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Explanation of Plate on Opposite Page.
1 Proscenium-or frame work of the Stage considered as a picturo.
2. Draperyo : which is arranged permanently.
Torinen tors." 5. Movable Wings adapted to whatever Scene is required. 6. "Flies," movablo according to requirement, lowered or raised as
room or landscape is wanted. Painted blue for Land. scape, Crimson or Green for Rooms.
7. Flat-or Scene at upper part of Stage running across the Stage
divided in centre and pushed on from the Wings.
8. Footlights in front of Stage-shielded from audience by a tin shade
before each light of gas or lamp. It is advisable to cover lamp or gas light with wire gauze, to guard against accident.
TO THE READER.-The above explanation of a Stage and its acces. sories, is, of course, as they appear at regular theatres, But with very little expenditure of money, an Amateur Company, having the foregoing picture to guide them, can manage to produce a very ser. viceable imitation, If, for instauce, two large parlors can be had, the dividing line of the two rooms will serve well for the prosceniumthe one rom being the auditorium, the other the stage.
In large towns dresses of all kinds can be hired at a moderate charge, at Costumers.
The Scene represented on the Stage (on the preceding page) is from BRUTUS, a Tragedy, from the pen of John Howard Payne. We have omitto:l the Lictors, &c.. from the picture, as they would only tend to confuse the reader. For the text of this Scene, see page 112 of this work.
EXPLANATORY AND ADVISORY.
Of course it will frequently happen that it is necessary to reprosent Plays, or select scenes from Plays, where it is impossible to have all the desirable adjuncts of Stage, Scenery, &c. Still we have seen many admirable performances, in which the ability and spirit of tho amateur actresses and actors were so marked that the absent acces. sories were scarcely missed. As Doctor Johnson truly observed, “ if we can believe that Othello goes from Venice to Cyprus while the auditor is sitting in the theatre, we can readily imagine that a room is a forest, a field, or a palace."
A couple of heavy woolen curtains can easily be so draped as to make a graceful proscenium. A rod extending, behind these, across the room (or presumed stage) can be mado to support two curtains hanging by rings; these can be easily drawn open or shut, by a person on either side. Two or four large screens, covered with wall. paper (landscape or architecture) can be easily and simply made to pass muster for scenery.
Caution-Avoid using light. ganzy fabrics about the stage, as they are apt to be swayed toward a flame, by a breath of air. One or more persons should be specially appointed to supervise the lights both to avoid accidents and to increase the effect.
Dress-Very beautiful costumes can be make by any handy young lady from quite low priced materials. Cheap gaudy flannels, vel. veteen, and glazed cambrics, ornamented with spangles, bugles, cut glass beads, and imitation gold and silver lace, are quite as effective in artificial lights, as the real articles which they are intended to imitate.
It was the custom in the early English play-houses, whon scenery
EXPLANATORY AND ADVISORY.
was rarely to be obtained, to hang a largo placard up in sight of the audience as thus :
Room in the
As the object of all Amatear Playing is merely to amuse the por. formers' friends, sensible people come to the performance disposed to view all with lenient eyes : as in a rustic picnic no one but a fool expects a dinner spread with all the completeness of a repast at Delmonico's or Nash & Fuller's.
But while every allowance is readily made for the absence of ap. propriate scenery and dresses, no allowance shonld be expected for any short-coming in the acting. Each performer should apply him. self, with diligence and careful study to fully understand and propor. ly delineate the character he essays to represent. It matters not bow low or how brief the part may be. Every character and every son. tence in the play is as essential to the whole as every piece in a beau. tiful mosaic is to the picture of whicb it is a component part. Ro. member that a perfectly painted peasant by Paul Potter is more valuable than a richly dressed monarch by an inferior painter. Each person that takes a part is bound by every honorable obligation to read, study and become thorough master of its every detail. This he owes not only to himself, but to those that he has associated himself with. Study and rehearse—STUDY AND REHEARSE-until every lineevery word, in fact, comes trippingly from the tongue. Be exceeding ly careful while on the stage not to recognize any person in the audi torium. Indeed, you must think only of the part you are performing and its bearing upon the person or persons occupying the stage with you. Endeavor thoroughly to comprehend clearly all about the char. acter you are to represent; if a historical personage, glean all you can as to his manners, sentiments and characteristics. You must un. derstand the full scope and meaning of every sentence, aye, every word, before you can hope to convey such meaning to a listener.
[This sweetly beautiful little poom fitly opens the vestibule of our book. Its noble truths should be uttered with emphatic, but not noisy elocution. There is sufficient variety in the different stanzas for the speaker to display much taste and feeling.)
God might have bade the earth bring forth
Enough for great and small,
Without a flower at all.
For every want of ours,
And yet have had no flowers.
Requireth none to grow ;
To make the river flow.
The nightly dews might fall,
Might yet have drunk them all.
All dyed with rainbow-light,
Upspringing day and night:-
And on the mountains high,
Where no man passes by ?
Then wherefore had they birth?
To beautify the earth ;
Whene'er his faith is dim,