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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: October ::
Re: The Curtain
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1739  Thursday, 14 October 1999.

[1]     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 10:24:16 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

[2]     From:   Louis Marder <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 11:25:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

[3]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 09:27:15 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

[4]     From:   James P. Lusardi <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 15:20:25 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

[5]     From:   Jerry Bangham <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 18:34:00 -0500
        Subj:   The Curtain

[6]     From:   Sharon Pottie <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 20:06:33 ADT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

[7]     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 11:37:50 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

[8]     From:   Paul Franssen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 14 Oct 1999 11:28:49 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 10:24:16 -0500
Subject: 10.1735 Q: The Curtain
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

Larry Baker asks:

>When discussing some background material on the theater of Shakespeare's
>time with tenth graders today, I was asked a question that stumped me.
>If the projecting stage of the Globe and other theaters of Shakespeare's
>time were curtainless, why was a contemporary theater named "the
>Curtain"?  How were curtains associated with stagecraft in the popular
>mind?  Thanks for any light you can shed on this matter.

I believe that "Curtain" in this case is a corruption/Anglicization of
"Cortina," or "courtyard, enclosure."

Rick Jones

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Marder <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 11:25:35 -0500
Subject: 10.1735 Q: The Curtain
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

Hi.!   The Curtain was the name of a rise in the ground, a small hill,
which shut off the view beyond that point.  A simple answer to a
relevant question.  Louis Marder, The Shakespeare Data  Bank,

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 09:27:15 -0700
Subject: 10.1735 Q: The Curtain
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

They weren't curtainless, in fact.  The curtain was hung at the back of
the stage, across the tiring house.

Melissa D. Aaron
California Polytechnic State University at Pomona

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James P. Lusardi <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 15:20:25 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 10.1735 Q: The Curtain
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

The term "curtain" refers to a parcel of ground with an enclosing wall
or to the wall.  The name was associated with the site of The Curtain
long before there was a playhouse on it.  See e.g. E. K. Chambers, The
Elizabethan Stage, 2: 400-401.

Yours--Jim Lusardi, Co-Editor, Shakespeare Bulletin

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jerry Bangham <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 18:34:00 -0500
Subject:        The Curtain

According to the "Oxford Companion to the Theatre" the structure was
built on a plot of land know as the Curtain, or Curtain Close. Later it
was renamed Curtain Court. The name survives today in Curtain Road,
Shoreditch.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sharon Pottie <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 20:06:33 ADT
Subject: 10.1735 Q: The Curtain
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

Could this name have been derived from the use of a curtain for the
Mystery cycles?  If I remember my history correctly, the Mystery cycles
were performed on travelling coaches that actually did have a curtain.
Also, although there were no curtains downstage, there would definitely
been a curtain upstage; and these curtains played an important role in
the stagecraft and mechanics of many plays.  I'm not sure if this is any
help or valid for that matter!

Cheers!
Sharon Pottie

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Oct 1999 11:37:50 -0500
Subject: 10.1735 Q: The Curtain
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

First of all it was called the Curtain because it was on Curtain Street,
or is it Road?  Second, the road was so called because it connected to
the curtain wall of the old walled City of London.  I've always thought
it was very clever to call the first theatre The Theatre, the
explanation for the name of the second theatre is a bit more prosaic.

William Proctor Williams

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Franssen <
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Date:           Thursday, 14 Oct 1999 11:28:49 +0100
Subject: 10.1735 Q: The Curtain
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1735 Q: The Curtain

In response to Larry Baker's query regarding the name of the Curtain
theatre: I wondered about that myself once, but then a friend pointed
out to me that the term "curtain" also had a technical meaning in
fortifications. One of the senses in the Concise Oxford Dictionary is
"plain wall of fortified place, connecting two towers etc." In a general
introduction to drama of the period, Judith Cook states that the
Curtain's "name was not chosen for any theatrical connections; it had
been the name of the piece of ground on which the theatre was built"
(*At the Sign of the Swan,* p. 21). Cook does not explain or state her
sources, however. At any rate, it seems clear that a theatre could have
well been named the Curtain without any thought of the piece of cloth,
which was apparently introduced into the English theatre only much
later.

Paul Franssen
University of Utrecht
The Netherlands
 

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