Imágenes de página

12. The UNIFORMITY OF GESTURE is used to denote that action which employs the whole of the body, in opposition to that where there is only a partial expression. "When a man clenches his fist in passion, the other arm does not lie in elegant relaxation: when the face is stern and vindictive, there is energy in the whole frame. When a man rises from his seat in impassioned gesture, there pervade in every limb and feature a certain tension and straining. There must be perfect accordance, otherwise there can be no beauty of expression."*

13. The TRANSITION from one position to another is to be made in full and waving lines.

14. Emphatical gestures are generally preceded by a suspended gesture; that is, an elevation or contraction of the arm, preceding the stroke which forms the principal action.

15. The ACCOMPANIMENT of Gesture denotes the secondary expression of that limb which does not perform the principal action.

16. This system divides the human frame into the following principal parts:




17. In unemphatic speech, the body should be principally supported on the retired 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.

18. 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.)

"Anatomy of Expression" (Sir Charles Bell), page 166.

The positions of the Left Foot are in all respects analogous to those of the Right. The same changes of position may be thus represented:

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.

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

Diag. 6.

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

[blocks in formation]

21. Changes of Position 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. 22. The feet should, in their movements, describe diagonal lines.

23. In all changes of position that foot must be moved first which does not support the weight of the body.

24. Stage or Dramatic action requires repeated or 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.

25. In kneeling, put that knee down first which is next to the spectator; in rising, bring up the foot which is farthest from him.

In bowing, extend one foot to the side, and draw the other towards it in the same direction, accompanied by a graceful bend of the body with the arms easily dependent.

In standing, do not lean on any object near you (a chair, table, pulpit, or desk.)!

In sitting, keep the feet on the floor.

In holding a book, keep it if possible in the left hand only; the right hand will be then free to turn the pages, and to aid the language by a few significant gestures.


26. 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. In Declamatory gesture the 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, that the motion chiefly originates from the wrist, and that the upper arm is held closer to the side; with which, however, it should never come completely in contact.

27. 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.


28. If,-from a position perfectly at rest, the arms hanging unconstrainedly by the side, the right arm is raised as high as it can (as in Diagram 8), the extremity 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 450

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

* 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.

29. If, in the transverse Direction, the arm be extended across the body, and swept horizontally round and outwards, the extremity of the fingers will describe a semicircle, which, in Diagram 9, is also marked at five points, c (across), f (forwards), q (oblique), x (extended) and b (backwards), at intervals of 45°.


30. In the Transition of Gesture (i. e., in changing the position, direction, or elevation of the arm), the hand should never move in a straight line; but it should describe a sort of waving curve, thus:

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

31. In ascending and descending gestures, similar modes of transition should be observed: the hand should always describe a like curve, as in the subjoined diagram:—

Diag. 11.

In general the hand should be so turned, in all extended changes of direction and elevation, that the side of the hand (the thumb and forefinger) shall precede any upward motion; and the palm, any downward motion.

32. The termination f motion should be made on the emphatic word or

« AnteriorContinuar »