Download The Theatre Industry in Nineteenth-Century France by Frederic William John Hemmings PDF

By Frederic William John Hemmings

This is often the 1st booklet to discover the historical past of French theater within the 19th century via its exact function as an geared up well known leisure. ordinarily considered as an elite artwork shape, in post-Revolutionary France the level started to be obvious as an like every different and the theater turned one of many few parts of employment the place ladies have been well known up to males. during this full of life account, Hemmings examines how the theater international flourished and developed, and divulges such issues because the tough lifetime of the actress, salaries and contracts, and the occupation of the playwright.

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Example text

To have one's free box was a kind of natural 21 22 The audiences tribute, expected as of right, by local administrators from the mayor down to quite minor officials. 32 Little wonder that so many provincial managers went bankrupt. 'It is impossible', wrote the author of a brochure on the unprofitability of these enterprises, 'to imagine the number of free passes a director is obliged to grant: to the uncle, the cousin, the aunt of Monsieur or Madame So-and-so. '33 The free-list was susceptible not just of almost indefinite expansion, but in addition of exploitation verging on fraud.

The gentleman, with perhaps his wife and mother-in-law in tow, rarely hesitated, knowing that the boxopener, once he had crossed her palm with silver, would miraculously discover that one of the second tier of boxes was not reserved after all. In time the management realized what was happening and stopped paying them even the meagre salary they had been in receipt of formerly; like waiters in cafes, they were henceforth expected to manage on their tips. 3 Yet there was never any shortage of applicants.

They developed a taste for this fatiguing but lucrative trade; they ploughed back their profits in securing the greatest possible number of boxes and stalls; the profits were assured. When the management realized what was happening, and refused to have dealings with them, they resorted to all kinds of ingenious subterfuges, bribing liveried servants from great houses to buy the tickets for them, supposedly on behalf of their masters who had given them the commission; or else well-dressed women posing as great ladies would arrive in a hired coach and buy up a whole row of seats, pretending it was for a family treat at the Opera.

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