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Giv'n with a worthless pledge, thou since haft
ftol'n: So I restore it back to thee again; Swearing by all those pow'rs which thou hast
violated, Never from this curs'd hour to hold communion, Friendship, or interest with thee; tho' our years Were to exceed those limited the world. Take it-farewell -- for now I owe thee nothing.
If we would see the power of art to hide the deficiencies of nature in regard to this performer in a yet stronger light, let us recollect him in King Lear. We are apt to believe that the want of figure never appear’d so glaringly in Mr. Garrick as in this character. It must be acknowledg'd that to look at him only, he appears rather a Gomez or a Fondlewife than a British monarch : but who ever recollected this when they heard him fay to his unnatural daughter,
Old fond eyes
find That I'll resume the shape which thou dost think I have thrown off for ever,
If there be any thing that comes in competition with the unluckiness of this excellent player's figure in this character, it is the appearance he made in his new habit for Othello. We are us'd to see the greatest majesty imaginable express'd
throughthroughout that whole part;, and tho' the joke was somewhat prematurely delivered to the public, we must acknowledge that the appearance he made in that tramontane dress made us rather expect to see a tea-kettle in his hand, than to hear the thundering speeches Shakespear has thrown into that character, come out of his mouth. Tho' we acknowlege that Mr. Garrick did well to part with this character to a man whose figure seems more adequate to our ideas of a heroe; yet we cannot but observe at the same time, that when he perform'd it, he no sooner spoke than we forgot every thing we faw, to give attention to what we heard, and that notwithstanding his naturally contemptible figure, no man ever fill'd a stage with more majesty than he, in those speeches in the third act, where he expreffes all the rage and anguish mix'd together that words perhaps are capable of describing.
Ha! false to me!
What sense had I of her stolen hours of lust;
He that is robb’d, not wanting what is stolen, Let him not know't, and he's not robb’d at all.
I had been happy if the general camp,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious
Farewel! Othello's occupation's gone.
REFLECTIONS Naturally arising from the Subject of the
R E F L E CTION I. Those Actors who appear in subordinate Characters
can no more succeed without a good Understunding, Sensibility, and Fire ; than those who play the
principal Parts. TH
HE hopes of receiving those warm, gene
ral, and repeated applauses, so earnestly defir'd by the writers of theatrical pieces, as well as by the performers in them, is by many understood to be restrain’d to those parts alone which make the capital figure in the piece, and to those performers only who are employ'd to play them. The amiable actress, they observe, who gives so many affecting graces to the tears and lamentations of Monimia ; or by an amazing contrast represents as naturally the perplexity and irresolution of a lady Brute, never fail'd to have as many lovers as there were men of the audience; and the rival charmer of the other house, whose person is more furiking than perhaps the best acting in the world ever was, or ever will be, is sure that a whole audience are impatient and eager till fhe enters on the ftage, and never see her leave it but they curse the poet who made her part in
the scene so short: there are however, among the class of under actresses, fome whofe envious difpofition, impatient under the neglect of what they persuade themselves are equal merits and equal charms in their own persons; and to comfort themselves under the misfortune of not being in the same degree the idols of the public, tell the world that the Cibbers and the Woffingtons of the age would never have become the objects of such universal adoration, if it had not been their fortune to have early appear'd in the capital parts of some of the best of our plays; where the character they represented was too amiable not to interest every body in its favour, and where they had opportunities of thewing themselves under all the advantages that dress and the utmost art could give them. They insist upon it, that the best actor in the world would lose much of the applause his real merit deserves, if always condemn'd to play subordinate characters : and that an actress, tho’ form'd ever so perfectly to please and to charm, will always lose a confiderable share of the natural effect of her beauty, when the principal concerns of the play, or the interests of the capital characters, do not all fall in with or depend upon the part the acts.
To do justice to the modern players we must allow, that as there are some among them who perform the parts of kings and princes, who would appear to much more advantage in the characters of footmen and bailiff's followers; as witness my lords of Westmoreland and Mortimer, with fifty others of the nature with good King Duncan ; so there are others who perform fo decently in their under characters, that we are apt to wish them in those people's places. Let us, however,
examine strictly into the merit of the cause, and we shall generally find that the opinion the lower players entertain of their being set in an ill light by acting the less important characters, is so very absurd, that people who are not overburthened with merit, have in that very cast of parts the only means of shining.
When Mr. Foot play'd Othello at the Harmarket, for the benefit of the very ill-treated Mr. Macklin, there was a person among the under actors, who had been instructed by that masterly judge of speaking, to pronounce about fix lines sensibly, that never had been pronounced to before ; and who acquir'd more applaufe by it than he had ever done in his whole life, tho’he had frequently appeared at some of the motley theatres above mention'd, in the characters of King Richard, Bajazet, Torismond, and my Lord Townley.
The person we hint at was one York; his part in Othello was that of Montano, who engages with and is wounded by Cassio. 'Tis the great reproach of our managers, that they esteem parts, not from the nature of them, but their quantity; and a long part or a short one are always understood as synonimous terms for a good and a bad
In consequence of this, Montano, whose part in the whole does not much exceed a dozen lines, had been always us'd to be play'd at the theatres by a person somewhat above the degree of a scene-shifter, and what he spoke had been always laugh'd at accordingly : the audience were on this occafion surpriz'd, on Othelli's asking this person the cause of a quarrel, for which he. very severely reprimanded him, to hear him