Thursday, 27 June 2019

27 June, 1595 - the closure of the Rose

A student's lamentation, that hath
sometime been in London as an
apprentice, for the rebellious tumults
lately in the City happening, for
which five have suffered death on
Thursday the 24 of July last
(1595)
Today, performances ceased at the Rose playhouse. We do not know why, but there is no evidence of a plague outbreak, so it seems more likely that the authorities may have been responding to the recent outbreaks of violence in London over the summer. While theatre might seem unrelated to riots over food prices, the authorities were wary of any kind of gathering of large crowds, and may have ordered the theatres closed as a precaution.

Cast out of their home, the Lord Admiral's Men had to return to their old habit of touring their plays around England instead. We do not know much about their activities during this time, but there are records of them performing in Maidstone and Bath until they return in August.

Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will return on 25th August. See you then!


FURTHER READING

 

Theatre closure information

 

  • Carol Chillington Rutter, Documents of the Rose Playhouse (Manchester University Press, 1984), 92-3.

 

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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

26 June, 1595 - The Second Part of Caesar

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

Henslowe writes: ye 26 of June 1595 ... R at the 2 pte of seaser ... xxs 

In modern English: 26th June, 1595 ... Received at The Second Part of Caesar ... 20 shillings.


Mark Antony displaying
the body of Caesar, from
Nicholas Rowe's 1709 edition
of Shakespeare
Today, the Admiral's Men followed up their performance of The First Part of Caesar yesterday with their new Second Part, which probably told of the assassination of Julius Caesar. You can read more about this play in the entry for 18 June.

But this is a disaster. The decision to turn the company's old Caesar play into a two-parter has attracted only a small audience. A huge amount of effort has won the company very little. They must be very disappointed.

Indeed, they will never perform either play again. But one reason may be an interruption that will begin tomorrow, when performances at the Rose will come to an unexpected halt. Tune in tomorrow to find out why!

Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

25 June, 1595 - Caesar and Pompey


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

Henslowe writes: ye 25 of June 1595 ... R at the j pte of seaser ... xxijs 

In modern English: 25th June, 1595 ... Received at The First Part of Caesar ... 22 shillings


Detail from Caesar Contemplating
the Head of Pompey
by Tiepolo (1746)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Caesar and Pompey after a three-month absence from the stage, but have now retitled it The First Part of Caesar in order to form a two-part play with the sequel that they premiered last week. This part probably dramatized the civil war that erupted in Ancient Rome between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great. You can read more about it in the entry for 8th November, 1594.

It seems like a great idea: take an old play, give it a sequel, and turn them into a two-parter to excite the public. However, today's box office for the revamped 'Part One' is not impressive, and the company will never perform it again. Farewell, Caesar and Pompey!


Henslowe links



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Monday, 24 June 2019

24 June, 1595 - The French Comedy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 24 of June mydsomerdaye ...  R at the frenshecomodeye ... xxxs 

In modern English: 24th June, Midsummer's Day ... Received at The French Comedy ... 30 shillings.

French commedia dell'arte performers,
from a 17th-century engraving by Jacques Callot
Today was Midsummer's Day, a public holiday and a time of late-night bonfires and celebration! On this day, the Admiral's Men chose to perform, for the last time, The French Comedy, a lost play about which we know almost nothing. You can read more about it in the entry for February 11 

The French Comedy is one of those plays that the company has never performed at frequent intervals, and has never done particularly well. Today, on a public holiday, it has filled only half the theatre, which is not impressive at all. Perhaps this was the final nail in its coffin, as this is its last recorded performance in Henslowe's Diary.

Henslowe links



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Sunday, 23 June 2019

23 June, 1595 - The Seven Days of the Week

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

Henslowe writes: ye 23 of June ... R at the vij dayes of the wecke ... 
iijvs  
In modern English: 23rd June, 1595 ... Received at The 7 Days of the Week ... 
£3 and 5 shillings

Today, the Admiral's Men revived their enigmatic lost play The Seven Days of the Week, about which we know nothing beyond its title. Perhaps it was an anthology of seven short plays, or perhaps it was about the creation of the world. You can read more about it in the entry for 3rd June.


19th-century Italian bracelet illustrating each of the seven days of
the week with a portrait of the deity associated with it.
From the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Wow! The Seven Days of the Week really is a hit. No matter whether it is performed on a public holiday or on an ordinary day, it always seems to fill the theatre. If only we knew what it was actually about!


Henslowe links



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Friday, 21 June 2019

21 June, 1595 - A Knack to Know an Honest Man

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

Henslowe writes: ye 21 of June ... R at the knacke ... xiijs
In modern English: 21st June ... Received at The Knack ... 13 shillings

Two  Young Venetian Men (anon., 1515)
Today, the Admiral's Men revived A Knack to Know an Honest Man, their comical moral romance set in Venice. You can read more about this play in the entry for 23rd October, 1594.

The company last performed this play two weeks ago during the Whitsuntide holiday, when it had been a great success, but today, on a more normal day, the crowd is tiny.

What's next?

There will be no blog entry tomorrow, because 22 June was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 23rd for a week that will end prematurely when the riots ongoing in London will finally have an effect upon Henslowe's work. .

Henslowe links



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Thursday, 20 June 2019

20 June, 1595 - Vallia and Anthony

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

Henslowe writes: ye 20 of June ... R at antony & vallea ... xxs 

In modern English: 20th June ... Received at Antony and Vallia ... 20 shillings.

Portrait of an unknown couple by Lavinia
Fontana (1580s)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned, after a very long time, to the extremely puzzling play that is usually rendered Vallia and Antony or Antony and Vallia. This play is lost and we have no idea what it was about, since no known story has characters of these names in prominent roles. You can read more about the play in the entry for 4 January, 1595.

It is very strange that the company revived this old play back in January and then ignored it until June. The box office is unremarkable, suggesting that the experiment was not a success.

In other news, the authorities in London have begun a crackdown to enforce the rule of law following this week's riots. The number of watches has been doubled, masters have been ordered to control their apprentices, and officers have been sent to look out for 'loose persons' disguised as soldiers, and to round up 'masterless men'. As we will see, this is soon to have an impact on the Rose playhouse.


FURTHER READING


On the apprentice riots

  • Carol Chillington Rutter, Documents of the Rose Playhouse (Manchester University Press, 1984), 92.
  • M.J. Power, "London and the Control of the 'Crisis' of the 1590s", History 70 (1985), 379.
  • "Rebellion by London apprentices in 1595", British Library - Discovering Literature: Shakespeare & Renaissance


Henslowe links



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