John Barrymore,
Shakespearean Actor
 

During the 1920s, a wave of postwar ebullience exploded into the Jazz Age, bringing a new and unprecedented accent on youth and a generation that cast off the vestiges of Victorian culture and embraced new trends in art, music, dance, poetry, fiction, and drama. The way was open for an actor who could recapture and redefine the glamour, skill, and galvanizing presence of an earlier day.
     John Barrymore was such an actor, and his Richard III and Hamlet, first seen in New York during the 1919-20 and 1922-23 seasons, stand as high water marks of twentieth century Shakespearean interpretation. Many conventions of modern practice can be traced to Barrymore's performances: he was the first actor to bring the vocal and physical manner of a postwar gentleman to Shakespeare's tragic protagonists and was the first to reinterpret time-honored roles in light of Freudian psychology. His dynamic portrayals and the groundbreaking innovations of his production team, the director Arthur Hopkins and the designer Robert Edmond Jones, helped to revitalize Shakespearean acting and production in America and Great Britain and changed the direction of subsequent revivals.
     This illustrated site, based on the book of the same title, is devoted to Barrymore's Shakespearean portrayals, his illustrious theatrical family, and his predecessors and successors from the time of Edwin Booth and Henry Irving to the age of Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. Barrymore was an original, capable of electrifying audiences with the force and subtle brilliance of his acting. A colorful, complex, mercurial figure, his legendary performances made an extraordinary impression upon the playgoers of his generation. Welcome to those with an interest in the theatre, Shakespeare, and the art of acting--I hope you will enjoy exploring the John Barrymore, Shakespearean Actor Web site.

 
 

Click here to see more than thirty photographs of John Barrymore, his Shakespearean predecessors and successors, his famed theatrical family, and his artistic associates.

 
 
 

 
Click here for a biographical article about John Barrymore's life and times.

 
 
 

 


Click here to check out the book's reviews.
 
 
 
 

 

Click here to hear excerpts from Barrymore's acclaimed Hamlet.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
About the author\E-mail.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
                                  Links

 
Cambridge University Press
 
Amazon.com (30% discount on hardcovers)
 
Barnes and Noble.com (30% discount on hardcovers)
 
 The Internet Bookshop (Europe and UK)
 
The Richard III Society
 
Stagebill
 
Mrs. Long's Shakespeare Links
 
The Shakespeare Web
 
Surfing With The Bard
 
Shakespeare Magazine
 
John Barrymore III Home Page
 
Playbill Online Web Site and Theatre Central
 
ELAC Theatre Library
 
 Village Voice
 
 Hamlet Discussion Page
 
William Shakespeare and the Internet
 
 The Silents Majority John Barrymore Site
 
 Alexander Clark and Friends of Richard III, Inc.
 
Theatre at Monmouth
 
Globe of the Great Southwest
 
Scott's Theatre Links
 
 
 
         Photos         Biography          Reviews           Sound         Author 
 
 
 
Copyright 1998. All rights reserved. Last updated April 23, 1998.