The Elizabethian Stage
o The Elizabethan theatres were often round, they tried to make it look like an amphitheatre (Wooden O)
o There were hardly any toilettes but they already had comfortable functions, like seats, foods and drinks.
o Most theatres were open, that means that there was no or less roof, it could rain into the theatre.
o 3000 People could go into the Globe and watch the play.
o They had a trapdoor, they used it as a grave,
o There was a balcony and a roof, so the actors didn’t get wet, when the rain had started.
o The stage consisted of 3 tears, Heaven (Balcony), Earth (Stage) and Hell (The place where the crowd was standing).
o When the play started there was a flag above the theatre:
§ Black – Tragedy
§ White- Comedy.
§ Red – History.
Music, Costumes, Props
o There was a dressing room, full of funny costumes.
o Until early 1600’s props weren’t used.
o The Elizabethan Theatre used allot of Sound effects.
o Music played an important role in the setting of the mood of the players.
o They used devices in order to create sound effects like horse trapping or rain falling.
o Sometimes, there was an orchestra, but only when the king or noblemen were coming.
o Only men because of the crude atmosphere in the theatre.
o Younger kids played women.
o In 6 Month, one company might give 150 performances with 25-30 different plays.
o They only had one week to learn their text (about 800 Lines a day for leading roles!)
What was the general attitude towards theatres and plays?
o Back in Shakespeare’s time, theatres were really popular.
o While a play was going on, the audience could eat and drink, so there were often drunk people.
When and where were plays performed?
o They played at
§ 3 o clock in the summer
§ 2 o clock in the winter
o They played on sunny and rainy weather.
What do you know about the actors/acting companies of the time?
o They travelled around and looked for a place to perform their play.
o They played often at inns or at home from some nobleman.
o The Audiences ate and drank while the performance was going on. They often become disorderly and were a problem for the local authorities.
o Wherever they performed, pickpockets, prostitutes and beggars came to the play to get money.
o During the time of pestilence, they were seen as dangerous because they gathered large groups of people together.
o They seek sponsorship from noblemen to get more social acceptance.
o Shakespeare’s Company was sponsored by lord Hudson who held the position of lord chamberlain, so they have gotten the name “Lord chamberlains Men”
o When King James sponsored Shakespeare’s acting group, the called themselves “The Kings Men.”
Could you live on writing plays or on acting?
o Yes but only on television because there are more viewers than on theatre, although you can’t get a response from the audience, how the play was like.
Are there any important differences between Shakespeare's theatre and modern theatres?
o It was more interactive; the audience was really involved into the play, they could throw rotten fruit like tomatoes on the stage.
o Acting in a theatre was in Shakespeare’s time really popular