Actors must be realistic… to a degree (1914)

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Actors must be realistic

“An actor today cannot merely make believe — he must be consummately realistic. So must the stage settings. If a robber tinkers with a safe, we must have a real safe. We must transplant life to the stage as never before.”

Thus declares Edmund Breese, who plays the leading male role in “Today,” at the Adelphi Theatre.

“Somehow,” continues Mr Breese, “I seemed to sense this demand when I first went on the stage,” continued Mr Breese.

“I was the villain in a play called ‘The End of the World.’ In one scene, I was to rush upon the stage hunted by a frenzied mob for a murder I had committed. I was supposed to run in, breathing hard and panting as if from a long chase. I thought the situation over, and concluded that my pants would be more natural if augmented by physical exercise.

“The stage door opened on a long alley. I decided to run up and down this alley until I had secured the natural out-of-breath pants. Unfortunately, we wore playing in an Indiana town where the town marshal reigned supreme. I had made four sprinting trips up and down the alley, when I was nabbed by tho sovereign arm of the law.

“‘Now I’ve got ye!’ he chuckled. ‘So you’re the critter who has been cutting up your didoes [pulling pranks] in these parts for the past week, are ye?’

“I tried to explain, but he dragged me off to the station, where the man on guard averred that I might be telling the truth, and suggested that the local Sherlock take me to the theatre and find out. I knew it was my time to go on, and I was desperate; but the police force, the two of them, took their time and marched me between them.

“The curtain had been held for 10 minutes while the stage manager looked for me everywhere. After more or less explanation, I finally got on the stage. I was careful thereafter to secure my realism where the securing was safer.”

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