The famous diarist shares his thoughts as the rehearsal process for The Compleat Female Stage Beauty gathers apace.
Up betimes and to the rehearsal room at the close of the second week of the learning of the parts, playing of the music, trying on of dresses, and declaiming of lines etc. Each day I do return here, following a regular pattern as: up, bathe, break my fast (wishing good morning to Ms Knight my landlady and Mr Tobin of Liverpool, who does share the lodging house); thence to the theatre where I rehearse the company nine hours; next home, then eat, and bed. I have little sense of the day, the hour, or even the place.
Such is the theatrical life, yet we are very dogs for living it. Apart from sundry coughs and splutters, thanks be to God all the Company are in good health and strong, although Mrs Seymour, who does play the lamented wife of the jealous Moor, has developed a dreadful sad aversion to her goose-down pillow so that she do sneeze most alarming much and her face be puffed thereafter. This, I blush to disclaim, I do find monstrous funny. We have set upon the rehearsing of the scenes, dances and correct manners etc etc with passion, as the actors are in the prime of their craft. Mr Pandolfo does make a fine Lady, with numerous gestures appropriate to the sex he does imitate marvellous well, and a fine voice full of musical inflection so that his sounds move all men to tears or to desire. With this craft Mr P do imitate various passions viz delight, fear, anger, despair, etc etc, so that he do make the real ladies full of jealous bile. Mrs Kilpatrick did give a marvellous good imitation of a bawd and her step was all swagger. And she did use language lewd yet appropriate to the scenery, which was taking place in an alehouse, full of low sorts. Mr Pandolfo, now “en travesty” as Kissy Anytongue, did sing a saucy song about a gentleman who failed to arouse passion in his bride. It was as funny a ballad as I have heard and the music was done by Mr Knight, a composer of great renown, and wondrous varied. Besides the scenes etc etc, we have had a week of great festivity. On Monday last Miss Highgate, who sorts out the wardrobe and cares for the ladies’ shifts, stockings, and stays, celebrated her b’day and we with much revelry toasted her good fortune. And on Wednesday last, twas the turn of Mr Nichols to celebrate the anniversary of his naissance. And we again with festivity and the much raising of glasses etc etc. And I late to bed and of angry disposition thereafter. And so, at the end of the week, I take inventory of my properties etc as viz: nine actors, a musickian, sundry stage hands, seven periwigs, satin breeches, a fine cheese and a bottle of ruby port. And for these things I give thanks. And so to bed.