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Full text of "A few memories"

A STAGE-TRICK REMEDIED                     87
to him, to turn their backs upon the audience, thus concentrating all the attention upon himself; then say his speech, whatever it might be, beginning pianissimo and ending fortissimo; after which he was to sweep grandly into the corner and wait for his applause, which usually came from "the unskilled" and made "the judicious grieve." Before learning the remedy for this trick, which had in it nothing resembling the manner of " Christian, pagan, or man," I often had an Ingomar, Colonna, Master Walter, take me by the hand, swing me below him, then spring back three or four steps, and keep me during all of his speeches with my back to the audience, literally forcing me down the stage until I was almost in the foot-lights. Dion Boucicault unfolded to me the antidote for this evil, which was, " Simply turn your back upon the bellowing artist, and in ignoring him, cause the public to do likewise." It was amusing to see how humbly the old-stager came down from his central position, and turned his back to the public—even that, to get you to look at him. These practices often grew into conflicts between actors playing lovers' parts. Each player acted for himself, and ignored the ensemble. From this and other equally per-