Wednesday, 4 December 2019

4 December, 1595 - The Wonder of a Woman

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

Henslowe writes: ye 4 of desembȝ 1595 ... R at wonder of a womon ... xiiijs 

In modern English: 4th December, 1595 ... Received at Wonder of a Woman ... 14 shillings

Artemesia Gentileschi, Allegory of
Fame (early 1630s)
Today, the Admiral's Men revived The Wonder of a Woman, which they had premiered last week. You can read more about this lost play in the entry for 16 October.

The players have waited two weeks to revive The Wonder of a Woman, but its box office is now already in the doldrums.


What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow, because, for unknown reasons, no performance is recorded at the Rose on 5th December. We're entering a stretch of the Diary in which numerous days do not have performances recorded, a situation that will continue throughout December. We do not know whether the Rose was literally empty that day, or whether Henslowe's records are in error.

 Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 6th; see you then!



Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

3 December, 1595 - Barnardo and Philametta

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

Henslowe writes: ye 3 of desembȝ  1595 ... R at barnardo ... vijs 

In modern English: 3rd December, 1595  ... Received at Barnardo ... 7 shillings

Click!
Portrait of a couple by an unknown French artist, c.1610
Today, the Admiral's Men revived Barnardo and Philametta, a lost play on an unknown subject; you can read more about it in the entry for 30 October.

Barnardo and Philametta continues to receive catastrophically awful box office. One cannot help suspect that it will not remain long in the repertory.

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Monday, 2 December 2019

2 December, 1595 - Harry V


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

Henslowe writes: ye 2 of desembȝ 1595 ... R at harey the v ... xxxvs 

In modern English: 2nd December, 1595 ... Received at Harry V ... 35 shillings

King Henry V, posthumous portrait
(late 16th or early 17th century)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Harry V, their play about King Henry V of England, who, according to legend, gave up a dissolute lifestyle and led his country to victory against the French at the Battle of Agincourt before his untimely death. You can read more about this play in the entry for 28 November.

The players have rushed Harry V back to the stage, following its very successful premiere. Today the audience size is merely average, but that in itself is probably a relief, since the company's new plays have been quite disastrous of late.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Sunday, 1 December 2019

1 December,1595 - A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies

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

Henslowe writes: ye 31 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at the toye to please chaste ladeyes ... xijs 

In modern English: [1st December, 1595] ... Received at The Toy to Please Chaste Ladies ... 12 shillings

Two Women at a Window by Murillo (1655-60)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies, an enigmatic lost play; you can read more about it in the entry for 14 November.

It is the first day of December, and we are now entering the period known as Advent, a period traditionally associated with fasting before Christmas. Although theatre was obviously still permitted, it's likely that a lot of Londoners would have felt guilty about attending during this time.

Perhaps this explains the disastrous box office of this third performance of A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies, which appears not to have pleased many ladies at all, chaste or otherwise.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Friday, 29 November 2019

29 November, 1595 - The Welshman

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

Henslowe writes: ye 29 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at the welche man ... vijs 

In modern English: 29th November, 1595 ... Received at The Welshman ... 7 shillings

Sir Richard Clough (1530-70),
a Welsh merchant
Today's entry represents one of those occasional strange moments in Henslowe's Diary when a previously unknown play suddenly appears, draws a tiny audience, and then never reappears. We know nothing of The Welshman beyond its title and its one enigmatic entry.

Is this performance of The Welshman really what it seems to be: a one-off, spectacularly unsuccessful revival of an old play from the archives? Or is Henslowe giving a new name to an existing play in the repertory, such as Longshanks, which features a Welsh villain named Llywelyn? We'll probably never know. And perhaps it doesn't matter, since hardly anyone in London seems to have cared.


What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow because 30 November was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on 1 December. See you then!


FURTHER READING


The Welshman information



Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Thursday, 28 November 2019

28 November, 1595 - Harry V


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

Henslowe writes: ye 28 of novmbȝ 1595 ... ne ... R at harey the v ... iijll vjs 

In modern English: 28th November, 1595 ... New ... Received at Harry V ... £3 and 6 shillings

King Henry V, posthumous portrait
(late 16th or early 17th century)
Today, the Admiral's Men premiered a new play! To judge from its title, it must have told the story of King Henry V, the youthful English monarch who, according to legend, gave up a dissolute lifestyle and led his country to victory against the French at the Battle of Agincourt before his untimely death.

Of course, readers and theatregoers today know this story from Shakespeare's famous trilogy, Henry IV, Parts One and Two and Henry V. But in 1595, those plays were still a couple of years in the future - and would be performed by the Admiral's Men's main rivals. For the Rose audience, the story might instead have been remembered from an old play from the 1580s entitled The Famous Victories of Henry V, a text of which survives today.

Indeed, it's possible that Harry V was simply another name for The Famous Victories, if it had been obtained by the Admiral's Men to be revived now. But if so, it would have to have been in revised form, because Henslowe describes it as "new". The simpler explanation is that it was a brand new play on the same subject.

But for what it's worth, let's take a look at The Famous Victories to see one example of a non-Shakespearean play about Henry V.

If the play was The Famous Victories of Henry V


Image result for famous victories of henry vFor anyone familiar with Shakespeare's three plays about Prince Henry's journey toward kingship, The Famous Victories feels like a high-speed tear, as it presents the same story in one very short play.

It begins with Prince Henry and his lowlife friends getting involved in a robbery (akin to 1 Henry IV, scene 3.1). One of Henry's friends is an aristocratic ne'er-do-well named Sir John Oldcastle, nicknamed 'Jockey'; Shakespeare would later transform this role into his glorious comic creation, Falstaff, but the Oldcastle of The Famous Victories is a much less interesting figure and appears only briefly; an acorn from which an oak will grow.

Prince Henry ends up in prison because he boxes the Lord Chief Justice's ear (this incident is mentioned in 2 Henry IV but not staged). "Zounds, masters," gasps Derick the clown, "here's ado when princes must go to prison!" But prison produces no repentance in the young renegade. Upon his release, Henry vows that when he is king, he will fire the Lord Chief Justice and allow highwaymen to go free. Oldcastle tells him, "We shall never have a merry world till the old king be dead."

But when the prince visits his sickly father, the old king tells him that "these thy doings will end thy father's days". The prince has an attack of conscience and promises to abandon his "vile and reprobate companions". Visiting him later, the Prince finds his father dead - as he thinks - and takes the crown; this results in some awkwardness because the king is not in fact dead yet, but the two of them have a bonding session and the father forgives the son; Shakespeare repeats the same sequence of events at the end of 2 Henry IV.

Another scene that Shakespeare expanded upon is a scene in which Henry acquires a new seriousness when he finally inherits the crown he banishes his old friends, telling them, "your former life grieves me, and makes me to abandon and abolish your company forever".

The Battle of Agincourt illustrated in
the Chronique d'Enguerrand de Monstrelet (15th c.) 
We now move into the play's equivalent of Shakespeare's Henry V: Henry declares war on France and heads off to batttle, while comic characters behave disreputably in a subplot. On the eve of the Battle of Agincourt, the English are vastly outnumbered, and the French soldiers gloat that they are the hardier soldiers:

Why, take an Englishman out of his warm bed and his stale drink but one month, and alas, what will become of him? But give the Frenchman a radish root, and he will live with it all the days of his life.

Meanwhile, Henry gives a short but stirring speech (not a patch on Shakespeare's "feast of Crispin" speech, it must be said), and a stage direction simply reads "The Battle".

The English defeat the French against impossible odds. And then, just as in Act 5 of Shakespeare's Henry V, Henry woos the French princess Katherine in plain-speaking manner ("Tush, Kate! But tell me in plain terms, canst thou love the King of England? I cannot do as these countries do that spend half their time in wooing.") And the play thus ends with a royal wedding in the offing, again just as in Shakespeare's, but with considerably less poetry:

Henry V. Welcome, sweet Kate! But, my brother of France, what say you to it?
Charles VI. With all my heart I like it. But when shall be your wedding day?
Henry V. The first Sunday of the next month, God willing.

The end. If you would like to read The Famous Victories of Henry V, the best way to do so is via the modern-spelling edition contained in Peter Corbin and Douglas Sedge's 1991 anthology The Oldcastle Controversy.

What we learn from this


This mysterious Harry V play reminds us that some of Shakespeare's plays should be thought of as parts of a wider theatrical conversation.   The Famous Victories had created a popular version of the Henry V legend and had turned the historical figure of Sir John Oldcastle one of Henry's disreputable friends. The real Oldcastle was nothing like this character - indeed, he was a Protestant heretic who was executed for leading a rebellion against Henry V and the church, and was regarded by Elizabethans as a martyr.

Shakespeare's Henry IV plays expanded - literally - upon the Oldcastle figure, turning him into a lovably corpulent and disgraceful old rogue. During the first performances of Part One, he was still called Oldcastle, but it seems that the martyr's descendants were offended by this portrayal of their venerable ancestor and complained, so Shakespeare changed the character's name to Falstaff, and included a line in the epilogue to Part Two stating that "Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man".

This theatrical conversation continued a few years later, in 1599, when the Rose staged a new pair of plays entitled The True and Honourable History of the Life of Sir John Oldcastle, which contained a more respectful version of his life and martyrdom, and firmly separating him from the fat knight that he had inspired.

What we don't know is where today's Harry V play fits into all this. Is it just another name for The Famous Victories? Was it an mere imitation of it? Or did it have some other kind of take on the legend? And what version of Sir John Oldcastle did it present?

Despite all these mysteries, one thing we do know is that today's premiere was very successful, producing a packed auditorium for the first time in a long while, and proving that the name of Henry V could draw excited crowds.


FURTHER READING


Harry V information

  • Peter Corbin and Douglas Sedge, eds. The Oldcastle Controversy (Manchester University Press, 1991), 28 n.82
  • Andrew Gurr, Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company, 1594-1625 (Cambridge University Press, 2009), 43
  • Martin Wiggins, British Drama, 1533-1642: A Catalogue, vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, 2012), entries 773 and 1012


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

27 November, 1595 - The New World's Tragedy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 27 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at the new wordles tragedy ... xviijs 

In modern English: 27th November, 1595 ... Received at The New World's Tragedy ... 18 shillings

Walter Raleigh attacking Trinidad, by
Theodore de Bry (1595)
Today, the Admiral's Men revived their lost play The New World's Tragedy, which may have been about a calamitous event in the Americas. You can read more about this play in the entry for 17 September.

The company has waited two an a half weeks to revive The New World's Tragedy. Its box office shows a sudden decline to well below the average for the Rose.

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

26 November, 1595 - Longshanks

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

Henslowe writes: ye 26 of novmbȝ  1595 ... R at longshancke ... xviijs 

In modern English: [26th] November, 1595 ... Received at Longshank ... 18 shillings

Portrait of Edward I in
Westminster Abbey
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Longshanks, their play about King Edward I of England; you can read more about it in the entry for 29 August.

The company continues with their practice of performing Longshanks approximately once every three weeks. However, the box office has suddenly declined to well below the average for the Rose. The audience may be wearying of it.

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Monday, 25 November 2019

25 November, 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 25 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at 2 pt of hercolos ... xvijs 

In modern English: 25th November, 1595 ... Received at Second Part of Hercules ... 16 shillings

The Embarkation of the Argonauts by Lorenzo
Costa (16th century). Hercules is on the prow
of the Argo.
Today, the players revived the second part of their lost Hercules play. Part Two continued the story of the Greek mythological strongman and may have included Hercules' participation in the quest for the Golden Fleece. You can read more about it in the entry for 23rd May.

Three weeks ago, the players experimented with performing The Second Part as a stand-alone play. They have not repeated that experiment this time, instead going back to performing the two plays as a pair on sequential days. The box office has declined markedly, though.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Sunday, 24 November 2019

24 November, 1595 - The First Part of Hercules

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

Henslowe writes: ye 24 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at j herculos ... xxs 

In modern English: 24th November, 1595 ... Received at 1 Hercules ... 20 shillings

Hercules fighting the Nemean Lion by
Francisco de Zurbarán (1634)
Today, the Admiral's Men revived The First Part of Hercules, which retold some of the legends of the Greek mythological strongman, perhaps focusing on his Twelve Labours. You can read more about this play in the entry for 7 May.

Despite attracting a solid audience last time, the players have waited a month to restage Hercules. Today's box office is much lower though, suggesting that enthusiasm for this once-popular play will be hard to restore.

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Friday, 22 November 2019

22 November, 1595 - Olympio and Eugenio

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

Henslowe writes: ye 22 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at  olempo ... iiijs vjd

In modern English: 22nd November, 1595 ... Received at Olympio ... 4 shillings and sixpence

Portrait of Two Friends by Pontormo (1524)
Today, the Admiral's Men performed their play Olympio and Eugenio, which may or may not have been the same play as Seleo and Olympo (you can learn more about them in the entry for 4 September).

The Admiral's Men have ignored this play for six weeks. Finally, they have returned it to the stage, but it has returned one of the worst box office figures ever recorded at the Rose. Surely it must be time to give up on this play?!

What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow because 23 November was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 24th for a week that will include two new plays. See you then!


Henslowe links





Comments?


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

Thursday, 21 November 2019

21 November, 1595 - A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies

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

Henslowe writes: ye 21 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at a toye to please chaste ladeyes ... xxjs 

In modern English: 21st November, 1595 ... Received at A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies ... 21 shillings

Two Women at a Window by Murillo (1655-60)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies, an enigmatic lost play; you can read more about it in the entry for 14 November.

This is the second performance of A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies after its premiere a week ago. Unfortunately, word of mouth seems not to have been good, because its box office has already descended below the average for the Rose.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

20 November, 1595 - The Wonder of a Woman

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

Henslowe writes: ye 20 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at wonder of a womon ... xxs 

In modern English: 20th November, 1595 ... Received at Wonder of a Woman ... 20 shillings

Artemesia Gentileschi, Allegory of
Fame (early 1630s)
Today, the Admiral's Men revived The Wonder of a Woman, which they had premiered last week. You can read more about this lost play in the entry for 16 October.

Not long after its premiere, the box office for The Wonder of a Woman is continuing to sink further; it seems to have been a misfire.



Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

19 November, 1595 - Barnardo and Philametta

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

Henslowe writes: ye 19 of novmbȝ  1595 ... R at barnardo ... vjs 

In modern English: 19th November, 1595  ... Received at Barnardo ... 6 shillings

Click!
Portrait of a couple by an unknown French artist, c.1610
Today, the Admiral's Men revived Barnardo and Philametta, a lost play on an unknown subject; you can read more about it in the entry for 30 October.

Oh dear me. On its third performance, Barnardo and Philametta has received a ridiculously small audience, the likes of which most plays never sink to.

The only conclusion we can draw is that Barnardo and Philametta must have been either (a) a load of absolute rubbish or (b) a work of experimental genius that the philistines of London didn't understand.

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Monday, 18 November 2019

18 November, 1595 - Crack Me This Nut

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

Henslowe writes: ye 18 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at cracke me this nvtte ... xxiiij shillings


In modern English: 18th November, 1595 ... Received at Crack Me This Nut ... 24 shillings

Dessert Still Life by Georg Flegel (1566-1638)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Crack Me This Nut. We know nothing about the content of this lost play, but you can read more about it in the entry for 5th September.

The company is easing up on its performances of this once very popular play, now waiting a fortnight to revive it. The box office remains static, a sign that Crack Me This Nut still has some life in it.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Friday, 15 November 2019

15 November, 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 15 of novmbȝ  1595 ... R at vij dayes ... xviij  
In modern English: 15th November, 1595 ... Received at Seven Days ... 18 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 company may be settling into a routine of performing The Seven Days of the Week once a fortnight, as it is no longer the crowd-pleaser that it once was.


What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow as 16th November was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Neither will there be one on the 17th, as Henslowe records no performance, for unknown reasons. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 18th. See you then!

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Thursday, 14 November 2019

14 November, 1595 - A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies

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

Henslowe writes: ye 14 of novmbȝ 1595 ... ne ... R at a toye to please my ladey ... ljs 

In modern English: 14th November, 1595 ... New ... Received at A Toy to Please My Lady ... 51 shillings

Two Women at a Window by Murillo (1655-60)
Today, the Admiral's Men performed a new play. It is now lost, which is a shame because its title, A Toy to Please My Lady, is intriguing. In future entries, Henslowe will refer to it instead as A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies; it's not clear whether he is correcting an earlier mistake or whether the players changed the title, perhaps to avoid salacious connotations.

One could certainly suspect a double entendre in this title, since "toy" could refer to male naughty bits in Elizabethan times. However, it more commonly refers to something frivolous or trivial, and one interpretation of the title might thus be "a bit of nonsense for the women in the audience". If so, its self-deprecation is reminiscent of Shakespeare's titles Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It.

Sadly, that is as much information as can be gleaned from today's entry. But whatever the play's subject, it attracted an audience that would be considered large on an ordinary day, but rather disappointing for a premiere. Perhaps the menfolk took the advice of the title and stayed away...


FURTHER READING


A Toy to Please Chaste Ladies information


  • Martin Wiggins, British Drama, 1533-1642: A Catalogue, vol. 3 (Oxford University Press, 2013), entry 1018.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

13 November, 1595 - Tamburlaine, Part Two

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

Henslowe writes: ye 13 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at 2 pt of tambrlen ... xxxijs

In modern English: 13th November, 1595 ... Received at Second Part of Tamburlaine ... 32 shillings

The mausoleum of Timur (or Tamburlaine)
in Samarkand
Today, for the last time, 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, 1594.

Yesterday was the last ever recorded performance of Tamburlaine at the Rose. And today is the final performance of its sequel. In fact The Second Part of Tamburlaine has attracted a decent sized crowd - in general, it has been more popular than part one. Despite this, the company is abandoning it too; presumably they feel that it doesn't work a a stand-alone play.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

12 November, 1595 - Tamburlaine

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

Henslowe writes: ye 12 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at j pte of tamberlen ... xviijs 

In modern English: 12th November, 1595 ... Received at First Part of Tamburlaine ... 18 shillings

Illustration of the historical Tamburlaine
from Richard Knolles' General History

of the Turks (1603).
Today, for the last time, the players performed the first part of 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.

The players have been staging Marlowe's classic only once every few months. This is a puzzling tactic for such a huge and complex play. And the rewards have been minimal for a long time; today's box office is deeply unimpressive. It may be no surprise, then, that this is the last recorded performance of Tamburlaine at the Rose; presumably the players decided that they no longer saw a purpose in remounting it.

There are records of Tamburlaine being performed later, in the seventeenth century, so this is not the end of the road for Marlowe's epic. And its influence will continue to be felt on English drama for a long time. But for the Admiral's Men at least, this is the day they big farewell to an old legend.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Monday, 11 November 2019

11 November, 1595 - The Disguises

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

Henslowe writes: ye 10 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at desgysses ... xvs 

In modern English: [11th] November, 1595 ... Received at Disguises ... 15 shillings

Lorenzo Lippi, Woman with a Mask
(The Allegory of Deception)
, 1650
Today, the company revived The Disguises, a lost play about... disguises. You can read more about it in the entry for 2 October.

After receiving a much healthier audience on its last performance, thanks to the holiday of All Saints Day, The Disguises returns back to the doldrums for today's staging.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Sunday, 10 November 2019

10 November, 1595 - Longshanks

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

Henslowe writes: ye 9 of novmbȝ  1595 ... R at longshancke ... xxxiijs 

In modern English: [10th] November, 1595 ... Received at Longshank ... 33 shillings

Portrait of Edward I in
Westminster Abbey
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Longshanks, their play about King Edward I of England; you can read more about it in the entry for 29 August.

The company continues with their practice of performing Longshanks approximately once every three weeks. This tactic seems to be paying off by keeping the audience at a comfortably average size each time.

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Friday, 8 November 2019

8 November, 1595 - The Wise Man of West Chester

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

Henslowe writes: mr p... R at weschester ... xxs 
In modern English: Master paid ... Received at West Chester ... 20 shillings

A man, who might possibly be
wise, carved on the choir
stalls of Chester Cathedral
Today, the Admiral's Men staged The Wise Man of West Chester, a lost play that appears to have been about a wizard in the English city of Chester; you can read more about it in the entry for 3 December, 1594.

Today's entry odd lacks a date. It is also the first of several entries that include an abbreviation of "Master paid". As Laurie Johnson explains in her book Shakespeare's Lost Playhouse, this probably refers to a license for operating the Rose that Henslowe had to pay every so often to a court official, the Master of the Revels.

Despite the missing date, it is clear that 9th November was the day on which the company decided to revive The Wise Man of West Chester after three weeks. It has returned slightly better box office than it did last time.


What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow because 9 November was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 11th for a week in which we will meet a new play and say goodbye to two old ones. See you then!


Further reading on "mr pd"


  • Laurie Johnson, Shakespeare's Lost Playhouse: Eleven Days at Newington Butts (Routledge, 2017), 179.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Thursday, 7 November 2019

7 November, 1595 - Barnardo and Philametta

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

Henslowe writes: ye 6 of novmbȝ  1595 ... R at barnardo ... xvijs 

In modern English: [7th] November, 1595  ... Received at Barnardo ... 17 shillings

Click!
Portrait of a couple by an unknown French artist, c.1610
Today, the Admiral's Men revived Barnardo and Philametta, a lost play on an unknown subject; you can read more about it in the entry for 30 October.

The company has returned to Barnardo and Philametta a week after its premiere, but the box office is disastrous. The company is not having any luck with its new plays this season. I don't know who's writing this stuff but they may need to be fired.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

6 November, 1595 - Crack Me This Nut

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

Henslowe writes: ye 5 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at cracke me this nvtt ... xxiiij shillings


In modern English: [6th] November, 1595 ... Received at Crack Me This Nut ... 24 shillings

Dessert Still Life by Georg Flegel (1566-1638)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Crack Me This Nut. We know nothing about the content of this lost play, but you can read more about it in the entry for 5th September.

After performing Crack Me This Nut twice in one week, the company has waited a week and a half before performing it again. The box office remains somewhat low, but remains at a consistent level, and is not showing the decline that most plays suffer.



Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

5 November, 1595 - The Wonder of a Woman

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

Henslowe writes: ye 4 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at the wonder of a womon ... xxvijs 

In modern English: [5th] November, 1595 ... Received at The Wonder of a Woman ... 27 shillings.

Artemesia Gentileschi, Allegory of
Fame (early 1630s)
Today, the Admiral's Men revived The Wonder of a Woman, which they had premiered last week. You can read more about this lost play in the entry for 16 October.

This is the third performance of The Wonder of a Woman, and although its box office is a little better than last week, it still shows a lack of enthusiasm for this new play.



Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Monday, 4 November 2019

4 November, 1595 - The New World's Tragedy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 3 of novembȝ 1595 ... R at the new worldes tragedy ... xxixs 

In modern English: [4th] November, 1595 ... Received at The New World's Tragedy ... 29 shillings

Walter Raleigh attacking Trinidad, by
Theodore de Bry (1595)
Today, the Admiral's Men revived a lost play that Henslowe has previously calls The World's Tragedy, but now has begun to call The New World's Tragedy; it may have been about a calamitous event in the Americas. You can read more about this play in the entry for 17 September.

The company has waited a week and a half to revive The New World's Tragedy. Its box office shows a gentle decline but is still solid.

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Sunday, 3 November 2019

3 November, 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 2 of novmbȝ 1595 ... R at 2 pt of hercolas ... xxviijs 

In modern English: [3rd] November, 1595 ... Received at Second Part of Hercules ... 28 shillings

The Embarkation of the Argonauts by Lorenzo
Costa (16th century). Hercules is on the prow
of the Argo.
Today, the players revived the second part of their lost Hercules play. Part Two continued the story of the Greek mythological strongman and may have included Hercules' participation in the quest for the Golden Fleece. You can read more about it in the entry for 23rd May.

The players have tried something different with The Second Part of Hercules: instead of performing it immediately after Part One, they have waited a week. The result has been slightly better box office.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Friday, 1 November 2019

1 November, 1595 - The Disguises

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

Henslowe writes: ye 30 of octobȝ 1595 ... R at the desgysses ... xxixs 

In modern English: [1st November], 1595 ... Received at The Disguises ... 29 shillings

Lorenzo Lippi, Woman with a Mask
(The Allegory of Deception)
, 1650
Today, the company revived The Disguises, a lost play about... disguises. You can read more about it in the entry for 2 October.

Today was All Saints Day, a public holiday, and that might explain the somewhat larger than expected audience at The Disguises, which has managed to half-fill the Rose against all expectations.

What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow because 2 November was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 3rd - see you then!

Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Thursday, 31 October 2019

31 October, 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 29 of octobȝ  1595 ... R at the vij dayes ... xiij  
In modern English: [31st] October, 1595 ... Received at The Seven Days ... 13 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

After a flurry of performances, the company has now waited two weeks to return The Seven Days of the Week to the stage. The audience is, however, now very small indeed. The play appears to be on its way out.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

30 October, 1595 - Barnardo and Philametta

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

Henslowe writes: ye 28 of octobȝ  1595 ... ne ... R at barnardo and phvlameta ... xxxxijs 

In modern English: [30th] October, 1595  ... New ... Received at Barnardo and Philametta ... 42 shillings

Click!
Portrait of a couple by an unknown French artist, c.1610
Today, the Admiral's Men presented a new play, and once again the play is now lost.

Sadly, we know nothing more about this play, as no known story features characters named Barnardo and Philametta (or indeed Fiametta, which Henslowe will record the name as in some subsequent entries).

Whatever this play was about it, its premiere was something of a disappointment, attracting an audience not much bigger than an average day at the Rose.

FURTHER READING


Barnardo and Philametta information

  • Martin Wiggins, British Drama, 1533-1642: A Catalogue, vol. 3 (Oxford University Press, 2013), entry 1017.


Henslowe links



Comments?


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