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Transcript of Great Expectations
Harry Watkins and his 1860-1863 Tour
Personal and professional
Harry Watkins (1825-1894)
Actor, manager, playwright
Toured US and UK
There were many "strategies . . . open to ambitious actors, who could pursue fame by specializing in certain popular 'lines' of performance, by associating themselves with dominant forms of gender behavior, or by stressing their national identity."
--Jason Shaffer, "Unveiling the American Actor: The Evolution of Celebrity in the Early American Theater," Common-Place 10, no. 2 (Jan 2010).
Naomi J. Stubbs
LaGuardia Community College
City University of New York
The next evening Copeland made another statement in the Green Room—that my performance of Jocko was not only the best piece of negro acting he had ever seen, but it was one of the greatest bits of acting he had ever seen of any kind
Watkins' Diary, 14 August 1860
There are Americans and "Americans"
Role of novelty
Value of the everyday/non-exceptional
She [Mme Celeste] thought it would be good policy as [Tom] Taylor was anxious, I being an American, to have me play the part.
Watkins' Diary, 12 September 1860
Line of business
TO MANAGERS. – In answer to the many applications made for copies of the PIONEERS OF AMERICA; OR, THE MAID OF THE WAR PATH, I beg leave to state that this highly effective Drama is the sole property of Mr H. Watkins, whose wonderful delineation of the Deformed Slave Jocko, has elicited warmest eulogisms of the London Press. GEO. ELLIS, THEATRE ROYAL, LYCEUM
The Era, 25th November 1860