Monday, 14 May 2018

14 May, 1594 - The Jew of Malta

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

Henslowe writes: R at the Jewe of malta 14 of maye 1594  ... xxxxviijs 

In modern English: Received at The Jew of Malta, 14th May, 1594 ... 48 shillings

Caravaggio's portrait of the Grand
Master of the Knights of Malta,
Welcome back! Today, the Rose playhouse re-opened after an month-long closure - but in three days time it will close again and we do not know why.

There are new faces on the Rose stage because a different playing company, the Admiral's Men, is now resident. But many things remain the same; in particular, Edward Alleyn, the great star who has dominated the Rose over the last few years, remains there, having now become a member of the incoming Admiral's Men.

And today's opening performance was more about continuity than change. The company elected to begin with 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). This was a sensible choice: Alleyn had performed in this play at the Rose many times with other companies, and it had proven consistently popular.

The play did not disappoint: today's performance won Henslowe 48 shillings, indicating very large audience. Still, it was not a full house; one suspects that Londoners had not been starved of theatre, despite the Rose's recent closure. 

This will be the briefest of seasons at the Rose, but for now, let's imagine Alleyn feeling happy to be home as he strides back onto the stage as the anti-hero Barabas.

    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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