Unruly Audiences and the Theater of Control in Early Modern London: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Unruly Audiences and the Theater of Control in Early Modern London

1st Edition

By Eric Dunnum


264 pages

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Hardback: 9780815369332
pub: 2019-10-03
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pub: 2019-09-18
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Unruly Audiences and the Theater of Control in Early Modern London explores the effects of audience riots on the dramaturgy of early modern playwrights, arguing that playwrights from Marlowe to Brome often used their plays to control the physical reactions of their audience.

This study analyses how, out of anxiety that unruly audiences would destroy the nascent industry of professional drama in England, playwrights sought to limit the effect that their plays could have on the audience. They tried to construct playgoing through their drama in the hopes of creating a less-reactive, more pensive, and controlled playgoer. The result was the radical experimentation in dramaturgy that, in part, defines Renaissance drama.

Written for scholars of Early Modern and Renaissance Drama and Theatre, Theatre History, and Early Modern and Renaissance History, this book calls for a new focus on the local economic concerns of the theatre companies as a way to understand the motivation behind the drama of early modern London.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Alterity of Early Modern Audiences

Chapter 1: Audience Response to Performance: Fear of Riots, Closures and Unruly Playgoers

Chapter 2: Performance’s Response to Audience: The Relationship among Audience, Performance and Reality

Chapter 3: Fictional Audience’s Responses to Fictional Performances: The Didactic Role of Metadrama

Chapter 4: Unstable Texts, Active Readers; Stable Performances, Non-Reactive Playgoers

Chapter 5: Anti-Mimetic Drama: Performance’s Relationship to Reality and the Playgoer’s Interpretive Agency

Coda: Return to Malfi: The Secrecy of Performance and the Consequences of Constructing Playgoing

About the Author

Eric Dunnum is an Assistant Professor of English at Campbell University.

About the Series

Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama

Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama
This series presents original research on theatre histories and performance histories; the time period covered is from about 1500 to the early 18th century. Studies in which women's activities are a central feature of discussion are especially of interest; this may include women as financial or technical support (patrons, musicians, dancers, seamstresses, wig-makers) or house support staff (e.g., gatherers), rather than performance per se. We also welcome critiques of early modern drama that take into account the production values of the plays and rely on period records of performance.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
DRAMA / General
DRAMA / Shakespeare
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism