Friday, 22 June 2018

22 June, 1594 - Belin Dun

Here's what the Admiral's Men performed at the Rose playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...

Henslowe writes: ye 20 of June 1594 ... R at bellendon ... xxxs

In modern English: 22nd June, 1594 ... Received at Belin Dun ... 30 shillings.

A highwayman portrayed in Richard
Head's The English Rogue (1666)
Today, the Admiral's Men performed Belin Dun, their lost play about the notorious robber who terrorized the Dunstable area during the reign of King Henry I; you can read more about this play in the entry for 10 June.

Belin Dun was still a relatively new play, and the previous performance had drawn a huge crowd to the Rose just four days ago. The company was clearly hoping they had a new blockbuster on their hands, but today's receipts were merely average for the Rose, showing a swift decline in interest.

What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow because 23 June was a Sunday in 1594 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on 24 June for a week that will include one new play among the familiar ones.

Henslowe links



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Thursday, 21 June 2018

21 June, 1594 - The Massacre at Paris

Here's what the Admiral's Men performed at the Rose playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...

Henslowe writes: ye 19 of June 1594 ... R at the Gwies ... liiijs

In modern English: 21st June, 1594 ... Received at The Guise ... 54 shillings.

Henri, Duke of Guise, the villain of the play. 
Well, here's a blast from the past! Today, the Admiral's Men performed The Guise, which was presumably the same Tragedy of the Guise that Lord Strange's Men had performed at the Rose back in January of last year.

This play was written by Christopher Marlowe and survives today under the title The Massacre at Paris. It tells the story of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 16th century Paris, and focuses on the plotting of the evil Duke of Guise, hence its alternative name. You can read more about it in the entry for 26 January, 1593.

Lord Strange's Men had been able to perform this play only once in London before the theatres were closed due to plague.  Since then, that company had disbanded and its star, Edward Alleyn, had joined the Admiral's Men. Presumably it was Alleyn who took the text of the play with him to his new company. He must have recognized its potential from its solitary performance.

The Guise received very good box office, representing an almost full theatre. The company may have been hoping that it would prove as big a hit as their other Marlowe play, The Jew of Malta.

Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

20 June, 1594 - The Ranger's Comedy

Here's what the Admiral's Men performed at the Rose playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...

Henslowe writes: ye 18 of June 1594 ... R at the Rangers comodey ... xxijs

In modern English: 20th June, 1594 ... Received at The Ranger's Comedy ... 22 shillings.

An Elizabethan hunting scene; one
of the possible subjects of The
Ranger's Comedy
Today, the Admiral's Men revived their lost play The Ranger's Comedy. We do not know what this play was about, as the word could refer to a gamekeeper, a rake, a wanderer, or an organizer of troops. You can read more about it in the entry for 2 April.

The Ranger's Comedy had last been performed at the Rose back in May. It had produced only average box office then, and today it was well below that, showing a clear decline in popularity.

Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

19 June, 1594 - Cutlack

Here's what the Admiral's Men performed at the Rose playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...

Henslowe writes: ye 17 of June 1594 ... R at cutlacke ... xxxvs

In modern English: 19th June, 1594 ... Received at Cutlack ... 35 shillings.

Illustration of Belinus (or Brennius, it's not clear)
from Holinshed's Chronicles (1577)
Today, as the the Admiral's Men settled back into the Rose playhouse, they revived Cutlack, a play about a bombastic Danish king and his intervention in the civil war between Brennius and Belinus in ancient Britain. You can read more about this play in the entry for 16 May, 1594.

Yesterday, the company had attracted a packed theatre for their first play at the Rose. But today's performance produced only an average-sized crowd with a half-full theatre. The public's appetite for theatre at the Rose appears to have returned to normal very rapidly.


Henslowe links



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Sunday, 17 June 2018

17 June, 1594 - Belin Dun

Here's what the Admiral's Men performed at the Rose playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...

Henslowe writes: ye 15 of June 1594 ... R at bellendon ... iijll and iiijs

In modern English: 17th June, 1594 ... Received at Belin Dun ... £3 and 4 shillings.

A highwayman portrayed in Richard
Head's The English Rogue (1666)
Today, a new era has begun for Henslowe! The Admiral's Men have returned to the Rose playhouse on the south bank of the Thames, following their brief and mysterious stint at the theatre in Newington. And they're about to begin a lengthy period of stability, with few of the hiatuses and disruptions that we've seen over the previous years.

The Admiral's Men celebrated their return today with a performance of Belin Dun, a lost play about the notorious robber who terrorized the Dunstable area during the reign of King Henry I; you can read more about this play in the entry for 10 June.

The Admiral's Men had premiered Belin Dun at Newington last week. It did not appear to have special interest there, but its performance today at the Rose was a great success, drawing a huge audience. Presumably Belin Dun was a new play to most of the spectators at the Rose, who would not have trekked out to Newington to see it last week. But whether they were excited to see Belin Dun, or just to see any theatre at the Rose at all after its lengthy closures, we do not know.

What's next?


Henslowe's dates are confusing for this period. I am going to assume that tomorrow's entry is either missing or the players did not perform for some reason. So, Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will return on 19 June. See you then!

Henslowe links



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Friday, 15 June 2018

15 June, 1594 - The Jew of Malta

Here's what the Admiral's Men and/or the Chamberlain's Men performed at the Newington Butts playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...

Henslowe writes: ye 13 of June 1594 ... R at the Jewe ... iiijs

In modern English: 15th June, 1594 ... Received at The Jew ... 4 shillings

Caravaggio's portrait of the Grand
Master of the Knights of Malta,
1607-8.
Today, for their final performance at Newington Butts, the players performed once again The Jew of Malta, Christopher Marlowe's satirical comic tragedy; you can read more about this play in the blog entry for 26th February 1592.

The Jew of Malta has been one of the most reliably popular plays at the Rose, but today it received only 4 shillings, by far the lowest of Henslowe's receipts at Newington Butts. As always, we cannot be sure what the box office figures at this theatre mean, but it looks as though they left Newington with a whimper rather than a bang


What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow because 16 June was a Sunday in 1594 and the players did not perform. But that does not mean the players were idle, for a huge change was underway.

For the past week, two playing companies have been sharing a theatre at Newington for reasons unknown. But in the next entry, all will be different. The companies will have separated, with the Chamberlain's Men heading off to the Theatre in north London, while the Admiral's Men return to the Rose. For Henslowe, this will be a return to normality and stability again.

Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on 17th June for a week that will see some familiar plays back in heart of London. See you then!

Henslowe links



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Thursday, 14 June 2018

14 June, 1594 - Titus Andronicus

Here's what the Admiral's Men and/or the Chamberlain's Men performed at the Newington Butts playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...

Henslowe writes: ye 12 of June 1594 ... R at andronicous ... vijs

In modern English: 14th June, 1594 ... Received at Andronicus ... 7 shillings.


Titus and Lavinia kill Tamora's sons: illustration
from the Pepys Collection's copy of a ballad
of Titus Andronicus (1680s)
Today, the players at Newington Butts revived again Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare's violent tragedy about a cycle of vengeance in ancient Rome. You can read more about this play in the entry for 24 January.

The companies have waited only a week before reviving Titus, suggesting that they see it as a good bet. But the box office is lower than last time, and indeed among the lower of the receipts at this season at Newington. Titus may not be the crowd-puller that they had hoped.

Henslowe links



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