Thursday, 29 December 2016

29 December, 1592 - Muly Molocco

Here's what Lord Strange's Men performed at the Rose playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...
Henslowe writes: R at mvlomulloco the 29 of Decembȝ 1592 ... iijl xs
In modern English: Received at Muly Molocco, 29th December, 1592 ... £3 and 10 shillings 

After nearly six months of touring, Lord Strange's Men finally returned to London's Rose playhouse today! They were rewarded with 70 shillings at the box office, a huge amount that represents an almost packed theatre. Clearly the residents of London, having suffering through the outbreak of plague, were now piling into the Rose, having been starved of theatre for a long time. 

1629 Portuguese illustration of the Battle of Alcazar
Probably any play would have been popular today, but Lord Strange's Men chose Muly Molocco, one of the stalwarts of their previous seasonThis play may have been an alternate title for George Peele's The Battle of Alcazar, and if so it was a rousing, militaristic tale about Abd el-Malik's struggle for the throne of Morocco. It epitomised the kind of violent, battle-heavy plays that Lord Strange's Men specialised in, and would have featured their leading actor, Edward Alleyn, in one of his most famous roles as the cruel and bloodthirsty villain Muly Mahomet. You can read more about Muly Molocco in the blog entry for 21st February.

The big audience provided a thrilling start for the company's return to London. It probably wouldn't last - most performances at the Rose played to a half-empty theatre - but the company no doubt enjoyed themselves while they could.

In case you're wondering about the weird mark at the end of Henslowe's "Decembȝ", this is an attempt by the 1905 transcriber of the diary, W.W. Greg, to render in print the squiggle that Henslowe uses for 'er'. Greg used a 'yogh', an obscure Middle English letter that he chose it for its shape rather than its phonetic meaning. (My apologies for digressing from the subject of Renaissance drama, but it's not often that I get to use a yogh in my writing, so I'm in a state of considerable excitement.)

Henslowe links


Did I make a mistake? Do you have a question? Have you anything to add? Please post a comment below! 

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