Polyglot productions

   In the era of international touring stars, audiences wanted to see celebrity performers like Sarah Bernhardt despite their inability to perform in English. This posed little problem since audiences knew their Shakespeare and other works of the standard repertory. If the star did not travel with a company performing in the same language, American actors might be hired to support the star. Thus the lines would be given and cues picked up in two different languages, or sometimes even three. For example, the Polish-born actor Bogomil Dawison (1818-1872) performed in German opposite Edwin Booth in 1866. Booth also played Iago to the Italian-speaking Othello of Tommaso Salvini in 1886.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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