Between 1593 and 1606, but it might well have become so as the “little ice age” began to make itself felt. Still, in August 1608 there were no conspicuous theatrical successes for the King’s Servants to emulate at Blackfriars. If the Children of the Queen’s Revels had been successful there before the Crown forbad them to play in spring 1608, the authorities’ tolerance of the company probably resided in the fact that the players were boys, not adults, and boy companies were generally administered less strictly. Thus the purpose behind the Blackfriars reacquisition may have been primarily preservative and speculative.
For example, the group avers, in one of its responses to Keysar’s litigation that Henry Evans, the lessee of the space, not only was paying 40 [pounds sterling] yearly in rent but had additionally posted a 400 [pounds sterling] bond as guarantee of regular payment and of repairs and maintenance of the building. In this connection, “the said premises lay then and had long lain void and without use for plays, whereby the same became not only burdensome and unprofitable” to Evans “but also ran far into decay for want of reparations done in and upon the premises.
” So the Burbages not only communicated with Evans “for the satisfaction of the bond,” apparently now “forfeited” for non-payment of rent, but also “for the repairing of the premises. ” (34) The decay of the premises combined with winter weather of gradually increasing severity may then have been significant factors in encouraging the syndicate to bring adult players–their own company and possibly others–to the Blackfriars space. Certainly there must have been additional motives, but they are not by any means self-evident.
What is clear is that narratives that assume a straightforward linkage between the “romances” and the “new Blackfriars playing space” fail to do justice to the complexities of the historical record. They may, in fact, skew our approach to larger issues, such as the internal dynamics of the theatrical industry itself and the trajectory of Shakespeare’s career within it. Beckerman, Bernard. Shakespeare at the Globe, 1599-1609. New York: Macmillan, 1962. In Shakespeare’s Globe plays many scenes are given an exact setting.
By exact I wish to convey the notion that the action is supposed to occur in or at a particular place, such as a room, hall, gateway, garden, bridge, and that this place remains consistent throughout the scene. For example, in the scene where Martius, yet to win his name of Coriolanus, assaults the gates of Corioles ( I, iv), the location is specific, consistent, and dramatically relevant. At one point in the same play Coriolanus prepares to enter the house of his enemy, Aufidius. The scene ( IV, iv) takes place before Aufidius’ door.
Here exactness of location intensifies dramatic suspense because, as we watch Coriolanus pass through the doorway, we know he is putting himself at the mercy of his greatest antagonist. Many examples of such types of placement come to mind: Brutus’ orchard, Gertrude’s closet, Timon’s cave, etc. Such scenes have come to be called “localized. ” Usually the opposite of the “localized” setting is the “unlocalized. ” In this type of setting no impression of place is projected. Location is irrelevant to the progression of the scenes. Clear-cut instances of this occur in Macbeth, II, iv, and III, vi.
In the first of these scenes Ross and an old man comment on the unnatural state of the world, then Macduff brings them news of Duncan’s burial and Macbeth’s election to the throne. -64- Maclean, Sally-Beth. “English Professional Theatre 1530-1660. ” Shakespeare Studies (2003): 316+. The proportion of documents per playhouse could also be questioned. Although numerous sources relating to the Rose are available and have been printed, not all the relevant publications (e. g. , Carol Chillington Rutter’s recently updated Documents of the Rose Theatre, 2nd ed.
(1999) appear in the bibliography nor is there an attempt to represent the records more fully here as an alternative. The Rose section, in which there would likely be considerable interest, given the ongoing story of its excavation, is notably short compared with the Boar’s Head or Red Bull. On a more positive note, Berry has assembled here an authoritative collection of historical and literary sources for the study of private and public playhouses in London from 1560 to 1660, starting with the Red Lion and the four London inns first known to have been used by professional companies.
Among the less familiar entries are foreign eyewitness accounts from Dutch, German, and Swiss travellers (e. g. , numbers 352,353,396), a court record relating to a playgoer’s injury by an actor’s sword from Middlesex County Records (number 445); the trial of wit at the Hope (number 461); and evocative selections from several plays characterizing individual theaters, for example, Shirley’s scathing reference to the vulgar appetites of the public theater audience at the second Globe (number 472d). Smith, Peter J. “Measure for Measure: Presented by the Globe Theatre, London.
” Shakespeare Bulletin 22. 4 (2004): 143+. What is it about productions at The Globe which makes so many of them so far off balance? We will never know whether Shakespeare’s first audiences laughed at Claudio’s agonized realization that “Death is a fearful thing” and it is probably no matter in any case, but that such a painful line caused the modern audience to collapse in riotous laughter is a demonstration either of the insensitivity of today’s playgoer or of John Dove’s complete lack of comprehension of the play’s darker tones.
Call me a purist, but Measure for Measure is not a funny play; that Dove’s production of it repeatedly brought the house down, and often at the most delicate points in the script, demonstrated either an audience philistinism or an unusually bathetic approach to the play. Bad enough that the audience felt like hissing Angelo as a pantomime villain, following his unsuccessful attempted rape of Isabella, but when she pronounced her starchy and intransigent death sentence on Claudio–“Then Isabel live chaste, and brother die: / More than our brother is our chastity”–the audience dissolved into helpless laughter.
What is going wrong at The Globe? Part of the answer lies, at least as far as this particular production is concerned, in Dove’s apparent belief that Measure for Measure’, one of Shakespeare’s darkest comedies, is actually a pantomime. As Claudio begged his sister to preserve his life, “Nay, hear me, Isabel,” the disguised Vincentio stepped suddenly between them and bashed him over the head with his Bible, cutting short any of the play’s moral debates and transforming this terrible moment into a pratfall from Laurel and Hardy.
As Vincentio attempted to explain his self-imposed internal exile to the Friar, he emerged from a laundry basket and picked off a series of soiled garments from his person like an irritated Falstaff. The conversation between Vincentio and the Provost, in which they debate the iniquities of Angelo who has sent for the head of Claudio despite having apparently slept with Isabella, was completely undermined by having the barefoot Duke step on a thorn and hop around the stage. If ever a production sought and found a populist solution in the lowest comic denominator, this was it.
Smith, Peter J. “Romeo and Juliet: Presented by the Globe Theatre, London. ” Shakespeare Bulletin 22. 4 (2004): 145+. E, Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, this production attempted to articulate the text in, so-called, “Original Pronunciation. ” Part of The Globe’s raison d’etre is of course to explore the original staging practices of the early modern repertory but while experimentation such as Original Pronunciation is to be lauded in principle, this production offered an exemplum of what happens when it goes wrong.
While Crystal provides an indication of his methodology for devising his “OP” text (including phonetic spelling, internal rhyme, evidence from contemporary orthoepists, stress patterns and so on), he is forced to concede that pronunciation “is the most difficult domain to interpret historically because, in an era before sound recording, speech–unlike buildings, costumes and props–leaves no evidence of how it was” (“Saying It as It Was,” Around the Globe 27 , 14). Unfortunately Crystal offers the skeptic a generous amount of ammunition: “In the last analysis, ‘original pronunciation’ can only be informed guesswork.
We can never be sure because several alternative pronunciations co-existed, and we have to make a choice,” and he goes on, “I had to make several arbitrary decisions in writing my transcription. ” The trouble is that pointing out a potential pitfall doesn’t always prevent one falling into it and while the “reconstruction” of Shakespeare’s spoken English is an intriguing, if not foolhardy endeavor, its impact on the production in dramatic terms was considerable and not always positive.