I went to the Senate House Library (behind the Nat'l Museum) on Saturday to do some research for a paper I will be writing soon. While I was there, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone and look up some information on a personal research project that I've also been working on. I pulled a book of letters off the shelf and opened it randomly and this is what I read:
"Actors don't think...They are perfectly willing to be directed if it's a new work, but when it comes to Shakespeare, you can't teach them anything."
The author was complaining about how hard it is to get actors to think about their characters and motivation, all they're interested in is spitting out the words and looking pretty, although he didn't use those words. I found this incredibly funny, since I've heard the same thing from directors nowadays, and this was a letter from 1878. The author?