Friday, December 31, 2010

Notes on "Casting Shakespeare's Plays" - Chapter 3

"Two manuscript playbooks and thirteen early printed texts identify the men and boys who act the principal roles in each play. Seven of these plays were first performed by Shakespeare's company, the King's Men, between 1619 and 1631, and eight were first acted by other London companies between 1625 and 1636" (50).

From the extant playbooks (manuscript and print) of the period, in no instance do all of the company sharers perform in the same play, and hired men, who were paid a weekly wage, play some lesser principal parts, and almost all of the smaller ones (50).

The manuscript to Arthur Wilson's The Swisser is carefully prepared, but shows no signs of playhouse use, which may indicate that it was prepared for the press (60). While there seems to have not been much of a standard practice in what sort of text was sent from the playhouse to the printshop, William Proctor Williams has asserted that the printshop would have insisted on fair copy for the very good reason that printshops were in the business of printing books, not of deciphering foul papers. That said, it is also possible that the manuscript was simply prepared as a manuscript book; the printshop was not the destination of all fair copy.

The briefest time allowed for a change occurs in The Duchess of Malfi, when only 246 lines pass between the exit of a Madam in 4.2 and the entrance of Delio in 5.1; both roles were played by Underwood (77).

No comments:

Post a Comment