Skip to main content

Full text of "A few memories"

See other formats

178                           A FEW MEMORIES
prompter's box or to some friendly actor for the words. This happened to me several times, notably in " The Winter's Tale;" in London, where, after playing it a hundred nights, I had to be prompted in several of Hermione's great speeches. Edwin Booth, during the long run of "Hamlet" at his own theatre, frequently called for the lines. An actor who was in his company told me that Booth turned to him one night, and, with a look of consternation, asked what he was to say next. His mind for the moment had become a blank. The actor gave him the word. Booth began the speech, faltered again, was prompted a second time, but finding it impossible to continue, called out, in a loud voice, " Ring down the curtain!" Many other examples might be cited to show how weary the brain grows after acting the same part six or seven times weekly for one or two hundred consecutive nights, with only the rest of Sunday to distract the mind. Another evil is that, towards the end of a long run, the actor of any heavy or engrossing part is likely to feel the impersonated character and its life slowly dispossessing his own. During the hundred nights of "Romeo and Juliet" at the Lyceum Theatre I became so imbued with the sufferings