Friday, September 7, 2007
This is a nice example of stage interaction c. 1860.
The placement of actors meant that they could exchange dialogue without turning back or profile to the audience. Because lighting was dim and sound unamplified, actors needed to face forward; it also helped them forge a connection with the audience. Each actor was aware of and responded to the other's posture and voice and had room for large arm movement. The interplay of movement and sound added to the drama.
This carte de visite is not labelled, but I would hazard a guess that it is Theseus and Hippolyta from Midsummer Night's Dream.