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|Just how bad was Henry's eyesight...?
Written by JulieW
(4/10/2006 1:17 p.m.)
Although we have the picture of the interior of the Orchard Street Theatre(see my post below),I thought it might be good for illustrative purposes to show you these pictures of the Georgian Theatre ,contemporary with the Orchard Street theatre in Bath,still in operation at Richmond in Yorkshire.
I’ve linked the Theatre’s website below for you to visit, should you wish, and I can also highly recommend a visit as plays are still performed there.
I think the intimate nature of theatres of this type , like the Orchard Street Theatre in Bath, is well illustrated by these pictures.
This picture below, shows the view of the stage from the back boxes:
Whereas this picture shows just how close the boxes opposite each other would have been. The picture is taken from one of the boxes, in a situation similar to the one Catherine found herself , when she was sitting opposite Henry Tilney:
. On the beginning of the fifth, however, the sudden view of Mr. Henry Tilney and his father, joining a party in the opposite box, recalled her to anxiety and distress. The stage could no longer excite genuine merriment — no longer keep her whole attention. Every other look upon an average was directed towards the opposite box; and, for the space of two entire scenes, did she thus watch Henry Tilney, without being once able to catch his eye. No longer could he be suspected of indifference for a play; his notice was never withdrawn from the stage during two whole scenes. At length, however, he did look towards her, and he bowed — but such a bow! No smile, no continued observance attended it; his eyes were immediately returned to their former direction.
This description of the theatre in Richmond by Richard Leacroft in his very informative book The Development of the English Playhouse( with Comparative Reconstructions ) shows how tiny these early theatres could be:
The theatre occupies a stone walled building 28 feet wide by an average of 61 feet long, divided almost equally internally between stage and auditorium, the latter over lapping the former by some 5 feet .A rectangular pit was enclosed by boxes, with two rows of benches at the sides and three facing the stage. These front boxes were backed by a curved wall similar in character to those at Drury Lane and the Theatre Royal , Bristol. The front row of benches in the side boxes and the two front rows of the front boxes were divided by low partitions of the same height as the box fronts, each related to one of the small timer Doric columns supporting the side galleries and the main gallery facing the stage, situated above the front boxes…..
The theatre at Bath was slightly larger than this from the scale plan in Leacroft’s book I have calculated that the side boxes are approximately 20 feet apart.
It has been calculated by reference to the Freemasons Hall still standing in Bath , ( the original Orchard Street Theatre) that Catherine and Henry were only 33 feet apart.....
Hmm…….I’m sure Henry Tilney’s eyesight was not that deficient;-),
|Georgian Theatre, Bath|
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