on the boards; he acts the play, but he gets nothing out of it. It is in him that the man of genius finds his model. Great poets, great actors, and, I may add, all great copyists...
Page 32 - C'en est fait ; je me veux guérir, et connais bien Ce que de votre cœur a possédé le mien. Un courroux si constant pour l'ombre d'une offense...
Page xvii - The inspired actor will so associate you with the emotions he feels that he will not leave you even the liberty of judgment; the other, by his prudent and irreproachable acting, will leave your faculties at liberty to reason on the matter at your ease.
Page 18 - ... beggar in the street or at the door of a church — a beggar who substitutes insult for vain appeal; or like a courtesan who has no heart, and who abandons herself in your arms. Have you ever thought on the difference between the tears raised by a tragedy of real life and those raised by a touching narrative? You hear a fine piece of recitation; by little and little your thoughts are involved,, your heart is touched, and your tears flow. With the tragedy of real life, the thing, the feeling and...
Page 20 - ... from? Who is the inventor of all this stuff? In what world do people talk like this?" THE SECOND. And why are they not intolerable on the stage? THE FIRST. Because there is such a thing as stage convention. As old a writer as Aeschylus laid this down as a formula — it is a protocol three thousand years old. THE SECOND. And will this protocol go on much longer? THE FIRST. That I cannot tell you. All I know is that one gets further away from it as one gets nearer to one's own time and country....
Page 63 - ... struck like us with an infinity of troubles in quick succession, which sometimes wither and sometimes tear our hearts, how many days would he have left to devote to our amusement? Mighty few. The Groom of the Chambers would vainly interpose his sovereignty, the actor's state would often make him answer, "My lord, I cannot laugh today," or, "It is over cares other than Agamemnon's that I would weep.
Page 8 - ... let me tell them to you as they come to me, with the same want of order that marks your friend's book. If the actor were full, really full, of feeling, how could he play the same part twice running with the same spirit and success? Full of fire at the first performance, he would be worn out and cold as marble at the third.
Page 34 - Je romps avecque vous, et j'y romps pour jamais, Puisque vous le voulez. Que je perde la vie Lorsque de vous parler je reprendrai l'envie ! LUCILE.
Page 17 - Like other gymnastics, it taxes only his bodily strength. He puts off the sock or the buskin; his voice is gone; he is tired; he changes his dress, or he goes to bed; and he feels neither trouble, nor sorrow, nor depression, nor weariness of soul. All these emotions he has given to you. The actor is tired, you are unhappy; he has had exertion without feeling, you feeling without exertion.

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