What were other terms for the English Renaissance?
Early Modern England & Elizabethan
Utopia by Thomas Moore
A political Romance explaining an ideal country
Brief dramatic entertainments written and stage by professionals. Presented at court and in the homes of nobility.
Plays written at Universities, presented at schools and colleges. Reflected Roman and Greek influence. Incorporated Medieval techniques as well.
Wrote scripts for boys companies. Ex. Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, John Lyly, and Robert Greene.
Solely used private theatres for a long time. Generally in the 8-12 years old range because their voices haven’t broken yet. Played all of the different parts in a play.
Wrote Dr. Faustus (a literary rejection of catholicism) (a product of humanism). Developed dramatic poetry. Used Iambic Pentameter. Used the theme of good vs. bad. Perfected the chronicle play. Government agent. University educated.
Five beats to a line.
A history play that emphasizes important public issues.
Took the established elemnents of senecan devices, episodic plot structure, the platform stage, powerful dramatic verse, and stories from english/roman history & roman drama & italian literature to create his plays. HE WAS REAL (all mr. fonte had to say on the matter, repeatedly). Spent many years in London as an actor in an acting company. Married Anne Hathaway. Was a part of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (The Kings Men) as their playwright. He was a part theatre owner and shareholder in this group. Had a classical education.
Why were Elizabethan playwrights expected to produce plays so quickly?
The different acting groups would do different shows a week and depending on how well an audience would react to a show would repeat that show.
What did elizabethan writers take from previous theatrical periods?
Borrow italian renaissance plotlines. Used the episodic plotline from medieval drama.
A popular way to have long drawn out speeches in plays.
How did Elizabethan writers not follow previous theatrical periods?
Didn’t follow the 3 unities. Had violence onstage. Had supernatural characters onstage. Used a neutral platform.
What social classes were used in certain plays?
While there were some overlaps, mostly royal & noble class characters were in tragedies while lower class characters were in comedies.
Did playwrights ever supervise the publishing of their own plays?
No, except for Ben Jonson.
What was Henslowe’s Diary?
The detailed accounts of the business side of a theatre in the Elizabethan period. Didn’t have details on the props and stage though, just the money accounts. Was for the Rose theatre.
What was the Red Lion?
A theatre owned by James Burbage. An outdoor playhouse.
What was the Globe?
Constructed in 1599 by James Burbage’s sons (Richard and Cuthbart Burbage). Was created for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
Where were public theatres built?
Outside the city limits. The church fathers forbade theatre on moral grounds.
What kind of seating was in public theatres?
Pit, galleries, and boxes.
What was the yard?
In a public theatre was the standing room in front of the stage. The people who stood here were of the lower class and refered to as groundlings.
The stage house behind the raised platform. The first level which was behind the stage would have door. The second level would have a balcony (think Romeo and Juliet). The third level was where the musicians were. The roof above would protect the stage and was called the heavens because of the way it was painted. The entire tiring house front was painted so it was a constant scenic background for the shows.
Lit by candles and high windows. Open to the general populace, but only higher class people could afford the tickets. Used by the boys companies.
The first of the private theatres. Built in 1576.
What was the dilemma with the second Black Friars theatre built?
James Burbage built it in 1596 and it was a private theatre. Wasn’t allowed to have his adult company have a show in it because neighbors were concerned it would attract a bad crowd. Then the King’s Men began to use it.
Charles I reigned from 1625-1642 and this is what it was labeled as
James I reigned from 1603-1625 and this is what it was labeled as
Since the shows were so quick and didn’t have a lot of set dressing, the actors would describe the scenes with their speeches.
What were the costumes like?
Mostly contemporary English fashion. Some traditional clothing was worn to show antiquity, folk heroes, racial groups, or supernatural creatures.
Legal Restrictions under Queen Elizabeth
1. All plays and companies must be licensed by the Master of Revels (a royal official).
2. All troupes must be sponsored by someone whose rank is no less than baron.
3. The number of acting companies is restricted.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men
Shakespeare wrote most of the plays for this company. Richard Burbage was a part of this company. Originally under Henry Carey. In 1603, put under the protection of James I and then called The Kings Men. Played at the Globe theatre in the summer.
Lord Admiral’s Men
Sponsored by Phillip Henslowe and Edward Alleyn. Played at the Rose theatre. The group Henslowe’s Diary is based off of.
Actors given part ownership in the theatre they played in to give incentive to stay with the company.
Elizabethan Acting Companies
3 Categories: Shareholders, Hired Men/Hirelings, and apprentices. Usually had 25 people. The actors would triple or double on roles. Performance schedule was rigorous.
The men who were hired per show and worked behind the scenes.
Actors and playwrights who own a share in the acting company
Lowest on the totem pole, would play female parts
Actors had their individual lines and cues for each show so that they could refer to them without reading the whole play and having the whole script.
Outlines of the dramatic action of the various plays. Would be posted backstage so actors could refresh what they were supposed to do.
Who would run the rehearsals?
The playwright or the leading actor
How long were the shows and why?
They would be 2-3 hours. No intermissions and the actors would speak quickly.
Played the lead in many Shakespeare shows.
Why were women not a part of acting companies?
Since medieval times had no women actresses, kept with this tradition. Also, for religious reasons (female actors were seen as little better than whores).
Wrote Volpone. Known for his comedy of homours which was when one character had an excess of one trait (or humour). Adhered to neoclassicism drama, but didn’t strictly follow it. Supervised his dramas printing. Created the first portfolio of a completed works of Shakespeare. Wrote Isle of the Dogs, which landed him/the actors/anyone involved with the play in jail. After that theatre was banned for awhile. Prominent in court when James I was on power. Wrote poetry. Wrote masques, which is why he was a favorite in the court. Didn’t graduate from university, but was an erudite.
Wrote the Duchess of Malfi. His work showcased the pessimism of that age.
Beaumont and Fletcher
Collaborated and wrote a lot together. Wrote tragedies with happy endings. When they stopped collaborating Fletcher went off and took over writing for the Kings Men when Shakespeare retired.
An elaborate entertainment presented at court. A masque was usually created to honor a king or member of the royal family.
Court architect and designer for James I and Charles I. His designs were influenced by Parigi and Palladio. Collaborated with Ben Jonson. When he fought with Jonson, Jonson lost favor with the court. Used revolving platforms to have “magical” scene changes. When political struggles occurred in 1640, Jonson began to design field arms and armors.
Types of Plays
1. Tragedies – Based on Seneca , usually bloody, ghosts, curses, use 5 act structure, and had a chorus of 1 person.
3. Romantic Comedy – Example: As You Like It
4. City Comedy – Habits of society in the city.
5. Revenge Tragedy – Example: Hamlet
6. Villain Tragedy – Example: Macbeth, Richard III
7. History Play – English History
Actually getting paid for what they do. Commercial, professional, worldy concerns placed outside city walls.
What were some of the characteristics of the english renaissance dramas?
1. Mixed Tone – Mixed Drama
2. Complexity and Multiplicity of plots – Subplots
3. Large Casts
4. Interest in Moral Concerns
5. Characters from different groups in society
6. Symbolic and Allegorical characters
7. Varied Language (Ex. Iambic Pentameter)
8. Early point of attack (story starts at the beginning instead of the middle)
Why did miracle, mystery, and passion plays die out?
They were too catholic.
Set up when needed. Was used in private castles. Would have a front curtain, changing rooms, and wings.
Original drawing by visiting Dutchman Johannes de Witt.
Built in 1595. Located south of city boundaries. Public theatre. Where Isle of the Dogs premiered.
Built in 1587 by Phillip Henslowe. Public theatre. There was a ring of hazelnut shells outside of the theatre. Lord Admiral’s men played here. Did Henslowe’s diary after this.
Reveal something onstage.
Some of the theatres would have this in their arena standing area of the theatre.
Other Public Theatres
fortune theatre, curtain theatre, the theatre, the hope theatre, the redbull theatre
Other Relevant Theatres
red lion, salisbury court, whitefriars, the boars head, phoenix