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Transcript of Shakespeare's Globe?
Restores Anglican Church
Bans religious drama 1558 1610-11 1588 1588 Armada Fail Confirms English naval & trade supremacy
Lays ground for English colonization
Boosts English nationalism & Elizabeth's popularity
Boosts morale of Protestants worlwide
Signals Spain's decline Spanish Armada! 1564 Birth of William Shakespeare Born at exactly the right moment to contribute to flourishing professional theatre scene James Burbage opens The Theatre
London's first succesful permanent theatre building
Liberates performances from Inn courtyards & government regulation
Purpose-built facilities spur rapid development of stagecraft 1576 The ban on religious drama indirectly spurs the growth of professional drama.
From 1550s - 1570s, theatre flourishes in "inn yards." 1593-94 Playwrights Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe die young... under suspicious circumstances. Birth of Christopher Marlowe 1572 Birth of Ben Jonson "Upstart crow" Shakespeare gains prominence w/ Lord Chamberlain's Men 1599 Lord Chamberlain's Men build The Globe King's Men take over Blackfriars 1608 Indoor "private" theatres fuel innovation:
More intimate, comfortable seating suits wealthier patrons
Musical Interludes (req'd to kill time while candles trimmed)
Wealthy patrons can buy seats on the stage The Tempest may be Shakespeare's first play for Blackfriars First performance of The Tempest? Shakespeare's Globe?
The Evolution of Performance and Theater in England 1558-1611 Roots of Elizabethan Drama & Theater Liturgical Drama School Drama Interludes and Wandering Players Folk Traditions & Carnival "Positive" Forces "Negative" Forces Religious Fundamentalism Patriarchal Ideology Many popular traditions survive in English drama. Folk imagery
blending of genres
grotesque realism Religious drama creates a tradition, and Elizabeth's ban on religious plays creates a vacuum filled by professionals (who themselves may have first experienced drama in this form).
Dramatic and scenic art have been gradually developing for centuries before the first permanent theatres are built.
English drama retained the episodic form of religious drama, while continental drama recreated the climactic structure of Greek tragedy. Growing out of experimental recreations of Greek & Roman drama, university drama led to the first home-grown, non-Biblical plays and trained the first generation of English playwrights, "the university wits," including Marlowe and Kyd.
The plays written in university were often performed in grammar schools, spreading dramatic performance to another generation and making it part of childhood experience for boys from privileged families.
Greek & Roman influences survive in professional theatre:
English comic plots are modelled on Plautus and Terence
Comedy of Errors is a blatant rip-off of Plautus
English playwrights adopt Seneca's penchant for violence, vengeance, and ghosts England's first professional actors were wandering players, formally attached to weathy households.
The players developed the craft and institutional practices of acting in the years before the theatres were built.
Puritans despised them and authorities feared their subversive potential: they were banned in 1572, concentrating professional theater in London, in the two companies with official, legal patronage and protection. Puritans, rising force in English society, hated theatre for a number of social and religious reasons. They increasingly dominated London government, and agitated to ban or close theatres on any pretext.
They were instrumental in banning the strolling players -- and thus, indirectly, in establishing more formal theatre, under royal protection.
The Puritan-dominated London government eventually prohibited theatrical performance in London -- prompting the theatres to move to the suburbs, where a thriving entertainment culture then flourished.
Eventually, the Puritans would get their way: beginning in 1642, theatres were razed and performances banned until the 1660s. This too indirectly helped make Shakespeare famous. With one obvious (and for contemporaries, highly disturbing) exception, Elizabethan England excluded women from public life. They were considered, in every conceivable sense, "the weaker sex."
Masculine power depended on this belief, so gender differences were rigidly policed and reinforced by dress and makeup as well as restricted liberty.
Women were excluded from theatrical performance as well, which created a strong tradition of female impersonation in English stage culture.
This performance practice, too, emphasized and parodied gender difference, creating the impression that masculine identity is "real," natural, and normal, while feminine identity is "put on," always a fantasy.
Predictably, the tradition of female impersonation inflamed Puritan resentment. History, Chronology, Background London Who are the Lord Chamberlain's Men? Founded in 1594 under the patronage of the 1st Baron Hundsen, aka the Lord Chamberlain
Protected by patronage from 1572 ban on players
Became the King's Men after James I's coronation
One of two leading theatre companies
Primarily a business enterprise
Centered on James & Richard Burbage and a core of 6-8 shareholders, incl. Shakespeare
Company consisted of shareholders, hired men, and boy apprentices Richard Burbage