The Shaksperian Stage

The Shaksperian Stage

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The Shaksperian Stage

The Shaksperian Stage

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Excerpt

This study is an investigation of the structure of a typical stage and of the general method of play-production in the Elizabethan period. The materials which have been used are mainly of four kinds: 1. Contemporary statements and records bearing on the stage. 2. Four drawings which have usually been considered as presentments of interiors of Shaksperian theaters. 3. Pre-Elizabethan and Restoration stage conditions. 4. The Elizabethan drama.

The first consists mainly of the contracts for constructing the Fortune and Hope theaters, and of Henslowe Diary. The Fortune contract gives us considerable information about the main building, but unfortunately almost nothing about the more important features of the stage. We are told that the stage was forty-three feet wide, extended to the middle of the yard, was partly covered by a "shadow," was paled "with goode stronge and sufficyent new oken boardes," and contained posts which were "square and wrought palaster-wise, with carved proportions called Satiers, to be placed and sett on the topp of every of the same postes." We are thankful for thus much information, but we cannot reconstruct a stage from it; we must first be able to understand all that is implied in the sentence, "And the said stadge to be in all other proportions contryved and fashioned like unto the stadge of the saide Playhouse called the Globe." The same indefiniteness and disappointment are met in the Hope contract.

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