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fon: Crasus in Cicero remarks, that Roscius, tho fo excellent a Player, lost his Admiration
among the Romans on the Stage, because the Masque on his Face deny'd the Audience the sight of those Motions, Charms, and Attractions, which were to be discover'd in the Countenance. I confess I am extremely surpriz’d at the Ancients Use of those Masks on the Stage, which they call'd the Persona ; nor could I imagine how they were made, not to destroy that Grace and Beauty of Ading, in the Management of the Lineaments of the Face, which by all that we have of that kind must be entirely hid; and yet what Plutarcb tells us of Demosthenes and Cicero, is a Proof, that the Players of Athens and Rome were absolute Masters of Speaking and Action. - 'Tis true, there is much in the Voice to express the Passion artfully, yet certainly the several Figurations of the Countenance, as of the Eyes, Brows, Mouth, and the like, add the most touching and most moving Beauties. But this Observation before-mention'd fatisfies me, that those were entirely loft by the Persona ; which is a Proof, that in whatever they excelld our Actors, we have the Advantage in the making the Representation perfect, by enjoying the Benefit of exposing all the Motions of the Face.
The Character which Lucian gives (as I find it in Dr. Jasper Maine's Translation) of those Persona, makes them extremely ridiculous, and by his Description of the rest of the Tragic Equipage would make us very much doubt their
Excellence in the other Parts of Acting.
Length, stalking on exalted Bufkins, his Face
disguis’d with a grim Vizard, widely gaping, « as if he meant to devour the Spectators; I « forbear to speak of his stuff’d Breasts and
Fore-bellies, which make an adventitious
Length should carry a Difproportion to his
Surely such a Figure as Lucian gives our Tra-
dience; whereas we coming always on the Stage with the same Face, put a Force on the Imagination of the Audience to fancy us other than the same Persons.
But I think I have found out a way, which, if maturely study'd, would obtain this Variety of Countenance more artfully, and at the same time inspire the A&or better with the Nature and Genius of his Part. I remember that fome Years ago I read a French Book written by one Gafferel a Monk; who tells us, that when he was at Rome he went to see Campanella in the Inquisition, and found him making abundance of Faces; that he at first imagin'd, that those proceeded from the Torments he had undergone in that Ecclefiaftical Slaughter-House ; but he foon undeceiv'd him, by enquiring what fort of Countenance such a Cardinal had, to whom he had just before sent ; for he was forming his Countenance, as much as he could, to what he knew of his, that he might know what his Answer wou'd be.
If therefore a Player was acquainted with the Character of his Hero, so far as to have an Account of his Features and Looks ; or of any one living of the same Character, he would not only vary his Face so much by that means, as to appear quite another Face; by raising, or falling, contracting, or extending the Brows; giving a brisk or sullen, sprightly or heavy turn to his Eyes; sharpening or swelling his Nostrils, and the various Positions of his Mouth, which
by Pra&ice would grow familiar, and wonderfúlly improve the Art of Acting, and raise the noble Diversion to greater Esteem. The studying History-Painting would be very useful on this Occasion, because the Knowledge of the Figure and Lineaments of the Represented (and in History-Pieces almost all,who are represented are to be found) will teach the Actor to vary and change his Figure, which would make him not always the same, as I have said, in all Parts, but his very Countenance fo chang’d, that they would not only have other Thoughts themselves, but raise others in the Audience. Some carry their Heads aloft and stately, others pucker their Brows, look with a piercing Eye, and the like, as I have just said ; and these things throughly consider'd by the Player, would in every part make him a new Man; and withi more Beauty supply the Persona of the Ancients, and raise our Stage to a greater Merit, than theirs could pretend to, which depriv'd the Audience of the noblest and most vivacious Part of the Representation, in the Loss of the Motions of the Face; of which we ought to take a peculiar Care, since it is on that, which the Audience or Spectators generally fix their Eyes the whole Time of the Adion.
Exercise and frequent Pradice ought to reform the least Error in this particular, because in the Performance every one presently difcovers it, tho you fee it not your
self. The suo rest way of correcting your self in this
is either a Looking-Glass, or a judicious Friend, who can and will let you know what Countenance is agreeable, and what the contrary. But this is a general Rule, without
any Exception, that you adjust all the Lines and Motions of the Face to the Subject of your Discourse, the Passion you feel within you, or should according to your Part feel, or would raise in those, who hear and fee you. You must likewise consider the Quality you represent, as well as the Quality of those to whom you speak ; for even in great Degrees of the Passions the Difference and Distance of that has a greater or less Awe upon the very Appearance of the Passion. The Countenance must be brightened with a pleasant Gayety on things, that are agreeable, and that according to the Degrees of their being so ; and likewise in Joy, which must still be heighten'd in the Passion of Love
tho indeed the Countenance in the Expression of this Passion is extremely various, participating sometimes of the Transports of Joy, sometimes of the Agonies of Grief ; it is sometimes mingled with the Heats of Anger, and sometimes smiles with all the pleasing Tranquillity of an equal Joy. Sadness or Gravity must prevail in the Countenance, when the Subject is grave, melancholy or sorrowful; and Grief is to be expresfed according to its various Degrees of Violence. Hate has its peculiar Expreslion composed of Grief, Envy, and Anger, a Mixture of all which ought to appear in the Eye. When you bring