By O. Johnson
History, they are saying, has a dirty tongue. with regards to colonial theatre in the USA, what we all know approximately functionality has come from the detractors of theatre and never its manufacturers. but this doesn't account for the flourishing theatrical circuit validated among 1760 and 1776. This examine explores the culture's social aid of the theatre.
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Additional resources for Absence and Memory in Colonial American Theatre: Fiorelli’s Plaster
Tryon wrote to the bishop of London on behalf of Mr. Giffard, one of the actors in Mill's Company, on June 11, 1768, with the idea of retaining him as a teacher in the colony. It is the only example of such a letter written by a colonial governor on behalf of a single actor, so I reprint it in full: I was solicited a few days ago by Mr. Giffard a young man who is engaged with a company of comedians now in this province to recommend him to your Lordship for ordination orders, he having been invited by some principal gentlemen of the province, to be inducted into a parish, and to set up a school for the education of youth, He assured me it was no sudden caprice that induced him to make this application but the result of very mature deliberation, that he was most wearied of the vague life of his present profession and fully persuaded he could employ his talents to more benefit to society by going into holy orders and superintending the education of the youth in this province.
I want to consider what ownership meant for the touring manager, particularly in the absence of a resident company. David Mays, in his article "The Achievements of the Douglass Company in North America: 1758-1774," suggests that Douglass's greatest accomplishment was the overcoming of opposition to the theatre. "21 Assuming the ontological position of theatre as intruder, Mays defines Douglass by his ability to mitigate the intrusion. At one level, Douglass indeed seemed to be quite adept at winning influential friends, negotiating with authorities, and overcoming both moral and economic opposition to the players.
Giffard his petition you will take off the best player on the American stage. I am, &c. " How long he had been in America, or how long he was engaged in the "vague life" of his present profession is not known. He was married at the time, and his wife was also, and would remain, an actress. That Giffard was weary of the strolling life may suggest he had been at it for some time, longer than the company's residency in North Carolina. One brief but tantalizing record of Giffard comes to us from the previous year.
Absence and Memory in Colonial American Theatre: Fiorelli’s Plaster by O. Johnson