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principal positions with brevity and accuracy; and to present the principles of Attitude and Motion in a plain intelligible form, without interfering with those peculiarities which distinguish the gestures of different individuals.


20. Grace of body and easy transition of gesture depend greatly on the disposition of the Feet and lower Limbs. Those positions which combine the greatest firmness with the utmost facility of change, should be adopted. In every elegant movement, whether advancing or retiring, the utmost simplicity and stability are necessary.

21. The positions of the Feet determine the predominant sensation of the speaker's mind; whether in the expression of ease, dignity, attention, or earnestness. In unemphatic speech, the body should be principally supported on the retired foot; in positions which denote dignity or elevation of sentiment, it should be either thrown back so as to be wholly supported by the retired foot, or elevated to its utmost height on the advanced foot: in moderate attention, it should be slightly thrown forward; in extreme attention, or earnest appeal, wholly thrown forward; in dislike, hatred, &c., retracted; in entreaty and supplication, advanced, with the limbs bent.

22. The weight of the body should be supported on one limb only, and never on both at once, except in the representation of bombast, haughtiness, or obstinacy. The foot which sustains the principal weight must be so placed, that a line drawn from it through the hole of the neck, shall be exactly perpendicular. The other foot may be placed either in advance or behind; but generally in such a position that a line drawn through the centre of the heel of the one foot, may pass through the heel of the other.

23. Three varieties of POSITION, dependent on the weight of the body being either advanced or retired, may be thus represented and noted:

Diag. 1.-(R. 1. c.)

Diag. 2.-(R. 2. c.)

Diag. 3.-(R. 3. c.)

The positions of the Left Foot, are in all respects analogous to those of the Right.

The same changes of position may be thus



Diag. 4.-(L. 1. c.)

Diag. 5.-(L. 2. c.)

The third position of the Left Foot is an analogous reverse of that of the Right Foot (diagram 3); it may be considered as an extreme of the Second position, having the retired foot so raised that the extremity of its toe alone touches the ground.

24. Three degrees of SEPARATION may, when necessary, be noted:contracted (c), intermediate (i), and extended (x).

In the contracted separation (c), as in the preceding diagrams, the feet should be kept apart, generally a space equal to the width of the foot; the sustaining limb should be planted firmly, its leg and thigh slightly braced, and the knee straightened; the other foot should rest lightly on the ground, and be held relaxed, ready for immediate change or motion.

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The intermediate separation (i) may signify a distance between the feet, equal to the length of the foot.-(See diagram 13.)

The extended separation (x) increases the space between the feet still more, but it must never exceed the length between the knee and the heels. (See diagram 28.)

The intermediate and extended separations require the sustaining knee to be slightly bent, while the other limb is kept braced.

25. The annexed diagram will show the manner in which the feet may be shifted, as the gesture is directed, without altering their angle

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According to the preceding representation, the gesture is supposed to be directed forwards. In the First Position of the right foot, the lines ffff pass through the centre of the feet, and make an angle of about 750; in the Second Position, the lines S S make an angle of about 90°. These angles are nearly bisected by the line E E, which is supposed to point towards the eye of the person addressed. In the First Position the lines c (across), f (forwards), q (oblique), x (extended), and b (backwards), mark the various directions of change. The figure may be supposed to be reversed for the first and second posi

tions of the left foot.

26. Changes of Position should not occur frequently, as they always suggest the idea of restlessness, uneasiness, or anxiety. There is nothing more disagreeable to the eye than a hyena motion. All changes must be made as lightly and imperceptibly as possible, without any unnecessary sweep of the moving foot.

Semi-lateral Changes of the direction of the feet are made by sustaining the body on the toes, and turning to the required side while slightly elevating the heels.

Lateral Changes of the direction of the body are made by sustaining its weight on the heels, and turning round while slightly elevating the toes.

27. The feet should, in their movements, describe diagonal lines. 28. In all changes of position that foot must be moved first which does not support the weight of the body. Should it be necessary to move the supporting limb, two motions are necessary: the first is to change the weight of the body; the second, to move the freed limb. 29. Stage or Dramatic action requires repeated and extended motions of the lower limbs: but the preacher, the barrister, the lecturer, or the public speaker, should keep his place: all his motions may be confined to one square yard.

30. In kneeling, a graceful mode is, by a backward sweep of the

advanced foot, to put that knee down first which is next to the spec tator; in rising, to bring up the foot which is farthest from him. The actor representing a gradual increase or sudden impulse of feeling, may disregard the former part of this direction; the latter should, unless in the delineation of strong passion, be attended to. When the weight of the body is sustained by the limb next the spectator, it is necessary either to change the weight to the retired limb, or to extend backwards the free limb, and so kneel on it.

31. In rising to address an audience, the first positions of the feet (either R 1 c, or L 1 c) should be adopted, as they give an idea of grace and dignity; but if the hand is held out towards the audience, or, if the speaker desires to be earnest and impressive, the weight of the body may be transferred to the foot in advance (either R 2 c, R 3 c, R 2 i, R3i, L2 c, L 3 c, L 2 i, L 3 i.)

When the audience is placed around the speaker, either of the above positions may be adopted; but the body should be directed as much as possible to the centre of the hearers. The orator should always face his auditory.

When the person addressed is on the right hand, use R1, R2, R3,

or L 3 c.

When the person addressed is on the left hand, use L 1, L 2, L 3, or R 3 c.

When both hands are in action. any of the positions may be used.

32. When reading with the book in the right hand, use R 1 c, L 2c, R 2 i, or L 2 1.

When reading with the book in the left hand, use L 1 c, R 2 c, L2i, or R 2 i. (The book should, if possible, be held in the left hand.)-(See note, page 85.)

33. When seated, ease or indifference may be noted by R 1 c and Attention may be marked by R 2 c and L 2 c; Earnestness by R 3 c, R 3 i, L 3 c, L 3 i.

L1 c.


34. The ARMS should always perform their principal motions from the shoulders; the elbows, by a gentle bend, aiding the principal action. The elbow must never be pinned or inclined to the side, or projected so as to make the arm appear crooked or powerless; it must not be kept braced or straight; for grace depends on that easy laxness which allows instant variety of motion. The curve which the hand should describe in action, depends greatly on the nature of the composition. If it is dignified, the gesture should be free and waving— the arm detached from the body, and moved through a wide space in a graceful curve. This gesture may be properly distinguished from the Colloquial, by the term Declamatory. Its motions, though sweeping, should never be violent, but flowing, unconstrained, and easy in transition. In Colloquial gesture, less scope is allowable; the arm is less detached, and the curves it describes are more limited in extent. The distinctive character of the Colloquial positions and elevations is, that the joint of the elbow is slightly bent, and the upper arm held closer to the side; with which, however, it should never come completely in contact.

35 The positions and elevations may be used with either arm; but

in general, the principal action is assigned to the right arm,* while the left either performs a secondary motion, or conforms itself to that of the right. The degree of elevation of the retired arm is greatest when the advanced arm is held horizontal; the elevation is diminished, in proportion as the advanced arm approaches either the zenith or the nadir. (See paragraphs 49–52.)

36. The Direction and Elevation of the Arm express, in a general manner, the position of an object, or the dignity of a sentiment. As is the situation of the supposed object from the speaker, so will be the direction of the gesture. In the expression of sentiment, the arm and hand depressed, denote a contemptuous feeling; the arm horizontal, expresses quiescence; slightly raised above horizontal, dignity; while the elevated arm denotes triumph, supplication to heaven, or any elevated emotion of the speaker.


37. If, from a position perfectly at rest, the arms hanging unconstrainedly by the side,—the right arm be raised as high as it can, (as in Diagram 8,) the extremnity of the fingers will describe, in the Vertical Direction, a semicircle, which, in the figure, is marked at five points: R (nadir), d (downwards), h (horizontal), e (elevated), and Z (zenith)-each point marking an interval of 45°.




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38. If, in the Transverse Direction, the arm be extended across the Quintilian condemns the practice of advancing the corresponding foot and arm. In statuary, or stage action, (when the costume [as the Grecian] prevents the free use of the left arm), attention to this may be desirable; modern delivery rejects it as an unnecessary restraint.

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