How to Be a Proper Victorian: Part 2

by Jessa Cunningham, dramaturg

In the last post, I outlined some of the important rules that Upper Class Victorians followed closely. At rehearsal this past week, I asked the wonderful actors in our show to demonstrate some of the rules (and what it looked like when your broke them). Take a look at the pictures below, get a glimpse into Victorian etiquette, and see the silliness of the amazing cast!

First, I had the cast display bad posture that couldn’t be found at someone’s house while visiting. Posture was always meant to be upright, with no slouching, leaning, or relaxing in any inappropriate manner.

From left: Meg Flinders, Emma Widtfeld, Stephen Moore, and Sean Worsley

From left: Meg Flinders, Emma Widtfeldt, Stephen Moore, and Sean Worsley

Next, I had them demonstrate proper escorting etiquette. While men were allowed to escort two women if necessary on the street, women were never allowed to have two men on their arms.

From left: Sean Worsley, Emma Widtfeldt, and Spencer Hunsicker

From left: Sean Worsley, Emma Widtfeldt, and Spencer Hunsicker

From left: Meg Flinders, Sean Worsley, and Emma Widtfeldt

From left: Meg Flinders, Sean Worsley, and Emma Widtfeldt

 

This next picture is a hodge-podge of no-no’s for Victorian’s. The actors got creative and put on a display of deplorable crimes to commit while visiting someone’s home. One pose was actually a rule, though: no picking at your teeth while calling.

From left: Meg Flinders, Emma Widtfeldt, Spencer Hunsicker (blissfully unaware), and Sean Worsley

From left: Meg Flinders, Emma Widtfeldt, Spencer Hunsicker (blissfully unaware), and Sean Worsley

Finally, I had Sean portray another rule that would have been embarrassing if one was caught committing it: looking at the handkerchief after one blows their nose into it. That was considered disgusting, and no one could do that if they were in polite company; it wouldn’t seem proper.

Sean Worsley

Sean Worsley

Sean Worsley

Sean Worsley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a fun exercise to understand some of the intricate rules that Victorian’s had to abide by. Hopefully you found this a funny and informative way to learn about the era!

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