Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Globe Conversations

A little bit of history: the American Shakespeare Center is in the planning phase for its own reconstruction of the 1614 Globe. About a year ago, there was talk about the theatre opening in 2012, but there are still many questions to consider before the groundbreaking. We'll be discussing some issues related to the construction of Globe 2.

Peter McCurdy

The goal in the construction of the Globe is to find new ways of bringing Shakespeare's plays alive by placing them within their architectural context. The transformative power of a reconstruction of the space is remarkable; I remember being awash in wonderment the first time I stepped into the Blackfriars.

McCurdy's experience in London wth historical reconstructions has led to more informed archeological and architectural work. The level of detail present in modern hitoric reconstructions is vastly superior to what it would have been 30 years ago, and the partnership between scholars and builders has yielded as much in the world of historic reconstruction as the partnership between scholars and actors has at the ASC.

With the foundations of The Rose, and pieces of The Theatre having been excavated, we are in a better position to know how these playhouses were laid out. We no longer need to rely exclusively on historical descriptions of Elizabethan theatres.

There is increasing evidence that the prevalence in the 16th century was toward three story buildings. there is something that links these buildings to the size and areas of the theatres, and McCurdy feels this is another area worth exploring.

Despite references to oak, McCurdy feels that there was probably a prevelence of soft woods. The fact that the first Globe burned down within two hours seems to indicate soft woods used in construction, and we have documentary evidence of other theatres being constructed of soft wood. McCurdy points out that we have little evidence of specifics, as there is not much documentary evidence of carpentry practices from this time. The first book written on carpentry technique was publish in America in the 19th century, and it is quite plausible that the guilds had worked to protect that information. Shakespeare was close with his builder, but there may have been things he still didn't know about the construction of his theatre.

McCurdy asks the bear for a hug, which is granted, and concludes by reminding us all that this is a work in progress.

Tiffany Stern

Stern provides a quote from the Second Maiden's Tragedy and Ovid's Elegies that suggests that it was possible for an audience to sit at the gobe and watch the shoe without themselves being observed. Other descriptions from the time suggest that box seats concealed by grates, or lattice work, provide discreet places from which an audience might watch a play.

Other textual evidence, in the form of lines and stage directions, anticipates a bell in the theatre. Stern notes that, whenever you have a bell striking to indicate time, the play has a character counting the strokes of the bell. The stage direction for clock striking are, in fact, the bell ringing. Stern believes that the textual motivation for this is is that, while the clock is always a bell, the bell is not always a clock. In Macbeth, for example, there is an alarm bell, and likewise in The Changeling a bell is struck for a fire alarm. It must be a "prominent bell that is different from a hand bell. It seems to be a structural bell hanging up within the fabric of the theatre."

Dekker and Jonson make references to visible tapestries in public theatres in the form of an arras, and there also seem to be indications that these curtains had depictions of people on them. Stern feels that these must have been changeable. They could have been used to "swell the number of people on the stage." References to this practice are seen as late as 1749.

Stern offers these observations for consideration in the Globe discussions. Her new book, Documents of Performance in Early Modern England, will be available November 30.

Tim Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick will be examining te second Globe from the perspective of Hollar's sketches to the underlying structure. I miss looking at CAD drawings, so this is fun for me. He suggests that the interior of the Globe, rather than be circular, would have been a 16 sided polygon that would have appeared circular from enough of a distance. That makes a lot of sense.

He also examines the authority of the 1630 sketch, which was originally done in light pencil marks, and then over-inked. Because most scholars examine photographs of the drawings, they miss these pencil marks, and the multiple pencil lines reveal that the drawing is, in fact, a concept sketch rather than a detailed draft. The close up of the Globe is so small that you need a magnifying glass to see it.

This presentation is very graphical, and so again, it's going to be hard for me to describe what I'm seeing in any meaningful way. I'll try getting the over-arching points that don't rely on specific visual details doe you.

So the basic principle in this conception of the construction is to take Hollar seriously; he was trying his best to represent what he saw. Second to use the premise of the ad quadratum Globe (the original Globe, based on descriptions) and use it as the underlying basis for what Hollar drew.

One issue that has been resolved is the stair tower is, from Hollar's perspective, skewed slightly owing to his perspective. There is no reason to think that there is anything irregular about the structure itself.

Between Hollar's sketch and the CAD drawing, there are three discrepencies. The first is that the stage cover is uneven. There are also two un-inked pencil lines in Hollar's sketch, and three pencilled-base lines.

The approximation of three windows per bay makes sense when you take into account that the stair tower, which is in the front of the building from Hollar's perspective, would have obscured two of those windows.

Perhaps most shocking is that there was no discovery is that there is no discovery space. Fitzpatrick allows that there may have been a curtain hung as a discovery space, but there was no discovery space built into the stage.

This is some very intriguing stuff. I wish I could show you the drawings. Fitzpatrick has come to some very fascinating conclusions based on this evidence.

Frank Hildy

Hildy offers that considerations for any Globe reconstruction must be which Globe to reconstruct. Most reconstructions use the 1599 Globe, and 20 additional years of scholarship have led to new revelations and questions about the accuracy of the London recreation. Of course, that was the point of building it in the first place: to test the best theories available at the time as to the nature of the reconstruction. Rebuilding the 1614 Globe, as the ASC has choen to do, offers the benefit of Hollar's 1647 drawing. The only other construction of the 1614 Globe is in Tokyo.

Modern research seems to indicate that the London Globe was too big. Archaeological evidence does not support a Gobe that has 20 sides and is 100' in diameter. A maximum proposal based on this evidence is 18 sides and 90', and a minimum gives it 16 sides and ~84'. But the excavation of the Rose in 1989 indicated it was 74' across and 14 sided, which is an impossible number of sides using either the ad quadratum or the ad triangulum systems of calculation. A portion of the foundation of the Globe was excavated a few months later, but not enough to say with any certainty how many sides it had.

Rather than using either ad triangulum or ad quadratum methods, Hildy examines building techniques using a transit (theodolite) based on architectural manuals of the time. By standing in the center of the space and sighting a 20 degree angle, and then using a rope to trace an arch in between, you will span the distance of two bays. Again, there are some excellent drawings that describe all this better than I am able to here.

16th century architects had access to a device called a Surveyor's Protactor, which allowed them to calculate the angle necessary for creating a space of any polygonal shape desired.

The issue of size is important because it will effect everthing from the actor's ability to project to the function of the heavens.

By the way, happy St. Crispin's day. I can't think of a more appropriate day to bring this wonderful conference to a close. If you're in town, please stop by for The Merry Wives of Windsor this afternoon, and The City Musick later this evening.

Before I leave you, I want to thank my fellow bloggers (and fellow M.Litt/MFA students) Sarah Klingbell and Zachary Lyon Brown, and the American Shakespeare Center for letting us sit in and keep you all posted on what's been happening here this past week. We'll work on getting some more materials from the conference online within the next few days where possible, so with a little bit of luck (and permission of the hosts and presenters) we'll be able to follow up with a few of the visuals that I've been talking about.

Thank you all for joining our blog of the 5th bi-annual Blackfriars conference. It's been a blast. If you happen to visit Staunton to see a show, give a shout, we'd love to hear from you. Otherwise, we'll see you again in 2011!

[exit, pursued by house manager.]

Paper Session 11

Good morning, folks, and welcome back for the final day of the Blackfriars conference. It's a bright and crisp Sunday morning, and while a number of scholars have already departed us, we still have one more paper session, and a series of conversations about ASC's Globe theatre to go. Ralph Alan Cohen is introducing this sessions moderator, Terry Southerington, so it looks like our last paper session is about to get started.

Sarah Outterson: Acting the Ghostly Body in The Duchess of Malfi and The Second Maiden's Tragedy

At the same time that the corporeality of ghostly characters is in question, both within the context of stage and within the context of religion, ghosts, wax figures, and corpses present a particular kind of role of the audience's imagination in creating a play." In both plays, a body without spirit and a spirit disembodied are present, and the presence of the ghostly figures calls attention to the physical body of the actor playing it.

Outterson examines records of Jesuit Priests impersonating spirits to fright young women in converting to Catholocism, and pamphlets that expose their approaches in theatrical terms that parallel the appearance of ghosts on the early modern stage.

Stage directions present in the texts indicate the beauty of the maiden carrying on within her spirit, and the presence of the corpse and the ghost on stage simultaneously would seem to ask the audience to believe the character is divided into two bodies. The bodily presence of the actor most logically playing the spiritual body of the ghost. Similarly, the wax figures of the children in Duchess of Malfi seem to ask for the actors to play the roles of the figures, and thus bring their corporeal presence to non-living bodies.

And then the bear removed Outterson's paper.

Michael Boecherer: Power in Performance: The Renaissance Stage Witch as Theatrical Agent

The stage presence of witches on the Elizabethan stage is much weaker than in the Jacobean stage. In Elizabethan play, witches have less stage time, rarely perform magical effects, and their subservience to the devil is often emphasized. In the later Jacobean stage, witches are seen to cast spells, fly, and perform other supernatural aspects.

By casting the witch as a figure who had sold her soul to obtain her power, Elizabethans conceived her as being on the lowest levels of demonological hierarchy. Boecherer finds this odd, given that witches, with their power to call down curses and cast other spells, are effectively stripped of their power and made into simple pawns of a greater evil force. In 1H6, for example, Joan calls on spirits to assist her, and they simply ignore her calls. The conjured spirits are independent agents that are not beholden to the will of the conjurer.

Jacobean conceptions of witchcraft derive from continental conceptions that give witches the ability to fly, command spirits, and work together to greater effect. They first achieve their power in Jonson's masques, which took advantage of Inigo Jones' stage machinery, ceiling traps, and accompanied them with music and dance.

In Macbeth, the witches are a complex mix. They answer the call of their familiar demons, fly off stage through the fog and filthy air, and boast of their ability to call down curses. Still, their power clearly has limitations. When providing Macbeth with prophecies in act 4, the answer comes from their demonic masters and not from the witches themselves, and Banquo recognizes them as servants of a greater darkness. Thus, as the witches are weaker forces, Macbeth should be capable of resisting them. They are neither goddesses nor fates, they are simply an influence.

In Q&A an audience member brought up the point that, in the Jacobean era, there was a decreasing confidence in the authority's ability to detect witchcraft. Freed from constraints of verisimilitude offered by official testimonials of what defined a witch and what a witch was capable of, that might have led to an increase desire for theatricality in the presentation of witches.

Charles Salembier: The Unique Character of the Fool: Exploring Personality and Motive

Shakespeare is the only English Renaissance poet to employ the fool as a narrative device that has the ability to talk truth to power without fear of punishment. In Erasmus' In Praise of Folly, he employs the fool as a way to strip through vainglorious disguises and cure mankind's foolish behavior. Shakespeare, who cwould have been aware of Erasmus' text, employs his fools to a similar purpose.

Salembier credits Armin's Touchstone as the first of Shakespeare's true fools (Kemp being more of a clown). In As You Like It, the Touchstone cynically (and disgustingly) comments on his own follies in love as a way of mirroring the love of the higher status characters, and thus providing a foil for them. Rosalind's analysis of the follies of love serves all of the lovers in the play, including Touchstone and Audrey.

In All's Well, Shakespeare seems to be losing faith in the fools ability to curb mankind's folly. it is the story itself that underscores the foolishness of love and marriage, and the primary characters perform the corrective trickery necessary to bring about the comic resolution. Likewise in Timon of Athens, the fool's role is performed by a character other than the fool; the philosopher is identified as another source of mankind's folly, and from there, fools disappear from Shakepseare's stage.

Maryam Zomorodian: Staging the Matter of "worm-eaten books": Heywood, History, and Performance

During the Elizebethan and Stewart periods, recreations of the past led to a dramatic seeing of the past. England did not have a history of historical painting, but the historical play served this role. History lessons also appear within the context of Heywood's plays, where the historical record of an individual can be seen in their works left behind on earth. In 1592, Thomas Nash wrote in praise of historical drama such as this, suggesting that the private study of history offered a limited experience, but dramatic reconstruction of history in a public context allows the audience to share a communal sense of history. Embodied performance is distinct from the archive, and distributes history in a non-textual way through illiterate audiences.

Kathryn M. Moncrief: "Be stone no more": Performing/Reforming Femininity in The Winter's Tale

Moncrief begins by thanking her actors and offering that, as it's near the end of the conference and she's presenting on Winter's Tale, she'll be disappointed if she doesn't see the bear. Looking at 1.2 and 5.3, Moncrief seeks to show that 5.3 is a reworking of 1.2. Suggestions that women are to "perform subjection" is telling as it indicates that an outward sign of quiet and subservience is considered a virtue of early modern women, but that this should only be a performance. Hermiones unregulated speech, in conjunction with her heavily pregnant body, Leontes' behavior isn't surprising in the context of early modern fears of female speech and sexuality.

Her actors demonstrate Hermione's use of witty banter and rhetorical skill to succeed where her husband has failed. Leontes views his pregnant wife speaking with his friend, and views this in context of her own courtship. His belief that she's spoken with an unknown man is the evidence he needs to believe she is unchaste. Like in Othello, unrestrained speech replaces evidence of infidelity. Both Hermione and Desdemona are innocent, but fail to protect themselves, and thus demonstrate the dangers of misconstruing unregulated feminine speech.

There's a lot more to this paper than I'll be able to capture here, as Moncrief has so seemlessly integrated the performance of her actors with the presentation of her speech. Sorry, I just can't capture the visuals that well, and the text is grounded in those. This is definitely an exemplar of the combination of stagecraft and scholarship.

In 5.2, we see Paulina assuming the masculine role, and Leontes is decidedly silent in the presentation of Hermione as statuary. Feminine silence is refigured: Hermione has unfettered accesss to view the scene, and elects to remain silence to continue to observe Leontes. If she remains silent, it is a choice to reject Leontes, and if she chooses to speak, it is a choice to accept him. Either way, the feminine voice is given to Hermione as an instrument of her power.

Hermione, in a recapitulation of courtship, offers her hand to Leontes, and takes on the traditionally masculine role, and with a little prompting, the bear emerged to escort Moncrief offstage as she concluded her paper.

Jeanne McCarthy: "You shall ha' them set among ye": Performance at the Blackfriars

It is not merely the fact of the unsuitability of a boy actor for the role into which he is cast that makes the role interesting, it is the way in which the boy actor self consciously draws attention to this fact. A similar trope can be seen in the performance of clowns. McCarthy actors explores the audition scene from Jonson's Poetaster, where a player is called out by a captain, and the captain's boys demonstrates this self conscious theatricality.

The conceit of having boys perform parts in at least one recognizable adult company role can be seen as a desire to imitate the professional success of the adult companies. The audition scene plays with power dynamics similar to the playfulness of Love's Labours Lost or Cynthia's Revels. We cannot assume that mimicry in the era of the boy companies was unidirectional, and Jonson seems to have enjoyed writing in the mode of the boy companies for adults.

So that concludes our last paper session of the conference. Check back with us this afternoon for a report from the Globe sessions!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shakespeare on Ice

December 1603 was the first Christmas season at court for King James VI, and his players were naturally expected to perform. Dr. Paul Menzer gives us a backstage view of the King's Men as they try to devise a new entertainment for the new king, and all the while freeze in the tiring house of the Globe. Who really wants to play in an outdoor theatre in winter, anyway? For that matter, who wants to come to a play in an outdoor theatre?

A perchance fortunate turn of events comes when King James needs to relocate the performance to the Blackfriars, which the King's Men had been forbidden to play in. If they impress the new king, they might even be allowed to play there in the winter, which would mean that Mr. Shaxper and his fellow company members would no longer be on ice. But how to impress the new king? A masque? Women on stage? Italian stage machinery and special effects? Rehearsal?!? [gasp] but what if the octopoly finds out?

Shakespeare on Ice is a play full of inside jokes performed for the ultimate audience of insiders. I/we loved every minute of it, but if you're not a Shakespeare nerd, the jokes will fall flat. The only tenable solution for you is to cuddle up with as much Shakespearean history as you can, and cross your fingers that someday, somewhere, enough Shakespeare nerds will gather together in another theatre to warrant a performance of a play that satirizes just about every early modern theatre academy trope that a room full of PhDs could conceive of.

Herein I would generally provide a cast list, but I didn't manage to grab a program, so I'll leave that to someone who's a little more in the know than I (yes, I know most of you, but most is not all), and retire for the night. Join us again tomorrow for the final day of the Blackfriars conference, one more paper session, and discussions about the construction of the ASC's new Globe.

Academic Integrity Disclaimer

I thought I would take a moment to restate something I said earlier today in a more coherent way. This blog is a work of journalism, not of scholarship. While we're all trying to report as accurately as possible the works of the scholars presenting at the conference, their main points, supporting arguments, and ensuing discussion, we're bound to make a few mistakes along the way.

The format for paper sessions requires that all scholars limit their presentations to ten minutes, so they often have a lot of ground to cover in not a lot of time, and it can be hard to keep up. Sometimes we make the conscious decision to not include some of their points so we can more fully elaborate on others, other times it can be hard to follow an argument, and still others it can be just hard to hear.

So while we all hope you're finding this blog to be witty and informative, before you start basing any of your own research, papers, or presentations on anything you see here, it might not be a bad idea to contact the scholar whose work you wish to reference. I'm sure they would generally be pleased as punch to send you a copy of their paper and answer any questions you might have.

There; now I feel all absolved for any mistakes you might make by taking anything you read here with anything more than a grain of salt. I'll see you all after Shakespeare on Ice.

Roundtable: Early Modern Music on the Elizabethan Stage

Phew. Okay, I made it. Running three blocks on crutches is not my favorite thing to do ever, but I made it. I'm no musician, but I am a sound designer by trade, and I know what I like, and music is always an indispensable element to my conceptions of a theatrical production, so I'm glad to be able to make it to this roundtable. Facilitating this discussion is Dennis Siler from the U of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Dennis Siler

Fretted musical instruments on the early modern stage is the topic for Siler's discussion. He begins by tracking some of the evolutions between the medieval lute and the Renaissance lute. The medieval lute has a primary and secondary sound hole, and five pairs of strings. For almost five centuries, it did not change. The Renaissance lute is less circular in nature, and loses it's second sound hole, and has more courses of strings (typically 7, but sometimes more). The availability of Yew wood that followed the adoption of the musket (which replaced the longbow) led to an increase in quantity of lutes and thus an increase of their popularity.

The lute has enough punch to rise above the ambient noise of a crowd, which would have been necessary for the intervals on the Elizabethan stage. The Renaissance lute, in particular, is louder and has a greater range than the medieval lute. A golden age of lutes that runs from 1580 to 1620 parallels the golden age of the early modern stage. The strings were made of sheep gut, and so they're not as loud as modern brass or steel strings.

Tuning on the Elizabethan lute seems like it would have been pretty expensive. The rule was to tune the A string until it was just before the point of breaking, and then to tune to the other strings to that. Ouch. The medieval lute is played parallel to the strings, whereas the Renaissance lute is played more like a classical guitar.

Here Siler "beared" himself away to yield the floor.

Laura Feitzinger Brown

Brown focuses on hearing and listening, most particularly in the Tempest, which relies heavily on music and sound to create the world of the play (the isle is full of noises). Brown examines the play in its traditional context of the play as an expression of universal harmony, the new historicist/post colonial approach that examines Prospero as an oppressive ruler, and how through a musical approach you can bring the threads together.

The initial place we see Prospero being "heavy handed and not listening well" is when he overbears Miranda's objections to his summoning of the storm. Her actors show an "early version" of Prospero that is not especially attentive to Miranda, and then Brown offers that we can see other examples of listening being relegated to the role of the inferior. The place of the superior is to speak. Brown also points out that there is a greater spiritual significance at the time placed on hearing rather than seeing, a evidenced by extant sermons: thus the fact that Alonso hears his sins and listens takes on a contemporary spiritual significance.

Brown points out, in her conclusion, that Prospero, in surrendering authority in her epilogue, becomes the listener.

Virginia R. Francisco

Francisco examines performance accompanied by music, opening with a portrait of Henry Unton, who "was an extremely important person," "who was probably a secret agent," and "connected to everybody important," although he did not seem to occupy a high position himself. Francisco is most interested in the right hand side of the portrait, which depicts a masque that was probably for his wedding. You can see Unton and his guests seated at a banquet table, and before them are masquers dancing around the musicians, who are seated in a circle around a table and facing one another. Interestingly, this portrait includes a very early image of a violin in use. Child masquers bear five-minute candle staffs for the masquers and musicians to see by. The use of the lute implies that singing was going to be an important part of the performance because the lute will scarcely be heard in the context of the metal stringed instruments (the violin, the guitar, etc).

For masques away from the court, musicians were often borrowed by the presenter from other houeholds. We have no reason to believe that Unton had any household musicians, although his household inventory demonstrates that he owned a set of viols and lutes. Family connections were important because they would have provided him with a venue for providing musicians as needed. From Leicester, Walsingham, the Dudleys, or even from the local weights. Social dancing, where ladies would have danced with masked members of the audience. The unmasking that followed would have resulted in surprise, whether feigned or not, on behalf of those who had danced with high ranking nobility or royalty.

Lizz Ketterer

Ketterer examines women as a pursued object in musical performance, as opposed to the receiver. This ties music to contemporary courtship ritual, and Ketterer asserts that most scholars who have examined the courtship rituals of the time ignore the impact of music. Courtship gifts are intimate, and take place in intimate places, and one of the ways that a company can use music is "to enact a shift in space" from a public to a private.

Primarily female characters are not musical agents: they neither perform no call for music, but there are some instances when they do. Female characters who do perform musically tend to challenge the bounds of female behavior, and explore the potentially "subversive nature of the female voice." "The connection between speaking and wantonness" in behavioral manuals reinforce the idea of the silent woman, which the role of women as musical agents directly opposes.

Michelle Kristelis

Kristelis' paper deals with music on a more metaphoric level than the other presenters have. Shaw's approach to the music of the work led him to explore Shakespeare's work in the same context of an opera, and approached the texts as if the musical flow was paramount to the proper presentation of the text. Shaw attended an 1895 reading of Pole's reading society, and was impressed by what he had seen. Frustrated with his contemporary actors for their lack of skill in musical analysis, he instructed his actors in musical elevation and terminology to help them hear the music in the line. He was known to lock his actors in rooms and refused to let them out until they had learned the proper inflections of the lines.

While it might seem strange to drill an actor in proper intonation of a line, this is a common practice in the musical world, and Pole saw no difference between the two. He felt that Elizabethan performance could not achieve the true fluidity of Elizabethan dramatic speech until the actors had achieved the musicality of the line, by wrote if necessary. Unlike the "stagey and overdone conventions of the 18th and 19th centuries," Pole's productions were comparatively sparse and text driven, and resulted in an original performance style that captured the minds of Shaw and other audiences of the time.

Well that'll do it for this roundtable, and for the this day of the conference. Things are winding down, but we still have another paper session and discussion about ASC's Globe tomorrow, and of course, the premiere of Shakespeare on Ice later tonight. I'll be back in the wee hours with some impressions from that, but as I have to take some folks to the air port in the morning, I'm going to go home and take a nap, so I'll see ya'll after the show!

Paper Session 10

Dr. Roslyn Knutson just walked into the theatre and, observing the projection screen set up on stage remarked: "Oooh, a powerpoint! Hot diggity!" Welcome back to the Blackfriars conference! I'm joined in the ad hoc tech booth by the self proclaimed "sexy beast" Dan Trombley for paper session 10, which will be the last of today's paper sessions owing to the early performance of The Rehearsal (and the later performance of Shakespeare on Ice).

This will actually be the next to last paper session of the conference, and the titles of some of these presenters are extremely intriguing. Moderating this session will be Amy Cohen, of Randolph College, and if the surname sounds familiar, she is, in fact, the daughter of our Ralph Alan Cohen. Well, they just rang the bell, and Ralph Alan Cohen is welcoming us back, so I guess that means we'll be under way.

Don Weingust: Original Practices: The New England Shakespeare Festival

Weingust reminds us that, if the world of theatre is small, the world of original practices Shakespeare theatre is so small it might be described as incestuous. While the "Shenendoah School" that we practice here at the ASC is one school (characterized by rapid delivery of lines, reconstruction of Renaissance architecture, universal lighting), there are others that are worthy of consideration. Of note are the reconstructed Globe, and Patrick Tucker's Original Shakespeare Company (OSC), and the New England Shakespeare Festival, "perhaps the purest Tucker school in America."

The economic realities of the theatre world has led to some of the original practice techniques these theatres use. The Actors Renaissance Season was, for example began by ASC as a cost-saving measure. Likewise NESF's use of a rehearsal-less process allows them to hire a higher caliber of actor. While they do not undertake full rehearsals of the entire play, they do rehearse fights, dances, etc. Also, they only work from sides or cue scripts. Actor only learn which role they are playing on the day of the show, and as a result, the actors are not required to memorize their parts.

NESF casts almost all of their actors out of New York, where actors are given work shops in original practices methods and textual performance methods. Prompters at NESF are more proactive than at the ASC. They act more like referees than prompters at ASC, and will penalize actors who mis-speak their lines by forcing them to come up with an impromptu song, etc. The actors engage textually focused, non-conceptually driven performances that directly engage audiences in a way similar to the ASC's fast-paced approach.

Weingust argues that NESF has gone farther than any other company today in doing away with the traditional rehearsal process. They have devised highly entertaining and energetic ways of enforcing a close textual performance.

Elizabeth Griffith: A Penny for a "Get-Penny": The Long, Stable Price of Entertainment at Shakespeare's Globe

Over the course of the 48 years of the Globe's life, the cost of admission was maintained at a single penny for basic admission. Despite the cost of inflation and the number of the theatre companies that failed before the general closing of the theatres in 1642, the Globe was able to maintain a very inexpensive baic entry fair throughout its life. Griffith will explore how they were able to do so.

Between 1580 to 1640, prices increased 150% and wages only increased by 50%. While the increase of prices was more responsive to increased demand in goods and good harvests, wages remained tied to a "wage stickiness" that characterizes early modern economies. The enlightened style of management that Burbage initiated was, according to Gurr, the only democratic innovation in an otherwise totalitarian environment.

Price stickiness prevented the raising of the price. one penny may have represented a tradition that the audience expected. they were only one generation a way from the barter economy. In contrast prices at the Blackfriars weere higher and more frequently adjusted, which is reflective of the greater disposable income and removal from the barter economy of their prices.

Second hypothesis: The Globe acted in advertising for the Blackfriars. Plays produced at the Globe were attended by thousands per week, and may have created interest among London's elite in seeing the play in the more elegant playhouse. The Globe could thus be thought of as Advertisement for the Blackfriars.

The Cpany may have had cost advantages that enabled them to keep their costs low. By having a large umber of sharers, they had less fees for hired men. Also, they did not have to pay rent as they were their own landlords. Companies that were members of liveries had advantages over ones that weren't because they could bind apprentices. I see apprentice labor used (and sometimes exploited) all the time in modern theatre, so this makes sense.

The company was longstanding and stable, and that gave it a level of efficiency over newer companies. As inflation deflated the value of the Penny, the King's Men could make it go further.

There may have been other revenues connected to the playhouse. food and drink for example, which we know were served in performances, were another source of income. Tapster's are referenced many times wihtin Shakespeare's canon, as Griffith's actors demonstrate. This may have been a built in product placement for what amounts to a concession stand in the playhouse.

"Finally, some players might have liked playing at the Globe, griffith poits that Blackfrairs audiences were less attentive. Then the bear escorts her off. Oh well, I would have loved to heard more.

Hsiang-chun Chu: Manly Beasts in Julie Taymor's Titus

Chu was supposed to present earlier in the conference, but a late train kept her form presenting. She asserts that Titus' vengeful acts causes the audience to question the morality of the characters. "A desire for revenge gives the characters a license to kill," and excuses them from considering the humanity of the object of their hate. The uniqueness of the film is in Taymor's use of man-like beasts to visualize the underlying baseness of humanity within the context of the play.

Chu first focuses on the rape of Lavinia. It is unstageable and unrepresentable on the stage. Taymor shoots this scene in a high angle shot, framing Lavinia as the object of a bear-baiting, "raped, maimed, and muted by Demetrius and Chiron who continue to circle their victim. Visually, Taylor makes her part of the tree she is chained to, and thus robs her of human likeness. Symbolic images of the rape that appear as flashback later in the play cast Lavinia as a doe and Demetrius and Chiron as two Tigers waiting to pounce on her.

Similarly, Titus hangs Demetrius and Chiron as if they are two pigs being slaughtered in the kitchen scene before they are baked into the meat pie. Taymor presents the scene as a mock trial and as a slaughterhouse all in one. The scene is disturbing in imagery and effect; Demetrius and Chiron have been removed from human moral consideration, and now are regarded with the same moral weight as animals.

And just as Chu is describing the grisly details of the bloodbath at the end of the play, the bear comes on and begs her for scraps.

Miranda Wilson: "I am the Gaoler": Devilish Confusions, False Beards, and the Shifting Stage in John Suckling's The Goblins

Wilson examines the ASC's performance of The Goblins because of the "teasing dramatic uncertainties." Sucklings plays are rarely performed, and thus have suffered. They do not have the same impact that they will whn staged. When performed, they have a "comic viability" and effective theatricality. The Goblins was performed on the original Blackfriars stage, and was seen by both Charles II and Samuel Pepys, so it was well received in the early modern stage.

Suckling challenges theatrical conventions "with relish," and disorients his audiences with "dizzy movement on stage," "unrelenting illusions," and a rapid prace that will undermine audiences conceptions of how a play ought to proceed. Wilson has prepared six scenes from the second act of The Goblins, which her actors will present to us this afternoon that demonstrate rapid costume changes, beards put on and off.

ASC actors perform these scenes, and Wilson is certainly right. The scene and changes are every bit as fast paced and fragmentary as I've seen in modern musical theatre pieces (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, for example), and as much confusion as a restoration comedy. Of a sudden, there are twice as many actors as there were on stage a moment before.

Suckling attached himself to the Blackfriars on many levels, and the play seems to have been written to take advantage of the space. Wilson's actors have demonstrated how they may have done so. It is fairly easy to see why it doesn't have nearly the same impact on the page as it does on the stage.

And then enters the bear in the guise of one of the devils that had just been on stage in The Goblins, and Wilson retired the stage.

Annalisa Castaldo: "We'll yoke together, like a double shadow": bringing Together Editing Theory and Original Staging Practices

Modern scholars have a tendency to stress the works of Shakespeare as performance texts, and remind the readers that a reading of them will need to take performance conditions into account. Modern editors, however, fail to take into account the original staging practices, and base their assumptions on what actors using modern practices will learn from the text.

Different staging conditions will lead to different discoveries, and editors fail to take this into account along side their comparisons to folio and quarto texts. Thus several questions of performance are either misrepresented or unresolved within the text. She offers te example of The Taming of the Shrew and the presence of Christopher Sly. Editors only discuss original staging practices to dismiss them, and ground their arguments in textual faults created by publishers to arrive at widely differering conclusions.

Literary concerns do not consider the realities of staging the play in the early 1590s, and thus a key element of the framed story is ignored. OP allows us to consider what would have physically and literally possible within the context of what would have traditionally been done. Given that Shakespeare *textually* expects 15 actors to be on stage together, it seems extremely unlikely that, even in an early stage in his career, he would have been so oblivious to staging practices to ask for two more actors on stage to play Sly and his "wife," especially considering that no other scene of the play requires more than 9 actors. A Taming of a Shrew, on the other hand, re-orchestrates the final scene so that fewer actors are present simultaneously, and quick changes are not necessary in order for the actors in the Sly plot to remain present.

Matthieu Chapman: The Appearance of the Negroid Races

It is commonly thought that Black roles in early modern times were played by white actors in blackface, but Chapman finds evidence for Blacks performing on the early modern stage. Black musicians were known to play at court in the late 1500s, and while there are no official proclamations prohibiting Black actors appearing in the playhouses, modern scholars tend to dismiss the posibility.

Part of the problem in tracking the presence of Black performers in early modern London is the variety of terms that were common for describing them ("moors," "blackamoors," etc). The casting records of early modern London do not prohibit Black actors on the stage; many of the roles are for Black characters, and while the roles for hired men do not specify names of actors, there is only evidence for two white men playing Black actors, and scholars have inexplicably applied this number to all Black roles.

While there may be few named Back characters in the Shakespeare canon, this does not take into account hired men roles, such as Morocoo's attendants in Merchant of Venice, or the Black musicians in Loves Labor's Lost. These examples, coupled with many other Black characters that do not sing or speak, offered the opportunity for these role to be filled by untrained actors that did not necessarily have the ability to speak English to the stage. Chapman finds no reason to assume that these roles were not filled by Black actors, especially when they could have been obtained cheaply as slaves or servants.

Indeed, economics were a constant concern for theatre companies, and "using blackfaced white actors to fill any of these roles does not make economic sense." It would cost a company 50% more to use white actors in blackface than it would to use Black actors for those roles. A larger potential cost to the playing companies comes from the blackface makeup's propensity for smearing and staining their most expensive assets: their costumes.

Danise A Walen: Erasing Juliet

Scholars have argued that Shakepeare's plays have been cut from production, and put forth that plays were expanded for publication, or that published versions represented an expanded or idealized form of the play script, which would be invariably cut for performance. Plays tended to average about 2500 lines, which are performable within the two hour approximation that Shakespeare offers in Romeo and Juliet, but Shakespeare's texts were considerably longer.

However, when examining the Q1 of Romeo and Juliet as a cut script for touring in the provinces, Walen finds several disturbing implications for the role of Juliet. She seems to be more emotionally competent than Romeo, takes risks more daring than Romeo, and yet loses nearly 40% of her lines in Q1 (compared to Q2). her deathbed soliloquy is slashed from 44 lines down to 18, for example. The ASC's Victoria Renzel demonstrates the differences between these two monologues for us. The effect is, indeed, both striking and disturbing.

As Walen points out, Juliet loses her emotional and sexual energy, and the character is reduced to a plot device lacking dramatic interest. This is clearly more in keeping with later Victorian sensibilities that carried int the 19th century. Many of these cuts have a tendency to continue to be made for a variety of reasons, which include directors lacking confidence in their actresses, wanting to shift more weight and importance to Romeo, and perhaps a discomfort with Shakespeare's honest portrayal of a young woman in love.

Wow. That was another very meaty session, and if I was able to type any faster, I would have peppered you with even more points that these presenter have offered. I'm going to try to get over to Masonic Red for a session in Shakespeares music now, so with any luck I'll be back later with a follow up on that.

Keynote: Andrew Gurr: The Economics of the 1613 Decision

Something that Professor Cohen had impressed on us all going into this conference was that the Blackfriars itself wouldn't be here without Andy Gurr. Agree or disagree with his concept of a duopoly between The Chamberlain's Men and the Admiral's Men, I don't think there's anyone here that would argue that The Shakespearean Stage has been the cornerstone of Elizabethan scholarship for at least the last 40 years. Dr. Gurr's keynote this morning is, without a doubt, the highlight of this conference.

Ralph Alan Cohen introduces Gurr by pointing out that tomorrow is St. Crispin's Day, and that he was tempted to ask Dr. Gurr to read the speech from Henry V. Gurr, Cohen is confident, would have invariably said yes. It was Gurr's propensity for saying yes that was responsible for the reconstruction of The Globe, and and for the ASC Blackfriar's Theatre that we are all sitting in now.

After thanking Cohen and Mary Baldwin College for inviting him to the conference, Gurr begins by clarifying that he will not be talking about Sheakespeare's Trousers this morning (drat!), but rather the economics behind the decision to build the second Globe in 1613 (the second Globe would not be completed until 1614). For those who don't know, the original Globe theatre was built with a thatched roof to save money, and during a performance of Henrey VIII, the thatches caught fire, and the buildin burned down. The Globe was rebuilt at great cost, leading many to accuse the King's Men of making a poor economic decision out of a sense of sentimentality. The King' Men had a second, more profitable indoor playhouse, after all (the Blackfriars), and thus the decision to rebuild the Globe "was unnecessary."

"We know that at least two of the housekeepers declined to pay their share," so the decision to rebuild the Globe was not universal among the sharers. Shakespeare himself decided to opt out of taking part in the reconstruction of the Globe. Gurr puts forward that this was an emberassing time for Shakespeare as he had just bought a share in the Blackfriars gatehouse. We know from Shakespeare's will that he bequeathed no shares in either the Globe or the Blackfriars playhouses, and thus we can assume that he divested himself of his shares in the theatres. Gurr states that it is a reasonable assumption that it must have been when the sharers were being asked to put forward significant sums of money for the reconstruction of the Globe that Shakespeare walked away from the investment.

Why then, did the majority of the company members rebuild the Globe? Gurr points out that, by 1609, there had been a ban on all city inns, including the Bell and the Crosskeys (the former houses of the Queen's Men), for playing purposes, and thus the King's Men (and other playing companies) had to play a winter season in an outdoor theatre. Clearly this was an unfavorable circumstance, and had led to the securing of the Blackfriars.

Edward Alleyn's endowment of Dulwich College cost in the neighborhood of 10,000 pounds, "which was a phenomnal sum of money in Jacobean terms." Burbage, on the other hand, was used to thinking in much smaller economic terms, and yet he saw it necessary to raise the 1000 pounds necessary for the construction of the 1614 Globe.

Being a housekeeper was not the same as being a sharer in the company, and Gurr cites evidence of buildings adjacent to the original Globe that burned down in the fire that also had an economic value to the house sharers. Burbage, Hemmings, and Condel were all accommodating men, and formed a "leading group of the fellowship" to rebuild the Globe. Shakespeare was the only original housekeeper that opted not to rebuild the Globe, and Gurr attempts to explain his decision, "apart from his chronic penny pinching," in the context of Shakespeare's first joining of the Chamberlain's Men.

Gurr challenges the notion that Shakespeare primarily wanted to see his play published, and cites evidence of the variety of cuts and emendations made to the texts in print. "Retirement, dare I say" was a motivation for choosing not to reinvest in the new Globe. Gurr marks this as the moment where he marked his retirement from the London theatre scene, and notes that he probably viewed the Blackfriars Gatehouse as the only properly he needed in London. He paid 180 pounds out of pocket for it, and when a few weeks later Hemmings, Condel, Lowen, and Burbage came to him for money to rebuild the Globe, it must have seemed a painful request given the recent expenditure that he had recently incurred.

Hemmings, Condell, Burbage, and Lowen invested in the second Globe for reasons of continuity of their company, which Gurr says is more like a fellowship. There was something unique about this group of individuals, and they no doubt found something in working with each other that they were fairly certain they would not find with another company. "Hemmings, Burbage, and Condell were brought up in the populist tradition" as well, and saw an appeal to performing in a playhouse that was designed for a more inclusive audience. Leaving one playhouse empty for half of the year was an extravagance, and not explainable by economics alone.

There are signs of sentimentality in the choice to rebuild the Globe using the same materials as it was originally built with. When the Fortune burned down in 1621, it was rebuilt with brick, and building codes were beginning to form at the time that asked for more durable material construction. While they did replace the thatched roof of the first Globe with tiles the second time around (which was only natural as that was directly responsible for the fire), Gurr concludes that the decision to build the theatre in almost exactly the same fashion and in the same place as the first is further evidence of the sentimantality that must have been at play in the reconstruction.

The Blackfriars space is much smaller than the Globe, and thus there was a practical consideration for the reconstruction of the Globe. Gurr points out that the ASC Blackfriars is actually larger than Shakespeare because the stools on stage would have to be roughly 3' further on stage to account for the rapiers that every fashionable lord would have worn. There were also economic reasons for the Globe. In a summer season that Gurr cites, the Globe had an intake of 78 pounds, and the Blackfriars had an intake of 48 for its comparable winter season. Of course, the seats in the Blackfriars were more expensive, and had they played at the Blackfriars in the summer, their intake their would have been much higher; thus the economic reasons cannot alone justify the expense of building a second Globe.

We must conceive of the decision of the housekeepers to rebuild the Globe as a primarily sentimental one. "To rebuild the Globe was affirmation of an old tradition," "and perhaps we ourselves now should think about whether we want to ally ourselves with that sense of traditionalism" in getting the Globe in London to build its own Blackfriars Playhouse and getting the ASC to build its own Globe, concludes Gurr.

I, for one, didn't get into this business for the money, and have always felt that you don't invest in art for a monetary return. It's hard for me to close my eyes to the worst economy we've seen in 80 years, but if the Globe was "so old fashioned by 1613," and it didn't make good monetary sense to rebuild it, but the King's Men, 400 years ago, saw value in the continuity of rebuilding their original theatre, maybe we should have a little bit more confidence in our own cultural, and yes, emotional investment.

To conclude, Professor Cohen reminds us that there will be a series of conversations tomorrow morning which will investigate the ASC's process of constructing their own Globe Playhouse.

So there we have Andy Gurr's keynote, which was admittedly familiar to me from his writing, but it was exciting to hear it from the legend himself. We'll break for lunch now and be back after 2:15 with a report from paper session 10.