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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Wednesday, 19 June 2019

19 June, 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 19 of June 1595 ... R at longe mege ... xxijs

In modern English: 19th June, 1595 ... Received at Long Meg ...  22 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.

The company is taking longer and longer intervals between their performances of Long Meg, this time waiting a whole month. The play has never been as successful as one might expect from its awesome title. 

.


Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

18 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 18 of June 1595 ... Ne ... R at the 2 pte of sesore ... lvs 

In modern English: 18th June, 1595 ... New ... Received at The Second Part of Caesar ... 55 shillings.


Today, the Admiral's Men premiered a sequel to one of their older plays! The Second Part of Caesar is lost, but it was presumably the followup to Caesar and Pompey, a play that the company was performing at the Rose a few months ago.

Because both parts are lost, we can only speculate as to their content. But if, as seems likely, the previous play dealt with the civil war between Julius Caesar and Sextus Pompeius, and ended with Pompey's death, the next part of the tale would have told of Caesar's triumph and then death.

Mark Antony displaying
the body of Caesar, from
Nicholas Rowe's 1709 edition
of Shakespeare
In his catalogue of British drama, Martin Wiggins imagines a possible synopsis of the play. Perhaps it began with Caesar's triumphant arrival in Rome and his being made dictator. It would then have told of Caesar's reluctance to give up power, and of the transformation of Rome into a monarchy. Brutus and Cassius would then conspire to have Caesar killed, and the play might have ended with the famous scene of his visit to the Senate on the Ides of March, where the Roman senators assassinate him.

If so, The Second Part of Caesar probably told a similar story to that which Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar would do a few years later. Perhaps Shakespeare, now performing at the other end of the city, was deliberately imitating (in his inimitable way) a play by his rivals at the Rose.

Anyway, there are now three two-part plays in the Rose repertory: Tamburlaine, Hercules and Caesar. But unlike Hercules, which seems to have been designed as a two-parter from the get-go, The Second Part of Caesar is an afterthought, appearing a long time after the first play's debut, and indeed a long time after their last performance of Part One. It was presumably fairly self-contained, since the company is debuting it without bothering to revive Part One, and is thus assuming that the audience will understand who the characters are. The company may have noticed that two-parters are popular and may be scouring the archives for plays that could accommodate a sequel.

Whatever its content, The Second Part of Caesar received fairly good box office, drawing an audience that was large, but not as large as most other premieres.



FURTHER READING


The Second Part of Caesar information


  • Martin Wiggins, British Drama, 1533-1642: A Catalogue, vol. 3 (Oxford University Press, 2013), entry 1004.
  • Domenico Lovascio, "Caesar and Pompey, Parts 1 and 2"Lost Plays Database (2015). 


Henslowe links



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Monday, 17 June 2019

17 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 17 of June 1595 .....  R at the frenshe comodey ... xxjs 

In modern English: 17th June, 1595 ... Received at The French Comedy ... 21 shillings.

French commedia dell'arte performers,
from a 17th-century engraving by Jacques Callot
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to 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 company continues to perform this play infrequently, this time waiting over a fortnight to revive it. The box office is a bit better than last time, but one cannot help but continue to suspect that The French Comedy wasn't all that funny.


Henslowe links



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Sunday, 16 June 2019

16 June, 1595 - Warlamchester

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

Henslowe writes: ye 16 of June 1595 ... R at warlamchester ... xxvs 

In modern English: 16th June, 1595 ... Received at Warlamchester ... 25 shillings

The martyrdom of St Alban, from a 13th century
manuscript by Matthew Paris
Today, for the last time, the Admiral's Men performed again their lost play Warlamchester, which was probably about the martyrdom of St Alban during the Roman persecutions of Christians in England.You can read more about this play in the entry for 28 November.

The company last performed Warlamchester a week and  half ago, when it received atrocious box office, but they have brought it back regardless, and this time it has drawn a much larger crowd. Perhaps Warlamchester could have made a comeback, but this is its last appearance in Henslowe's Diary. Its revivals have been infrequent and never very popular, so it was probably time to say farewell.

Meanwhile, the troubles in London are continuing. Yesterday, a huge crowd of nearly two thousand apprentices gathered outside the Lord Mayor's house to protest against the imprisonment of some of their cohort during the riots last week. They supposedly set up a gallows with the aim of hanging him. And today, it was later claimed, a group of apprentices, soldiers and 'masterless men' (that is, unemployed people) met at St Paul's, where they plotted to behead the Mayor. A fearful atmosphere of violence and rumour is descending upon the city.


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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Friday, 14 June 2019

14 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 14 of June 1595 ... R at the vij dayes of the wecke ... 
iijixs  
In modern English: 14th June, 1595 ... Received at The 7 Days of the Week ... 
£3 and 9 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

The Seven Days of the Week
is proving to be a splendid success. Once again, the company has revived it after only a few days, and once again the Rose is packed to the gunnels with happy punters. This is what Master Henslowe lives for!


What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow, because 15 June was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 16th for a week that will include a new play but also some troublesome events elsewhere in the city.



Henslowe links



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Thursday, 13 June 2019

13 June, 1595 - The Second Part of Hercules

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

Henslowe writes: ye 13 of June 1595 ... R at 2 pt of herculos ... iijll ijs

In modern English: 13th June, 1595 ... Received at Second Part of Hercules ... £3 and 2 shillings.

The Embarkation of the Argonauts by Lorenzo
Costa (16th century). Hercules is on the prow
of the Argo.
The Hercules plays are doing splendidly! After a very popular revival of Part One yesterday, the company now follows it with the almost new Part Two, continuing the story of the Greek mythological strongman. This part may have included Hercules' contribution to the quest for the Golden Fleece. You can read more about it in the entry for 23rd May.

Once again the Rose is full, so Henslowe must be happy. But you may remember from yesterday that there's an ugly atmosphere in London this week. Today, another riot has broken out, this time in Southwark Market, not far from the Rose, where a recent hike in the price of butter inspired a crowd of apprentices to descend on the market and cause uproar.  Eventually, this will turn out to have an effect on the playhouses; hold that thought.




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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