Friday, 12 February 2021

12 February, 1597 - Alexander and Lodowick and a Lenten closure

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

Henslowe writes: 12 | tt at elexsander & lodwicke ... | 01 | 14 

In modern English: 12th [February, 1597] ... total at Alexander and Lodowick ... £1 and 14 shillings [i.e. 34 shillings]

A very generic illustration accompanying the
printed text of the ballad of The Two Faithful
Friends: The Pleasant History of Alexander
and Lodowick
Another surprising entry today: the Admiral's Men have revived Alexander and Lodowick again! The company almost never revives a play two days in a row, but they have made an exception today. The play told the tale of two friends who swap places; you can read more about it in the entry for January 14

After its mysterious but very successful second premiere yesterday, Alexander and Lodowick has achieved solid box office despite being rushed back so quickly. But the company will not be able to bask in their success, for the Rose is about to close for a while. 
 
From the timing, it would seem that the theatre is being shut down for the season of Lent, a time of religious fasting. But that cannot be the full story, because Rose will in fact re-open on 3 March, before the end of Lent. We'll explore the possible reasons when we return. See you in March!

Henslowe links



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Thursday, 11 February 2021

11 February, 1597 - Alexander and Lodowick

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

Henslowe writes: 11 | ne | tt at elexsander & lodwicke ... | 03 | 05 

In modern English: 11th [February, 1597] ... new ... total at Alexander and Lodowick ... £3 and 5 shillings

A very generic illustration accompanying the
printed text of the ballad of The Two Faithful
Friends: The Pleasant History of Alexander
and Lodowick
Today's entry is strange. The Admiral's Men have revived Alexander and Lodowick, a play that they debuted back in the middle of January, but have not staged since. Yet the entry labels the play "new" and it has attracted the kind of enormous crowd that is normally seen only at premieres. Is this simply an error on Henslowe's part, or has the company revised the play over the last three weeks and turned it into something new? 

Whatever is going on, today is a great triumph for the Admiral's Men, as a crowd this large hasn't been seen at the Rose in a very long time. You can read more about the play of Alexander and Lodowick in the entry for 14 January.

Henslowe links



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Wednesday, 10 February 2021

10 February, 1597 - Captain Thomas Stukeley

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

Henslowe writes: 10 | tt at stewtley ... | 00 | 18  
In modern English: 10th [February, 1597] ... Received at Stukeley ... 18 shillings

1629 Portuguese illustration of the Battle of Alcazar
The season of Lent is now underway, but the players are keeping going. Today, the Admiral's Men revived Captain Thomas Stukeley, their tale about the titular English mercenary's adventures in Ireland, Spain and Morocco, and his death at the Battle of Alcazar. You can read more about this play in the entry for 10 December, 1596.

The company has waited three weeks to return Stukeley to the stage. The box office is slightly higher than last time, but still unimpressive. The Lenten season has had no obvious effect, for better or for worse.

Henslowe links



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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

9 February, 1597 - Hieronimo

Here's what Lord Strange's Men performed at the Rose playhouse on this day, 424 years ago...
Henslowe writes: 9 | tt at Joronymo ... | 00 | 17

In modern English: 9th [February, 1597] ... total at Hieronimo ... 17
 shillings 

Woodcut from the 1615 edition of The Spanish Tragedy.
It's Ash Wednesday, a public holiday and the traditional beginning of the forty days of Lent. On this day, the Admiral's Men have revived Hieronimowhich is almost certainly an alternate title for Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, a famous and much-loved old play about the revenge of a grieving father for his son's death. You can read more about this play in the entry for 14th March, 1592.

For the past two years, Ash Wednesday performances have attracted very large crowds to the Rose. But not this year; The Spanish Tragedy is doing worse than it did last week. This is a very flat holiday season for the Admiral's Men. 


    Henslowe links



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    Monday, 8 February 2021

    8 February, 1597 - A Woman Hard to Please

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

    Henslowe writes: Shrove tewesday | 08 | tt at womon hard to please ... | 01 | 09 

    In modern English: Shrove Tuesday ... 8th [February, 1597] ... total at Woman Hard to Please ... £1 and 9 shillings [i.e. 29 shillings]

    A woman looks deeply unimpressed by her
    rescuer in Paolo Uccello's St George and
    the Dragon
    (c.1470)
    Today was Shrove Tuesday, a time for gluttony and merry-making before Lent! On this special day, the the Admiral's Men have revived their enigmatic lost play, A Woman Hard to Please. You can read more  this play in the entry for 27 January.

    Shrove Tuesday does not always have an impact on box office and today is just an average result for this particular play. But that's OK, because the company is performing one of their success stories, A Woman Hard to Please. This is the fifth time they have staged this play in only eleven days, an almost unheard-of level of confidence. And the results are strong: the play continues to attract audiences filling half the theatre, which is again rare during the current season. 

    Henslowe links


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    Sunday, 7 February 2021

    7 February, 1597 - Osric

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

    Henslowe writes: Shrove mvnday | 7 | tt at oserycke ... | 00 | 14 

    In modern English: Shrove Monday ... 7th [February, 1597] ... total at Osric ... 14 shillings
    It's Shrove Monday, a day for eating eggs and bacon in advance of the fasting period of Lent! Today, the Admiral's Men performed Osric, a play they had re-introduced to the repertory a few days ago; we know nothing about the subject matter of this lost play, but you can read more about it here.

    Effigy of Osric, King of Hwicce, in Gloucester
    Cathedral. Photo: Andrew R. Abbot, CC BY-SA 3.0
    Shrove Monday does not tend to result in noticeably high box office; it seems to have ben a day for eating but not playgoing, and the box office for Osric is unimpressive.

    Curiously enough, this is the final appearance of Osric in Henslowe's Diary, even though we have seen it only once before. For whatever reason, the company has revived it twice and then decided never to repeat the experiment. So, farewell, Osric

    Henslowe links


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    Friday, 5 February 2021

    5 February, 1597 - Vortigern

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

    Henslowe writes: 5 | tt at valteger ... | 01 | 09 
    In modern English: 5 [February, 1597] ... Received at Vortigern ... £1 and 9 shillings [i.e. 29 shillings]

    Vortigern in his burning
    castle. From a 14th-century
    manuscript of Peter of
    Langtoft's Chronicle of
    England.
      
    Today, the Admiral's Men chose to perform Vortigern, their play about the legendary British king whose actions brought about the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain. You can read more about this play in the entry for 4th December, 1596

    The company has again waited a fortnight to revive Vortigern, and the Rose is half full, a marked improvement over the last few performances.


    What's next?


    There will be no blog entry tomorrow as 6 February was a Sunday in 1597 and the players did not perform. Henslowe's Diary ... as a Blog! will thus return on the 7th for the final week before the Lenten break. 


    Henslowe links



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