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Actors & Acting Style: In Elizabethan England
Transcript of Actors & Acting Style: In Elizabethan England
Actors were not legally allowed to perform without the patronage of an English Lord, and would be arrested on site for doing so.
The lords were primarily figure-heads, often contributing no creative, or financial input. Just a name.
Actors were legally referred to as "Joint Tenants" as they shared all aspects of the company, and all decisions were made communally Company which Shakespeare belonged to for most of his career.
Eventually became "The King's Men" when Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 & King James I ascended the throne becoming the company's patron. No female actors, the women roles were played by young boys who had not gone through puberty yet
Acting was not considered an honorable job
The acting style was considered "melodramatic"
This included emphasized and exaggerated displays of emotions and stereotypical characters Plays were sometimes very last minute
Actors received their lines right before the performance or sometimes while they were performing
From this came "Cue Acting", which was when someone would sit behind the curtains and whisper lines to the actors
A widely sought after talent was being able to "change complexion" at will; the big thing was being able to portray recognizable symptoms of emotional unrest List of original actors in the LCM
Richard Burbage; Sharer, Principal
William Shakespeare; Sharer
William Kempe; Sharer, Clown
John Heminger; Sharer
Samuel Gilbourne; Child actor
John Sincler Acting Style As a result of the Queen's influence, Shakespearean Theatre is commonly known as Elizabethan theatre
An attribute of this style was a lack of extravagant scenery and props
This explains the dramatic poetic verse that was necessary for holding the audience's attention
The expression "going to HEAR" a play was common for this reason Actors Cont. Actors who were not "sharers" in a specific company were usually hired on in a freelance capacity to bring in the crowd and play smaller roles.
Actors were very agile and trained in vaudeville, acrobatics, stage combat, and other activities that were incorporated into plays of the time. Lord Chamberlain's Men Started in 1594, moved into The Globe Theater in 1599
Many company members had at least a decade of stage experience
They relied on touring to support themselves, as were too small to support an entire company.
The touring company was much smaller (no more than 8 adults) than the standing company, as they had to split the profits while on tour.
Thus the men in the company were referred to as sharers
The company continued to perform in theaters throughout England until the Reformation in 1642 *Shakespeare’s first company was the Pembroke’s Men. They performed Henry IV and Titus Andronicus. William Shakespeare Richard Burbage Questions?