The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1683 Monday, 4 September 2000.
From: W. L. Godshalk <
Date: Friday, 01 Sep 2000 15:06:05 -0400
Subject: 11.1670 Re: Women's Roles
Comment: Re: SHK 11.1670 Re: Women's Roles
Dave Kathman writes:
>There are a couple of bits of
>evidence which seem to point to sharers playing very minor female roles
>(with zero and five lines respectively), and while both of those bits of
>evidence are somewhat questionable, I'm perfectly willing to admit that
>adults, even sharers, may have sometimes played such supernumerary
>female roles. But all the evidence we have shows that the *principal*
>female roles were played by teenage male apprentices.
A minor point: I assume that the Weird Sisters in Macbeth were played
by older actors on the early seventeenth century stage because Banquo
notes that they have beards. The Weird Sisters do speak more than five
lines throughout the play, but perhaps Dave would call them
"supernumerary." And they are a special kind of female impersonator.
(And, yes, I know that some scholars ascribe the Weird Sisters to the
pen of Middleton. In any case, they are bearded women.)
Yours, Bill Godshalk