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.