Shakespeare at the Globe, 1599-1609

By Bernard Beckerman | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
THE STYLE

THE CONCLUSIONS which I have drawn in this essay apply only to production at the Globe playhouse from 1599 to 1609. From them it is clear that the staging of the plays was influenced less by the structure of the stage than we have hitherto thought. When William Poel undertook to demonstrate how a knowledge of the use of an Elizabethan stage is conducive to a proper appreciation of Elizabethan plays, he embarked upon a necessary and salutary crusade. Almost every recent Shakespearean production attests to its success. However, the effect of his campaign has led to an overemphasis upon the importance of Elizabethan stage structure to production. Such studies as those of V. E. Albright, J. C. Adams, G. F. Reynolds, and Ronald Watkins are based on the assumption that the stage structure and its machinery played the decisive role in the presentation of an Elizabethan drama. This premise is not supported by the evidence. Certainly the basic form of the stage affected both the structure of the plays and the manner in which they were produced. The large platform and formal façade determined the fundamental conditions of production. But the actual production of a drama relied upon specific parts of this stage much less than we have thought. Style in staging was inherent in the dramatic form, not the stage structure.

The style of acting at the Globe played as much a part in the shaping of production as the stage structure itself. But Elizabethan acting lacked both the histrionic traditions and the fertile conditions for the development of a self-perpetuating style. Instead, the actor, endowed with a keen tongue, an agile

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Shakespeare at the Globe, 1599-1609
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chapter One - The Repertory 1
  • Chapter Two - The Dramaturgy 24
  • Chapter Three - The Stage 63
  • Chapter Four - The Acting 109
  • Chapter Five - The Staging 157
  • Chapter Six - The Style 214
  • Appendix A 217
  • Appendix B 220
  • Appendix C 226
  • Notes 232
  • Index to the Globe Plays 245
  • General Index 248
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