Shakespeare according to Early American Actor Dynasties



Rok publikování 2017
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Hradec Králové Journal of Anglophone Studies
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

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Klíčová slova William Shakespeare; 19th century American Theatre; Acting
Popis This paper explores the importance of Shakespeare in colonial and antebellum American theatre through the work of theatrical family dynasties. It presents the earliest professional actors from Lewis Hallam’s theatre company as well as some of the greatest stars of 19th century American Shakespearean acting such as Charlotte Cushman, who employed her sister Susan as her acting partner, and Edwin Booth. It was especially the Booth dynasty, founded by Junius Brutus Booth, Sr., that presented successful productions of Shakespeare’s plays on American stages. Three sons of this ‘Mad Tragedian’, Junius Brutus, Jr., Edwin, and John Wilkes met on stage for the last time to perform Julius Caesar at the Winter Garden on November 25, 1864. While Edwin was the greatest star of the American theatre then, John Wilkes was a failed actor, unsuccessful businessman and political radical. The resulting rivalry between the two brothers led to competition on the stage and contributed to the tragic assassination of President Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth on 14 April 1865. The paper describes a development of American Shakespearean acting, where America was initially a mere receiver of theatre art, while in the 19th century, it became artistically emancipated and American actors could compete in quality with their British counterparts in the most challenging field for English-speaking theatre performance: Shakespearean acting.
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