COMPLETE TITLE: The Actor: A Treatise on the Art of Playing. Interspersed with Theatrical Anecdotes, Critical Remarks on Plays, and Occasional Observations on Audiences.
The work was published anonymously and attributed to Aaron Hill and John Hill. The first attribution however was contested and presently only the second one is generally accepted.
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English version and adaptation, with variants and additions, of the second edition of the treatise by Pierre Rémond de Sainte-Albine, Le Comédien (see).
While basing his treatise on the general plan, the ideas and the content of Le Comédien by Rémond de Sainte-Albine, John Hill introduces various integrations to the original text as indicated also by the title itself: "Interspersed with Theatrical Anecdotes, Critical Remarks on Plays, and Occasional Observations on Audiences". The anecdotes, the critical commentary and the observations concern mostly the English stage, although references to the French theater are also present.
The Actor: Or, A Treatise on the Art of Playing. A New Work, Written by the Author of the former, and Adapted to the Present State of the Theatres. Containing Impartial Observations on the Performance, Manner, Perfections, and Defects of Mr. Garrick, Mr. Barry, Mr. Woodward, Mr. Foot, Mr. Havard, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Berry, &c. Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Pritchard, Miss Nossiter, Mrs. Gregory, Mrs. Woffington, Mrs. Clive, Mrs. Green, Miss Bellamy, &c. In their several Capital Parts, London, R. Griffith, 1755, in-12, 303 pp.
It is generally considered as the second version of the treatise.
This edition too was published anonymously and is now attributed to John Hill.
While not radically different from the 1750 edition the new version diverges in the way the content is organized. Furthermore, the previously expressed concepts are reinforced and specified through a new and more personal approach.
From this edition derives also a French adaptation, Garrick ou les Acteurs Anglais, by Michele Sticotti (see).
Recently two intermediate editions of this treatise have been discovered. Between the edition of 1750 and that of 1755 the Griffiths published two other related volumes, which came out respectively on November 30, 1752 and October 30, 1753. The two intermediate editions are currently unavailable and it is not possible to establish with certainty if and to what extent they differed from the editions of 1750 and 1755, except for the titles: The Actor; A Treatise on the Art of Playing. Interspersed with Observations on the Performances of Mr. Garrick, Mr. Quin, Mr. Barry, Mr. Berry, Mr. Macklin, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Havard, Mr. Woodward, Mr. Foot, &c.; Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Pritchard, Mrs. Woffington, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Elmy, Mrs. Green, Mrs. Clive, Miss Bellamy, Mrs. Horton. Also some Anecdotes of Mess. Betterton, Booth, Wilks, and other late celebrated Performers; together with Occasional Remarks upon Managers, upon Audiences, and upon our principal Tragedies, Comedies, Masques, and Farces (1752). The title of the 1753 edition is similar, but omits the name of Mrs. Horton.
Anastatic reprint of the 1755 edition: New York, Benjamin Blom, 1972.