By Alexander Nemerov
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Extra info for Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War
From New England Conservatory of Music Archives, Boston, Massachusetts. Fig. 15. Broadway on a rainy day, ca. 1860. 9 cm). Courtesy of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York. story of the petriﬁed city made real to our eyes,” marveled Holmes in 1861. “Take ten thousand instantaneous photographs of the great thoroughfare in a day,” he wrote, much aªected by “Mr. Anthony’s miraculous instantaneous view in Broadway” (ﬁg. ’ . . The hurried day’s life of Broadway will have been made up of just such stillnesses.
Onstage at the Boston Music Hall on November 2, Cushman stood alongside Crawford’s larger-than-life bronze of Beethoven, a ﬁttingly intense alter ego to the mesmerizing artist. Her choice of roles also indicated her aim to arrest audiences. As the gypsy Meg Merrilies in the stage adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Guy Mannering, her most famous part, Cushman came onstage with makeup that required two hours to put on, doing full justice to Scott’s characterization of Meg as a gorgon (ﬁg. 85 At one moment in the play, according to a London critic, Cushman “stands immovable .
D. 3 cm). C. exemplary ﬁgure of audience-commanding power. Hosmer’s 1854 sculpture was one of many depictions of Medusa among the Cushman group (ﬁg. 13). ” That land, “like to a sculptured dream,” is as still as the doomed sailors who listen to a man recite stories of murder “with air so suited to each startling tale / As thrilled charlotte cushman 37 Fig. 12. Cushman as Meg Merrilies in Guy Mannering. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. ”87 Cushman, like Hawthorne, Sartoris, and Bridges, dreamed of a Medusalike dominion over her audience.
Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War by Alexander Nemerov