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Mr. Macready as Hamlet and Mr. Stuart as the Ghost, Act I, scene v

Mr. Macready as Hamlet and Mr. Stuart as the Ghost, Act I, scene v

William Charles Macready, (born March 3, 1793, London, Eng.—died April 27, 1873, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire), English actor, manager, and diarist, a leading figure in the development of acting and production techniques of the 19th century.

Macready instituted the use of accurate costumes in historical dramas and made special efforts to obtain sets and scenery that harmonized with the plays. And finally, he rejected the corrupted versions of Shakespeare’s plays that were universally used at that time and instead reverted to the original texts. All of these innovations were realized in Macready’s notable revivals of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Macbeth, King Lear, Henry V, and The Tempest. The historical research behind these productions influenced English stagecraft, and the principle of theatrical unity anticipated practice in the 20th century.

Link to the full text and information source: Encyclopaedia Britannica - http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/355332/William-Charles-Macready

Image source - Circulating Collection, Print and Picture Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia. Subject: "Hamlet" -- Shakespeare. 

Original source information: Engraved by Hollis from an original painting by Reid in the possession of the Publisher. John Tallis & Company, London & New York

 

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