Behind the Footlights
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Behind the Footlights

By Mrs Alec-Tweedie
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Table of Contents
  • E-text prepared by MWS, Brian Wilcox, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made available by Internet Archive (https://archive.org)
  • Behind the Footlights
    • MRS. ALEC-TWEEDIE
    • CONTENTS
    • LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    • CHAPTER I THE GLAMOUR OF THE STAGE Girlish Dreams of Success—Golden Glitter—Overcrowding—Few successful—Weedon Grossmith—Beerbohm Tree—How Mrs. Tree made Thousands for the War Fund—The Stage Door reached—Glamour fades—The Divorce Court and the Theatre—Childish Enthusiasm—Old Scotch Body’s Horror—Love Letters—Temptations—Emotions—How Women began to Act under Charles I.—Influence of the Theatre for Good or Ill.
    • CHAPTER II CRADLED IN THE THEATRE Three Great Aristocracies—Born on the Stage—Inherited Talent—Interview with Mrs. Kendal—Her Opinions and Warning to Youthful Aspirants—Usual Salary—Starving in the Attempt to Live—No Dress Rehearsal—Overdressing—A Peep at Harley Street—Voice and Expression—American Friends—Mrs. Kendal’s Marriage—Forbes Robertson’s Romance—Why he deserted Art for the Stage—Fine Elocutionist—Bad Enunciation and Noisy Music—Ellen Terry—Gillette—Expressionless Faces—Long Runs—Charles Warner—Abuse of Success.
    • CHAPTER III THEATRICAL FOLK Miss Winifred Emery—Amusing Criticism—An Actress’s Home Life—Cyril Maude’s first Theatrical Venture—First Performance—A Luncheon Party—A Bride as Leading Lady—No Games, no Holidays—A Party at the Haymarket—Miss Ellaline Terriss and her First Appearance—Seymour Hicks—Ben Webster and Montagu Williams—The Sothern Family—Edward Sothern as a Fisherman—A Terrible Moment—Almost a Panic—Asleep as Dundreary—Frohman at Daly’s Theatre—English and American Alliance—Mummers.
    • CHAPTER IV PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS Interview with Ibsen—His Appearance—His Home—Plays Without Plots—His Writing-table—His Fetiches—Old at Seventy—A Real Tragedy and Comedy—Ibsen’s First Book—Winter in Norway—An Epilogue—Arthur Wing Pinero—Educated for the Law—As Caricaturist—An Entertaining Luncheon—How Pinero writes his Plays—A Hard Worker—First Night of Letty.
    • CHAPTER V THE ARMY AND THE STAGE Captain Robert Marshall—From the Ranks to the Stage—£10 for a Play—How Copyright is Retained—I. Zangwill as Actor—Copyright Performance—Three First Plays (Pinero, Grundy, Sims)—Cyril Maude at the Opera—Mice and Men—Sir Francis Burnand, Punch, Sir John Tenniel, and a Cartoon—Brandon Thomas and Charley’s Aunt—How that Play was Written—The Gaekwar of Baroda—Changes in London—Frederick Fenn at Clement’s Inn—James Welch on Audiences.
    • CHAPTER VI DESIGNING THE DRESSES Sarah Bernhardt’s Dresses and Wigs—A Great Musician’s Hair—Expenses of Mounting—Percy Anderson—Ulysses—The Eternal City—A Dress Parade—Armour—Over-elaboration—An Understudy—Miss Fay Davis—A London Fog—The Difficulties of an Engagement.
    • CHAPTER VII SUPPER ON THE STAGE Reception on the St. James’s Stage—An Indian Prince—His Comments—The Audience—George Alexander’s Youth—How he missed a Fortune—How he learns a Part—A Scenic Garden—Love of the Country—Actors’ Pursuits—Strain of Theatrical Life—Life and Death—Fads—Mr. Maude’s Dressing-room—Sketches on Distempered Walls—Arthur Bourchier and his Dresser—John Hare—Early and late Theatres—A Solitary Dinner—An Hour’s Make-up—A Forgetful Actor—Bonne camaraderie—Theatrical Salaries—Treasury Day—Thriftlessness—The Advent of Stalls—The Bancrofts—The Haymarket photographs—A Dress Rehearsal.
    • CHAPTER VIII MADAME SARAH BERNHARDT Sarah Bernhardt and her Tomb—The Actress’s Holiday—Love of her Son—Sarah Bernhardt Shrimping—Why she left the Comédie Française—Life in Paris—A French Claque—Three Ominous Raps—Strike of the Orchestra—Parisian Theatre Customs—Programmes—Late Comers—The Matinée Hat—Advertisement Drop Scene—First Night of Hamlet—Madame Bernhardt’s own Reading of Hamlet—Yorick’s Skull—Dr. Horace Howard Furness—A Great Shakespearian Library.
    • CHAPTER IX AN HISTORICAL FIRST NIGHT An Interesting Dinner—Peace in the Transvaal—Beerbohm Tree as a Seer—How he cajoled Ellen Terry and Mrs. Kendal to Act—First-nighters on Camp-stools—Different Styles of Mrs. Kendal and Miss Terry—The Fun of the Thing—Bows of the Dead—Falstaff’s Discomfort—Amusing Incidents—Nervousness behind the Curtain—An Author’s Feelings.
    • CHAPTER X OPERA COMIC How W. S. Gilbert loves a Joke—A Brilliant Companion—Operas Reproduced without an Altered Line—Many Professions—A Lovely Home—Sir Arthur Sullivan’s Gift—A Rehearsal of Pinafore—Breaking up Crowds—Punctuality—Soldier or no Soldier—Iolanthe—Gilbert as an Actor—Gilbert as Audience—The Japanese Anthem—Amusement.
    • CHAPTER XI THE FIRST PANTOMIME REHEARSAL Origin of Pantomime—Drury Lane in Darkness—One Thousand Persons—Rehearsing the Chorus—The Ballet—Dressing-rooms—Children on the Stage—Size of “The Lane”—A Trap-door—The Property-room—Made on the Premises—Wardrobe-woman—Dan Leno at Rehearsal—Herbert Campbell—A Fortnight Later—A Chat with the Principal Girl—Miss Madge Lessing.
    • CHAPTER XII SIR HENRY IRVING AND STAGE LIGHTING Sir Henry Irving’s Position—Miss Geneviève Ward’s Dress—Reformations in Lighting—The most Costly Play ever Produced—Strong Individuality—Character Parts—Irving earned his Living at Thirteen—Actors and Applause—A Pathetic Story—No Shakespeare Traditions—Imitation is not Acting—Irving’s Appearance—His Generosity—The First Night of Dante—First night of Faust—Two Terriss Stories—Sir Charles Wyndham.
    • CHAPTER XIII WHY A NOVELIST BECOMES A DRAMATIST Novels and Plays—Little Lord Fauntleroy and his Origin—Mr. Hall Caine—Preference for Books to Plays—John Oliver Hobbes—J. M. Barrie’s Diffidence—Anthony Hope—A London Bachelor—A Pretty Wedding—A Tidy Author—A First Night—Dramatic Critics—How Notices are Written—The Critics Criticised—Distribution of Paper—“Stalls Full”—Black Monday—Do Royalty pay for their Seats?—Wild Pursuit of the Owner of the Royal Box—The Queen at the Opera.
    • CHAPTER XIV SCENE-PAINTING AND CHOOSING A PLAY Novelist—Dramatist—Scene-painter—An Amateur Scenic Artist—Weedon Grossmith to the Rescue—Mrs. Tree’s Children—Mr. Grossmith’s Start on the Stage—A Romantic Marriage—How a Scene is built up—English and American Theatres Compared—Choosing a Play—Theatrical Syndicate—Three Hundred and Fifteen Plays at the Haymarket.
    • CHAPTER XV THEATRICAL DRESSING-ROOMS A Star’s Dressing-room—Long Flights of Stairs—Miss Ward at the Haymarket—A Wimple—An Awkward Predicament—How an Actress Dresses—Herbert Waring—An Actress’s Dressing-table—A Girl’s Photographs of Herself—A Grease-paint Box—Eyelashes—White Hands—Mrs. Langtry’s Dressing-room—Clara Morris on Make-up—Mrs. Tree as Author—“Resting”—Mary Anderson on the Stage—An Author’s Opinion—Actors in Society.
    • CHAPTER XVI HOW DOES A MAN GET ON THE STAGE? A Voice Trial—How it is Done—Anxious Faces—Singing into Cimmerian Darkness—A Call to Rehearsal—The Ecstasy of an Engagement—Proof Copy; Private—Arrival of the Principals—Chorus on the Stage—Rehearsing Twelve Hours a Day for Nine Weeks without Pay.
    • CHAPTER XVII A GIRL IN THE PROVINCES Why Women go on the Stage—How to prevent it—Miss Florence St. John—Provincial Company—Theatrical Basket—A Fit-up Tour—A Theatre Tour—Répertoire Tour—Strange Landladies—Bills—The Longed-for Joint—Second-hand Clothes—Buying a Part—Why Men Deteriorate—Oceans of Tea—E. S. Willard—Why he Prefers America—A Hunt for Rooms—A Kindly Clergyman—A Drunken Landlady—How the Dog Saved an Awkward Predicament.
    • CHAPTER XVIII PERILS OF THE STAGE Easy to Make a Reputation—Difficult to Keep One—The Theatrical Agent—The Butler’s Letter—Mrs. Siddons’ Warning—Theatrical Aspirants—The Bogus Manager—The Actress of the Police Court—Ten Years of Success—Temptations—Late Hours—An Actress’s Advertisement—A Wicked Agreement—Rules Behind the Scenes—Edward Terry—Success a Bubble.
    • CHAPTER XIX “CHORUS GIRL NUMBER II. ON THE LEFT” A Fantasy Founded on Fact Plain but Fascinating—The Swell in the Stalls—Overtures—Persistence—Introduction at Last—Her Story—His Kindness—Happiness crept in—Love—An Ecstasy of Joy—His Story—A Rude Awakening—The Result of Deception—The Injustice of Silence—Back to Town—Illness—Sleep.
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