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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Women on the Early Modern Stage
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0476  Wednesday, 17 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Kate Brookfield <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 23:55:03 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0466 Re: Women

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 12:49:58 -0500
        Subj:   Women on the Early Modern Stage


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 12:49:58 -0500
Subject:        Women on the Early Modern State

Sean Lawrence proposes that "If some 16th-century Judy Dench can play
Cleopatra, then there's no reason for an actor to boy her greatness, and
maintaining boy actors as apprentices would be pure loss."  But boy
apprentices would be cheaper than journey women adults (lower wages),
especially because unlike apprentice shoemakers or jewelers a
sufficiently talented boy actor could take on relatively large roles and
hence make relatively large contributions relatively early in his
apprenticeship.  And women were never going to be as suitable for either
actual boy roles-Moth, Arthur, Mamillius-or for the cross-dressed parts,
where necessity begets wonderful invention.

Dave Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kate Brookfield <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 23:55:03 -0000
Subject: 10.0466 Re: Women
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0466 Re: Women

One reason that no one seems to have mentioned for professional theatre
companies to refuse women parts is that they'd compete with the male
actors who controlled the company.  If some 16th-century Judy Dench can
play Cleopatra, then there's no reason for an actor to boy her
greatness, and maintaining boy actors as apprentices would be pure loss.

Virginia Woolfe in "A Room of One's Own" gives a very good reason why a
fictional Judith Shakespeare never became a successful actor/playwright.

Kate Brookfield
 

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