« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
own eyes, unaided by the architect's to be astonished and delighted. Mr. circular, or the newspapers' autho- Elliston and Mr. Beazley are, after rized eulogy. We must be supposed all, very surprising gentlemen; the to be sitting midway in the pit-and, former for having dared such an so sitting, thus to describe what sur- alteration, and the latter for having rounds us.
accomplished it. The pit appears to be considerably We have done with the building, elevated, almost inconveniently so for but we have not done with the these days of expansive bonnets and manager and his company-and of rolling feathers. The seats are com- these, or some of these, if we do fortably contrived for the public, not mistake ourselves, we must being alternately placed with hacks, speak in terms which will not reso as to afford a front resting hold dound very greatly to their reputafor those persons who sit on the plain tions. A great stir has been made benches, without making the pas in the theatrical world—the newspasages inconveniently narrow. The pers have babbled innumerable lies effect of the boxes reminds us of that about managerial liberality and mawhich Covent Garden had in its nagerial zeal; and many favourite first bloom-the fronts being white and celebrated performers have and gold, and the backs a dark changed masters and houses. To salmon colour, to throw out the or- those who are deeply interested in namental with the utmost force. The the Drama's welfare, these agitations private boxes are as they were in the and alterations have been awful, as old theatre. On the stage, the altera- the throes of nations and the strife tions appear the most remarkable- of armies to political enthusiasts. the stage doors are removed--and We have been anxious, from our gusthe pit and orchestra "are advanced picion of the total correctness of cernearer to the proscenium, reducing tain parties, tó get at the rights of that terrible waste which used to things; and as we have taken great stretch between the lamps and the pains on the subject, we trust we green curtain. There are three mag- shall be able to utter a few truths, nificent boxes on each side, in the which we firmly believe will go a place of the old stage doors, rising fair way towards honestly informing from the stage itself to the ceiling, the public on the subject. We should and edged with two huge glittering state that we are urged to the utterpillars, very magnificent, and very ance of these facts, from an anxiety much out of taste. We remember only to possess the public of the the four old green pillars in Old New whole truth, and nothing but the Drury's childhood; and we remem- truth ; for we are disinterested perber their beautiful unfitness; these sons in ourselves, and have no drapillars breed Lilliput actors, and make matic favours to ask at the hands of even Elliston himself look little.
either manager: The elevation, or whatever it is It will not be out of our readers' called, of the stage, strikes us as minds, that Mr. Elliston, during last being too lofty-and the drop curtain season, and the previous one, sailed representing a gigantic drapery, half in his dramatic bark with as wretchfolded up, and half falling down a- ed a crew as ever trod the Thespian bout the heels of some figures and deck; while Mr. Harris, at the other pillars, is the greatest mass of com- house (as it is called), went gaily on fortless confusion the eye was ever in his prosperous vessel, bravely troubled with. It is like some vast manned and womanned, with “ youth clouded marble, and yields nothing at the prow, and pleasure at the of that repose which a drop curtain helm.” The contrast was great and should afford in those pauses which melancholy. While Mr. Elliston bufrelieve the active bustle of the drama. feted about in distress with his doleThe ceiling is neat and beautiful; ful company, Mr. Harris rode in and the chandelier brilliant in the Cleopatra's galley, and revelled in extreme. The effect of the house is burnished gold. The end of this certainly rich and imposing ; and the managerial venture on the part of defects upon which we have remark- Mr. Elliston was what even an inexed are not of such a nature as to perienced person could have foreoffend those who will nightly crowd told-Drury Lane was almost driven
to its pumps. The winter houses at dark red complexion, and meets its length closed, and Mr. Elliston did present difficulties with rather a not get upon a rock and die ; no, he, gloomy and dispirited visage. with his wonted ardour, set about We wish to write dispassionately, planning some new scheme to better for we know that only by temperate his fortunes. By a previous agreement language can any history be usefully with the committee, he had, we be- and intelligibly narrated. The darker lieve, bound himself to lay out a paint of the one house, and the considerable sum in contracting and brighter paint of the other, are things beautifying the theatre ; but he now of no peculiar concern beyond therushed, beyond his promise, into the moment; and we are quite sure that arms of painters, carpenters, and good plays well acted would draw, bricklayers; and nothing but a com- as well as the drama will in these plete amendment would satisfy him: days draw,-in the most plain and in the way of radical reform, Elliston unadorned house in England. .. A bad was
a Thespian Waddington ! company,--such a company as Mr.' Drury Lane, in a few months, has. Elliston once selected, would «sink a become what we have described it!- navy:" Kean, and C. Kemble, and and to make a splendid dash at once, Macready, in one play, would carry the manager determined on having the town! a profusion of first-rate actors and In the original patents of the the actresses. How he has conducted atres it was provided, that the one himself in securing them, and how establishment should never engage they have met his advances, we shall the performers from the other ;'a proas concisely, and as fairly as possible, vision which, though for one purpose i detail to our readers.
salutary, was certainly, in its gene. Covent Garden, however, we should ral effect, violently oppressive and say, appears in the meantime to unjust. The managers found that have had its internal changes and this restriction was excessive, and in i disarrangements. Mr. Harris, by
Mr. Harris, by a short time they came to an under 3 some ordering, has been displaced standing (which in Mr.John Kemble's : from all authority, or, to speak per- and Mr. Sheridan's time was reduced, haps more properly, has been induced to a written agreement), that the to secede from the dictatorship; and one house should not engage, or ne-" Mr. C. Kemble and two other gen- gotiate an engagement with, an actor tlemen have commenced their reign. from the other, until such actor had It seems to have unfortunately hap- quitted his former engagement for pened, that, with Mr. Harris's retire-, one year. This agreement was more ment, many of the performers appear reasonable, inasmuch as it guarded : to have had the power of retiring against the invasion of managerial :also, or of making new terms with interests, which certainly ought fairly the new government at a time too to be protected; but we think that towhen Drury Lane was holding out wards the actor such a restriction lures for every tassel that chose “to was hard, since it went to impose I rake” (to use a falconry and ex- upon him a manager's terms, or a pressive term). Mr. Kenible came year's profitless and in his profes therefore to power, with little or no sion) dangerous retirements We'} power at all.
The enemy was at his question much how far this agree... gates. He found a concern of in- ment would be maintainable in a finite magnitude, in difficulty and court of law or equity; tending, as is debt, and had to conciliate a set of it does, to affect the interests of in- , ambitious, extravagant, and unruly different persons. Nevertheless, this 1 persons, at the very moment when : understanding has never been vio- 11 their ambition and extravagance were lated since the time the patents were: most pampered into disobedience. granted until the presenta . But we' We know little, of course, about the learn that it has now been sudilenly resources of Covent Garden, but we abandoned and broken by one estacannot help thinking that the mana- blishment and under circumstances gers should have hazarded some a- not very creditable to its character, dornments to meet the fascinations of We are led to believe, that the is its now elegant and beautiful rival. managers of Covent-garden, finding. It is opened, however, with its old some extravagance of demand in
some of their principal performers, if there be any, let it be mutually and hearing certain reports on the cancelled, and not artfully- broken. subject of the long-standing agree. An open stage for both or neither. ment, waited upon the proprietor of Had Drury-lane said, “ This is an Drury-lane, and had an interview oppressive understanding, and we with him. At that interview they give you notice that we will not hold requested to know, whether he had to it," the truth would have been heard of the agreement, and whether uttered, and no sacrifice of honouras a Manager he recognised it. They able conduct would have been made. showed to him the written agree. But when it violated its pledge sement, signed by Sheridan and Kem- cretly, it certainly committed an ble, and others, which he had never act at once oppressive and discrebefore seen. His reply, we under- ditable. stand, was, that he had known of But this infringement of a longsuch an arrangement between the the standing and recognised arrangement atres—and that he fully recognised is not to be viewed only as affecting it. The managers left himn with con- the character of those immediately tent. In a few weeks several of their concerned ;-it has tried, and we fear performers of the last season (of severely and fatally, that of several these we shall immediately have to persons.--eminent Performers --who speak more plainly) seceded from have been hitherto looked upon by the managers of Covent-garden, and the public as grateful and ready serentered into articles with Drury- vants, and unaffected and contented lane! Within a month, a little individuals. It is certainly a lamentmonth," the Proprietor forgot “ the able fact, that a defection in what are
а understanding.” Covent-garden could termed the higher powers is generally scarcely believe its eyes or credit its the key to the failures of innumerable ears. Tur Lessee had promised to minor defaulters, who, if it were not be faithful, but then he had signed for the temptation held out above away his promise. The managers lost them, would have passed as una Singer, and she was netted by the blemished and admirable personages. other angler, they were astounded! Had Drury-Lane resisted the desire They losta Tragedian, he was dragged of extreme superiority, and consein by the expert opposition troller! quently been contented with such a They began to look to their tackle. company as it could, without any A Comedian broke away, and was violation of understandings and protaken by the abominable Izaak Walton mises, have fairly collected,--there of the drama.- Covent-garden could would have been no extravagant bear it no longer! The Managers Singer, rising in the notes of her wrote to the Proprietor on the sub- salary, as in the notes of her voice, ject-and he gave them no answer. the moment she was at liberty to The fish were in the basket!. They stipulate for new terms--there would wrote to the Drury-lane Committee have been no exorbitant Tragedian but we all know what sort of relief setting a price upon his talents, after is to be obtained from public bodies: the fashion of the auctioneer, who --the committee deliberated, and puts the lot up at a sum which he the secretary replied, that they “ had well knows no one will nod to:-the the honour," and so forth --- and madness of Performers is consequent regretted," and so on-- and begged upon the folly or misconduct of Mato state, that they could not inter- nagers; and we really think, that in fere,” &c. and « had the honour to the end the public will not be a whit be.” Here the matter rests between the better for “the great union of the houses. One establishment has talent” which is said to have been maintained its honour, and lost part brought together at Drury-Lane. of its company :-the other has We will let our readers a little into dashed at riches with no great nicety the secret of the expectations and deabout the means of obtaining them. terminations of Actors and Actresses This is, we believe, a true account -and then we rather imagine our said of this part of the case--and although readers will coincide with us in our we hold it most fair that there opinions. should be no agreement at all, still, Miss Stephens (we commence with Vol. VI.
this lady because gallantry gives her salary of 201. a week for playing the preference) has long been known thrice in each week, -required now to the public as the first female singer an advance of 5l. a week, in justice on the boards of Covent-Garden to her own abilities and views. The Theatre:-indeed, she originally ap- Proprietors of the Theatre were surpeared on those boards, and on them prised, as well they might be, at this acquired her fair and merited cele- expectation (we indeed were surprised brity. Miss Stephens (we are about to hear of 201. being the weekly salato utter what we believe to be a cor- ry of any actress); but after severect statement, and therefore use her ral interviews, rather than lose so name unreservedly) was latterly ena great and pleasant a performer and gaged at Covent-Garden at a salary singer, they resolved upon meeting equal to that of any performer in the her expectations, although they dehouse, and her agreement with the esta- termined upon meeting them in a difblishment terminated the last season. ferent manner to that which she requirBefore the conclusion of the season, as ed. By the terms of several of the we understand, one of the new Mana- first actors' articles in the theatre, gers requested the lady to say when we understand it to be stipulated, ther she was disposed to continue that if any other performer's weekly the aid of her great talents to the salary is raised, -the same benefit House, and if so, to name the terms shall be extended to them. Thus, it upon which she would be willing to will be seen, honour and profit go afford them. She expressed herself together. As the increase of Miss anxious to remain at Covent-Garden, Stephens's allowance would, thereoffered to ratify her consent to so fore, necessarily cause a similar and remaining, and left the Manager needless increase to others,—the Prounder the full assurance of her friend- prietors determined upon making up ly determination. Almost imme- the amount to her by way of present diately upon this, some one on her or bonus--and this they intimated to behalf (One of her family we believe) her. This mode, however, would not wrote to intimate that she would ex- do;-Miss Stephens was not to be sa, pect a higher salary-with the usual tisfied. She must have the Salary. privileges which she had enjoyed A remonstrance followed;-and then, under the previous management. on matters appearing likely to be Amongst these privileges was one of settled, the lady's expectations take a very extraordinary nature, which another flight--and lo! Miss Stewas, that Miss Stephens should be phens requires 101. a night! for three permitted to read every Opera in nights in the week, and to be paid manuscript before its characters were at the same rate for any greater cast, and be allowed to choose which- number of nights upon which her ever part she should conceive best talents would be called into action. suited to her. Now Miss Stephens In case, therefore, of the run of an is an excellent singer and a very Opera, she might very probably repleasing actress ; but if we were dra- ceive 60l. a week ! We only wish matic authors, we should think it a Critics could turn round upon their great hardship if the Manager were Editors, and be paid thus for their to say to us.--" You have taken acting at the theatres !-- This offer great pains with that character which on the part of Miss Stephens was of you designed for Miss M. Tree-but, course declined,- and Mr. Elliston being bound to submit the MS. to immediately engaged her. He does Miss Stephens, she has fixed upon the not seem very nice about terms. We part for herself, and we have not the are really sorry that a lady whom we power to order it otherwise.” To so much admire in her profession return however,-Miss Stephens re- should subject herself to the opinions quired—we will not mince the matter, which this her line of conduct must -Miss Stephens, who had enjoyed a naturally provoke.*
Our musical reporter in the number for September has written that “a great change will take place in the vocal arrangements at Covent Garden. Miss Stephens, in consequence, first, of a proposed reduction of salary; and secondly, of an endeavour to sti.
Mr. Liston, who has been long on A few words upon Mr. Youngsthe stage of Covent-Garden, had the and we have done. This gentleman power at the end of last season of re- has out-heroded Herod : he has, unnewing, as Lessees have it, and he doubtedly, out-heroded Miss Stedemanded an increase-an extrava- phens and Mr. Liston! Our readers gant increase—which, as
will be disposed to smile, we think, clude, the proprietors could not or when they hear the facts of the case, would not accede to. He has long as they relate to this dull though held out a threat of retiring--and he respectable tragedian. Mr. Young, continued this threat, we believe, among others, stood at liberty to and grounded his exorbitant no- stay or go as he should determine; tions upon it. The managers and the Managers of Covent Garden thought 201. a week, his regular wrote to him on the subject, requestsalary, sufficient. He declared they ing to know his pleasure. The season had promised Miss Stephens more, before his two years' absence, he and therefore he was entitled to an had been allowed, in some odd way advance. We own we do not know or other, a weekly salary of 251.; how the Managers could resist that but not being satisfied with a proface ! - We would pay him almost posed diminution to 201. (the theatre any salary, monthly, if he could at all being unable to fee his attractions at let loose his features over the pages of such a rate as 251.) he absented himour Magazine. What a Paper he self for a time. But at length he would be ! How our readers would returned, during the last year, tó a turn to the Drama! Indeed, if he 20/. engagement. On the late apwould really countenance our work, plication of the Managers, however, we might defy all our periodical ri- Mr. Young relapsed into his former vals, and carry off our capricious opinions of himself, and not only mistress, the Public, by the mere dint asked for 25l. again, but declared that of expression !-He was, assuredly, he could not remain with even this extravagant in his demand upon the salary at Covent Garden, except upon house for he should have remem- the express understanding that he bered that the Comedian cannot bear was to be the CHIEF TRAGEDIAN. up a play upon his own shoulders as No one must jostle with him! His the Tragedian often can, and that a fame must be left alone, on the sumComedian is not such a star (in the mit! He must sit under his laurels, theatrical phrase) as a Tragedian is quite alone, like Sir Thomas Erpingalways held to be! Still we do think ham!-A list was sent to him of such Mr. Liston should not have been lost. characters as would be conceded to If Miss Stephens was worth bowing him—and by performers of talent, to, Mr. Liston was worth absolute very far superior to that of Mr. prostration. We think one rich farce, Young, the self-proposed Chief Trawith one new Lubin Log, would have gedian of this metropolis. With the paid the surplusage over and over exception of Richard the Third, again. Mr. Liston, cannot, we ap- (which was most properly assigned prehend, take Love, Law, and Physic, to Mr. Macready) Mr. Young stood with him to Drury Lane--though we first in the cast, Mr. Macready sereally think an Act of Parliament cond, and Mr. C. Kemble third ! Mr. ought to be passed (since the re- Young's justice to himself, as the moval of the man is remediless) to phrase goes, would not allow him to allow of the accompaniment, and allow others to approach the throne ! avert from the public the serious con. He must“ be king!”– and Cousin of sequences of a separation.
Buckingham must, with the rest,
pulate for secrecy as to its amount, both of which the young lady considered as derogatory to her celebrity, is said to have entered into an engagement with Drury Lane." This paragraph, on the two main points is totally incorrect ; and, indeed, the particulars we have detailed, for the truth of which we can answer, utterly contradict it. We notice this passage from an anxiety to correct any error into which we may have been led ; and to show the nature of the reports which have been circulated respecting the late theatrical changes--for our musical reporter professes in this paragraph merely " to say the tale, as 'Iwas said to him.”