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Shakespearean England

Alexa Alice Joubin

Alexa Alice Joubin

on 13 April 2017

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Transcript of Shakespearean England

Alexa Alice Joubin
Shakespearean England
England 1564-1616
The Thames River
Early Modern London
North vs. South
Europe, the Mediterranean, the Americas, Asia
Exoticism and Travel
From a Spanish edition of Sir John Mandeville's Travels

Compare to Othello 1.3.144-145

Men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders
Actors // Theatres // Playgoers
Theatre of Shakespeare's London
Diversity, Prosperity, Controversy
Shakespeare's London
Shakespeare was a "sharer" in the Lord Chamberlain's Men (1594-1596; 1597-1603) which became the King's Men (1603-1642)

London as a multilingual city

Commerce fueled by cultural diversity

Plague and diseases
Shakespearean England
England during Shakespeare's times:

evolving sense of national identity
small, isolated nation on the margin of Europe (5 million people in the whole of England)
--> compare to London in 2012: more than 8 million people
English territories in France were extensive in the 14th century
By the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign (1558-1603): few territories left on the Continent
Overseas control of the Americas scarecely begun (Virginia settlement established in the 1580s
Scotland not yet part of Great Britain (union with Scotland took place in 1707)
Wales was a conquered principality

A 1595 by Abraham Ortelius, a cartographer from Antwerp
Actors were "sharers" who were expected to contribute to the troupes their acting talent and money

"Hirelings" = players paid by the week

Scene in Elizabethan English refers to a location ("In fair Verona") rather than a unit of dramatic organization

Actors in fine, silk, sumptuous clothes but on a bare stage with few props
Convention of boys dressed as girls on stage = incentive to explore ideas of gender fluidity and critique gender stereotypes

Viola / Cesario (Twelfth Night)

Rosalind / Ganymede (As You Like It)
Ganymede = androgynous cupbearer of Jove

A boy actor plays a female character who plays a boy who pretends to be a girl! Dizzying layers of fiction and reality

First Purpose-Built Playhouse
1567: Red Lion (not to be confused with the modern Old Red Lion)

Located in Whitechapel just outside the City of London

1576: Round theatre simply called The Theatre built in Shoreditch (also outside the city walls)

London controlled by the puritans; theatres constructed in areas known as the "Liberties"

The First Globe
Lord Chamberlain's Men built it on Southwardk on the south bank of River Thames

Lord Chamberlain's Men performed at the Curtain while waiting for the Globe to be completed

All round theatres: before a show, colorful ensigns were hung on the flagpole on rooftop
The Blackfriars
Shakespeare's company granted the right to perform there (private theatre)

Shakespeare's style changed (5 act structure vs earlier style of a series of scenes)

Added courtly entertainments into his plays (e.g. the Tempest)

Magical properties (indoor theatre, yellow candlelight, perfumed air, smells)
"Second" Globe
The first Globe was burnt down on June 29, 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII (cannons were fired set fire to the thatched roof)

Rebuilt on the same site in 1614
The "third" (modern) Globe was reconstructed

Approximately 750 feet from the site of the original theatre

Sam Wannamaker

Global agenda

2014: opening of Sam Wannamaker candle-lit indoor Jacobean theatre
Diverse at public playhouses
("all in for one penny")

Better educated (if bookish) audiences at private theatres (cheapest seats cost 6 pence)

Two main types of venue in early modern England

Outdoor playhouses, known as amphitheatres or public playhouses

Indoor playhouses, known as halls or private playhouses

Different audiences and patrons
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