Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

First Night Design | Joseph Grimaldi, Clown 1778–1837

First Night Design

A story is told that in 1806 a man goes to visit a doctor who is acclaimed for his ability to treat melancholia. “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep,” says the man. “I feel constantly miserable.  Please help me, doctor.”

“Laughter is the best medicine, my friend,” says the doctor. “Take yourself off to Covent Garden Theatre* where you will find The Great Grimaldi performing in Harlequin and Mother Goose; or the Golden Egg. It is exquisitely funny and will cure you of all your ills without any pills or potions from my cabinet.”

The man looks at the doctor for a moment.  “Ah,” he says. “That won’t help.”

“Why not, sir?”

The man shrugs. “I am Grimaldi.”

Apocryphal or no, I have little doubt the story’s origins go much further back. It would not surprise me if it was first told in Ancient Greece about an actor performing in…

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This entry was posted on 02/07/2014 by in Articles, Reblogs and tagged , , , , , .
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