theatre sarah bernhardt

Actress Sarah Bernhardt in costume as Empress Theodora in Theodora by Victorien Sardou, produced at the Theatre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris in 1884. France, Photo by W. & D. Downey, 1884.

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Sarah Bernhardt will forever be my biggest celebrity crush. She was a French Jewish actress who rose to prominence in the Victorian era. Sarah was known to sleep in a coffin in order to better understand her roles (talk about method acting!!) and her good friend Victor Hugo once gifted her with a human skull. She also preferred men’s roles. She criticized roles designated for women as lacking depth and emotional range. In regards to preferring men’s roles, Sarah once stated: “The woman more readily looks the part, yet has the maturity of mind to grasp it.”

Poster of Dumas’s La Dame aux Camélias starring Sarah Bernhardt at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris, 1896.
Illustration by Alphonse Mucha.

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Can we take a minute for the theatre posters of Alphonse FUCKING Mucha?

These are all pieces he did for Sarah Bernhardt’s shows in the 1890′s and they are DROP DEAD GORGEOUS.

Can you imagine walking around Paris and stumbling upon a 6ft tall lithograph of Medea and her murdered children? Hamlet Jr. with Hamlet Sr. upon the battlements? A drowned Ophelia at his feet?

Like GOD DAMN.

Why did we get rid of illustrations like these in favor of production pictures?