6.26.2007

"Again I Die!"

"Robert Coates - or, The World's Worst Actor"

One's that say, "pull my leg", I read that it meant that "ham can be jam" (otherwise these eccentrics and prophecies would knuckle under). Once placed under this, what-I-can-imagine, hilarious human being, gives hope to anyone interested in wanting to be an actor/actress; further-on and so-forth:

So bad an actor was Robert Coates that he became the star of London in
the early 19th Century
[and I thought that label went to Sherlock Holmes! - even
tho not an actual person]. People traveled from far away to see if he really was
as bad as they had heard. He did not disappoint them. His incompetence amounted
almost to dramatic genius.

In one play, where Coates had to die, he drew a silk handkerchief from
his pocket, spread it carefully on the stage, and then laid his elaborate
headdress upon it so that he might expire in style. This so enchanted the
audience that they demanded encores and had him die several times over.

Coates was born on the West Indian island in Antigua in 1772, the son of
a rich merchant and plantation owner. But it was in England, where he was
brought up, that he acquired a passion for the theater. For years he wore a
bejeweled Romeo costume without ever getting an invitation to play the part.

Finally, his opportunity arrived, and on February 9, 1810, he made his
first stage appearance - as Romeo. His debut was in Bath, England, then a center
of the rich and fashionable world.

His acting was so appalling that he became an overnight hit.

Before long he had moved on to still greater success in London. There he
rewrote Shakespeare, ad-libbed outrageously, and addressed the audience in the
middle of the scenes, often threatening to cross the footlights and fight those
who laughed too loudly.

But the laugh was really on the audience. Coates continually played to
packed houses, which included such personalities as the Prince Regent. He became
so prosperous that he could flaunt himself in a carriage shaped like a
kettle-drum, painted in brilliant colors and drawn by two white houses. On its
side was emblazoned a heraldic cock with his motto: "While I live I'll crow."

And so he did to a robust 75, when he came to a dramatic end. Crossing a
London street to retrieve his opera glasses from a theater, he was struck by a
passing cab and died soon afterward.

2 comments:

Kathy said...

Hi, Derrick!

Hilarious historical tidbit - he was the trailblazer for Liberace and possibly Cher? Great stuff!

Jiffy Cat said...

Hahaha Great story Derrick. An olden day Shatner, I'd say.