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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: March ::
Re: Act and Scene Divisions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0505  Wednesday, 15 March 2000.

[1]     From:   Harry Hill <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Mar 2000 13:30:45 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Mar 2000 15:12:53 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions

[3]     From:   Leslie Thomson <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Mar 2000 19:47:53 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Mar 2000 13:30:45 EST
Subject: 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions

A late colleague used to have her seminar students decide where to bring
the curtain down at the end of the first "Act" of a performance. This
exercise sensitized her students to dramatic form better than most other
methods I know.

    Harry Hill

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Mar 2000 15:12:53 -0500
Subject: 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions

>Or does anyone know of evidence suggesting that the literary
>act-division was honoured by corresponding breaks or intermissions (as
>many as four!) of performances in Elizabethan theatres, whether public
>or private? If so, how would audiences have behaved during such
>intermissions, considering that apparently no bars were available.

I can't comment on the history, but as a groundling at the new Globe
replica in London during performances that used 4 3-5 min act breaks, I
moved around, sat on the ground, munched and sipped, talked to friends
about the play, and on one occasion sprinted out to use the restroom and
sprinted back.  MOV had some commedia clowning in the yard during these
intervals, and if they were close eoungh to see, I watched them.  When
the play began again-with a flourish or procession or a staff-rapping or
some such to draw attention back to the stage, we all quieted and stood
where we could see (pausing to shush those who remained noisy or
inattentive.)

Geralyn Horton, Playwright
Newton, Mass. 02460
<http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Leslie Thomson <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Mar 2000 19:47:53 -0500
Subject: 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0495 Re: Act and Scene Divisions

In answer to Werner Habicht's question about evidence that "literary"
act divisions were honoured in the theatre: The annotated copy of *Two
Merry Milkmaids* at the Folger has the MS signal "Act" just before the
end of each act. Indeed, in the first instance the signal is a unique
"Knock Act"-presumably to call up those who will be performing during
the break. Those interested might want to consult my article in Medieval
and Renaissance Drama in England, vol. 8, where a number of pages are
reproduced, including the one I just referred to, and all the
annotations are listed. The date of the annotations is not certain, but
there is general agreement that both hands are seventeenth-century.
Other MS plays have the signal "Clear" at the end of acts, which would
seem to indicate that the stage was cleared for a reason other than the
immediate re-entrance of characters in the play. I hope this helps.

Leslie Thomson
 

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