Imatges de pÓgina


presentation ; yet without which the Truth of ałting is never to be arrived at Page 220

СНА Р. Х. In which fome important Rules are added to the

Principles before establish'd, of the Truth of Action and Recitation.

229 C H A P. XI. Of natural Playing:

CHA P. XII. Of the Finesses in the Art of Playing in general.

246 CHAP. XIII, Of the Finesses in playing, which peculiarly belang to Tragedy.

258 CHAP. XIV. Of the Finesses in playing, peculiar to Comedy.

269 CHAP. XV. Rules which ought to be observ’d in the use of Finesses.

279 CHAP. XVI. Of Bye-play, or what are called Stage-Tricks. 284

CH A P. XVII. Of Variety in Playing.

288 CHA P. XVIII. Of graces in Playing.

300 CHAP. XIX. Observations on some parts of the Art of Playing,

of a subordinate Kind to those we have hitherto been treating of.


315 CHAP. XXI. Some Remarks which may be of Service to certain

modern Actors




A: C T O R.


Of the principal Advantages which a Player

ought to bave from Nature.


MONG the many arts which should

never be exercis'd but by persons who

are happy in a variety of natural accomplishments, there are few, to the excelling in which they are more effential, than in perforening well in tragedy and comedy. The Actor is expected to delude the imagination, and to affect the heart: and in order to his attaining to perfection in this difficult task, nature must have been assistant to him in an uncommon manner,

It is essential to our being rationally pleas’d with theatrical representations, that the performers to whom the principal parts are allotted, perfectly keep up the illusion we are to be entertained with ; as it is peculiarly from them, that we expect what is to move and affect us.

These performers, therefore, more than all the relt, ought to be selected from among persons, whom nature has particularly favour’d.

In enquiring what are the natural endowments immediately necessary to performers on the stage in general, we shall endeavour to discuss certain preliminary points, which have not hitherto been properly or sufficiently explain'd ; and thence proceed to examine, what are the peculiar qualifications necessary to particular actors.

Perhaps it would not be easy to do the publick a more acceptable service on the subject of these entertainments, than by informing those who. are ambitious to appear in the capital parts of our plays, (tho' nature has deny'd them the neceflary means) that it is impoffible to succeed in fo illjudg'd an attempt.

This we shall endeavour to explain, in the second book of this first part.


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In which many of the common Prejudices of

the Age are considered ; and Observations made on the necessary Qualifications of Performers on the Stage in general,

CH A P. I.

Can an Astor excell in his Profesion, without a

good Understunding?


Thing is not always the more true, because

it is generally affirm’d. We frequently hear people who pretend to be the best judges of dramatic performances, declare that some of the modern actors, who have a general and not wholly undeferv'd applause, have mean understandings: But we flatter ourselves, it may be easily proved, that either the actors, whom these fevere criticks censure, have more sense than they have the discernment to distinguish in them; or that they have less merit, even than they allow them, and have the good fortune to be esteemed much better performers, than they really are.

It is not easy to avoid the allowing a good understanding, even to persons who excel in arts that are merely mechanick ; and furely the accomplish'd actor, if he have no other title to it than that of his being such, ought not to be deca

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