« AnteriorContinuar »
performances; but he was a first rate years before, his performance had been stage-director and he was thoroughly far from satisfactory; but, in the interim, familiar with the traditions of the Shake- he had studied the rôle again, under the spearean drama. For years and years careful tutelage of the late Louis Calvert, his touring company was the best train- who knew more about Shakespearean ing-school for actors in the English- acting than almost any other stagespeaking theater. While touring the director of recent times. Last season, English provinces with Benson, Walter Mr. Hackett read the lines of Macbeth Hampden, in the preparatory period of intelligently and impressively and gave a his early twenties, played more than creditable rendition of the customary seventy different parts in Shakespeare business of the part. and became thoroughly familiar with In Mr. David Belasco's production of the traditional business of all of the im- "The Merchant of Venice," the conportant Shakespearean plays. Thus, in tinuity of the Elizabethan narrative was 1905, when he received his first oppor- destroyed by his alteration of the order of tunity to play the part of Hamlet, at the the episodes for the purpose of setting up Adelphi Theater in London, he had the ponderous pictorial scenery with previously acted no less than seven of the which, in the foregone Victorian manner, subsidiary parts in the same play and was he chose to invest his production; but the already familiar with most of the scenes most disappointing feature of the underfrom several different points of view. taking was the somewhat surprising in
It was the lack of such experience that ability of Mr. David Warfield to take led to the lamentable failures of Miss advantage of the opportunities afforded Marjorie Rambeau in the part of Rosa- by the part of Shylock. In this inlind and Miss Ethel Barrymore in the stance, again, a commendable ambition part of Juliet. These two artists, without was defeated by a lack of necessary question, must be rated among the ablest training. actresses on the American stage to-day; but neither of them had had any previous
JULIET IS NOT CLEOPATRA!
CARCELY surprising rôles, and each of them was rehearsed by a director who knew almost nothing about Mr. Warfield's Shylock was the almost the traffic of the Shakespearean stage. complete artistic success of Miss Jane Mr. Robert Milton, who staged "As You Cowl's Juliet. Here was a really fine Like it," is one of our very ablest direc- performance and an excellent production; tors of modern plays; but he is a Russian, and the public, though little skilled in with no ear for Elizabethan verse or criticism, was quick to recognize the prose, and with no sense of the spirit and presence of extraordinary merit. In apthe tempo of Shakespearean comedy. pearance, in temperament, and in spirit, The static methods of Mr. Arthur Hop- Miss Cowl was admirably suited to the kins as a stage-director, though admirably part; and the entire company, under suited to a certain type of modern play, the skilful direction of Mr. Frank Reicher, are, also, utterly unsuited to the pro- played with a contagious zest which jection of the headlong hurry of Eliza- awakened from the public a contributive bethan tragedy.
enthusiasm. But when Miss Cowl subse
quently attempted Shakespeare's CleoMACBETH, SEVERAL YEARS AGO AND NOW
patra, her lack of experience in classic HE advantages of prolonged and rôles was not so successfully disguised.
thorough study were illustrated last Mr. John Barrymore is in the peculiar season when Mr. James K. Hackett, after position of an actor who has never played a long absence from our stage, reappeared any part in any play of Shakespeare's in the role of Macbeth. When he had with the exception of the two great parts first attempted this same part, several of Richard the Third and Hamlet. In
training in the rendition of Shakespearean Samose complete artistic failure of
Throwing Tradition to the Dogs
stead of beginning at the bottom, like all the irresistible charm of his personality. of the great Shakespearean actors since His Hamlet is not a great performance, Betterton, and working his way up from and is not comparable with those of Mr. minor rôles to major, Mr. Barrymore Walter Hampden, Sir Johnston Forbesbegan at the top. He was not, by any Robertson, or Mr. E. H. Sothern at his means, unmindful of his lack of prepara- best; but it is electrified at several motory training; and he devoted many ments by sudden flashes of something months of arduous study to each of these akin to genius. two parts. On each occasion, he placed .
One of these moments occurs at the himself under the tutelage of an able outset of “Angels and ministers of grace," elocution teacher; and by assiduous when his face takes on the look of one application he improved his voice- who sees beyond the veil and his voice production, his diction, and his ear for flutters aloft to an angel-toned falsetto; rhythm.
another is his passionately tender moment He is still hampered by an inability with Ophelia at “Get thee to a nunnery”; to read verse rapidly; and he plays both and another comes at “Then, venom, to parts in a monotonous slow tempo that thy work,” when he takes a sudden becomes ineffective when the drama is leopard-like athletic leap through the air intense. Also, he is not yet able to read as he plunges his sword at the King. But and act at the same time: he crosses the other passages are deeply disappointingstage in silence and comes to a stop before as when, for instance, Mr. Barrymore, he speaks his next speech. It would be
It would be for the first time in the history of the stage easier to judge his latent abilities and to takes “Oh, what a rogue and peasant estimate his promise if he were not im- slave am !” at a slow tempo, and when peded by the perversity of Mr. Arthur he misconceives and entirely misplays Hopkins in ignoring or deliberately delet- the closet scene with the Queen. ing the essential business of most of the That the public, however, should perimportant scenes and in ordering the mit Mr. Hopkins, without protest, to turn other actors to stand still and to refrain the ghost into an electric light; to stage from any gestures while Mr. Barrymore “Unhand me, gentlemen," on a small is on the stage. Mr. Hopkins's produc- platform at the top of a steep flight of tion of “Hamlet” is not "Hamlet" with stairs, where it is utterly impossible to act the prince left out, but "Hamlet" with the business of the scene; to direct the everybody else left out and with most of ranting at Ophelia's burial without havthe prince's business erased.
ing Hamlet leap into the grave; to order BARRYMORE'S POPULARITY
the King to forget all the business that
belongs traditionally to his part; and so HE enormous popularity of Mr. forth and so on, affords an indication of
Barrymore's Hamlet arises mainly the fact that the younger generation is from his beautiful appearance in the strangely ignorant of “The Tragedy of trappings and the suits of woe, the illusion Hamlet” and eager to welcome any of youthfulness that is created by his opportunity to see it produced, however short stature and slight physique, and by inadequately, on the stage.
The Senators, the Washington baseball team, for the first time in their long career, covered themselves with glory not only by winning the championship of the American League, but also by defeating the New York Giants, champions of the National League, and earned for themselves the title of World's Champions.