On Stage: A History of Theatre

By Vera Mowry Roberts | Go to book overview

10
THE RESTORATION IN ENGLAND

The Puritan Revolution was fought not only against the King, but also against theatre; but the theatre was never so finally and roundly defeated as the King. The skirmishes and battles were equally protracted and bitter, but the growth of the Elizabethan--Jacobean drama was so hardy and so dear to so many Englishmen that it never completely died. Ordinance after ordinance was passed against stage plays, but there was hardly a year in London from 1842 to 1660 when plays were not being given. The records are full of recurrent raids by the soldiers of Parliament, the seizure of players and their goods, the ransacking of playhouses and their forcible demolition, and the jailing of theatre people. But these very records show that the Puritans had not succeeded in destroying theatrical activity.

It is true that dramatic activities were illegal; players were once more branded rogues and vagabonds, as well as suffering the much more serious charge of infamy. But incarcerations, floggings, and brandings had no lasting effects. There were always those of the King's party to be played for, always a sizable segment of the population willing to risk inconvenience and prosecution to enjoy theatre. The King's Players had gone with the King to Oxford; other English actors formed the English Company for the Prince of Wales in Paris; others played the English provinces; still others toured the Continent, particularly in Germany and the Netherlands. Some remained in London, to play when and where they could. Parliament was con-

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On Stage: A History of Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - The Ever-Present Beginnings 1
  • 2 - Drama in Ancient Egypt 15
  • 3 - The Golden Age of Greece 21
  • 4 - Imitations and Innovations of the Romans 55
  • 5 - Theatre in the Middle Ages 78
  • 6 - Renaissance Theatre in Italy, France, and Germany 106
  • 7 - Shakespeare and the Elizabethans 134
  • 8 - Spanish Theatre in the Renaissance 172
  • 9 - The Golden Days in France 197
  • 10 - The Restoration in England 228
  • 11 - Developments in England and America 251
  • 12 - Cross-Currents in Continental Theatre 286
  • 13 - Oriental Theatre 320
  • 14 - European Romanticism 347
  • 15 - Commercial Theatre in England and America 378
  • 16 - Theatre's Great Revolution 409
  • 17 - Theatre Today 440
  • 18 - Summing Up 489
  • Glossary of Terms 506
  • Bibliography 509
  • Index 519
  • Index 527
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