Thursday, 31 January 2019

31 January, 1595 - The Grecian Comedy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 31 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the gresyan comody ... xxviijs 

In modern English: 31st January, 1595 ... Received at The Grecian Comedy ... 28 shillings

The Love of Helen and Paris
by Jacques-Louis David (1789)
Today, the players revived The Grecian Comedy. We know nothing about this play beyond its title, although Henslowe sometimes calls it The Grecian Lady, which adds a tiny bit more information; you can read more about it in the entry for 5 October.

For some reason, the players have rushed this rarely-popular comedy back to the Rose after less than a week. Even more surprisingly, it has attracted considerably more people this time. The players may know something we don't.


Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 30 January 2019

30 January, 1595 - The French Doctor

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

Henslowe writes: ye  30 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the frenshe docter ... xviijs 

In modern English: 30th January, 1595 ... Received at The French Doctor ... 18  shillings

A French Physician, by
Matthew Darly, 1771
Today, the players revived again their lost play about a doctor from France. We know very little about this play, which was probably a comedy; you can read more in the entry for 19 October.

The company has returned to The French Doctor nearly a month after its last performance. Its box office is dismal as usual, and it is hard to understand why the players persist in bringing in back occasionally.


Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

29 January, 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 29 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the 2 pt of tamberlen ... xxxxvijs

In modern English: 29th January, 1595 ... Received at The Second Part of Tamburlaine ... 47 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 had performed the first part of Tamburlaine two days ago, but had played an unrelated play yesterday, breaking the sense of a pairing with the sequel. This interruption does not seem to have affected the popularity of The Second Part, however: it attracted a very large audience, much larger than that of the original play.

Henslowe links



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Monday, 28 January 2019

28 January, 1595 - The Set at Maw

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

Henslowe writes: ye 28 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the mawe ... xxvijs 

In modern English: 28th January, 1595 ... Received at The Maw ... 27 shillings

The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs by Georges
de la Tour (1620s)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to The Set at Maw, a lost play whose content had something to do with the card game known as Maw. You can read more about this play in the entry for 14 December.

Yesterday's performance of Tamburlaine might have led us to expect its sequel today. Instead, we get this enigmatic lost play. The players are reviving it after nearly two weeks, and there has been little change in its very average box office.


Henslowe links



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Sunday, 27 January 2019

27 January, 1595 - Tamburlaine

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

Henslowe writes: ye 27 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at tamberlen ... xxxs 

In modern English: 27th January, 1595 ... Received at 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.

The players have waited nearly a month before returning Tamburlaine to the Rose. It is continuing to receive only average box office.

Henslowe links



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Friday, 25 January 2019

25 January, 1595 - The Grecian Comedy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 25 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the greasyan ... xvs 

In modern English: 25th January, 1595 ... Received at The Grecian ... 15 shillings

The Love of Helen and Paris
by Jacques-Louis David (1789)
Today, the players revived The Grecian Comedy. We know nothing about this play beyond its title, although Henslowe sometimes calls it The Grecian Lady, which adds a tiny bit more information; you can read more about it in the entry for 5 October.

The Grecian Comedy, never very popular, is plummeting to the lower depths after its brief Christmas boost.


What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow, because 26 January was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 27th. See you then!

Henslowe links



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Thursday, 24 January 2019

24 January, 1595 - Doctor Faustus

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

Henslowe writes: ye 24 of Jenewary  1594 ... R at docter fostes ... xxiiijs 

In modern English: 24th January, 1595 ... Received at Dr Faustus ... 24 shillings

Faustus summoning Mephistopheles: from the
1616 text of the play 
Today, Admiral's Men returned to Christopher Marlowe's famous tragedy Dr Faustus, in which a scholar summons a demon and sells his soul to the devil. You can read more about this play in the entry for 2 October.

The players have revived Dr Faustus two weeks after its last performance. Unlike some other plays that have seen an improvement this week, Faustus continues to chug along with below-average audiences.


Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 23 January 2019

23 January, 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: ye 23 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the wiseman of weascheaster ... iijll vjs 
In modern English: 23rd January, 1595 ... Received at The Wise Man of West Chester ... £3 and 6 shillings

A man, who might possibly be
wise, carved on the choir
stalls of Chester Cathedral
Today, the Admiral's Men returned The Wise Man of West Chester to the stage. This lost play 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.

This is crazy! Once again, The Wise Man of West Chester has drawn a huge crowd to the Rose, standing in stark contrast to an otherwise ordinary week. What could be the cause of the this extreme enthusiasm? The simplest explanation is that The Wise Man of West Chester was the BEST PLAY EVER.



Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

22 January, 1595 - The Siege of London

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

Henslowe writes: ye 22 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the seage of london ... xxxijs 

In modern English: 22nd January, 1595 ... Received at The Siege of London ... 32 shillings

Thomas Neville's siege of London, from a
1391 French manuscript
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to 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.

The players are reviving The Siege a week after its last performance, and, as with Tasso's Melancholy yesterday, there has been a small boost in profits. A sign of a warm spell in the weather, perhaps?

Henslowe links



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Monday, 21 January 2019

21 January, 1595 - Tasso's Melancholy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 21 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at tasso ... xxxvjs 

In modern English: 21st January, 1595 ... Received at Tasso ... 36 shillings

Tasso in the Madhouse
by Eugene Delacroix (1839)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Tasso's Melancholy, a lost play that dramatized the lovesick insanity of the Italian poet Torquato Tasso; you can read more about it in the entry for 13th August.

The players have revived Tasso after a week and a half, and it has received a much bigger audience this time, representing a half-full theatre. That's not bad for this time of year.


Henslowe links



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Friday, 18 January 2019

18 January, 1595 - The Ranger's Comedy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 19 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the Rangers comodey ... xv
In modern English: [18th] January, 1595 ... Received at The Ranger's Comedy ... 15 shillings

An Elizabethan hunting scene: one
of the possible subjects of this play
Today, for the last time, the Admiral's Men revived their lost Ranger's Comedy. We do not know what this play was about, as the word could refer to a gamekeeper, a rake, a wanderer, or an organizer of troops. You can read more about it in the entry for 2 April.

Today is a strange day. The company has finally returned to The Ranger's Comedy, a play they have left unperformed since October. Ever since its successful first performances at the Rose in June, the play has been declining in popularity to truly embarrassing levels, becoming one of the worst-performing plays at the Rose. Today, the players have brought it back after nearly three months - but only for its swan song, as they will never perform it again.

If the audience was aware that this was the play's last hurrah, they were not sentimental about it - today's performance received the lowest box office of this week at the Rose.

Just for fun, here's a graph of the play's fortunes over time:



What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow because 19th January was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. For some reason, no performance is recorded for the Monday either. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 21st; see you then!


Henslowe links



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Thursday, 17 January 2019

17 January, 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 18 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at seaser ... xxvs 

In modern English: [17th] January, 1595 ... Received at Caesar ... 25 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.

This play is still relatively new, but the company has still waited nearly a month after its last performance before restaging it; perhaps this betrays a lack of confidence in it. Its box office today is higher than its last outing, but that was during the lean times of Advent.


Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

16 January, 1595 - The Set at Maw

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

Henslowe writes: ye 17 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the mawe ... xxvs 

In modern English: [16th] January, 1595 ... Received at The Maw ... 25 shillings

The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs by Georges
de la Tour (1620s)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to The Set at Maw, a lost play whose content had something to do with the card game known as Maw. You can read more about this play in the entry for 14 December.

After the surprise hit of The West Man of West Chester yesterday, .today's performance of The Set Maw is a lot more in tune with the low-key box office of the rest of this week.


Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

15 January, 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: ye 16 of Jenewarye 1594 ... R at the wiseman of weaschester ... iijll 

In modern English: [15th] January, 1594 ... Received at The Wise Man of West Chester ... £3

A man, who might possibly be
wise, carved on the choir
stalls of Chester Cathedral
Today, the Admiral's Men returned The Wise Man of West Chester to the stage. This lost play 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.

What a surprise! In the midst of a fairly lacklustre post-Christmas week, The Wise Man of West Chester, which had premiered on 3 December to unimpressive box office, has today drawn an enormous crowd. What has caused this flood of spectators? Is this play a sleeper hit, made popular by word of mouth?



Henslowe links



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Sunday, 13 January 2019

13 January, 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 13 of Jenewary 15945 ... R at the knacke ... xxxiijs

In modern English: 13th January, 1595 ... Received at The Knack ... 33 shillings

Two  Young Venetian Men (anon., 1515)
Today, 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.

The company has waited less than a week before bringing back A Knack to Know a Knave, and its box office, while only average for the Rose, is much better than it has seen for a while. There is still life in this play.


Henslowe links



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Friday, 11 January 2019

11 January, 1595 - Tasso's Melancholy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 11 of Jenewary 15945 ... R at tasso ... xxs 

In modern English: 11th January, 1595 ... Received at Tasso ... 20 shillings

Tasso in the Madhouse
by Eugene Delacroix (1839)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to Tasso's Melancholy, a lost play that dramatized the lovesick insanity of the Italian poet Torquato Tasso; you can read more about it in the entry for 13th August.

Today's box office for Tasso's Melancholy is not very impressive, but it's far better than the dismal audiences that it drew a moth ago, during the lean times of Advent.


What's next?


There will be no blog entry tomorrow, because 12th January was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 13th, for a week that will include some surprises. See you then!

Henslowe links



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Thursday, 10 January 2019

10 January, 1595 - The Grecian Comedy

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

Henslowe writes: ye 10 of Jenewary 15945 ... R at the greasyon comodey ... xxviijs 

In modern English: 10th January, 1595 ... Received at The Grecian Comedy ... 28 shillings

The Love of Helen and Paris
by Jacques-Louis David (1789)
For some reason, Henslowe has started correcting '1594' to '1595' in his entries, but in a few days time he'll give up and return to '1594'. Clarity is not his forte.

Anyway, today, the players revived The Grecian Comedy. We know nothing about this play beyond its title, although Henslowe sometimes calls it The Grecian Lady, which adds a tiny bit more information; you can read more about it in the entry for 5 October.

As with some many of the plays that had been so popular over Christmas, The Grecian Comedy has returned to below-average box office as the holiday audiences dwindle.

Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 9 January 2019

9 January, 1595 - Doctor Faustus

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

Henslowe writes: ye 9 of Jenewary  1594 ... R at docter fostes ... xxijs 

In modern English: 9th January, 1595 ... Received at Dr Faustus ... 22 shillings

Faustus summoning Mephistopheles: from the
1616 text of the play 
Today, Admiral's Men returned to Christopher Marlowe's famous tragedy Dr Faustus, in which a scholar summons a demon and sells his soul to the devil. You can read more about this play in the entry for 2 October.

After a very successful performance during the Christmas season, the box office for Dr Faustus has returned to its normal situation of being slightly disappointing for such a famous play. 



Henslowe links



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Monday, 7 January 2019

7 January, 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 7 of Jenewary 1595 ... R at the knacke ... xxijs

In modern English: 7th January, 1595 ... Received at The Knack ... 22 shillings

Two  Young Venetian Men (anon., 1515)
Today, 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.

The company last performed this play over two weeks ago, during the lean times of Advent. It was more successful today, albeit nothing to write home about. The Rose audiences are returning to normality after the extremes of December.

What's next?


For some reason, Henslowe records no performance tomorrow. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 9th - see you then!

Henslowe links



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Sunday, 6 January 2019

6 January, 1595 - Greenwich Palace

Today was the Feast of Epiphany, one of the most important festivals in the Elizabethan church year, and the last of the twelve days of Christmas. It was traditional for the Queen and her court to see a play on this occasion, and this year it was the Admirals' Men who were invited to perform. The evidence is not in Henslowe's Diary but rather in a record of payment to the actors in the accounts of the Lord Chamberlain:

To Edward Alleyn, Richard Jones and John Singer, servants to the Lord Admiral, upon the Council warrant dated at Whitehall 15 March, 1594, for three several comedies or interludes showed by them before Her Majesty in Christmastime last past, viz: the 28th December, on New Year's Day, and Twelfth Day, 22 shillings and by way of Her Majesty reward £10 in all.

We do not know which play the company performed performed to the Queen, but we do know that the show took place in the Great Chamber at Greenwich Palace.

19th-century illustration of the possible appearance of Greenwich Palace.


Greenwich Palace, located on the banks of the Thames, sadly no longer stands: it was demolished in the 1660s and the Old Royal Naval College now stands on its site. We can therefore only imagine the spectacle of seeing the players perform in the great hall of a royal palace. You can read more about the experience of a court performance this in the entry on Lord Strange's Men performing at Hampton Court in 1592.


FURTHER READING


  • David Cook and F.P. Wilson, eds., 'Dramatic Records in the Declared Accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber, 1558-1642', Malone Society Collections (Oxford University Press, 1962), 28-9
  • R. Chris Hassell, Jr., Renaissance Drama and the English Church Year (University of Nebraska Press, 1979), 77-93
  • John Astington, English Court Theatre, 1558-1642 (Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Friday, 4 January 2019

4 January, 1595 - Vallia and Antony

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

Henslowe writes: ye 4 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at valy a for ... xjs 

In modern English: 4th January [1595] ... Received at Vallia for ... 11 shillings.


Today, the Admiral's Men performed a play that we have not yet seen at the Rose - it was apparently an old play dusted off for a revival. Henslowe writes its title as "valy a for", which appears to be an exceptionally odd mis-rendering of the play that he will later call either Vallia and Antony or Antony and Vallia.

Portrait of an unknown couple by Lavinia
Fontana (1580s)
Unfortunately, Vallia and Antony is lost and we have no idea what it was about. No known story has characters of these names in prominent roles. We can only shrug.

Whatever Vallia and Anthony got up to on the stage, their adventures drew only a tiny audience for this revival, so the play cannot have been remembered fondly by the public.


What's next?



There will be no blog entry tomorrow because 5th January was a Sunday in 1595 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 6th - see you then!



FURTHER READING


Vallia and Antony information


  • Andrew Gurr, Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company, 1594-1625 (Cambridge University Press, 2009), 213.
  • Martin Wiggins, British Drama, 1533-1642: A Catalogue, vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, 2012), entry 804.


Henslowe links



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Thursday, 3 January 2019

3 January, 1595 - The French Doctor

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

Henslowe writes: ye  3 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the frenshe docter ... xxjs 

In modern English: 3rd January, 1595 ... Received at The French Doctor ... 21  shillings

A French Physician, by
Matthew Darly, 1771
Today, the players revived again their lost play about a doctor from France. We know very little about this play, which was probably a comedy; you can read more in the entry for 19 October.

The company has returned to The French Doctor nearly six weeks after its last performance and it continues to do unimpressive box office. Its revival still seems like a mistake.


Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

2 January, 1595 - The Set at Maw

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

Henslowe writes: ye 2 of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the mawe ... xxiiijs 

In modern English: 2nd January, 1594 ... Received at The Set at Maw ... 24 shillings

The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs by Georges
de la Tour (1620s)
Today, the Admiral's Men returned to The Set at Maw, a lost play whose content had something to do with the card game known as Maw. You can read more about this play in the entry for 14 December.

Today is something of a rude awakening for the players. After a series of performances to mostly packed houses during the Christmas season, today's below average house for a nearly-new play is a return back to earth. For the average theatregoer it would seem that the time for festive frivolity is over.


Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 1 January 2019

1 January, 1595 - The Second Part of Tamburlaine and Greenwich Palace

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

Henslowe writes: ye j of Jenewary 1594 ... R at the 2 pte of tamberlen ... iijll ijs

In modern English: 1st January, 1595 ... Received at The Second Part of Tamburlaine ... £3 and 2 shillings

Welcome to the first day of another new year at the Rose! You may have noticed that Henslowe is still calling it 1594; that's because he's using the old style of dating in which the year begins on 25th March. But the Elizabethans still thought of today as New Year's Day and for them there are still six more days of the Christmas holidays left.

The mausoleum of Timur in Samarkand
To celebrate the new year, the Admiral's Men have followed yesterday's performance of Tamburlaine with its sequel, in which the conqueror of Asia meets his inevitable doom; you can read more about this play in the entry for 19th December. Today's performance was far more successful than yesterday's, no doubt because the sequel has only been performed once before this season and had not yet become stale with repetition.

 According to court records, the players also performed to Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich today. They'll do this one more time this Christmas, so I'll write more about on 6 January.


Henslowe links



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