Imatges de pÓgina

advanced foot, to put that knee down first which is next to the spec tator; in rising, to bring up the foot which is farthest from him. The actor representing a gradual increase or sudden impulse of feeling, may disregard the former part of this direction; the latter should, unless in the delineation of strong passion, be attended to. When the weight of the body is sustained by the limb next the spectator, it is necessary either to change the weight to the retired limb, or to extend backwards the free limb, and so kneel on it.

31. In rising to address an audience, the first positions of the feet (either R 1 c, or L 1 c) should be adopted, as they give an idea of grace and dignity; but if the hand is held out towards the audience, or, if the speaker desires to be earnest and impressive, the weight of the body may be transferred to the foot in advance (either R 2 c, R 3 c, R 2 i, R3i, L2 c, L 3 c, L 2 i, L 3 i.)

When the audience is placed around the speaker, either of the above positions may be adopted; but the body should be directed as much as possible to the centre of the hearers. The orator should always face his auditory.

When the person addressed is on the right hand, use R 1, R2, R3, or L 3 c.

When the person addressed is on the left hand, use L 1, L 2, L 3, or R 3 c.

When both hands are in action, any of the positions may be used.

32. When reading with the book in the right hand, use R 1 c, L2 c, R 2 i, or L 2 2.

When reading with the book in the left hand, use L 1 c, R 2 c, L2i, or R 2 i. (The book should, if possible, be held in the left hand.)-(See note, page 85.)

33. When seated, ease or indifference may be noted by R 1 c and L 1 c. Attention may be marked by R 2 c and L 2 c; Earnestness by R 3 c, R 3 i, L 3 c, L 3 i.


34. The ARMS should always perform their principal motions from the shoulders; the elbows, by a gentle bend, aiding the principal action. The elbow must never be pinned or inclined to the side, or projected so as to make the arm appear crooked or powerless; it must not be kept braced or straight; for grace depends on that easy laxness which allows instant variety of motion. The curve which the hand should describe in action, depends greatly on the nature of the composition. If it is dignified, the gesture should be free and waving— the arm detached from the body, and moved through a wide space in a graceful curve. This gesture may be properly distinguished from the Colloquial, by the term Declamatory. Its motions, though sweeping, should never be violent, but flowing, unconstrained, and easy in transition. In Colloquial gesture, less scope is allowable; the arm is less detached, and the curves it describes are more limited in extent. The distinctive character of the Colloquial positions and elevations is, that the joint of the elbow is slightly bent, and the upper arm held closer to the side; with which, however, it should never come completely in contact.

35 The positions and elevations may be used with either arm; but

in general, the principal action is assigned to the right arm, while the left either performs a secondary motion, or conforms itself to that of the right. The degree of elevation of the retired arm is greatest when the advanced arm is held horizontal; the elevation is diminished, in proportion as the advanced arm approaches either the zenith or the nadir. (See paragraphs 49-52.)

36. The Direction and Elevation of the Arm express, in a general manner, the position of an object, or the dignity of a sentiment. As is the situation of the supposed object from the speaker, so will be the direction of the gesture. In the expression of sentiment, the arm and hand depressed, denote a contemptuous feeling; the arm horizontal, expresses quiescence; slightly raised above horizontal, dignity; while the elevated arm denotes triumph, supplication to heaven, or any elevated emotion of the speaker.


37. If,—from a position perfectly at rest, the arms hanging unconstrainedly by the side,-the right arm be raised as high as it can, (as in Diagram 8,) the extremnity of the fingers will describe, in the Vertical Direction, a semicircle, which, in the figure, is marked at five points: R (nadir), d (downwards), h (horizontal), e (elevated), and Z (zenith)—each point marking an interval of 45o.




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38. If, in the Transverse Direction, the arm be extended across the Quintilian condemns the practice of advancing the corresponding foot and arm. In statuary, or stage action, (when the costume [as the Grecian] prevents the free use of the left arm), attention to this may be desirable; modern delivery rejects it as an unnecessary restraint.

body, and swept horizontally round and outwards, the extremity of the fingers will describe a semicircle, which, in Diagram 9, is also marked at five points, c (across), ƒ (forwards), q (oblique), x (extended), and b (backwards), at intervals of 45°.


39. In the Transition of Gesture (i. e., in changing the position, direction, or elevation of the arm), the hand should never move in a straight line; but it should describe a sort of waving curve; thus,

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If, for instance, it is desired to move the arm from the direction, forwards (noted f) to the position oblique (noted q); or from the position oblique (q) to the position extended (noted x), the hand should not describe the straight line marked by the dots; but, in moving from f to q, should go back almost to c (across), and then traverse the greater space to q. In moving from q to x, the hand should revert nearly to f, and then proceed to x, with an accelerated motion for the stroke of the gesture. These motions may be made with either an over or under curve.

40. In ascending and descending gestures, similar modes of transition should be observed: the hand should always describe a like curve, as in the subjoined diagram:

Diag. 11.


In general, the hand should be so turned, in all extended changes of direction and elevation, that the thumb and forefinger shall precede any upward motion; and the palm, any downward motion.

41. The MOTIONS OF THE ARMS denote the extent of gesture,the expressive transition, or the magnificence, of sentiment. In proportion to these, must be the extent of the line of motion. Ordinary discourse requires simple and easy transitions: elevated and poetical language is best expressed by extended motions. The sense to be conveyed is the regulator of the time, the frequency, the uniformity, and the variety of all gesture.

42. Although the hands should, in all graceful motion, describe curved lines, yet, in energetic action, these lines may be, in a great degree, straightened; but perfectly straight, as well as perfectly circular gestures, should be generally avoided.

43. The termination of motion should be made on the emphatic word or syllable, by a stroke or beat from the wrist. This stroke, which determines and perfects the action, should vary in its force and degree with the energy of the speaker.

44. It is by some considered inelegant to advance the foot and arm of the same side at the same time. (See note, page 85.)


45. In addition to the general Motions of the arms, in connexion with their Direction and Elevation, (see Diagrams 10 and 11,) the following Nineteen Special Motions are inserted for practice. The first four may be considered COMMENCING, the next five CONCLUSIVE, and the last ten CONTINUATIVE.

The dotted lines denote the preparatory motions.

(These Motions should be practised with both arms.

The line of the diagrams will point out the true motion for the left arm; for the right arm, the book should be held before a glass, and the reflection will exhibit the motions on the reversed side.)

The Notation of the left arm may be distinguished by a dash preceding the number of the motion; thus, 9, that is, left arm, motion 9.*

*The Special Motions do not include any that are dependent on mere change of direction or elevation (for these the student is referred to paragraphs 37, 38, 39, and 40, with their illustratory figures); but they present the principal which are in ordinary use. They are generally drawn on an extended scale, to stimulate the student to freedom and breadth in forming his theory of Gesture; but, in practice, they admit of every variety of extent sometimes, as in colloquial language, employing only the hand and wrist; sometimes, as in energetic declamation, requiring the whole scope of the arm.


(Motion 1.)-Diag. 12.

(Motion. 2.)-Diag. 13.

MOTION 1. A slight curvilinear movement upwards and outwards. (Diagram 12.)

MOTION 2. A curvilinear movement, commencing from the oppo site shoulder, and sweeping downwards, outwards, and upwards. (Diagram 13.)

(Motion 3.)-Diag. 14.

(Motion 4.)-Diag. 15.

MOTION 3. A curvilinear movement, commencing at downwards oblique, sweeping downwards, inwards, and upwards, ending in elevated oblique. (Diagram 14.)

MOTION 4. A serpentine movement, vertical, ending in elevated extended. (Diagram 15.)

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