In this book, first published in 1991, David Mann argues for more attention to the performer in the study of Elizabethan plays and less concern for their supposed meanings and morals. He concentrates on a collection of extracts from plays which show the Elizabethan actor as a character onstage. He draws from the texts a range of issues concerning performance practice: the nature of iterance; doubling and its implications for presentational acting; the importance of clowning and improvisation; and the effects of audience and venue on the dynamics of performance.
The author suggests that the stage representation of players is in part a nostalgic farewell to the passing of an impure but perhaps more vital theatre, and in part an acknowledgement of the threat the adult theatre’s growing sophistication offered to its institutional and adolescent rivals. This title will be of interest to students of Drama and Performance.
Preface; Acknowledgements; Notes on the Woodcuts; 1. Introduction: A Definition of the Context of Study 2. The Itinerant Player and Sir Thomas More 3. Evidence of Players in Hamlet 4. Kemp, Clowns, and Improvisation 5. Clown as Justice: The Mayor of Queenborough 6. Attacks on the Common Player 7. The Poetaster, the ‘War of the Theatres’, and the Children 8. University Drama and The Return from Parnassus 9. Histriomastix and the Inns of Court 10. Apprentice Drama and The Hog Hath Lost his Pearl 11. Heywood, Massinger, and the Defence of Playing 12. Ambiguities 13. Conclusion; Appendices
Reissuing 15 works originally published between 1934 and 1991, this diverse set offers an outstanding collection of scholarship devoted to Renaissance Drama. Routledge Library Editions: Renaissance Drama provides an extensive study of performance history and criticism of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, as well as volumes dedicated to the playwrights Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. These volumes present together a lively picture of the development of British theatre and will be of interest to students of literature, drama and performance.