Thursday, 14 March 2019

14 March, 1595 - The Siege of London, a hiatus, and some renovations

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

Henslowe writes: ye 14 of marche 1594 ... R at the sege of london ... xiiijs 

In modern English: 14th March, 1595 ... Received at The Siege of London ... 14 shillings

Thomas Neville's siege of London, from a
1391 French manuscript
Today, the Admiral's Men staged The Siege of London, an enigmatic lost play that might have portrayed the attacks on London by Canute in 1016 or by Thomas Neville in 1471. You can read more about this play in the entry for 27 December, 1594.


A hiatus and some renovations to the Rose


This blog will now be on hiatus for about five weeks because Henslowe's Diary records a break in performances until Easter. We don't know the reason for this: perhaps the authorities ordered the players to cease performing during Lent, but perhaps the players themselves chose to do so; after all, they had been performing non-stop since June.

During the break, Henslowe will take the opportunity to make some renovations to the Rose, which he will record in a list of expenditures headed "A note what I have laid out about my playhouse for painting and doing it about with elm-boards and other reparations".

The most interesting thing in the document is some money paid "for carpenter's work and making the throne in the heavens". This refers to machinery installed in the roof over the stage that would permit a throne to be lowered down to the stage. The playwright Ben Jonson sneers at this device in a 1616 prologue to his play Every Man in his Humour as the "creaking throne" that "comes down, the boys to please".

Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will return on 21 April - see you then!


FURTHER READING


On the hiatus and renovations



Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

13 March, 1595 - Long Meg of Westminster

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

Henslowe writes: ye 13 of marche 1594 ... R at longe mege ... xxviijs

In modern English: 13th March, 1595 ... Received at Long Meg ...  28 shillings

Long Meg, from
a 1750 edition
of the jest-book
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Long Meg of Westminster, their play about the Amazonian warrior woman of London legend. You can read more about this play in the entry for 14 February.

After a very successful performance on the Shrove Tuesday holiday, Long Meg has now plummeted to below average box office.


Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

12 March, 1595 - The Second Part of Tamburlaine

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

Henslowe writes: ye 12 of marche 1594 ... R at the 2 pt of tamberlen ... xxijs

In modern English: 12th March, 1595 ... Received at The Second Part of Tamburlaine ... 22 shillings

The mausoleum of Timur (or Tamburlaine)
in Samarkand
Today, the Admiral's Men performed the sequel to Tamburlaine, in which the conqueror of Asia meets his inevitable doom; you can read more about this play in the entry for 19th December.

The company continues to perform the two Tamburlaine plays as a pair on subsequent days. But today, for the first time, the box office for The Second Part is lower than that for the first.

Henslowe links



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Monday, 11 March 2019

11 March, 1595 - Tamburlaine

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

Henslowe writes: ye 11 of marche 1594 ... R at fyrste pt of tamberlen ... xxxs 

In modern English: 11th March, 1595 ... Received at First Part of Tamburlaine ... 30 shillings.


Illustration of the historical Tamburlaine
from Richard Knolles' General History

of the Turks (1603).
Today, the players performed Tamburlaine, Christopher Marlowe's spectacular epic about the bloodthirsty conqueror of Asia. You can read more about this play in the entry for 30th August.

Again the players have waited two and a half weeks before returning Tamburlaine to the Rose, and again it has received exactly the same - very average - box office. The theme of this week at the Rose is consistency.

Henslowe links



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Sunday, 10 March 2019

10 March, 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 10 of marche 1594 ... R at the knacke frome hence lycensed ... xxiiijs

In modern English: 10th March, 1595 ... Received at The Knack, from hence licensed ... 24 shillings

Two  Young Venetian Men (anon., 1515)
Today, after a mysterious 4-day hiatus, 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.

Today's entry includes an enigmatic note "from hence licensed"; it is not clear whether this refers to the play or the theatre.

Either way, A Knack to Know an Honest Man has returned exactly the same box office three performances in a row - at least it's consistent.

Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

6 March, 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 6 of marche 1594 ... R at seaser ... xxs 

In modern English: 6th March, 1595 ... Received at Caesar ... 20 shillings


Detail from Caesar Contemplating
the Head of Pompey
by Tiepolo (1746)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Caesar and Pompey, their retelling of the civil war that erupted in Ancient Rome between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great. You can read more about this play in the entry for 8th November, 1594.

The company has ignored Caesar and Pompey for over a month, but doing so has not increased the public's enthusiasm and it continues to receive mediocre audiences.


What's next?


For unknown reasons, Henslowe records no performances for the next four days. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 10th March. See you then!


Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 5 March 2019

5 March, 1595 - Seleo and Olympo

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

Henslowe writes: ye 5 of marche 1594 ... ne ... R at  seleo & olempo ... iijll 

In modern English: 5th March, 1595 ... New ... Received at Seleo and Olympo ... £3


Portrait of Two Friends by Pontormo (1524)
Today was Ash Wednesday, a holiday and the traditional beginning of the forty days of Lent. But although London is now embarking upon the fasting-time, its people do not seem to be abstaining from theatre. Indeed, the Admiral's Men seem to be expecting a large crowd because they chose this day to premiere a brand new play, Seleo and Olympo.

Unfortunately, Seleo and Olympo is another lost play about which we know nothing at all. No known story features characters of that name, so all that we can say is that the play was about two men. What they did, and whether their adventures were comic or tragic, will never be known.


FURTHER READING


Seleo and Olympo information

  • Martin Wiggins, British Drama, 1533-1642: A Catalogue, vol. 3 (Oxford University Press, 2013), entry 995.


Henslowe links





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