voices from the past


Behind The Scenes

by Banjo Paterson (1864-1941)

Australian writer

Published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1893

The actor struts his little hour,
Between the limelight and the band;
The public feel the actor’s power,
   Yet nothing do they understand
Of all the touches here and there
   That make or mar the actor’s part,
They never see, beneath the glare,
   The artist striving after art.

To them it seems a labour slight
   Where nought of study intervenes;
You see it in another light
   When once you’ve been behind the scenes.

For though the actor at his best
   Is, like a poet, born not made,
He still must study with a zest
   And practise hard to learn his trade.
So, whether on the actor’s form
   The stately robes of Hamlet sit,
Or as Macbeth he rave and storm,
   Or plays burlesque to please the pit,

‘Tis each and all a work of art,
   That constant care and practice means–
The actor who creates a part
   Has done his work behind the scenes.

About the Author

See our page on Banjo Paterson. Includes a linked list of all his writing available on our website.

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