The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1470 Wednesday, 9 August 2000.
Date: Tuesday, 8 Aug 2000 20:21:36 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress
Comment: SHK 11.1447 Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress
One advantage of seeing a play on videotape as opposed to seeing it in
the theatre is the ability to run the tape back when something fleeting
catches one's attention.
Thus I am convinced by a single viewing that Mrs. Gilbert, in one of the
closing scenes of the film "Topsy Turvy" about the making of Mikado,
confides to her husband W.S. that she would have loved to be an
"actor". I wonder if in Victorian England the term "actress" had a
negative connotation (Don't put your daughter on the stage...) whereas
"actor" would be appropriate to serious actors of either sex. The
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia uses "actor" for both Nell Gwyn and Sarah
Bernhardt (whose reputation as an actor was well established when
"Mikado" was in the making). I guess Encarta, published in our time,
would reflect modern usage. Nevertheless, the line in the movie came
out so naturally and so movingly, that I would prefer not to see it as
There is a question buried somewhere in the above paragraph.