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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: September ::
Re: Moll
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2227  Thursday, 27 September 2001

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Sep 2001 09:30:17 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2208 Re: Moll

[2]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Sep 2001 16:18:33 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2208 Re: Moll


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 25 Sep 2001 09:30:17 -0700
Subject: 12.2208 Re: Moll
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2208 Re: Moll

I was thinking of Field.  My thanks to all who contacted me, both on and
off list, with the answer.  I wish the Day play was extant.

Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 25 Sep 2001 16:18:33 -0400
Subject: 12.2208 Re: Moll
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2208 Re: Moll

Dana Shilling quotes in part from

>Carl Miller, Stages of Desire: Gay Theatre's Hidden
>History (Cassell 1996):
>
>"As well as _The Roaring Girl_, first performed in 1610, she is presumed
>to be the title figure of the play _Mad Pranks of Merry Moll of the
>Bankside_ by John Day in the same year. In 1612 she appears as a
>character in Nathan Field's play _Amends for Ladies_, and is herself in
>court for real, accused, among other things, of performing on stage."

In the epilogue of The Roaring Girl, Thomas Dekker promises, "if what
both [authors] have done/ Cannot full pay your expectation,/ The Roaring
Girl herself, some few days hence,/ Shall on this stage give larger
recompense;/ Which mirth that you may share in, herself does woo you,/
And craves this sign: your hands to beckon her to you" (lines 33-38).

Studies of dating place The Roaring Girl at the Fortune Theatre in the
spring of 1611. The court document, printed on page 262 of Paul
Mulholland's Revels edition, gives us this:

"[S]he hath vsually in the habite of a man resorted to alehowses
Tavernes Tobacco shops & also to play howses there to see plaies &
pryses & namely being at a playe about 3 quarters of a yeare since at
the ffortune in mans apparell & in her bootes & with a sword by her
syde, she told the company there present that she thought many of them
were of opinion that she was a man, but if any of them would come to her
lodging they should finde that she is a woman & some other immodest &
lascivious speaches she also vsed at that time And also sat there vppon
the stage in publique viewe of all the people there presente in mans
apparrell & playd vppon her lute & sange a songe."

I conclude that this almost certainly describes the fulfillment of
Dekker's promise in the epilogue. Though I touch upon this briefly in my
research, this definitely merits further consideration of how Moll's own
performance contrasts to the authors' presentation of her as a
character, especially the relatively more modest version Middleton
extols in the epistle "To the Comic Play-readers." For a side point, if
one could go back in time, I can't think of any early modern performance
I wish I could've seen more than The Roaring Girl the night Moll
appeared.

Jack Heller

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