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Hannah Pritchard
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Actress
    (1711-1768)
    Born in United Kingdom
    18th-Century British thesbian
    Often billed simply as 'Mrs. Pritchard'
    Frequently played opposite David Garrick on the London stage
    Member of the 'Comedians of his Majesty's Revels' theatre company
    Best known for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth
    Also known for her portrayal of Clarinda in Hoadley's 'Suspicious Husband' and Lady Wouldbe in Jonson's 'Volpone'
    She was typecast as shrewish viragos and maternal scolds.
    Samuel Johnson described her as both 'a vulgar idiot' and a 'mechanical player.'
    She married a stage actor and upstaged him, reducing him to an unemployed appendage.
    She apparently never read the 'Macbeth' play in its entirety, other than the lines for her own part.
    Her heavy-handed, matronly style of portraying strong women (Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, etc.) was overshadowed in public opinion by Sarah Siddons' more 'feminine' portrayals of the same characters.
    During a 1748 production of Samuel Johnson 'Mahomet and Irene,' the staging called for Irene to be strangled in the final act. A confused audience mistook the scene for reality and halted the show on the first night, crying 'murder!' Pritchard took this as her cue to briefly retire from the stage and Sam Johnson never forgave her.
    She was good friends with Horace Walpole and Henry Fuseli.
    She was the breadwinner for her family during a time when it was considered disreputable.
    Her brother may have gambled away a large part of her fortune.
    She was the first actress to win acclaim playing the role of Lady Macbeth.
    She was versatile; equally effective at doing Shakespearian tragedy and Johnsonian comedy.
    She had brilliant chemistry with legendary British theater manager and dramatist David Garrick.
    She is remembered for playing imposing matriarchs, but in reality she was apparently quite petite and 'tiny.'
    That Samuel Johnson forever blamed her for his opening night disaster might explain his open hostility towards her in his later writings.
    Many of her harshest critics ripped her performance years after her heyday, when it was virtually impossible for them to have seen her acting.
    She was easily the most revered actress on the London stage, at the time, who both originated memorable stage roles and established a standard by which they were performed.
    Although Sarah Siddons would soon overshadow her, her own pairing with David Garrick was disastrous and she was unable to equal Pritchard's chemistry.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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