Going to the Theater in the Eighteenth Century…

…was a much more rough and tumble activity than it is now.  Here Boswell records the premier of Samuel Johnson’s play Irene:

Dr. Adams was present the first night of the representation of Irene, and gave me the following account: ‘Before the curtain drew up, there were catcalls whistling, which alarmed Johnson’s friends. The Prologue, which was written by himself in a manly strain, soothed the audience, and the play went off tolerably, till it came to the conclusion, when Mrs. Pritchard, the heroine of the piece, was to be strangled upon the stage, and was to speak two lines with the bow-string round her neck. The audience cried out “Murder! Murder!” She several times attempted to speak; but in vain. At last she was obliged to go off the stage alive.’ This passage was afterwards struck out…

James Boswell, Life of Johnson

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One response to “Going to the Theater in the Eighteenth Century…

  1. pastnow

    Reblogged this on pastnow.

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