Introduction 1 (juvenile).
There comes a time in every one's life when he feels he was born to be an actor. Something within
him tells him that he is the coming man, and that one day he will electrify the world. Then he burns with a desire to show them how the thing's done, and to draw a salary of three hundred a week.This sort of thing generally takes a man when he is about nineteen, and lasts till he is nearly twenty. But he doesn't know this at the time. He thinks he has got hold of an inspiration all to himself - a kind of solemn "call", which it would be wicked to disregard; and when he finds that there are obstacles in the way of his immediate appearance as Hamlet at a leading West-end theatre, he is blighted.
I myself caught it in the usual course. I was at the theatre one evening to see Romeo and Juliet played, when it suddenly flashed across me that that was my vocation. I thought all acting was making love in tights to pretty women, and I determined to devote my life to it. When I communicated my heroic resolution to my friends, they reasoned with me. That is, they called me a fool; and then said that they had always thought me a sensible fellow, though that was the first I had ever heard of it.
But I was not to be turned from my purpose.
I commenced operations by studying the great British dramatists. I was practical enough to know that some sort of preparation was necessary, and I thought that, for a beginning, I could not better than this. Accordingly I read through every word of Shakespeare, - with notes, which made it still more unintelligible, - Ben Johnson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Sheridan, Goldsmith, and Lord Lytton. This brought me into a state of mind bordering on insanity. Another standard dramatist, and I should have gone raving mad: of that I feel sure. Thinking that a change would do me good, I went in for farces and burlesques, but found them more depressing than the tragedies, and the idea then began to force itself upon me that, taking one consideration with another, an actor's lot would not be a happy one.
(from 'On the Stage – And Off' by Jerome K. Jerome)
Introduction 2 (of girls).
"You won't stop, I know, as long as you can trail round in a white gown with your hair down, and wear gold-paper jewelry. You are the best actress we've got, and there'll be an end of everything if you quit the boards," said Jo. "We ought to rehearse tonight. Come here, Amy, and do the fainting scene, for you are as stiff as a poker in that."
"I can't help it. I never saw anyone faint, and I don't choose to make myself all black and blue, tumbling flat as you do. If I can go down easily, I'll drop. If I can't, I shall fall into a chair and be graceful. I don't care if Hugo does come at me with a pistol," returned Amy, who was not gifted with dramatic power, but was chosen because she was small enough to be borne out shrieking by the villain of the piece.
"Do it this way. Clasp your hands so, and stagger across the room, crying frantically, `Roderigo Save me! Save me!' and away went Jo, with a melodramatic scream which was truly thrilling.
Amy followed, but she poked her hands out stiffly before her, and jerked herself along as if she went by machinery, and her "Ow!" was more suggestive of pins being run into her than of fear and anguish. Jo gave a despairing groan, and Meg laughed outright, while Beth let her bread burn as she watched the fun with interest. "It's no use! Do the best you can when the time comes, and if the audience laughs, don't blame me. Come on, Meg."
"Then things went smoothly, for Don Pedro defied the world in a speech of two pages without a single break. Hagar, the witch, chanted an awful incantation over her kettleful of simmering toads, with weird effect. Roderigo rent his chains asunder manfully, and Hugo died in agonies of remorse and arsenic, with a wild, "Ha! Ha!"
"It's the best we've had yet," said Meg, as the dead villain sat up and rubbed his elbows.
"I don't see how you can write and act such splendid things, Jo. You're a regular Shakespeare!"
exclaimed Beth, who firmly believed that her sisters were gifted with wonderful genius in all things.
"Not quite," replied Jo modestly. "I do think THE WITCHES CURSE, an Operatic Tragedy is rather a nice thing, but I'd like to try McBETH, if we only had a trapdoor for Banquo. I always wanted to do the killing part. `Is that a dagger that I see before me?" muttered Jo, rolling her eyes and clutching at the air, as she had seen a famous tragedian do.
"No, it's the toasting fork, with Mother's shoe on it instead of the bread. Beth's stage-struck!" cried Meg, and the rehearsal ended in a general burst of laughter.
(from 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott)
A row of questions to start the line:
Did you perform? Was your first experience a success or not? Do writers, singers, musicians,dancers, etc. act their performances? Your favourite scenes from theatrical or movie or other productions? Have your say if you feel like saying. I'll keep on. Thanks.