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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Actors' Additions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2405  Monday, 22 October 2001

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Oct 2001 11:14:45 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2379 Re: Actors' Additions

[2]     From:   Gary Allen <
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 >
        Date:   Saturday, 20 Oct 2001 13:11:04 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2397 Re: Actors' Additions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 19 Oct 2001 11:14:45 -0400
Subject: 12.2379 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2379 Re: Actors' Additions

Marcus Dahl's notes:

>For all those doubting that actors added or subtracted lines during the
>Elizabethan period for plays that were performed during Shakespeare's
>lifetime please read Edward Alleyn's 'part' for Orlando Furioso and
>compare it to the play as published.

I take this as support for my contention that actors' additions would
NOT be added to the play script. The difference between "roll" and
printed script suggests that the script itself did not record what
actors may have added in performance.

Of course, there are other ways to explain the differences, e.g.,
revision.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gary Allen <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 20 Oct 2001 13:11:04 EDT
Subject: 12.2397 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2397 Re: Actors' Additions

Bill Godshalk asks:

> Hamlet admonishes the players: "let those that play your clowns speak no
>  more than is set down for then" (Oxford ed. 3.2.38-39).  Would it be
>  appropriate to generalize this admonition?  Would Shakespeare have
>  approved of adding meaningless, extra-metrical phrases to his text?

Another reason for thinking that Shakespeare, as a shareholder in his
company, would not approve is that tinkering with the text would require
a relicensing of the play by the Master of the Revels.  There's the
example of "The Winter's Tale," whose licensed playscript was missing
when the First Folio was being prepared.  Sir Henry Herbert allowed it
to pass "on Mr.  Hemmings his worde that there was nothing prophane
added or reformed, thogh the allowed booke was missinge ..."

On another occasion, the licenser (still, I believe Herbert, although I
can't find the reference in Bentley now) charged a second fee for
rereading an as-yet-unperformed play in a revised text because he had
had to strike out so many unacceptable lines in the first copy that it
had to be rewritten.  There was a half-fee for the licensing of a
revised play and it seems the Master was alert to collect every fee
allowable.  A prudent company of players would want to get their full
text licensed the first time and avoid having to go back, even at half
fee, and permit the censorious eye a second chance at their plate of
trifles.

Gary

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