A glimpse of Sarah Siddons …

… in a letter from Daniel Terry to Sir Walter Scott. Wow. Her Lady Macbeth is one of those “oh for a time machine” things I wish I could have seen!! (I love the story about her backstage preparation for the sleepwalking scene. Brilliant!)

This entry was posted in Actors and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A glimpse of Sarah Siddons …

  1. John says:

    Seeing you write about missing these performances always reminds me of a history prof I had who used to lament about things that historians can not recreate. Somewhere there has to be a “best there ever was” performance, and the high likelihood is that for many od Shakespeare’s plays, it hapened before recording technology was invented to capture it.

    The other things he used to talk about that are lost to us forever from the past are sounds and smells. You can make a leather saddle using no petrochemical finishers, or you can make a wooden tool with plant-based varish, but those are one-off recreations: you can’t capture being totally surrounded by that stuff in your daily life, that is lost forever.

    Of course, such losses are not all bad, given that the greatest impediment to municipal expansion in the NYC of the 1880s was what to do with all of the horse shit.

  2. red says:

    I think it was Gielgud who said that acting on stage was like a “sculpture made of snow”.

    People like Edmund Kean, David Garrick, Mrs. Siddons – and even more recently – Laurette Taylor as Amanda Wingfield – these people are still talked about, still referenced. We can only take the word of those who actually saw the performances. And I do.

  3. John says:

    One of my most treasured possessions is a one-sided record of Caruso that goes with an old Victrola my great-great grandmother used to own. But the singers who inspired him are lost forever.

    I always think that missing those performances is a huge loss. One of my hobbies is what I call human control systems – determining what societal rules are best for progress (and I know you and I disagree a bit on what postive progress is). But history is the only experimental crucible we have for testing social theories, and so many variables can not be isolated when studying it. Being able to see another era’s reaction to a fictional world (especially one whose potrayal is familiar to us through our own generation’s interpretation) helps fill in the gaps in our knowledge of human response. I don’t think I’m making much sense, but I have the feeling that for all the social progress we made in the 20th Century, we lost some important things, too. Looking at how people actually reacted may help us separate our own pre-conceptions about them from what actually made them tick. And if we can take the good parts of their societal mechanism without dragging along the bad, so much the better for us.

  4. red says:

    Edmund Kean – one of the greatest tragic actors of all time – said that during one of his performances (not sure what play but I know it wasd Shakespeare) that at one point he could no longer feel the stage beneath his feet.

  5. Ted says:

    10 moments I wish I could have been there for – this would be a great MeMe!

  6. red says:

    MeMe! hahahaha

    Yeah, definitely do it – I’m dying to hear your choices!!

  7. red says:

    And perhaps, Ted, we could share a time machine to certain events … I wonder if we will have any overlap.

Comments are closed.