By Melynda Nuss (auth.)
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Extra resources for Distance, Theatre, and the Public Voice, 1750–1850
Pantomime was conspicuously not mentioned; in fact, Byron puts in a little dig at the pantomime audience: “If e’er frivolity has let to fame, / and made us blush that you forbore to blame; / If e’er the sinking stage could condescend, / To soothe the sickly taste it dare not mend” (56–59). But if this Drury was to “emulate the last” (27), audiences needed to be reconciled to the larger size of the new theatre. 16 Stage boxes were almost 54 feet from the stage. Its architect, Benjamin Wyatt, had made “the Size or Capacity of the Theatre,” along with the “pecuniary return to be made to those whose Property might be embarked in the Concern” a primary consideration (Leacroft 166).
When Old Tricastin leads the family in prayer in act 2, they all hold hands, then sink into a theatrical tableau where Eusebe and Madame Tricastin kneel before the father. Even in devastation, physical closeness seems paramount. 1). 1). 1). Inchbald’s metaphor of Mme. Tricastin as a “miser,” however, deftly suggests two things about personal presence. First, it quietly asserts, in the middle of a closet drama, that print is “doubtful currency” compared to the domestic and theatrical commonplace of bodily experience.
In the frame story, the duenna exposes the princess to the light because she wants to become Humpino’s bride herself—“No great revenge neither to give him a wife like me, methinks” (211). She goes so far as to masquerade as the princess in her wedding gown before she is discovered, and, like one of the characters in the harlequinade to follow, “[s]he bullies some, cuffs others, and kicks up a dust in the Palace” (213) when forced to give up her prize. And in the harlequinade section of Harlequin and Humpo, as in so many late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century pantomimes, Harlequin and Clown compete 28 DISTANCE, THEATRE, AND THE PUBLIC VOICE, 1750–1850 for center stage.