eighteenth-century theatre

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EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
THEATRE
~~
PETER
HOLLAN'D
AND
MICHAEL
PATTERSON
AT first sight the eighteenth century appears to be the least interesting and significant period of theatre history" since the Middle Ages, Some histories of theatre
virtually omit it, while others treat it as some sort of connecting corridor from the
splendours of the Renaissance to the innovations of the nineteenth century, essential but not worth lingering in.
Indeed the eighteenth century produced few great dramatists; several comic
talents perhaps: Sheridan and Goldsmith, Marivaux and Beaumarchais, Goldoni
and Gozzi, Holberg and Lessing. But an anthology of world drama could legitimately be published without including the works of any of these. Only in the
emergent theatre of late eighteenth-century
Germany can one point to the major
dramas of Goethe and Schiller. Nor could the eighteenth century boast of important innovations in theatre technology, except towards the end of the century with
the replacement of candle-light by oil-lamps.
What was significant about the theatre of the eighteenth century, however, is
that it developed in Continental Europe a function in society unparalleled since
its role in ancient Greece. From being an entertainment at court or in the marketplace it became a political forum for the bourgeoisie, a focus for national identity
and even revolution. It moved from being formal and stylized, or from being
vulgar and coarse, to a new level of realism; the stage began to search for authenticity and newly to mirror the everyday lives of the spectators. The theatre began
to analyse its own aesthetic and to develop from a craft into an art. Actors and
actresses rose from the social level of prostitutes and jugglers to become favoured
255
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
members of society, and playwrights began to be paid properly for their work. In
short, the theatre reflected the philosophical glory of the century, the questioning,
the tolerance, and the democratic thinking of the period of Enlightenment.
But in the relative security and unquestioned national identity of eighteenthcentury England, the theatre was less concerned with philosophy than with
profits, and its profits depended on appeasing new social forces of bourgeois
morality and new impositions of governmental control. In April 1698 Jeremy
Collier, a dissenting clergyman, published A Short View of the Immorality and
Profaneness of the English Stage together with the Sense of Antiquity upon this Argument. For a short view the book was not particularly short; running to over 280
pages, Collier mounted an extraordinary, vitriolic attack on contemporary drama.
His microscopic examination of the language of Congreve, Vanbrugh, and others
was designed to prove his case that, though drama ought to be moral ('The business of plays is to recommend virtue and discountenance vice'):
Our poets write-with a different view ... Their liberties in the following particulars are
intolerable, viz., their smuttiness of expression, their swearing, profaneness and lewd application of scripture, their abuse of the clergy:,their making their top characters libertines
and giving them success in their debauchery.
In the aftermath of A Short View dozens of pamphlets appeared, attacking and
defending the stage; Vanbrugh replied in a pamphlet in June, Congreve
responded with another in July. It was not only a pamphlet war: Congreve in The
Way of the World (1700) provided the best answer to Collier, proof that Restoration comic drama could deal seriously with evil, and Farquhar, in The Recruiting
Officer (1706) and The Beaux' Stratagem (1707), showed that comedy could move
beyond London to explore issues as serious as recruiting or divorce without
offending Collier. But more worryingly for the theatres, the controversy moved to
the courts: actors found themselves prosecuted, with admittedly limited success,
for speaking particular lines noted down by informers placed in the audience by
the Society for the Reformation of Manners. Adding 'Egod' to a line was now a
dangerous business; even speaking lines previously authorized could result in a
prosecution.
Something about Collier's invective was clearly timely. Changes in social
power, the increasing significance of bourgeois values in opposition to the aristocratic world of the Restoration, found in Collier a suitable champion for a morality that this newly important segment of society wished to see enshrined at the
centre of public behaviour. The theatre was the most public forum for such a
debate. Apart from anything else, the Collier controversy pushed theatre into the
centre of debate and established writing about the theatre as an energetic field of
literary and moral argument. Sir Richard Steele, the most vigorous exponent of
the
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the attempt to reconcile the new dominant morality with drama, may have
succeeded in creating a moral and sentimental drama, particularly in The
Conscious Lovers (1722), but his efforts were mostly concentrated on essays about
drama and theatre in the widely-read periodicals, like the Spectator and the Tatler,
which he published.
While Steele may have transformed the nature of high comedy, the most popular changes in comedy were to happen elsewhere. On 29 January 1728 at the
Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre a packed house watched the first night ofJohn Gay's
The Beggar's Opera. Gay's ballad-opera had been turned down by Colley Cibber,
one of the managers at the rival patent theatre, Drury Lane, the only other
company licensed to act in London. The style of Gay's opera was too novel for
that staid company, whose major dramatic success was to be George Lillo's
tragedy of an apprentice led astray, The London Merchant (1731), a play whose
huge impact on the development of European drama was out of all proportion to
are
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257
PETER
J'
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PATTERSON
its minimal success in influencing English tragedy. Gay's friends persuaded John
Rich, the manager at Lincoln's Inn Fields, to take on his startlingly new combination of popular song, underworld comedy, and political and social satire. Rich
was ready to give up after the first rehearsal but was encouraged to persevere. On
that first night the audience numbered over 1,200: 250 in the boxes, 300 in the pit,
over 600 in the galleries, and a few people sitting on the stage. Initially the audience was bemused. As Alexander Pope, Gay's friend, reported later,
We were all at the first night of it, in great uncertainty of the event, till we were very much
encouraged by overhearing the Duke of Argyll, who sat in the box next to us, say 'It will
do,-it must do!-I see it in the eyes of them'. This was a good while before the first act
was over.
By the end the applause was tumultuous and the hew form was an unprecedented
success. Before the season was over, the play had been performed sixty-two times.
The popular tag claimed the work 'had made Rich gay and Gay rich' -indeed
Gay told his friends he earned over £600 from the play.
Rich's audience was used to innovation. From 1716 he had experimented with
pantomime, his own adaptation of commedia dell'arte, starring himself as Harlequin under his stage name John Lun, and the experiment of a new annual
pantomime continued till his death. He also tried adding other entertainments to
the main bill; his development of the 'whole show' firmly established the practice
of adding short farces, musical entertainments, processions, rope-dancers, contortionists, indeed almost anything to create a varied evening's entertainment for the
audience. Some would complain about the unseemliness of this rag-bag; no one
could dispute its success.
The extraordinary triumph of The Beggar's Opera not only spawned dozens of
imitations but also confirmed Rich in the plan of moving to a larger theatre. In
1730 he began to design a theatre in Covent Garden, completed in 1732. Others
too perceived the implications of the work's success: in 1729, in the teeth of city
opposition, Thomas Odell opened a new theatre in Goodman's Fields in the East
End of the city, at the opposite end of London from normal theatrical activity.
Odell had recognized that a sizeable part of the audiences filling the theatre to see
Gay's work came from the easrward spread of the expanding c~ty. The new audience deserved its own local theatre. Odell's plan was helped by rfie creation in 1720
of the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, mostly used by visiting companies at first
but a wedge driven into the near-monopoly of the patent houses, Drury Lane and
Lincoln's Inn Fields.
In spite of the reformers' use of the law-courts, the moral and clerical concerns
of Collierism did not result in new legislation. Government only uses moral anxiety for its own ends. The Licensing Act of 1737, by far the most important govern:- '
mental control of theatrical activity in the century, was rushed through parliament
by,
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by Walpole: first proposed on 20 May it became law on 24 June. fu Lord Chesterfield noted in his speech in the House of Lords, 'It seems designed not only as a
restraint on the licentiousness of the stage; but it will prove a most arbitrary
restraint on the liberty of the stage.' Two separate sets of interest combined to
ensure the Bill's passage. The first was Walpole's anxiety at the mounting use of
the stage for political satire; Gay's political satire in '{he Beggar's Opera had stung
Walpole but the sequel, Polly (1729), was so direct in its mockery that Walpole was
able to use the existing powers of the Lord Chamberlain to have the play banned
completely. Yet by the middle of the next decade, in Henry Fielding's exuberant
satiric plays like The Historical Register for the Year I736 (1737) at the Little
Haymarket Theatre, the theatres were using an unprecedented freedom to attack
government policy. Walpole's pretext for the Bill was an anonymous and now lost
play, The Golden Rump, which mocked the King himself as an animate idol in
need of the Queen's assistance with enemas to help his golden bowels. The
obscenity and ridiculing of the monarch were sufficiently outrageous to guarantee
the Bill's passage. The play was passed to Walpole by Henry Giffard, the manager
259
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
of Goodman's Fields; Fielding for one suspected that the play had been planted
by Walpole himself.
-:
Walpole's interests neatly merged with the anxieties of the managers and financial backers of the two patent theatres. The threat of the new London theatres was
~-substantial and frightening. Colley Cibber, one of the triumvirate of actors who
: ran Drury Lane, was worried:
- . How could the same stock of plays supply four theatres which (without such additional
entertainments as a nation of common sense ought to be ashamed of) could not well
support rwo? Satiety must have been the natural consequence of the same plays being rwice
as often repeated as now they need be, and satiety puts an end to all tastes that the mind
of man can delight in.
The Licensing Act not only restricted the production oflegitimate drama to the
two patent theatres but also required all plays to be censored by the Lord Chamberlain, a task he delegated to his Examiners of Plays. But few plays were banned
outright; most were slightly altered, generally by that process of self-censorship
that ensured a play was acceptable long before the manuscript was submitted for
licensing.
There were many ways round the first restriction. Plays were, for instance,
offered free to audiences paying, notionally, for a concert or for food and drink.
. The irrepressible Samuel Foote invited his audience to tea, then performed his
satirical revue playlets as a noon matinee and was finally appeased by being
granted a personal patent in 1766, in part an act of sympathy for his loss of a leg
after a riding accident-though,
typically, Foote carried on acting, starring in his
satire on doctors, The Devil upon Two Sticks (1768). Equally typically, Foote
managed to sell on the patent, which was explicitly restricted to his own lifetime.
What the highly competitive conditions of London theatre seemed to be waiting for was a star performer, somebody who could transform both acting and the
social status of theatre. On 15 September 1747 the new season at Drury Lane
opened with a performance of The Merchant o/Venice, starring Charles Macklin
as Shylock, a role he had begun to play in 1740 and would carry on playing almost
till his retirement from the stage in 1789. Macklin's brilliant performance, changing Shylock from the comic tradition into a fierce and powerful figure, was already
a known quantity. But Drury Lane was under new management and the prologue
to the season, written by Dr Johnson, set out the policy o~ the company.
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Ah! let not censure term our fate our choice,
The stage but echoes back the public voice.
The drama's laws the drama's patrons give,
For we that live to please, must please to live ...
'Tis yours this night to bid the reign commence
Of rescued nature and reviving sense;
260
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EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
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To chase the charms of sound, the pomp of show,
For useful mirth and salutary woe.
The audience was already being askedto accept one major innovation: gentlemen
were now banned from taking their seats on the stage or wandering backstage
during the performance. The play was clearly to be more important than the social
activity of the audience. One of the managers, James Lacy, had been running
Drury Lane for three years; he had now taken on as co-manager the newly established star of the theatre, the greatest actor of the century, David Garrick. Indeed
Garrick seems to have been the man who encouraged the use of the word 'star' to
describe a famous actor. Benjamin Victor, writing in 1761, could look back on
Garrick's appearance as the arrival of 'a bright luminary in the theatrical hemisphere ... [which] soon after became a star of the first magnitude and was called
Garrick', the first recorded application of 'star' to the theatre.
Garrick, an unsuccessful wine merchant, had his first play performed in 1740,
He began acting in 1741, out of town, at Ipswich. Ipswich was one of the permanent theatres on the increasingly important and established provincial circuit as
temporary fit-up stages began to be replaced by permanent purpose-built theatres
in, for instance, Bristol (1729), York (1734), and Ipswich (1736). His London debut
as an actor, as Richard III at Goodman's Fields in October 1741, was an immediate and spectacular success. He soon followed it with the other major Shakespeare
tragic roles, defining his success from the beginning in terms of his unswerving
allegiance to Shakespeare as the centre of the national culture.
Garrick was Lacy's natural choice and soon dominated the partnership. His
reign at Drury Lane lasted till 1776. Whatever else he achieved, his career transformed the social status of acting: as Dr Johnson said, 'his profession made him
rich and he made his profession respectable'. He was a friend of the high and
mighty in London society, fully accepted as a gentleman, living in his riverside
villa at Hampton with its gardens by Capability Brown and its temple dedicated
to Shakespeare, At his death, he was accorded a grand funeral and burial in Westminister Abbey. His magnificent library with its unrivalled collection of English
drama was a resource for scholars and he bequeathed it to the British Museum at
his death, where it still forms the cornerstone of the British Library's holdings of
early drama. He corresponded with the major figures of European theatre, particularly in France, where his visits had a profound influence on Diderot's revolutionary thinking about the nature of acting in Le Paradoxe sur le comedien (The
Paradox o/the Actor), which contrasts the tradition of feeling with Garrick's virtuoso demonstration of the application of intellect and observation in the creation
of emotional intensity in a role. He was also the most painted actor ever, the
subject of hundreds of paintings and engravings, a very visible icon of acting.
Garrick's management hardly produced any major new plays for the repertoire.
New comedies and tragedies, new farces and afterpieces were regularly produced
Stage scenery, 178r.
- This set, for a sea-coast
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and Garrick corresponded encouragingly with some dramatists and dealt with the
antagonism of the many disgruntled would-be playwrights whose prized work he
turned down. But none of the new work has kept its place as an established part
of the performed or read drama. His own plays were pragmatic, often very popular, responses to the audience's taste. The Drury Lane repertoire came increasingly
to be built around the concept of a classic repertory, a stock body of plays revived
each season.
Always interested in production, Garrick experimented with new effects and
spectacle; in 1771, for instance, he attracted Philip de Lourherbourg to London to
develop new sryles of stage lighting and scenery, new ways of representing place
and landscape, and new methods of using light to brilliant effect in night scenes,
culminating in his development of the picturesque and topographically exact
scenery for The Wonders of Derbyshire (1779).
Garrick was prepared too to explore the possibilities of costuming. Where, as
Steele wrote in 17II, 'the ordinary method of making an hero is to clap a huge
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TRE
plume of feathers upon his head', Garrick was intrigued by the opportunities for
a more 'authentic' costuming, following the lead of Aaron Hill, who designed a
set of 'old Saxon habits' for his play Athelwoldin 1731, though it was Macklin who
achieved a 'Scottish' -styled Macbeth in 1773.
In all Garrick worked towards a coherence of style and an integrity of effect in
production. If hardly a modern-style director he was trying to create a unity in
performance to an extent previously unknown. The attitude extended to his work
with the acting company: under his management, rehearsals were taken with great
seriousness and actors' temperamental displays were firmly dealt with. Garrick
may have been the leading actor in the company but he collected an ensemble of
fine performers around him: Spranger Barry and Kitty Clive, Peg Woffington and
Hannah Pritchard, all the best actors of the age worked with Garrick.
His own acting was as daring and virtuosic as possible. For his performance as
Hamlet he had a wig-maker produce a trick wig whose hair he could make liter- .
ally stand on end in his confrontation with his father's ghost. But such tricks were
far less important than the intensity and innovatory naturalism of his effects.
Above all, he seemed to enjoy acting and audiences enjoyed watching him. He
also depended on a rapidity and vivacity of effect, allowing his mobility to generate emotional intensity without ever being trapped by a single overarching mood.
Where the power of Betterton in the Restoration or his successors like James Quin
lay in declamatory style and heroic force, Garrick's success lay in the exploration
of character and a form of genius that allowed him to go beyond the rules. In a
period when more and more books and pamphlets were appearing on the actor's
art (by Aaron Hill, John Hill, and others), Garrick redefined the terms of acting.
In tragedy, where stance played a major part, Garrick added a quality of stillnesshe was notorious for his use of pauses for effect-and
an imagination that went
beyond any pattern or expectation. As he wrote to a friend, 'I pronounce that the
greatest strokes of genius have been unknown to the Actor himself, till circumstances and the warmth of the scene has sprung the mine as it were, as much to
his own surprise as that of the audience.' He did not succeed in every role; when
Spranger Barry was .playing Romeo at Covent Garden in 1750, Garrick insisted on
playing the same role at Drury Lane on the same nights, but popular opinion,
though annoyed at the way this actors' squabble proved boring, acknowledged :
Barry's superiority, particularly in the first half. As Lear, though, his emotional
power was unquestionable; as a contemporary rhyme judged:
The Town have found two different ways
To praise the different Lears:
To Barry they give loud huzzas,
To Garrick only tears.
In comedy there was no contest: the detail of his characterization
was coupled to
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EIGHTEENTH-
CENTUR
Y THEA
TRE
the most careful naturalism. Arthur Murphy, describing Garrick, as Sir John
Brute in Vanbrugh's The Provoked Wife, falling asleep in a chair, noted that 'sleep
coines upon him by the most natural gradations. Not the minutest circumstance
about a man in this situation escapes him. The struggle between sleep and his
unwillingness to give .way to it is perfectly just.' Over and over again, critics noted
how Garrick could control the audience, a necessary talent at a time when audience complaint was likely to be noisy and dangerous: Garrick's experiment of
bringing over a troupe of French dancers under Noverre in 1755 resulted in riots
of anti-Gallic feeling lasting six days. Even Garrick could not control the audience's patriotic violence: coming onto the stage to try to quiet the hissing, he was
greeted by ironic jeers of 'Monsieur'.
In 1767 the town council of Stratford-up on-Avon invited Garrick to contribute
to a suitable monument for the refurbished town hall in exchange fo'r the freedom
of the town. Garrick's imagination was fired; everything in his work and in his
idolatry of Shakespeare seemed to have led up to this moment. He set out to celebrate the Shakespeare bicentenary in Stratford, slightly belatedly, in September
1769 with a jubilee, a grand series of events in praise of Shakespeare. Pavilions were
constructed on the banks of the Avon for the programme. There were to be
processions through the town, balls and masquerades, concerts and horse-racing;
the climax was to be his own ode on Shakespeare performed by himself at the peak
of the festivities, accompanied by orchestra and chorus. Predictably enough
torrential rain blighted everything and the irritation of London society transported to the depths of the provinces grew as they were asked to pay outrageous
prices for bed and board. It was easy for mockers to ridicule the jubilee as an overambitious piece of Garrick's self-aggrandizement.
Even George Colman the
Elder, .often Garrick's collaborator, wrote a satiric play about it for Covent
Garden. Garrick's response was, as usual, both pragmatic and successful. He
wrote his own play about the jubilee, mocking provincial naivety (always likely to
appeal to a London audience), and built into the play the spectacular procession
of characters from Shakespeare that had been a damp squib in Stratford. Running
for dozens of performances that season (though quickly forgotten thereafter), The
jubilee easily recouped Garrick's financial losses.
If in Garrick's whole career he failed to generate any significant new drama, his
achievement was focused on his deification of Shakespeare. While the plays
continued to be adapted and reworked, Garrick was also concerned to put back as
many lines as he could and to extend the range of Shakespeare plays performed,
always placing Shakespeare at the centre of his company's repertory. In the division between study and stage that was deepening throughout the century, Garrick
tried to bridge the gap. National pride in its greatest writer, literary admiration
and scholarship, and theatrical viability combined to tie Garrick and Shakespeare
together in the forefront of the culture.
1t-
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
It used to be the standard critical view that the aftermath of the success of
Collier and Steele, the ending of the era of Restoration dramatists, established the
triumphant dominance. of sentimental drama, comedy where tears outweighed
laughter and moral orthodoxy, and reform overcame any subversive energies. But
the acceptance of a dramatic form by a literary culture is not the same as its acceptance in a theatrical one. Very few works managed to be both; Richard Cumberland's The West Indian (1771) was one exception, an intriguing redefinition of the
title-character from the stereotype comic butt into a narve but thoroughly moral
man finding his way through the dangers of London society. Cumberland's
humane sensitivity suggests a modern liberalism, as in The Jew (1794), a reasoned
argument against anti-Semitism. The fashion for such serious comedy meant, as
Oliver Goldsmith complained, that 'while the comic poet is invading the province
of the tragic muse, he leaves her lovely sister quite neglected'. But Benjamin
Hoadly's The Suspicious Husband (1747), the most performed comedy at Drury
Lane under Garrick, allows the conventions of sentimentalism to exist in uneasy
alliance with the staple features of Restoration comedy. By the 1770s, dramatic
comedy found a new lease oflife, a new excitement, precisely by rediscovering the
possibilities of Restoration form, just as Richard Brinsley Sheridan found the
source for his satire on contemporary opera and tragedy, The Critic (1779), in
Buckingham's The Rehearsal (1665). In Sheridan's The SchooLfor Scandal (1777)
sentimentalism is displayed most completely as a mask, Joseph Surface's ingratiating device to cover his hypocrisy. Goldsmith's anxiety about comedy is part of
his distinction between 'laughing' and 'sentimental' comedy in an important essay
in 1773; in the latter 'almost all the characters are good and exceedingly generous;
they are lavish enough of their tin money on the stage, and though they want
humour have abundance of sentiment and feeling'. Goldsmith's battle-lines are
perhaps too rigidly drawn but there is no question that his She Stoops to Conquer
(1773) celebrates laughter over sentiment as well as the honest virtues of the country over the snobbery of the town.
Sheridan and Goldsmith may have found their way back to a richer seam of
comedy but just as important to the evening's performance was by now the afterpiece, pantomimes like Theobald's Harlequin Sorcerer (performed 337 times at
Covent Garden between 1747 and 1776, far and away the most performed play of
the period), farces like Garrick's own Miss in her Teens, short musicals like Issac
Bickerstaffe's The Padlock. If the theatrical bill was now less extreme in its multiplicity than earlier in the century, the comic energies of the afterpieces go a long
way to balance any sentimental, moral dullness in the main play. Farce, not sentimental comedy, is really the dominant dramatic form of the period, a genre hardly
explored before but now richly developed, enthusiastically enjoyed, and, especially, given a particular position in the structure of the evening's entertainment.
The audience's demand for amusement rather than, as the literary culture would
266
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'auld
have approved, instruction meant that it was hardly surprising that both the
patent theatres suffered from damage when the audiences rioted at the managements' attempts in 1762 to abolish half-price admission after the third act of the
main play.
Theatre audiences in London were, in any case, growing throughout the
century at an even faster rate than the population growth of the city. The changes
in theatre architecture reflected this. Where Drury Lane at the beginning of the
century had a capacity of no more than 1,200, by 1794, after a number of rebuildings, it could hold over 3,600. Covent Garden expanded from 1,330 in 1732 to
3,000 in 1782. The other new theatres in London now functioning semi-legally,
performing pantomimes, equestrian spectacles, and unlicensed plays, were similarly large: for instance.Sadler's Wells (fromr765), with a capacity of 2,600, or the.
Royal Amphitheatre run by Philip Astley (from 1788), with a capacity of 2,500
after 1803, or the Royal Circus, run by Astley's rival Charles Hughes (from 1782).
These colossal auditoriums cried out for spectacle and tragedy. Throughout his
management Garrick looked for new tragedies. He rejected the Scottish playwright John Home's Douglas, only to find it a phenomenal success in Edinburgh
in 1756 (when a chauvinist spectator called out, 'Whaur's yer Wullie Shakespeare
noo?') and equally successful at Covent Garden. Home's play, a full-blown
Covent Garden
Theatre, 1763. This
engraving of the
theatre shows members
of the audience
clambering over the
tiny orchestra pit
during a theatre riot.
Note the chandeliers
over the stage to light
it and the on-stage
boxes on the side of
the foresrage, with an
entry-door on either
side downstage of the
proscenium arch,
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
theat
Lone
Man
K(
dem:
mter
on SI
up K
In sh
word
lettin
gram
Clea
his p
jorS
as an
thra
rrum
vastr
in tl
Cov
mte!
spec
Hen
A provincial theatrical
performance in
England, 1788. James
Wright's engraving of
Macbeth scene I is
wickedly mocking of
theatre outside
London bur the energy
of the scene and the
audience excitement is
also portrayed with
sympathy. Such fit-up
provincial theatres
were gradually replaced
by purpose-built
wdl-equipped theatres.
romantic tragedy, looked forward. Arthur Murphy, later an efficient writer of
comedies, had his first major success with The Orphan of China (1759), adapted
from Voltaire, looking sideways at France for a tragic form. But the effective
search for a neo-classical style needed to find a grandeur of scale in performance.
Garrick's share in the Drury Lane Theatre was bought out by Sheridan but,
realizing that the chores of management did not suit him, in 1788 Sheridan passed
the day-to-day work on to John Philip Kemble. Kemble had made his London
debut in 1783. His sister, Sarah Siddons, had returned to Drury Lane in triumph
the previous year. Siddons had had a disastrous start with Garrick's company in
.1775 and had soon left for the provincial circuit. She learnt her craft first on the
important Yorkshire touring circuit, run for over thirty years by Tate Wilkinson,
which was also her brother's training ground, then playing at the various Theatres
Royal, many of which had now been given royal patents in their own right (Bath
in 1768, York in 1769)-before
the end of the century the numbers and size of
to CI
tuni
Ism
T
abse
com
to p
tive
ager
anIr
alloRos:
ance
coui
Ken
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
THEA
TRE
theatres outside London increased at a, prodigious rate. Siddons's return to
London, playing Isabella in Garrick's version of Southerne's tragedy The Fatal
Marriage, marked the beginnings of a new style of acting.
Kemble and Siddons gave the public the kind of tragic performance the theatres
demanded: monumental, aristocratic, full of heroic proportions and emotional
intensity. They established the standard for an English classical style. Both worked
on stage with an unremitting concentration. William Hazlitt the critic summed
up, Kemble's style perfectly:
In short, we think the distinguishing excellence of his acting may be summed up in one
in the seizing upon some one feeling or idea, in insisting upon it, in never
letting go, and in working it up, with a certain graceful consistency and conscious
grandeur of conception to a very high degree of pathos or sublimity.
word-intensity;
'iter of
.lapted
fective
nance,
n but,
passed
ondon
iumph
anym
on the
rnson,
ieatres
(Bath
size of
Clearly he was never going to succeed in comedy;
his performance as Charles Surface in The School
for Scandal was 'as merry as a funeral and as lively
as an elephant'. But, where Garrick had succeeded
through
lightning
changes, Kemble's singleminded conception of a role's through-line had a
vastness of scale that suited Shakespearian tragedy
in the vast spaces of the new Drury Lane and
Covent Garden. His productions-and
he, even
more than Garrick, worked to create a unified,
integrated style for a performance-were
full of
spectacle, especially in plays, like Shakespeare's
Henry VIII and Coriolanus, that gave him a space
to create enormous processions as well as opportunities to explore his concept of antiquarian realism in sets and costumes.
The streak of the showman, conspicuously
absent from his own acting style, as well as the
competition from the rival establishments unable
to perform 'legitimate' drama, the legal prerogative of the patent theatres, led to Kemble's encouragement of the fashion for melodrama, of putting
animals on the stage (including an elephant), of
allowing the craze for Master Betty, the 'Infant
Roscius', a rj-year-old .lionized for his performance in all the classical roles in 1804-5, to run its
course. As one annoyed newspaper complained,
Kemble ignored any play that could not 'be
John Philip Kembleas
Coriolanus, 1797. The
nobility and dignity of
Kemble'sacting was
most completely
demonstrated in his
patrician performance
as Shakespeare's
Coriolanus.The setting
carefullyunderlines the
grandeur of the actor
with the martial statue
contrasting with the
cloakedactor. Painting
by FrancisBourgeois.
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PATTERSON
converted into" a pageant but brings forward with much pretence any drama that
has its proper capabilities of ostentatious spectacle'. The patent houses, though
the homes of the traditional repertory, were by no means staid in their productions as they fought for audiences.
Often criticized as an actor for his artificiality and stiffness, his idiosyncratic
pronunciation, and his excessive reliance on pregnant pauses (a consequence of his
breathing difficulties caused by asthma), Kemble was unequivocally noble in
manner, ideal for the patrician coldness of Coriolanus. AI> Leigh Hunt noted, 'it
is in characters that are occupied with themselves and with their own importance
... that Mr Kemble is the actor'. Kemble's studied effects complemented perfectly
the naturalness that was the key contemporary perception of Mrs Siddons:
Mrs Siddons has the air of never being the actress; she seems unconscious that there is a
motley crowd called a pit waiting to applaud her, or that there are a dozen fiddlers waiting for her exit.
Praised for her sweetness and pathos, praised for her terror and dignity, she was
praised above all for her identification with her role: as an early biographer
commented, 'When Mrs Siddons quitted the dressing-room, I believe she left
there the last thought about herself.'
Kemble and Siddons left Drury Lane and the squabbles with Sheridan in 1802
and moved to Covent Garden. After the theatre burnt down in 1808, Kemble
rebuilt it on an even larger scale than before. New theatres and grand productions
are expensive, even with a huge capacity. Kemble's attempts to put up th~ admission prices sparked off the 'Old Price' riots that lasted in the theatre for sixty-six
nights till Kemble was forced to give in.
The demonstrations and celebrations of the Old Price riots proved conclusively
that the audience in England now ruled the theatre and that, as Dr Johnson had
predicted in 1747, 'the drama's laws the drama's patrons give'. But to provide the
kind of entertainment
the audiences
expected,
the theatre in England
had devel-
oped, to an extent unimaginable at the beginning of the century, its skills and
machinery, its sets and costuming, its showmanship and excitement. Whatever
else their work may be about, the huge theatres of 1800 were unequivocally always
celebrating their own artistic and spectacular triumphs.
stab
tion
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In those countries of Continental Europe that had enjoyed a strong theatrical
tradition in the Renaissance, the development of theatre in the eighteenth century
was determined largely by the need to create a stage that reflected the changing
make-up of society. Against the background of declining aristocratic power
accompanied by growing rationalism, high tragedy and formalized acting no
longer seemed relevant to the concerns of the expanding middle classes. Even the
comedies of the previous century, like those of Moliere, presented the image of a
of
the
le I
ref
tac
ani
act
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
ia that
hough
~oducteratic
:of his
ble in
ed, 'it
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; wait-
e was
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.1802
.rnble
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lmisty-six
lively
t had
e the
eveland
tever
ways
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!rury
gmg
)wer
~ no
the
t
ofa
THEATRE
stable society, one in which impending disaster may be averted by the intervention of the all-powerful Sun King (as in Tartuffi), comedies in which we are
invited to laugh at the follies of individuals who fail to conform to the behaviour
of their peers. By the time we come to Beaumarchais's comedies over a century
later, it is the extraordinary individual that wins our sympathy and we laugh
instead at die follies of society.
This change began with the death of Louis XIV in 1715. When the Sun King
set, the austerity of the recent past was rapidly repudiated. The aristocracy threw
itself into a bout of elegant self-indulgence, celebrating the sensual delicacy of the
rococo in opera, ballet, and masked balls. The Regent invited a leading Italian
theatre personality, Luigi Riccoboni, to reopen the Comedie-Italienne in Paris,
and in 1716 it returned to the Hotel de Bourgogne, from which it had been banned
in 1697, its front-curtain now boasting an impressive phoenix with the motto: '[e
renais' ('I am born again'). Here, as he had tried in Italy, Riccoboni attempted to
educate his public to a more serious taste, but after the gloom of the final decades
of Louis's reign audiences demanded spectacle, music, dance, and laughter.
Riccoboni had to concede to public taste and his French adaptations of the
commedia dell'arte were so successful that, on the accession of Louis XV in 1723,
he was granted a generous annual pension. While these harlequinades, the forerunners of comic opera, were light, they were not mindless. In one of them
Socrates instructs Harlequin:
It is essential to give witty expression to the voice of reason and to useful truths for the
correction of manners ... to avoid above all trivial jokes, empty pleasantries, puns and all
such licence which damages morals and offends common decency.
This progressive and serious conception of the role of comic theatre was further
developed at the Comedie-Italienne
by Marivaux in his comedies gaies. Marivaux
displayed a remarkable ability to enter into the mind of his heroines, helped no
doubt byhis close working association with one of Riccoboni's leading actresses,
Silvia. His recurrent theme of sensitive individuals out of joint with an uncaring
society paved the way for the domestic dramas for which the eighteenth century
was to be so famous.
This move away from the stylization and formality of the classical French stage
towards more domestic forms did nut occur only within the elegant surroundings
of the Comedie-Italienne, Even before the death of Louis XIV the monopoly of
the Cornedie-Francaise was being challenged from a much more populist quarter:
le theatre de la foire (fairground theatre). For many years this form of theatre was
refused permission to use speech, song, or dance; so the performers mounted spectacular dumb shows, often with striking stage effects (waterfalls, live flying
animals, etc.), which were accompanied by scrolls of text in couplets, sung by
actors planted in the audience and by the more literate members of the public.
PETER
Lekain in Voltaire's
Orphan of China. The
splendidly elaborate
costume clearly owes
more ro eighteenthcemury notions of
Genghis Khan than to
historical accuracy.
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
The content of these couplets was often felt to be so subversive that one leader of
such a troupe, the unfortunate Octave, was thrown into prison for offending the
court.
Meanwhile, the Comedie-Francaise continued to build on its tradition of being
the home of fine tragedy. The plays of Racine and Corneille were revived (including the first professional production of Racine's Athalie in 1717). It also discovered
in Voltaire not only a prolific playwright (he wrote his fiftieth play at the age of
84) but a true man of the theatre: actor, director, and critic. Though impressed by
Shakespeare, he felt that his apparent wildness was unsuitable for the French stage.
So Voltaire continued to write his plays according to the neo-classical rules but
adopted some of the more spectacular effects of Shakespeare, e.g. ghost-scenes. As
he wrote in the Preface to his Tancred: 'il faut frapper l'ame et les yeux a la fois.'
(,One must make an impact on the soul and the eyes at
the same time.') His plays, too, while cast in the classical
mould, contained much of his own contemporary humanist ideas: thus his version of Oedipus (1718) contains
a biting attack on the priesthood, and in L 'Orphelin de la
Chine (The Orphan of China) (1755) the characteristically
sentimental eighteenth-century
exercise of virtue by the
heroine overcomes the lustful desires and menaces of
Genghis Khan.
In many respects Voltaire's tragic figures were in fact
contemporaries in classical costume, and by the midcentury even, the tradition-bound
Cornedie-Francaise
had to acknowledge the new taste of the public for a
theatre which reflected their own society. It was above all
Denis Diderot, as both playwright and theoretician, who
established the new vogue for 'bourgeois drama' or
comedic larmoyante ('lachrymose comedy', a sentimental
piece with a happy outcome) on the model of Lillo's The
London Merchant. Most important ofDiderot's plays was
Le Pere de [amille ( The Head of the Family). Pres en ted at
the Cornedie-Francaise in 1761, the piece preserved, however improbably, the three unities, but was innovative in
placing high emotion and potentially tragic conflict in a contemporary domestic
setting. The realism of the piece was reinforced by the prose dialogue, the precise
stage directions encouraging full use of the stage, and the technique of crosscutting two conversations, which sacrificed theatrical focus for the sake of naturalness.
The actors, unused to performing in prose, were, according to Diderot, 'trembling as they went on stage as ifit were their first time'. More importantly perhaps,
272
and;
hard,
a bea
both
fathe
mad
incar
and 1
TI
an 1D
the (
Thea
theat
popu
audk
acto!
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simil
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new
Rom
beco
St
from
Pers]
pam
auth
the!
yearNoc
to as
men
M
prob
The
EIGHTEENTH-
.er of
~ the
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dby
:age.
but
s, Ai;
ois.'
es at
sical
huams
Ie fa
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tum-
ps,
CENTUR
Y THEA
TRE
and as a [email protected]£u<lJyal approval, it was recorded that Louis XV,one ofithe 'most
hardened egoiSts, of the day', wept copiously at this story of a, son whose love for
a beautiful but iill1lJpoverishedgirl drives him to disobey his father: Fortunately for
both Louis and: the outcome of the play, the girl turns out to bea cousin, and
father and SOTh indulge in a sentimental reconciliation. For without thiss deus ex
machina the evil uncle might have made arbitrary use of a warrant ofarrest to
incarcerate his young niece; the son might indeed have rebelledlagainst auttiority,
and the play would have acquired a much more revolutionary slant.
This new-found acknowledgement of eighteenth-century theatreas performing
an important role in examining the nature of society and allegedly in improving
the quality of that society (later most clearly asserted in Schiller's essay 'The
Theatre Considered as a Moral Institution' of 1784) had a predictable effeer on
theatre pracniee, Actors who developed a more natural style of delivery became
popular. Alreadiy at the Cornedie-Francaise Adrienne LecouvreurHad enchanted
audiences wLth1her natural charm in place of the mannered gestures of the-older
actors, and had reinforced this by adopting more realistic costume..So, when she
performed the role of Queen Elizabeth in 1721, in place of the- conventional
Versailles gown and high wig, she wore an English court dress wiilhaisash.of.the
Order of the Garter. Later, another star of the Comedie-Francaise, OOH.e<Dkiron,
similarly shocked her audiences by appearing with 'half-naked .arrnss' arrdl even,
awakened from sleep in a version of Dido, in a plain shift. SucHauthcmtici~in
costume reached a turning-point when in 1789 Talma, who sigp.ifi1::antl}yHad
begun his theatrical career in London, sought advice from the arrisr Davidlarrd
appeared in Voltaire's Brutus wearing a Roman toga. After recovering. from, tile
shock of seeing bare arms and legs on stage, the public were soon womover to this
new style of presentation, so much so that when two years laterr'Ilalrna wore a
Roman hair-style for the role of Titus, he inaugurated a fashions which wass to
become the rage for modish French revolutionaries.
Stage-sets also developed a new realism, necessitating the removalicflspecramrs
from the stage, which was finally achieved at the Cornedie-Frarroaise in, W59.
Perspective scenery created by sliding wing-flats and a backdrop, with. objects
painted on it were still the norm, but there was now greater care rakemwiilhrhe
authenticity of setting and the realism of the furniture and props. Ncolonger, were
the French public prepared to tolerate absurdities like the appeararroeeofitlieevoyear-old actor Baron in the role of a child in La Motte's The Maccab.be:es(t721).
No one was fooled by the boy's cap perched on his head; and wherrrweoaerorsshad
to assist him to his feet again after he had embraced the knees of the l(lng, the
merriment of the audience was loud and sustained.
Middle-class .audiences now preferred a theatre that set outrcoexpiorertheir
problems in a realistic even if sentimental manner, but they soon.went furrher.
The bourgeoisie could boast ever-growing wealth and intellectualisupremacy over
273
.---
Performance in the
" Hotel de Bourgogne,
- 1769. By the latter half
of the eighteenth
century the Parisian
public were
demanding greater
realism on stage; hence
the 'authentic'
spinning-wheel and
stool and the detailed,
even if painted, backdrop.
hov
goe:
hea
atta
feet
'Th
fon
the
firsl
I
pm
arra
eve:
the
not
plel
sta~
tal«
pac
let
eve
ane
pIa
the aristocracy but were still excluded from political power. So, in addition to a
theatre that reflected their world, they demanded one that would give voice to
their aspirations. These aspirations in the French theatre were to focus on the
. unlikely figure of a Spanish barber, created by a writer and adventurer who had
only recently begun to write for the stage.
Beaumarchais's first Figaro play, The Barber of Seville (1775), presented the
unoriginal but for the times provocative view of the servant as being cleverer and,
despite a certain pardonable roguishness, essentially more honest than his master;
but it was the much more aggressive stance ofBeaumarchais's next comedy which
was to cause a furore in Paris and firmly to establish theatre as a major influence
in French political life. Beaumarchais read his Marriage of Figaro to the members
of the Comedie-Francaise in 1781, but it was to be some years before it could be
seen by the Parisian public. No less an admirer of Beaumarchais than the Queen
Marie Antoinette arranged for the play to be read to the King: 'Louis XVI accompanied the reading with comments of praise or disapproval; more and more,
274
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
THEA.TRE
however, he was moved to utter: "That
goes too far! That is indecent! ere." , On
hearing Figaro's fifth-act monologue
attacking the aristocracy, he leapt to his
feet and cried with prophetic insight:
'That's terrible! It will never be performed: for this play not to be a danger,
the Bastille would have to be torn down
first.'
Despite this royal condemnation,
a
private performance of the play was
arranged. However, on the appointed
evening in June 1783, word came from
the King that even the aristocracy were
not permitted to see this notorious
piece. Predictably, the demand to see it
staged grew even stronger, and a further private performance was organized to
take place on 26 September 1783 at the chateau at Gennevilliers. The hall was so
packed with gentry that Beaumarchais felt compelled to break a few windows to
let air into the stuffy auditorium-an
act that was recognized as being symbolic
even then. Such was the success that the pressure to release it for public performance grew even greater.
This was achieved remarkably simply: Beaumarchais was permitted to read his
play to Breteuil, the Royal Minister, and an assembled company of leading
toa
:e to
l the
had
, the
and,
ster;
hich
ence
bers
d be
ieen
omore,
275
Beaumarchais's Barber
a/Seville, C.I775. Note
the realistic furniture
and props and the
natural and flowing
postures of the actors,
a con trast with the stiff
formality shown in
Watteau's painting of
half a century earlier.
PETER
-.\
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
arbiters of literary taste. The wit of the piece and Beaumarchais's
own charming
delivery won over these gentlemen, and the King grudgingly allowed a production
to go ahead, quietly hoping that it would be a flop. So, just eight days after the
Comedie-Francaise
had moved back into their renovated theatre, on 27 April
I784, the most important first night in eighteenth-century France took place. The
alternative tide of the piece, La Folie [ournee ( The Crazy Day), could not have been
more appropriate. Already the previous night ladies of the nobility and women of
the bourgeoisie had, at the expense of both protocol and comfort, shared actresses'
dressing-rooms in order to ensure that they would get a seat. Others took lunch
in the auditorium. As the time of the performance approached, the throng outside
the theatre swept aside the guards and forced the gates, causing several ladies to
faint. Less than half those pressing to get in managed to get tickets. Every single
minister was present, as were all the brothers of the King. Unsurprisingly, the
King stayed away. Beaumarchais himself had the prudence to arrange for two
abbes to sit either side of him to indicate the seriousness of the moral intent in his
piece, although more cynical observers commented that they were there to
provide the spiritual guidance that he so obviously needed.
The performance lasted from half-past five to ten o'clock, interrupted by
tumultuous laughter and applause, with only occasional whistling and hissing.
Dazincourt as Figaro rapidly won over the public with his display of native
cunning, and this was reinforced by the pert charm of Louise-Francoise Con tat as
Suzanne; but the greatest favourite of the evening was Ieanne-Adelaide Olivier's
Cherubin, in whose youthful yearning the French public perhaps saw something
of their own longing for change. The quality of performance was further heightened by the use for the first time of oil-lamps, which gave the stage an unprecedented brightness and avoided the usual distraction of stage-hands having to trim
candle-wicks .. No doubt to Louis's chagrin, the piece was repeated over seventy
times.
It is.an irony of course that this piece, which Napoleon later described as 'the
Revolution in action', and which at the time indirectly led to Beaumarchais's
arrest, should have been mounted not just with the acquiescence but with the full
support of the aristocracy, whose right to govern was so seriously challenged in the
play. But, however much the effectively suicidal connivance of the nobility was
required at the time, the tide of history and with it the new political role of theatre
in France would anyway sooner or later have broken through the banks of censorship. A few years .later, in I789, Danton himself as leader of the Revolutionary
Council ord~red the Comedie-Francaise
to perform Chenier's Charles IX with
Talma in the title-role. The scene in which a dagger is blessed before being used
to strike the mortal blow on the King was greeted in performance by ten minutes
of unbroken applause. The stage was being used quite manipulatively to prepare
the puh,lic fo~ L1.eexecution of Louis XVI, and, in recognition of the value of the
rhea
the.
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EIGHTEENTH·CENTURY
ming
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THEATRE
theatre to the Revolution, a directive of] anuary 1791 permitted anyone to open a
theatre in Paris,
So from the virtual monopoly of the Comedie-Francaise in P~ris at the start of
the century, with its classical repertoire and formal playing sryle.T'rench theatre
now took place in many different venues, offering middle-class drarria~ and co~i(;
operas, played in alively, natural style. What began the century as aristocratic
entertainment had now become the forum of the people.
In Spain, the combination of the brilliance of the legacy of Golden Age drama and
the lack of any genuinely talented new dramatists proved stultifying. The
achievements of the previous century had become a rigid form, hindering inno~
vation. Even the political change at the accession of the Bourbons failed to have
any impact on the development of drama. Instead earlier plays continued to b~
performed, usually heavily adapted to accommodate the increasing audience
demand for stage spectacle, the one sure way to achieve success. By the 1760s the
government sought to reform the poor state of the theatres by attempting to
ensure adequate rehearsal, a less stilted performing style, and a bail on ad libs.
But the major source for significant change was, inevitably, the influence of the
new possibilities being explored in French drama. Nicolas Fernandez de Moratin
tried to combine the traditional style with French neo-classical tragedy to resist
the trivialization of drama. But beyond the observation of the unities and a cerrain
new concentration on the triumph cf love over honour his tragedies did little to
alter the prevailing style.
His son Leandro Fernandez de Moratin sought, with far greater success, the
reconciliation of national traditions with neo-classical and Enlightenment forms
in his five comedies. La comedia nueva (The New Play, 1792) mocked earlier plays
for using a neo-classical facade to mask their interest in superficial spectacle.
Instead he explored, particularly in his best play EI viejo y la nifia (The Old Man
and the Young Girl; 1786), new areas of concern for drama: bourgeois morality
over aristocratic codes of honour, material conditions rather than social structure,
free choice against arranged marriages, and the concerns of the significant social
group of the untitled nobility. Profiting from the comedic larmoyante, his plays
had a new intensity of emotion. This new centring on the social interests of a
bourgeois theatre provided the theatre with the means to exchange the patronage
of the court for the influence of popular taste without kowtowing to the demand
for spectacle; it also combined the strengths of the national tradition ~ith the
opportunities offered by the drama of the rest of Europe.
',r
While Italy could not look back to a Golden Age, its native tradition, commedia dell'arte, for all its aristocratic patronage, brought its own problems. Though
the materials of the form seemed increasingly exhausted and noble support fell
away, it was far from clear what could replace it. The development of opera buffa
277
,
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
(comic opera) seemed to divert energies from the dramatic comedy. Again and
again the best talent (actors, playwrights, and designers) was also sucked out of the
country, lured to France, where success seemed easier.
In tragedy and scripted comedy, the model of French neo-classical forms was
too quickly and easily dominant to allow the development of a national alternative. Luigi Riccoboni, son of a famous Pantalone, attempted to renew the Italian
repertoire and create a popular Italian serious theatre, gradually replacing work by
Corneille and Racine with plays by Trissino and Tasso and new work by Pier
Martelli. But-only with Merope by Scipione Maffei did Riccoboni find a major
success. Merope, a weighty verse tragedy, was premiered in Modena in 1713 and
triumphed in Venice the following year as well as being toured by Riccoboni. But
though admired, Riccoboni's troupe had comparatively little impact and, when
his attempts
reform comedy were signally unsuccessful at Venice's Teatro San
Luca, he headed off to Paris, where, as we have seen, he Gallicized commedia, the
.reverse of his resistance to the French influence in Italian theatre.
The best Italian tragedy of the mid-eighteenth century was produced for opera,
particularly in the libretti of Pietro Metastasio, whose work, from Didone abbandonata (Dido Abandoned, 1724) onwards, was hugely in demand. Serious dramatic
tragedy had to wait for the end of the century for a significant new impetus. In
1775 Count Vittorio Alfieri wrote his first tragedy, Cleopatra, which succeeded in
Turin, Alfieri's home city, with Girolamo Medebach's troupe. However, he soon
recognized, by bitter experience, that the public theatres were likely to butcher his
plays ro please audiences. In Rome in 1781 he wandered into a performance of his
Orestes to find that the play had been given a happy ending, with Orestes now
reconciled to his mother rather than killing her. Leaping on to the stage and arguing with the actors, Alfieri managed to secure an apology from the theatre's
management. Appalled by the actors' lack of professionalism he had most of his
later plays performed in private houses before carefully selected audiences by a
group of amateur actors under his control. The literary success of Alfi~ri's work
had little effect on the popular theatre. Not the least of his problems was the need
to develop an Italian dramatic language, rather than the local, regional forms used
for most drama; he had both to learn Italian and use it for his own drama. His
own nationalism found a response in the social unrest that would lead to the
Risorgimento, the search for a national unity.
In 1750 in the closing speech of the season delivered by the leading actress of
the' Medebach company in Venice, Carlo Goldoni announced that he would
provide no few~r than sixteen full-length new comedies for the company's next
season. }...s a boast it was outrageous; astonishingly he fulfilled it. Venice was now
the centre of Italian cultural life, with numerous theatres and a vibrant intellectual society, Though long interested in writing for the stage, Goldoni had
produced plays only intermittently while; practising law. Initially he wrote the
to
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the
CENTUR
Y THEA
TRE
scenarios required by commedia style: in 1745, for instance, he developed .
Arlecchino, servitore di due padroni ( The Servant of Two Masters) in scenario form
for the brilliant actor Antonio Sacchi. It was only in 1753 that he combined his
original text and Sacchi's interpretation of its lazzi into the fully scripted form in
which it is now played. Hut Goldoni moved beyond this mixture of ~ritten and
improvised drama, aiming to overturn the crudities and sheer self-indulgence that
had come to dominate com media by developing a scripted comedy, using the
traditions but abandoning the masks and improvisational techniques central to its
performance.
.
..
In 1748. Goldoni became a full-time dramatist working for Medebach's new
companybased
at the Teatro San Angelo, one of three theatres specializing in
comedy. I due gemelli Veneziani (The Venetian Twins) was his first major success,
a comedy that, building on convention, found a new possibility of seriousness,
social realism, and decisive social comment even as it exploited the virtuoso skills'
of Cesare D'Arbes, who played both twins.
Frighteningly prolific, Goldoni did not seek immediate reformation but rather
a gradual transformation of Venetian theatre. Inevitably it was not an uncontested
change. Initially the conservative opposition was focused on the parodies of
Goldoni by Chiari produced at rival theatres: Goldoni's La vedova scaltra (The
Cunning Widow, 1748) at the San Angelo was mocked in Chiari's La scuola delle
vedove ( The School for Widows) at the San Samuel. Goldoni, who watched Chiari's
play disguised in cloak and mask, found it little more than plagiarism with added
comments ridiculing his jokes.
.
.
Chiari was hardly likely to stop the flow of reform, a programme for which
Goldoni outlined in the first play of the sixteen in the 1751-2 season, II teatro
comico (The Comic Theatre), a polemical manifesto masquerading as a play. In
1753, after arguments over royalties, Goldoni parted company with Medebach,
moving to the larger T eatro San Luca. Over the next decade, his work developed
in subtlety and ambition, exploring Venetian society in depth. As early as 1748 in
La putta onorata (The Respectable Girl) Goldoni had included scenes of Venetian ,
gondoliers, portraying their language and customs; he arranged for gondoliers to '
attend the theatre free and, as he recorded in his Memoirs, 'they were enchanted
to see themselves represented on stage'.
But by this time his reforms had attracted a more serious opponent than Chiari.
Carlo Gozzi was a leading member of the Accademia dei Granelleschi, a literary
society founded in I747 with the express aim of preserving purity of style;
Goldoni's fascination with regional dialect was bound to be offensive to him.
Initially basing his attack in pamphlets and parodies, Gozzi was stung by
Goldoni's mockery of critics who do not write into producing his own plays.
Working with Sacchi's company, Gozzi wrote a series of plays which sought to
regenerate commedia and re-establish what he viewed as its aristocratic and
279
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
sett
and
vise
sat!
I
the
the
sue
eno
tist
eve
soe
rati
Or
It
exc
sin
eas
no'
la,]
grc
as,
po
sat
HI
'p;
ell
en
Inl
id
fOJ
tn
all
fir
T,
280
EIGHTEENTH-
CENTUR
Y THEA
TRE
emphatically conservative political and social values through fables, the fiabe. He
repudiated any taint of Francophile radicalism that Goldoni was seen as sharing.
The best of the fiabe, L 'arnore delle tre melarance (The Love of Three Oranges, 1761)
and Turandot (1762), combined fantasy derived from folk-tales with exotic
settings and stage spectacle, denying at every step the realism, scenic simplicity,
and contemporary idiomatic language of Goldoni. Part scripted and part improvised, Gozzi's fables also made Aristophanic use of the opportunities for direct
satire of Goldoni and topical events.
Initially successful, the vogue for the fiabe passed (not to be rediscovered until
the twentieth century in adaptations into opera) and Gozzi eventually abandoned
the stage, frustrated by the endless quarrels with Sacchi's actors. But Gozzi's initial
success, coupled with the temptations of higher salary and reasonable security, was
enough to cause Goldoni to follow the high road to Paris, becoming house dramatist at the Cornedie-Italienne.
Goldoni worked in Paris until his death without
ever really adapting to the different circumstances, exiled from the language and
society he had so exhilaratingly examined, the very sources of his theatrical inspiration.
On turning from the established theatre nations of England, France, Spain, and
Italy to the rest of Europe, a quite different picture is encountered. With the
exception of the relatively stable imperial thrones in Vienna and 'Petersburg, the
situation of the German-speaking countries and of the nations of northern and
eastern Europe was not conducive to the creation of national theatres. What is
now called Germany was divided into over 360 different states, each with its own
laws, currency, and measurements; the Netherlands were recovering, albeit with
growing prosperity, from the Wars of Spanish Succession (1702-13); Sweden's role
as a European power ended when Charles XII fell in battle in 1718; Denmark was
politically strongly influenced by Germany; and Norway was little more than a
satellite of Denmark. Bohemia was under the dominance of German culture,
Hungary owed allegiance to Austria, and Poland had to endure a succession of
'Partitions'.
Moreover, every European nation outside England looked for
cultural guidance towards France. The French language dominated in court
circles, the French taught one to dance and to cook well. Leibniz, Germany's leading Enlightenment philosopher, wrote in French, and the Prussian king, Frederick the Great, went on record as saying that German was a language fit only to use
for speaking to one's horse.
Amongst this adulation of the French, it was the little country of Denmark that
tried to establish the first national theatre of northern and eastern Europe. Ironically, the initiative came from two French theatre-practitioners
who opened the
first theatre for Danish productions, the Gronnegade Theatre in Copenhagen.
Two days after the predictable translation of Moliere with which the theatre
281
Facing: Theatro Regio,
Turin, C.I740. Italian
theatre used extremely
elaborate stage sets.
The experience of
watching the play was
no doubt helped by
waiters serving drinks
during the
performance. The
armed guard kept
order as in theatres
elsewhere in Europe.
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
sOC]
oft
I
con
to a
and
the
dan
Fre:
Air<
late
perl
}
173:
fail<
the:
wh:
the:
dea
per
taki
Holberg's jeppe from
the Hill, C.I740. Note
the wing-fiats,the
chandeliers and
footlights, and the
spectators on the stage.
opened, Denmark was to acknowledge its first and immediately successful
national playwright, Ludvig Holberg. Born in Norway, but obliged to write in
Danish, Holberg was a university professor, but fortunately one with a strong
sense of theatre. His first play, Den politiske Kandesteber (The Pewterer who
Wanted to be a Politician), owes a great deal to Moliere in ridiculing the vices of
an extreme comic type, in this case a simple artisan who has pretensions to becoming mayor but is exposed as entirely inadequate to the task. But Holberg goes
beyond mere imitation of his French model in the authenticity of the Danish
setting and in establishing a testing situation for his comic figures, a style of serious comedy which raises social and philosophical questions in a manner that
anticipates Kleist's comedies.
The opening night of The Pewterer was it huge success, with many of the wouldbe audience obliged to attend the event in the yard outside the theatre. There were
rumblings amongst the city fathers that the play was mocking them, but Holberg
could claim that his intention was on the contrary to add lustre to the image of
the authorities. However tongue-in-cheek this defence of his comedy was, he
clearly subscribed to the characteristic Enlightenment
view that comedy was
By
Sto
I
Ian,
fro]
Fre
pOt
bec
bui
gen
aesi
the
as 1
EUl
tic
the
haL
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
THEATRE
socially useful in the correction of vices, whether those revealed in the behaviour
of the comic protagonist or in that of society at large.
Despite the initial success of Holberg's plays and his own prolific output (in
1723 alone he wrote ten comedies, and by 1727 had written twenty-six), this first
attempt to create a new national theatre was dogged by problems, above all the
continuing domination of French culture. The Crennegade theatre was obliged
to alternate the comedies of Holberg with the more polished products of Moliere,
and, while the King supported the enterprise, the robust knockabour humour of
the native Danish performances was felt to be too vulgar for actual royal attendance. So, when the theatre was invited to perform at the palace, they offered two
French pieces rather than anything by Denmark's own national playwright.
Already in 1727 Holberg's Funeral of Danish Comedywas performed, and attempts
later in the century to revive a Danish national theatre were directed to the
performance of operettas and festive operas.
A similar story can be told of Denmark's neighbour, Sweden. An attempt in
1737 (undertaken by a French actor) to found a Swedish national theatre had
failed by 1754, and it was only with the accession of Gustav III in 1771 that the
theatre in Stockholm began to receive whole-hearted royal support. Gustav was a
wholly theatrical personality: he learnt of his accession to the throne during a
theatre performance in Paris, and his life ended at a masked ball, when he was shot
dead by aristocratic conspirators. He wrote his own plays, one of which was
performed in Paris and Vienna, and he loved to act himself, o n one occasion
essful
ite in
trong
who
.es of
comgoes
anish
serithat
iuldwere
berg
~e of
;, he
was
taking the lead role in five tragedies and a number of comedies within two weeks.
By the time of his death in 1792 there were four permanent theatre companies in .
Stockholm, a city of not more than 75,000 inhabitants.
However, despite all this encouragement,
the foundation for a Swedishlanguage theatre was not created. No national playwright emerged; and so, apart .
from Gustav's own plays, most productions were translations of Holberg or of
French originals. As in Denmark, it was the musical theatre which proved more
popular and led to the building of splendid theatres. Most famous of these today,
because it is preserved in its original state, is the court-theatre of Drotrningholm,
built in 1766. The harmoniously proportioned auditorium is reflected in the
generous proportions of the stage, and the sets were not permitted to disturb this
aesthetic balance. Thus, whether the setting was a royal palace or a peasant's hut,
the dimensions of painted wing-pieces and backcloth remained the same. Here,
as in Goethe's work at Weimar, we see, perhaps for the last time in mainstream
European theatre, the pursuit of beauty at the expense ~f authenticity.
This tension between what was aesthetic and what was authentic, characteristic of eighteenth-century
theatre, is well illustrated by the development of Dutch
theatre. Here, perhaps owing to their secure and prosperous society in the latter·
half of the century, there seemed less pressure to create a self-consciously national
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
~
nati
of tl
I:
Nat
Wa
exte
the
corr
tho
the;
ran
corr
F
ord
cou
ate<
Drottningholm
Theatre with palace
set. The lines of the
auditorium are
continued on to the
stage, creating a shared
harmonious space,
free of much concern
with authenticity.
theatre. The splendid Schouwburg in Amsterdam, originally founded in 1638,
rebuilt after the fire of 1772, attracted a regular audience of burghers, whose casual
behaviour shocked visitors from other countries: rowdiness, eating, drinking, talking, and wearing hats were all commented on. The two leading actors at the
theatre, who. often played the same role on alternate evenings, in many ways incorporated the ongoing debate of the century. J an Punt was a devoted follower of the
Cornedie-Francaise style, concentrating on graceful gesture and pleasing vocal
delivery; Marten Corver was much more committed to discovering the truth of
performance, adopting a more natural style of acting and wearing historically
accurate costumes. Their rivalry led to a spate of vituperative pamphlets in the
early 1760s and eventually to Corver's leaving the Schouwburg to form his own
ensemble, with whom he might pursue authenticity. Perhaps he should have been
warned: it was just such an attempt at realism that had led to the fatal Schouwburg fire of 1772. In order to playa dungeon scene with appropriate gloom, most
of the candles had been screened off; the screens caught fire and led to the catastrophe.
In what would become Czechoslovakia too the development of a national
theatre was closely linked to the linguistic separatism from the power of German,
the language which dominated Czech in Prague; the need was defined by the
~
I
1
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':'l! "
~
...J:j
-=',,<;
-
.1
EIGHTEENTH·
CENTUR
Y THEA
TRE
national revivalists as one for a 'patriotic theatre'. Only in 1786 with the founding
of the Bouda Theatre were Czech plays on Czech matters written.
In Poland, where a much stronger popular theatrical tradition had existed, the
National Theatre, a professional Polish-speaking public theatre, was founded in
Warsaw in 1766 by Poland's last king, Stanislas August Poniatowski, as part of an
extensive cultural reform in which stage-plays were intended to be the means for
the widespread dissemination of Enlightenment
ideas. After a sticky start the
company flourished under Wojciech Boguslawski, its director from 1783 to 1814,
though much of its repertoire was, predictably, adapted from French and German
theatre. As Poland vanished as an independent state, Boguslawski's nationalism
ran into censorship, especially after Russian objections to the patriotism of his
comic opera about peasant disputes, Cracovians and Highlanders (1794).
Russian theatre lacked a substantial earlier dramatic tradition. Though, under
orders from the Tsar, Pastor Gregory wrote The Comedy of Esther, produced at
court in 1672 with a cast of sixty-four and lasting ten hours, this hardly inaugurated a continuous dramatic tradition. A later tsar, Peter the Great, tried to found
1638,
: casual
g, talkat the
;Incor:l
: of the
; vocal
.uth of
irically
in the
IS own
"ebeen
houw-
, most
e cata-
itional
:rman,
by the
285
Van Elvervelr's Head of
the Family (after
Diderot), Amsterdam.
Note the bourgeois
costumes, the
emotionally charged
gestures, and the use of
the full depth of the
stage, which lends a
feeling of realism to
the scene. Meanwhile
in the auditorium the
notoriously rowdy
Dutch burghers sit
with their hats on or
totally ignore the play,
as at bottom right.
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
a theatre in Moscow. Much opposed by those who saw theatre as irredeemably
anti-Russian, the theatre was built opposite the Kremlin and survived four years
(1702-6). While attendance was high when the Tsar was present, at other times
the audience averaged twenty-five; the Russian aristocracy did not take to theatregoing. The Empress Elizabeth (ruled 1741-62) made theatre attendance compulsory for her court to ensure an
audience. She founded a permanent
professional theatre in St Petersburg in
1756, formed by merging the amateur
dramatic society of the cadet corps
with Fyodor Volkov's semi-professional company which included the
actor Ivan Dmitrevsky, later known as
'the Russian Garrick' after his success
in Russia led to trips abroad to examine the work of Garrick, Clairon, and
Lekain. Volkov's repertory included
the plays of Alexander Sumarokov, an
aristocrat who saw in drama the
crucial means of social change; his
Cracovians and
Highlanders, 1794.
According to a
contemporary
commentator,
Boguslawski's Polish
comic opera 'aroused
tremendous
enthusiasm. The play
is on a national subject
and presents, with
much talent, a dispute
of peasants ... The
author [is] an expert at
playing on human
feelings, and at the
same time as good a
patriot as a playwright.'
adaptation of Hamlet in 1748 oddly
makes Polonius, not Claudius, the
murderer of Hamlet's father. When a
play of Sumarokov's was a great success in an amateur production in 1749 the
Empress encouraged a repeat performance at court. In 1752 Elizabeth brought the
Volkov company to Sr Petersburg and the Russian Patent Theatre of 1756 was
initially run by a triumvirate ofVolkov, Drnitrevsky, and Sumarokov.
Catherine the Great, herself a prolific though undistinguished
dramatist,
continued her predecessor's interest in drama, founding the Imperial Theatre
School in 1779 for the training of actors and dancers. Much more significant for
the spread of theatre through Russia were her charters of 1762 and 1785 which
effectively released the nobility from most of their obligations of state service,
enabling them to rerum to their estates and recreate metropolitan pleasures. The
result was the emergence of 'serf theatres'. Over 170 of these were created, of
widely differing quality and achievement and with widely differing facilities; the
finest had elaborately equipped theatres to rival those in many European cities.
The performers were exploited and abused, humiliated and rewarded for their
work by their masters.
Sumarokov's tragedies, like Khorev (1747), spawned further patriotic, historical
epic dramas to a neo-classical formula and others copied the formula of his
comedies, firmly based on Moliere. Only in the plays of Denis Fonvizin did com-
286
edies
come
Russi
even,
path)
celeb
tists 1
(1781:
twen
of Rl
devel
Enlig
By
nativ
nenG
mem
prem
enter
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
nably
years
times
~atrenpule an
inent
lrgIn
ateur
:orps
'ofesI the
"In as
ccess
x:am,and
uded
v, an
the
; his
-ddly
the
ien a
) the
t the
was
itist,
~atre
t for
hich
VIce,
The
I, of
. the
ties.
heir
rical
. his
om-
THEATRE
ediesemerge rhar-would last.Disrinctively.Russian
in their concerns, Fonvizin's
comedies gently satirize contemporary manners. Like Sumarokov he mocked
Russian Gallomania and the brutality and smugness of provincial gentty. He
even, though cautiously, questioned the institution of serfdom itself. His antipathy to the dominance of French culture in aristocratic education is part of his
celebration of Russia. It was, in effect, a reaction to the tendency of other drama, Private theatre,
tists to try simply to Russify foreign drama. Fonvizin's best comedy, The Minor
" aristocratic splendour.
(1781), was immediately recognized as a masterpiece, with forty-six productions in
The extraordinary
twenty years; in it he created numerous character-types that were to be the staple
castle theatre at Cesky
Krumlov in
of Russian dramatic comedy for the next century. Only in the 1780s was the
Czechoslovakia shows
developing Russian drama able to explore Enlightenment
ideas without using
the sophistication and
Enlightenment forms.
splendour of an
By contrast with the sometimes tentative efforts of these nations to establish
aristocrat's private
theatre. Its ornate
native theatre traditions, Austria found itself blessed with a capital that in Contidecoration and
nental Europe was second only to Paris as a cultural centre. The major achieveelaborate sets imitate
ments of Vienna were in music and opera, and the city was to host many of the
and realize the imaginpremieres of Mozart's works later in the century. Grand opera and lavish court
ings of the Bibienas'
theatres in Italy.
entertainments attracted stage and costume designers from all over Europe, most
repu
raise
visat
and
offer
tradi
theat
and
It
Hun
mod
Cyo
set 0
lishr
cour
and
It
senti
of '"
were
cons
Design by Giuseppe
Galli-Bibiena, 1740. It
is impossible to know
how much of the
extraordinary feeling of
space and the receding
notably the Italian Galli-Bibiena family, four generations of gifted architects and
designers, who were responsible for the opera-houses in Dresden and Bayreuth as
well as in Vienna. Their soaring stage designs, created with a freer arrangement of
painted flats than the conventional symmetrical arrangement of wings and backdrop, offered intriguing angles (the scena per angolo) and a monumental quality
perspectives could in
that was to live on into the nineteenth century and would re-emerge in the spec-
practice have been
created on stage, bur
such monumental
designs established an
ideal for the eighteenth
century-and beyond.
tacular designs of Edward Gordon Craig.
Serious spoken theatre, on the other hand, did not develop with the same
vigour in Vienna: Austria was to wait until the next century for its major tragedian, Grillparzer; there was a standing French company in Vienna; Italian troupes
were frequent visitors; and even though in 1776 the Burgtheater was declared to
be the Austrian National Theatre, it continued mainly to stage imports from
Germany"France,
Italy, and England; when it was not devoted to opera. The
strongest native tradition was in the popular theatre, in the knockabout farce and
improvisation of performers like Stranitzky, Prehauser, Kurz, and Laroche. Their
comic figures, scatological versions of the commedia dell'arte Harlequin, whether
called Hanswurst, Bernardon, or Kasper!, entertained generations of Viennese
and were of such qualiry that they were allowed to perform in Vienna's most
288
EIGHTEENTH-
CENTUR
Y THEA
TRE
reputable theatres. However, in 1753 the Empress Maria Theresa, determined to
raise the quality of theatrical entertainment in her capital, issued a ban on improvisation and coarse knockabout pieces. Actors were to refrain from 'all indecency
and nonsensical expressions'. A first offence would attract a warning; a second
offence two weeks' prison; and a third a life sentence. Despite this the popular
tradition lived on and 'indeed flourished in the so-called Vorstadttheater (suburban
theatres), eventually bearing fruit in the delightful comedies of Johann Nestroy
and Ferdinand Raimund and so providing Austria with a genuine native theatre.
It was Austrian domination that doused the brief flickering of an independent
Hungarian theatre in the sixteenth century. The proper establishment of a
modern theatre derived, inevitably, from the imperial court in Vienna when
Gyorgy Bessenyei, a member of the Empress Maria Theresa's Hungarian Guards,
set out a programme to create a national culture, not least through the re-establishment of Hungarian as a valid literary language. A professional theatre in the
country was bound to emerge in Buda and Pest as the twin cities acquired greater
and greater significance as centres of government.
It was in Germany that the theatre proved to be the strongest focus for national
sentiment in the eighteenth century. Here too there was a lively theatre tradition
of wandering players, who, deprived of theatre buildings in which to perform,
were obliged to stage their plays in inn-yards and market-places. They were
constantly on the move in search of new audiences, and had to act in a coarse
.rs and
.uth as
tent of
back[uality
: specsame
trageoupes
red to
from
. The
:eand
Their
tether
nnese
most
Strolling players in
Munich. Despite the
crude conditions in
which they had to
perform, the costumes
are elegant versions of
the court dress of the
day, an irnportanr
visual enticement
when the market-place
offered so many
distractions.
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
flamboyant style to compete with the other attractions of the fairground or tavern.
The favoured presentation was the Haupt- und Staatsaktion, in which a historical
event was re-enacted, interspersed with comic scenes, usually dependent on the
figure of the Hanswurst. Hanswurst was so strongly identified with the crudities
of this popular theatre that, in his attempt to reform German theatre, Gottsched
arranged for his theatrical colleague, Karoline Neuber, to stage a play in 1737 in
Leipzig in which Hanswurst was ceremoniously banned from the stage-with
as
little success as Maria Theresa had had in Vienna.
Beside this popular tradition the only major source of theatre was in the spectacle ofJesuit dramas, mounted in schools and performed by amateurs in Latin.
Without any native German tradition other than that of the strolling players, it is
understandable that the first attempts by Gottsched to create a national German
theatre led to a slavish imitation of French models, even to the wholly inappropriate adoption of the French alexandrine as the metrical form for his dramas, as
in his insufferably tedious Der sterbende Cato ( The Dying Cato, 1731).
Discovering a new impulse for German theatre that did not derive from France
was but one of the achievements of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. In 1759 he
published a series of critical essays entitled Briefe die neueste Literatur betrefJend
(Letters on Modern Literature), in one of which he denounced Gottsched for his
Comedy with German
players. Pantalone
(left) reflects the
influence of the
com media dell'arte,
while Hanswurst
(right, with his cap
and slapstick) is there
to make ribald
comments to the
audience. The small
elegant set would have
been created by wingflats and backdrop but
anticipates the realism
of the box-set.
~
clum.
instes
of the
ity ar
adec
tion (
Nath
writn
of th.
amu
(Shal
Dran
until
290
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
THEATRE
avern.
torical
m the
idities
tsched
737 in
lith as
: specLatin.
.s, it is
errnan
lPproaas, as
59 he
"ejfend
Dr his
clumsy attempts to force German theatre into a Gallic strait-jacket and pointed
instead to Shakespeare as a model, a writer who succeeded in combining the depth
of thought and beauty of expression of Racine and Corneille with the robust vitality and exciting theatricality of the popular tradition. This recommendation had
a decisive effect on two aspects of German playwriting. First, it led to the adoption of blank verse as the preferred medium for serious drama, and Lessing's own
Nathan der Weise (Nathan the Wise, 1779) was the first major German play to be
written in' blank verse. Secondly, it encouraged writers to discard the constraints
of the neo-classical rules and to risk the portrayal of wider historical themes, using
a multiplicity of settings and a wide range of characters. This Shakespearomanie
(Shakespeare mania) was to affect Goethe, Schiller, the writers of the Sturm und
Drang (Storm and Stress), and indeed virtually all German-language playwrights
until the present day.
PETER
The director
reprimands an actor
Jar improvising.
Note, the sliding
wing-flats and candles, and the casual
presence of people in
me wings, although
they would almost
certainly be visible
ro some members
of the audience.
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
Lessing himself wrote plays set in contemporary Germany, most notably his comedy
Minna van Barnhelm (1767), in which, in the
guise of a love affair between the Saxon tidefigure Minna and the Prussian officer von
Tellheirn, he appeals for reconciliation between
two' of the hostile states of the Seven Years War
(1756-63). At one significant point in the playa
foppish French soldier comically attempts to
converse with Minna in German, and when in
desperation he appeals to her to speak French,
she counters: 'Sir, I would seek to speak it in
France. But why here?'
German language then was acknowledged
not only as a suitable medium for a literary
theatre but also as the rallying-point for the
German 'nation'. It was in fact the only objective source of cultural identity, and there was,
outside the theatre, no national forum where
German was spoken-no
national parliament,
no central court, no equivalent of the Academic
Francaise. The role assumed by the German
stage in the eighteenth century is now enshrined
in the word Buhnensprache (stage-language), the
approximate equivalent of the English 'Queen's'
or 'Oxford English'. Moreover, the rising class'
of the bourgeoisie also had no public forum in
which they might effect social change or influence the course of political life; so the theatre
could be looked on as the one place where moral
and social issues might be debated in public.
A national theatre was therefore thought of not merely as a means of raising the
quality of German theatre but also as a way of promoting German identity and
values. To this end, in 1767 a number of wealthy burghers in the free city of
Hamburg embarked on the 'Hamburg Enterprise', the establishment of the first
German National Theatre. Lessing, in the role of 'theatre poet', assisted in the
undertaking and produced regular articles on the theatre, the Hamburgische
Dramaturgie (Hamburg Dramaturgy), still one of the most important discussions
of theatre in the German language. However, the experience of Denmark and
Sweden was repeated here. Despite attempts to make the National Theatre popular and accessible (when Lessing's Minna van Barnhelm was staged, dancers and
acre
sUPI
1
mar
for 1
onlj
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Ger
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the
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ofl
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fill(
bra
wh.
frOJ
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fro:
spe
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EIGHTEENTH-
CENTUR
Y THEA
TRE
.~'
intemornedy
in the
1 title:r von
erween
rs War
playa
pts to
hen in
rench,
k it in
ledged
iterary
or the
objecte was,
where
unent,
.demie
erman
hrined
e), the
reen's'
g class
urn in
infiuIiearre
moral
lie.
ng the
ty and
:ity of
ie first
in the
rgische
.ssrons
k and
popurs and
acrobats entertained the public between the acts), there was too little public
support, and within two years it was forced to close.
The only viable support for theatre: came, as with most of the arts, from the
many courts of Germany. Initially, German acting troupes were offered a home
for the lean winter months and were permitted to tour in the summer. This not
only offered performers financial security but also created an environment where
they could approach their art with greater seriousness. So in 1753 the great German
actor-manager Konrad Ekhof was able to form an academy of actors at the court
of Schwerin, at which for the first time plays were read and discussed before being
rushed into rehearsal.
Two court theatres were particularly associated with this development of
German drama, which was to establish Germany as a major theatre nation in
Europe. In 1777, when Duke Karl Theodor
moved his court from Mannheim to Munich,
he created for his disappointed townspeople
the Court and National Theatre of Mannheim. The director of the new theatre, Freiherr von Dalberg, attracted to it a number of
leading actors, including the man destined to
become Germany's greatest classical actor,
August Wilhelm IfHand. He also appointed as
writer in residence a poet and playwright of
great promise, Friedrich Schiller. While still at
school Schiller had written a wordy bur exciting Storm and Stress melodrama about
two brothers, Die Rauber (The Robbers). One
brother, Franz Moor, is an evil hypocrite who
convinces his father that his other son is
unworthy of paternal love. The rejected son,
Karl Moor, in an act of defiance forrris a band
of robbers and indulges in wild escapades in
the Bohemian woods, finally arriving home to
find his father incarcerated by the wicked
brother. Karl -is reconciled with his" father,
who dies in his arms, he murders his fiancee
from a perverted sense of honour, and finally
leaves to find a poor man who will benefit
from the reward for his arrest.
The play contains obvious echoes of Shakespeare, especially the rejection and resulting
feigned madness of Edgar, and Gloucester's
293
'Mirror-scene' from
Klinger's Twins, 1776.
Note the flamboyandy
theatrical 'Storm and
Stress' pose and the
dramatic use of
off-stage lighting.
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
treatment at the hands of Edmund. As with Shakespeare and other Storm and
Stress writers (Lenz, Klinger, Heinrich Leopold Wagner) who were so under
Shakespeare's spell, .Schiller filled The Robbers with dramatic incident and
frequent changes of setting. His play has an episodic quality which can now be
traced in a line of descent through Buchner and the expressionist playwrights to
Brecht's 'Epic Theatre'. It was Dalberg at Mannheim who, while insisting on cuts
and on setting the piece in the Middle Ages instead of in contemporary Germany,
was bold enough to stage this adolescent firework. The premiere took place on 13
January 1782. It began at five o'clock and did not end until a quarter past nine.
Many members of the audience occupied their seats from one o'clock to make
certain of not missing a piece that, since its anonymous publication the previous
summer, had already gained considerable notoriety. An eye-witness reported:
The theatre resembled a madhouse: rolling eyes, clenched fists, stamping feet, hoarse
shouts in the auditorium! Complete strangers embraced each other in tears, women staggered almost fainting towards the exits. It was a general dissolution as in the time of Chaos,
from whose mists a new creation springs forth!
After this controversial beginning Schiller later formed a productive alliance
with the leading author of Germany, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe
wrote poetry, novels, critical articles, scientific papers, and was a Privy Councillor
at the court of Weimar; yet he still found time to write plays and to work as theatre
director at the court theatre. Schiller's move to Weimar in 1798 initiated a period
of intense theatrical activity, cut short by his prematute death in 1805. As Goethe
reminisced in 1825:
Just think that the boring period of French taste had only just ended, that Shakespeare still
seemed fresh, that Mozart's operas were new works and that Schiller's plays appeared here
year after year directed by the author himself ... I can't deny, it was really something.
In terms of playwriting Goethe contributed little to the development of
German theatre. His medieval piece about the robber-baron GotzNon Berlichingen of 1773, written in a Storm and Stress intoxication with Shakespeare, was
episodic and unwieldy, as was his life's work, Faust; neither was suitable for a
conventional stage of the time, whatever their other merits. By contrast, his neoclassical pieces like Iphigenie auf Tauris (Iphigenia on' Tauris) (1779, rewritten
1798) and Torquato Tasso (1790) were much simpler to perform but, in their
observance of the unities and lack of stage action, looked back to French neoclassicism rather than forwards to any innovative dramatic style. Significantly,
Goethe seemed to regard his own plays as more suitable for 'reading than
performance and only reluctantly directed them at his own theatre in Weimar,
giving preference instead to much more popular and accessible works by playwrights like Iffland and Kotzebue.
294
rm
su
th
so.
co
te:
at!
an
be
su
ca
th
m
H
er
m
bl
la
pI
b(
It
OJ
n.
~
at
Jy
P
L
y'
[
L
Ii
a:
d
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
rm and
under
nt and
lOW be
ghts to
on cuts
rmany,
:e on 13
:t nine.
) make
revious
ed:
hoarse
en stag'Chaos,
lliance
;oethe
ncillor
.heatre
period
;oethe
still
.d here
lie
mg.
.nt of
ichine, was
for a
s neo.ritten
their
. neoantly,
than
.rmar,
play-
THEATRE
Goethe's major contribution to the theatre lay rather in the care with which he
mounted productions. Though a strict disciplinarian, he was generous and
supportive to his actors, offering them a reasonable remuneration and treating
them with a respect unusual at a time when actors were often still regarded as
social pariahs; above all, he fostered a genuine ensemble spirit within the
company. Goethe would begin work on a play with careful read-throughs of the
text and would then, after lines had been learnt, direct his actors with particular
attention to the delivery of lines and overall stage-picture. In the case of important pieces like Schiller's tragedies, weeks or even months of discussion took place
before rehearsals were embarked upon.
At a time when the growing popularity of the theatre meant that actors hardly
had time to rehearse, noting only their entrances and exits, and often did not even
succeed in learning their lines, depending on the prompter or on improvisation to
carry them through the performance, such discipline and concentration made the
theatre work of Weimar a model for the rest of Germany. The formality and overriding aesthetic concerns of Goethe's style found many critics, especially when
matched against the realism of actors like Friedrich Ludwig Schroder in
Hamburg, famous for the psychological truth of his Shakespearian roles. But, by
engaging in a process of education for both his audience and his actors, Goethe
made it possible to stage serious verse-drama in German, not only his own plays,
but also those of Schiller, and later ofK1eist and Hebbel, and the new verse translations of Shakespeare. To have established such an excellent model of theatre
practice was no mean achievement in a nation which half a century earlier had
been struggling to create a theatre worthy of the name.
It is curious how often facets of the European experience reappear in the development of theatre in America through this century. As in Russia, amateur theatricals led to the establishment of the first theatre, a servant-run theatre in
Williamsburg in 1716. Others appeared in Philadelphia (1724), Charleston (1736),
and New York (in the 1730s). Soon professional companies emerged: Walter
Murray and Thomas Kean formed the first in the country, starting in Philadelphia but performing in New York in 1750. Their initiative was copied by the
London Company of Comedians, who dominated American theatre for fifty
years, founded in 1752 by Lewis Hallam, Sr., and run from 1758 by David
Douglass. As in Europe, this company too responded to growing national pride,
renaming themselves the American Company of Comedians in 1763. Sent from
London they toured New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, and other towns, establishing and converting theatres up and down the East Coast, including Southwark
and the John Street Theatre, later the Theatre Royal, in New York.
But theatre in America found itself in the crossfire of the struggle for independence. The frequent attempts to ban plays, including the 1774 decision by the
295
PETER
I
"
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PATTERSON
Continental Congress, were as much part of the opposition to British imports as
moral objections to drama itself Only in the aftermath of independence did
theatre begin to flourish again as a national cultural form. Restrictive legislation
was soon repealed and theatres opened across the country, including New
England. American drama too had a new beginning: Royall Tyler's The Contrast
(1787) was the first American comedy professionally performed. From its tentative
beginnings, American theatre ended the century as a rapidly growing, socially
acceptable art-form.
Given the growing social importance of eighteenth-century
theatre, it is unsurprising that one of the major achievements of the century was in raising the status
of theatre practitioners. It may have been predictable that strolling players should
have been constantly harassed by the authorities. But the Licensing Act in
England in 1737 was
An act to explain and amend so much of an act made in the twelfth year of the reign of
Queen Anne, entitled An act for reducing the laws relating to rogues, vagabonds, sturdy
beggars and vagrants into one Act of Parliament; and for the more effectual punishing such
rogues, vagabonds, sturdy beggars and vagrants ... as relates to common players of inter-
ludes.
It was not only in hasty legislation that actors were treated as social outcasts. For
over a decade Adrienne Lecouvreur had been the brightest star at the ComedicFrancaise, when she died aged 38 in 1730, public tributes and eulogies poured in
from all over France. But the Church would not allow an actress proper burial:
her body was taken by the police at night to a piece of waste ground beside the
Seine, thrown into a pit, and covered with lime with the earth trampled flat to
hide the grave. When, thirty years later in Germany, Karoline Neuber, who had
done so much for German theatre, was carried to her grave, the coffin had to be
lowered over the graveyard wall, since the clergy would not allow it to pass
through the church gate.
In some countries actors were well rewarded. A proposal for an English
company in 1703 would have paid the senior male and female actors up to £150 a
year while others were to be paid a guinea a performance. But elsewhere actors'
wages, except in opera, were only just enough to survive on: the leading actor
Ekhof received a weekly salary just enough to buy a pair of shoes. Many female
actors, who were usually required to supply their own costumes and accessories,
were virtually driven to prostitution,
even though a few, like Mile Clairon,
exploited their own exploitation and acquired wealth and influence. In the 1760s
London theatres began to create contributory pension schemes and in 1776 an Act
of Parliament formalized Drury Lane's benevolent fund to provide some financial
security for actors unable to work through illness, accident, or old age.
tl
p
o
a
w
w
a
sl
n
b
t
u
EIGHTEENTH·
CENTURY
THEA
TRE
:s as
did
non
Iew
srast
tive
ally
mritus
-uld
m
1. of
.rdy
such
ter-
ror
lieI in
.ial:
the
: to
lad
be
ish
oa
irs'
tor
ale
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\ct
.ial
The situation for playwrights was far worse. In the mid-century shareholders of
the Cornedie-Francaise could expect an annual dividend of twenty times the usual
payment to authors. In England the system of giving authors shares of the profits
on the third and sixth nights meant that a poor play which did not survive that
far earned the playwright nothing. Even the great Voltaire sometimes had to waive
any fee in order to see his plays performed. It was Beaumarchais who led the playwrights' campaign for fair royalties in France, warning that authors would stop
writing for the theatre unless they were properly rewarded. A breakthrough was
achieved in 1780 when it was agreed with the Cornedie-Francaise that writers
should receive one-seventh of the box-office income, thus creating the basis for the
modern system of royalty payments. In England by the end of the century the
best hope for substantial payment was selling the play outright either to the
theatre company or to a publisher; by the 1790S the theatres were paying anything
up to £500 for a full-length play, though the more normal payment was closer
to froo.
297
Brockmann as Hamler.
The immensely
popular Brockmann
assures himself of
attracting attention by
seeking a prominem
posirion on srage while
the players in the
'mouse-trap' scene in
the background are
virtually ignored.
PETER
HOLLAND
AND
MICHAEL
PA TTERSON
As the century progressed actors came generally to be treated with much greater
respect and generosity. In Weimar in the 1790S Goethe insisted that actors should
be reasonably paid and his performers were treated as acceptable members of court
society. In 1779 Garrick was buried in Westminster Abbey; in revolutionary
France Talma was a public hero; while in Germany and Austria Franz Brockmann's performance as Hamlet conferred on him the kind of public adulation we
would now associate with a pop star, with his image being reproduced on tobacco
tins and playing cards.
Perhaps the most remarkable change was the establishment of theatre as an art
with its own history. Throughout the century and throughout Europe, writers
started to publish histories of theatre, manuals of actor training, descriptions of
sets and costumes, biographies of actors and managers, analysis of plays in
performance: in England, for instance, works like Charles Gildon's The Life ofMr
Thomas Betterton (1710), John Hill's The Actor (1755), Benjamin Victor's The
History of the Theatres of London and Dublin (1761), and Francis Gentleman's The
Dramatic Censor or Critical Companion (1770) are the tip of this iceberg. The
century's great theatre theorists like Diderot and Schiller belong in this context.
Theatre now commanded serious attention as an artistic and cultural form, a
specific art in a culture Bowing often awkwardly across the whole of Europe; it
mattered to the intellectual community of Europe as never before.
TH
Tho
the
r=
me
wn
mg
IS SJ
the
the
I
of
tra!
LOl
Re
1
298
~
ILLUSTRATION SOURCES
The editors and publishers wish to thank the following who have kindly given permission to
reproduce the illustrations on the following pages:
3 Agence de Presse Bernand; 5 Royal National Theatre
programme covers designed by Richard Bird and
Michael Mayhew; 6 OUP; 8 (top) Matthew Ward,
(bottom) Helsinki City Theatre/A Ferhulla Studio; 15
Barnaby's Picture Library/Edward Clapham; 16
Anrikenrnuseum, Basel; 19 Scala; 20 Harrissiadis
Photo Agency; 22 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford;
25 © photo RMN/Musee du Louvre; 28 Soprinrendenza ai Beni Culturali e Ambientali di Siracusa; 30
Soprintendenza Archeologica delia Puglia, Taranto;
34 Gift of the heirs of Henry Adams, courtesy
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: 35 The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund, 1924 (24.97.104);
38 Martin von Wagner Museum, Universiry of
Wuerzburg. Photo K Oehrlein; 42 (top) Salvatore
Falderta, (bottom) Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman; 44 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers
Fund, 1913; 47 The Art Museum, Princeton University. Museum purchase, Caroline G Mather Fund;
48 Trustees of the British Museum; 52 Alinari; 55
Soprintendenza
Archeologica delle Province di
Napoli e Caserta, Naples; 57 Alinari; 58 RogerViollet; 61 Raissa Calza 'Anrichira di Doria Pamphili'
(De Luca 1977) Leonardo Arte: 63 Antikensammlung
Staacliche Museen zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesirz, photo by Ingrid Geske-Heiden, 64 Bibliorheque Nationale, Paris (Cabinet de medailles); 67
Bibliorheque Nationale, Paris (Lat 7907 A fol 2V); 69 .
Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Cologne (13349);71 Trustees
of the British Museum; 74 Courtesy of the Trustees,
the National Gallery, London; 77 Max Milligan; 78
Trustees of the British Museum; 80 LaurosGiraudonl Musee Conde, Chantilly; 83 Bibliorheque
Nationale, Paris (Ms Rot-I-7-3); 84 Zenrralbibliorhek
Luzern, Burgerbibliothek Ms 180; 85 CNMHS ©
DACS 1995;86 The Master and Fellows of Pembroke
College, Cambridge; 88 Bibliorheque Narionale,
Paris (Ars 5°72); 89 Kunsthistorisches Museum,
Vienna; 90 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; 91 Stadtbibliothek, Nurnberg, 92 Trustees of the British
Museum; 94 Roerner-und Pelizaeus-Museum; 96
Marcel Griaule 'Masques Dogons' Institute d'Ethnologie du Musee de I'Homme, Paris; 98 Dr Kacke
Gatrick; 99 U niversiry of Exeter (Edward S Curtis
'The North American Indian'); 100 British Library
(M Gusinde 'Die Feuerland Indianer' 1931);101 (top)
San Diego Museum of Man, photo: Jo Mora,
(bottom) US Dept of the Interior, National Park
Service; 102 Smithsonian Institution (BAE neg
New Mexico 168-B); 103 (left) Robert Harding
Picture Library/Adam Woolfitt, (right) Bibliotheque
Nationale, Paris (Mexicain 90, f48); 104 Dr Carroll
Edward Mace; 109 IndexiGabinetto
Disegni e
Stampa, Uffizi, Florence; 112 J Jacquot 'Le Lieu
Thearrale 11 la Renaissance' CNRS Editions, Paris
1964, photo: Syndics of Cambridge University
Library; 114 Ministero Beni Culturali e Ambientali
Biblioteca Universiraria-Bologna:
119 Bodleian
Library, University of Oxford (Douce 0.17); 120
Biblioteca Marucelliana,
Florence; 122 Museo
Botracin, Padua (Anonimo, Codice Bottacin inizi sec.
XVII MB 970); 123"Musei Civici, Vicenza; 124 British
Library; 125 Nationalmuseum,
Stockholm; 126
Trustees of the British Museum; 128 Biblioteca
Nazionale Centrale, Florence; 129 British Library;
132 British Library; 134 British Library; 136 Index!
Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale; 138 British
Library; 140 British Library; I44 Museo Municipal
Madrid (IN 2683) photo: Pablo Lines; 146 F.I.T.E.R,
Gerona; 147 Archiva de Villa, Ayuntamiento de
Madrid, photo: Syndics of Cambridge University
Library (John C Allen 'The Reconstruction of a
Spanish Golden Age Playhouse' Gainesville 1983);
149 Special Collections, Van Pelt Library, University
of Pennsylvania; 151 British Library; 154-5 British
Library; 157 Real Academia Espanola, Madrid; 158
Museo del Prado, Madrid; 160 British Library;
161 J Brown & J H Elliott 'A Palace for a King' © 1980
by Yale University; 162 Museo del Prado, Madrid;
165 by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard
University (fMS Typ 258); 166 Osterreichische
Narionalbibliothek, Vienna; 169 Archivo de Villa,
AYuntamiento de Madrid; 170 Museo del Prado,
Madrid; 171 Archivo de Villa, Ayuntamiento de
Madrid; 174 from the 'collections of the-Theatre
Museum by courtesy of the Trustees of the Victoria &
Albert Museum; 175 British Library (Ms Roy 2 A XVI
f63v); 181 Andrew Fulgoni Photography; 183 British
Library (S Har
185 National Pc
Library; 189 Bor
190 British Li
Trustees of An
bridge U niversi
'Decorative Pail
Library; 199 I
Reproduced by.
ment Trustees. )
Art; 201 Trusre
permission of tl:
to the Scortisl
The Folger Sha
Devonshire Col
permission of r.
207 © Richard
English Playhoi
of the Denys I
Castle, Kent; 21
Library; 213 Bri
tion © r993 Her
Bristol Theatre
photo: Bulloz;
224 Bibliorheq
Charmer; 226
Phorographie I
Paris (Fr 24330:
233 Bibliotheqr
Cambridge Un
and Fashion in
1992); 234 Co
photo: Bulloz;
Houghton
Lit
British Library
Bibliotheque 1'248 Bibliorheqi
Nationale, Pari
versity Library (
Seage in the
262 Board of
Museum; 264 j
of the British 1
Museum; 269 .
272 Collecrio
Syndics of Carr
mannTheateq
theque Nation.
photo: Syndic
(B Gascoigne
History' 1968);
Drottningholn
Theatre Insritu
286 Dr K Wi,
Pamatkove Pi
British Museu
Munich; 290
ILLUSTRATION
nission to
ish Library
); 101 (top)
Jo Mora,
:ional Park
(BAE neg
t Harding
ibliorheque
Dr Carroll
Disegni e
t 'Le Lieu
ions, Paris
University
<\mbienrali
Bodleian
0.17); 120
;2 Museo
in in izi sec.
124 British
101m; 126
Biblioteca
.h Library;
[36 Index!
38 British
Municipal
F.I.T.E.R,
miento de
University
ction of a
/ille 1983);
University
,-5 British
.adrid, 158
1 Library;
ng' ©1980
>, Madrid;
y, Harvard
:reichische
, de Villa,
lei Prado,
niento de
e-Thearre
Vicroria&
>Y2AXVI
:83 British
Library (S Harrison 'Arches of Triumph' 1604);
185 National Portrait Gallery, London; 186 British
Library; 189 Bodleian Library, University of Oxford;
190 British Library; 191 British, Library; 192-3
Trustees of Arnpleforrh, phoco: Syndics of Cambridge University Library (Edward Croft-Murray
'Decorative Painting in England' 1962); 195 British
Library; 199 Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth,
Reproduced by permission of the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees. Photograph by Courtauld Institute of
Art; 201 Trustees of the British Museum; 202 by
permission of the Earl of Rosebery, painting on loan
to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery; 204
The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington; 205
Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by
permission of the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees;
207 © Richard Leacroft The Development of the
English Playhouse' Methuen, London; 209 Trustees
of the Denys Eyre Bower Bequest, Chiddingsrone
Castle, Kent; 2U Mander & Mitchenson; 212 British
Library; 213 British Library; 216 The Royal Collection © 1993Her Majesty the Queen; 219 University of
Bristol Theatre Collection; 222 Musee Carnavalet,
photo: Bulloz; 223 Nationalmuseum,
Stockholm,
224 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; 225 Jean-Loup
Charmet; 226 Bibliorheque Nationale, Paris; 227
Photographie Bulloz; 228 Bibliorheque Nationale,
Paris (Fr 24330); 232 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris;
233 Bibliorheque Nationale, Paris. Photo: Syndics of
Cambridge Universiry Library (5 V Dock 'Costume
and Fashion in the Plays of J-B Poquelin Moliere'
1992); 234 Collections de la Cornedie-Francaise,
photo: Bulloz; 237 (left) by permission of the
Houghton Library, Harvard Universiry, (right)
British Library (Moliere 'Les Oeuvres' 1682); 238
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; 243 British Library;
248 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; 249 Bibliorheque
Nationale, Paris, phoro: Syndics of Cambridge University Library (B G Minman 'Spectators on the Paris
Stage in the 17th and 18th Centuries' 1984);
262 Board of Trustees of the Victoria & Albert
Museum; 264 Mander & Mitchenson; 267 Trustees
of the British Museum; 268 Trustees of the British
Museum; 269 Trustees of Sir John Soane's Museum;
272 Collections da le Comedie-Francaise:
274
Syndics of Cambridge University Library (H Kindermann Theatergeschichte Europas' Vol 4); 275 Bibliorheque Nationale, Paris; 280 Museo Civico, Turin,
photo: Syndics of Cambridge University Library
(B Gascoigne 'World Theatre: an Illustrated
History' 1968); 282 Teatermuseet, Copenhagen; 284'
Drotrningholms teatermuseurn; 285 Collection of the
Theatre Institute, The Netherlands, Inv nt Th 3-24);
286 Dr K Wierzbicka-Michalska; 287 Statni Ustav
Parnatkove Pece", Prague; 288 Trustees of the
British Museum; 289 Deursches Theatermuseurn,
Munich; 290 Deutsches Theatermuseum, Munich;
SOURCES
292 Deursches Theatermuseum,
Munich; 293
Deutsches Theatermuseum, Munich; 297 Deutsches
Theatermuseum, Munich; 300 Michael Booth; 302
British Library (Magazine of Art 1889); 303 Board
of Trustees of the Victoria & Albert Museum; 304
Board of Trustees of the Victoria & Albert Museum;
305 Harvard Theatre Collection; 307 Collections de
la Cornedie-Francaise, 308 Phototheque des Musees
de la Ville de Paris © DACS 1995; 309 Bibliotheque
Narionale, Paris; 312 Harvard Theatre Collection;
313 Harvard Theatre Collection; 315 Theatre Arts
Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research
Center, The University of Texas at Austin; 316
Michael Booth; 318 Michael Booth; 319 British
Library Games Greenwood The Wilds of London'
1874); 322 British Library; 323 Neue Pinakothek,
Munich; 326 Royal Theatre Archives and Library,
Copenhagen; 330 Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna; 334 Deutsches Theatermuseum,
Munich; 337 British Library; 338 Board of the
Trustees of the Victoria & Albert Museum; 344
Bibliotheque Narionale, Paris; 345 (top) British
Library ('Le Theatre' 1902), (bottom) Syndics of
Cambridge University Library (Kindermann 'Theatergeschichte Europas' Vol IX 1970); 346 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; 349 (top) Bibliorheque
Nationale, Paris, (bottom) Bildarchiv Preussischer
Kulturbesirz; 354 SCR Photo Library; 355 SCR Photo
Library; 358 Bibliorheque Nationale, Paris (Le Petit
Bleu 12.12.1898); 359 Syndics of Cambridge University Library (Kindermann
Theatergeschichte
Europas' Vol IX 1970); 360 Bibliotheque Nationale,
Paris (Bib de l'Arsenal, Collection Rondel), 361 from
the collections of the Theatre Museum. By courtesy
of the Trustees of the Victoria & Albert Museum;
363 British Library (E Gordon Craig 'Scene'
1923); 366 Schweizerische Theatersammlung, Berne;
368 Archiv der Max Reinhardt Forschungs-u
Cedenksrarte, Salzburg; 369 Archiv der Max Reinhardt Forschungs-u Gedenksrarre, Salzburg; 373 The
Illustrated London News Picture Library; 376
Syndics of Cambridge University Library (Kindermann 'Theatergeschichte Europas' Vol IX 1970); 381
Max Reinhardt Archive, Special Collections, Glenn G
Barde Library, Binghamton University, State University of New York; 384 (main picture) Van
Williams, (inset) Billy Rose Theatre Collection, the
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; 387
Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung, Cologne; 389
British Library (LMoussinac The New Movement in
the Theatre' 1931);393 Robert Leach Collection; 394
British Film Institute; 396 (top left) Syndics of Cambridge University Library (Drama Review T/80
December 1978), (bottom left & right) Stiftung
Archiv der Akademie der Kunste, Berlin; 397 The
Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art
Museums; 399 University of Bristol Theatre Collec-
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