By Alexander Nemerov
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Extra resources for Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War
Her choice of roles also indicated her aim to arrest audiences. As the gypsy Meg Merrilies in the stage adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Guy Mannering, her most famous part, Cushman came onstage with makeup that required two hours to put on, doing full justice to Scott’s characterization of Meg as a gorgon (ﬁg. 85 At one moment in the play, according to a London critic, Cushman “stands immovable . . ”86 Becoming a piece of sculpture herself, she aimed to freeze her audience. Medusa was the center of this fantasy for Cushman and her circle—the 36 a stone’s throw Fig.
Excitedly noting the arrival of two new cards in the mail on February 9, 1863, she decided to put one of them, of the writer and editor George William 20 a stone’s throw Curtis, next to that of the women’s rights advocate Lucretia Mott, based on the sympathetic power of these two persons. To her, these likenesses were nearly as lifelike as the dolls she had tended as a child: “I have put his [Curtis’s card] beside that of Lucretia Mott. He is the friend of woman as well as humanity. ”51 Cushman, who was also represented in the Seward carte de visite collection, took advantage of the new photographic format’s capacity to make a person present in many places at once.
Some of Cushman’s close friends charlotte cushman 29 Fig. 7. Thomas Crawford, Freedom, 1863. Bronze cast by Clark Mills. C. and acquaintances in Italy were sculptors—Hosmer, Emma Stebbins, Randolph Rogers—and their work oªered a lesson. 22–23). Sculpture was on Cushman’s mind in the days leading up to the Washington performance. She accompanied Secretary of the Interior John P. ) On her tour she likely saw the multipart sculpture The Progress of Civilization—conceived by Thomas Crawford (1813–57), her contemporary and fellow American expatriate in Italy—which workers were then hoisting in parts onto the north- 30 a stone’s throw east pediment of the Capitol.
Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War by Alexander Nemerov