Enter the Actor

  • Matthew J. Kinservik
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Elizabeth’s good humor and confidence were shaken sometime in July by a rumor that Samuel Foote, the leading comic dramatist of the day, had written a new play about her. Foote was fifty-four years old, a short, red-faced, chubby man who had only one leg. But despite his mild appearance, he was known as the most dangerous man in show business, a mimic with a mean streak who specialized in making well-known people look ridiculous on the public stage. Impersonation was Foote’s stock-in-trade, and his topical satire earned him the nickname, the “modern Aristophanes.”


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Chapter 8

  1. 6.
    For details of Foote’s involvement with Smart, see Christopher Mounsey, Christopher Smart, Clown of God (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2001), 125–126.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    L. W. Conolly, The Censorship of English Drama 1737–1824 (San Marino: Huntington Library Press, 1976), 26.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Samuel Foote, A Trip to Calais and The Capuchin, ed. George Colman (London, 1778), 69–70.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    The estimate comes from William J. Burling, Summer Theatre in London, 1661–1820, and the Rise of the Haymarket Theatre (Madison and Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000), 122 and 135.Google Scholar

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© Matthew J. Kinservik 2007

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  • Matthew J. Kinservik

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