Synopsis

Victorian Theatricals from Menageries to Melodrama

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Sara Hudston

Published by Methuen

A captivating study of the plays, literature and writings about private and public theatrical spectacle during the Victorian Age

By the 1890s the British theatre had transformed itself into a world where spectacles and public shows were aimed at the widest audience possible

Theatre had become big business

This anthology brings together a variety of plays and prose which sets this phenomenon in perspective and traces the development of Victorian theatricals from private home events in the late-Georgian period to full-scale Gilbert and Sullivan operettas in the 1890s

The section 'Theatrical Behaviour' looks at the world of the audience and includes extracts from Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park; Thackeray's Vanity Fair; an anonymous playlet called Acting Proverbs; and an extract from Marie Corelli's novel Sorrows of Satan

In 'Fun and Freaks' we explore the world of popular, sensationalist entertainment through the eyes of Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Dion Boucicault and others

In the final section, 'Society', we have the full scripts of four of the principal melodramas and serious plays of the age -

The Factory Lad ~ John Walker Society ~ T.W. Robertson The Mikado ~ W.S. Gilbert The Second Mrs Tanqueray ~ Arthur Wing Pinero

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