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date: 26 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This survey of the theories of the actor developed during the Georgian era emphasizes changes in acting style in relation to rivalries among the players, the theatres, and even the popular genres. The most significant changes in acting were a direct consequence of these rivalries, of the increasing size of the playhouses and of emergence and popularity of new genres of dramatic entertainment. The size of the theatres required performers to rely less on facial expression and more on gesture and posture to communicate emotion. Although striving for a ‘natural’ style, actors needed strong vocal delivery and broad histrionics. Changes in dramatic genre included the new popularity of melodrama, burletta, pantomime, and harlequinades. However, even as these modes threatened to lower thespian standards, the final decades of the era witnessed an increased awareness of acting as high art, celebration of the virtuoso performer, and the ennobling the science of acting.

Keywords: actor, acting theory, pantomime, theatre rivalry, gesture, expression

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