Charles Hart (17th-century actor)


Charles Hart (17th-century actor)

Charles Hart (c. 1625 – 18 August 1683) was a prominent British Restoration actor.[1]

A Charles Hart was christened on 11 December 1625, in the parish of St. Giles Cripplegate, in London. It is not absolutely certain that this was the actor, though the name was not common at the time. Hart began his career as a boy player with the King's Men; he was an apprentice of Richard Robinson, longtime member of that company. Hart established his reputation by playing the role of the Duchess in The Cardinal, the tragedy by James Shirley, in 1641.[2] He served as a soldier in the English Civil War, and was an officer in Prince Rupert's regiment of cavalry, along with fellow actors Nicholas Burt and Robert Shatterell. Hart and the others most likely saw combat at the battles of Marston Moor and Nasby, and perhaps at Edgehill as well.[3]

Hart then returned to acting; evidence suggests he was with other displaced English actors in Europe in 1646.[4] In 1648, Hart, Walter Clun and eight other actors, were involved in an attempt to re-start the King's Men company during the Puritan Commonwealth, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not succeed. On 5 February 1648, at the Cockpit Theatre, Hart and other King's Men were arrested for violating the ban against theatrical performance; they were caught in the midst of a performance of Rollo Duke of Normandy (in which Hart played the character Otto). Hart and the others were imprisoned for a short time, then released.[5]

Just before the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, acting resumed on a larger scale, and Hart seems to have been then a member of a company performing at the Cockpit playhouse, led by Michael Mohun. As soon as the King's Company was formed in 1660, Hart became one of its leading men; he specialized in playing the male half of witty, bantering couples. This type of dialogue in Restoration comedy was largely influenced by the talents and personalities of Hart and Nell Gwyn, in plays like James Howard's The Mad Couple; Gwyn was his mistress before she became Charles II's. Hart's natural dignity in playing royal roles was also often commented on by contemporaries, and in the heroic play he "was celebrated for superman roles, notably the arrogant, bloodthirsty Almanzor in John Dryden's Conquest of Granada."[6]

When Hart played in Euterpe Restored in 1672, Richard Flecknoe composed the following lines:

Beauty to the eye, and music to the ear,
Such even the nicest critics must allow
Burbage was once and such Charles Hart is now.[7]

Throughout his Restoration career, Hart filled a range of noteworthy parts. He was Cassio in early stagings of Shakespear's Othello; after 1669 he played the title role. He played roles in revivals of plays by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and John Fletcher

— and in contemporary dramas, by John Dryden

— and by other dramatists —

In 1682, when the King's Company joined with the Duke's Company to form the United Company, Hart retired due to poor health, with a pension of 40 shillings per week.[9] The well-known story that Hart was the illegitimate grandson of Shakespeare's sister Joan is largely discredited[by whom?].

References

  1. ^ Philip Highfill Jr., Kalman A. Burnim,, and Edward Langhans, Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660–1800, 16 volumes, Carbondale, Illinois, Southern Illinois University Press, 1973–93.
  2. ^ Alois M. Nagler, A Source Book in Theatrical History, Courier Dover, 1959; p. 160.
  3. ^ John H. Astington, "Actors and the Court After 1642," Early Modern Literary Studies, Special Issue 15 (August 2007), pp. 1-23.
  4. ^ Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, "New Light on English Acting Companies in 1646, 1648, and 1660," Review of English Studies, New Series, Vol. 42 No. 168 (November 1991), pp. 487-509. See pp. 488-90.
  5. ^ Milhous and Hume, pp. 491-2.
  6. ^ Peter Dixon, ed., William Wycherley: The Country Wife and Other Plays, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996.
  7. ^ Andrew Gurr, The Shakespeare Company, 1594–1642, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004; p. 229.
  8. ^ Edwin Nunzeger, A Dictionary of Actors and of Others Associated with the Representation of Plays in England Before 1642, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1929; p. 176.
  9. ^ Nunzeger, p. 177.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Charles Hart — may refer to: Charles Hart (17th century actor) (1625–1683), British actor Charles Hart (lyricist) (born 1961), British lyricist, songwriter, and musician Charles E. Hart (1900–1991), American general Charles H. Hart (1866–1934), American leader… …   Wikipedia

  • Hart (person) — Hart, as a person, may refer to: Deceased or presumed so Died by 1880 * Charles Hart (17th century actor) (1625–1683), British actor * John Hart (governor) (died 1740), British colonial administrator * Joseph Hart (1712 1768), religious leader… …   Wikipedia

  • 19th century — For other uses, see 19th century (disambiguation). Millennium: 2nd millennium Centuries: 18th century · 19th century · 20th century Decades: 1800s 1810s 18 …   Wikipedia

  • Joseph Haines — or Jo Haines (d. April 4, 1701) was a 17th century actor, singer, dancer, guitar player, fortune teller, and author. The Life of the Late Famous Comedian, Jo. Hayns , possibly written by fellow player Tobias Thomas, must contain some grains of… …   Wikipedia

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • Shakespeare authorship question — …   Wikipedia

  • THEATER — origins post biblical period FROM 1600 TO THE 20TH CENTURY england france germany italy holland russia united states jews in the musical the jew as entertainer yiddish theater premodern performance in yiddish haskalah drama broder singers the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical.       The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains …   Universalium

  • List of people from Minnesota — This is a list of notable persons who were born or spent important time in the state of Minnesota. People not born in Minnesota are marked with §. Contents: Top · 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Wikipedia

  • South Asian arts — Literary, performing, and visual arts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Myths of the popular gods, Vishnu and Shiva, in the Puranas (ancient tales) and the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, supply material for representational and… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.