On this page
390 A FEW WORDS ABOUT ACTRESSES , .
The Life Of An Actress Is To The World A...
" unlucky property" is almost a problem—in these ill-starred theatresthento which their inadequacies or necessities condemn
, , them , a limited and not over-critical _g-allery audience is all that can be relied upon for support ; to coax their threepences or sixpences
from them a constant succession of _novelties must be supplied , and in abundant measure too _* and actors and actresses must labor
accordingly . Under such circumstances , the young actress will have to rely for
help almost entirely upon her own endeavors . Certainly instruction of a kind will be at hand . The older and more experienced
members of the company will hardly refrain from correcting the ignorant blunders she may commit in what is technically termed the " busi _^
ness " of the stage ; she will get initiated into tjie small mysteries , of making entrances and exits properlyof where and how she
, must stand , "what to do with herself whilst others are speaking , etc . But it is in the rough hard work itself that the real service lies ; in
the actual doing , the rapid assumption , however imperfectly , of one character after another . In no other way will the novice so soon
become divested of constraint and awkwardness , gain freedom in movement and action , and grasp the power of expression and char
racterization . "We must briefly mention that acting is divided into what are
called " lines . " These are determined by the different species of character that make up the usual dramatis personm of a play .
Amongst the women , first in rank there is the line of the " leading juvenile " lady , who , as the term implies , would pjay the youthful
heroines ; she would be " Juliet" in Shakespeare's tragedy , " Pauline " in the " Lady of Lyons , " etc .: then the " heavy" _ladyj Macbethand Emiliain
to whom such parts as " Lady , " " " " Othello" would belong : the " comedy" ladythe " Rosalind " and
, " Beatrice" of the theatre : the " walking" lady , whose portion is all the quiet , insipid young ladies , who walk about with little to say
or do : the " chambermaid" and the " old woman : " in all about six lines . Besides these there are burlesque actresses , dancer _® ?
singers , etc . In the multifarious work we have just been describing , the novice
would doubtless have to play parts in three or four different lines , though we will suppose her ultimate ambition to be that of beeomr
ing a " leading" lady ; which line , including as it does so many beautiful creations of poetry and romance , makes demands upon the
highest order of ability . "We will take one of the large , first-class provincial theatres as the next sphere of her labor , as indeed an
engagement in any of these would be the most natural step in a progressive course . Their number cLoes not exceed a dozen in aU , witlj .
such theatres as those of Manchester , Birmingham , and Dublin at their head . In them exist the comforts of better order and organization .
The work of the theatre is properly divided , an adequate number of
people are employed to fill the various departments , and laws and
390 A Few Words About Actresses , .
390 A FEW _WORDS ABOUT ACTRESSES , .
English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Feb. 1, 1859, page 390, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/ewj/issues/ewj_01021859/page/30/