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Davenport, Fanny

Coming from one so thoroughly capable of giving a reliable and valued opinion on the “Art of Acting,” Miss Fanny Davenport’s contribution to the subject in the Boston Times, of October 23, may be read with the greatest interest. This great actress points out how useful in the future it would be if those “who have thought, studied, struggled and won,” would write down their methods, ideas of characters, and studying of them,” so that there should be a lasting record of the means by which the success in various roles had been arrived at. To the question “Is absolute feeling preferable to simulation of it in a true artist?” Miss Davenport gives excellent reasons for preferring the latter, (50) one of the most cogent being that “when one loses one’s self in an emotion and is overcome by it, he loses control of that which should be responsive to his lightest touch”—and gives a definition of a genius “one who stands alone among his fellows,” and points out that the greatest “worked, struggled, and even starved, rather than degrade those gifts and their God-given powers.” Miss Davenport compares the methods of Macready and of Rachel and of her own grand achievements in the past; and with the modesty of true greatness, says “my best results have been through my greatest study and work” (51).

The Theatre: A Monthly Review of the Drama, Music, and the Fine Arts 1/1888: 50-51. Print.

Davenport, The Theatre: A Monthly Review of the Drama, Music, and the Fine Arts, 1/1888, 50-51