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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Groundlings
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0252  Tuesday, 29 January 2002

From:           Brandon Toropov <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Jan 2002 05:50:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Groundlings

"He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps!"

Sleeping standing up would have been quite a trick, of course. So
presumably the groundlings found other ways to express their
displeasure, boredom, or contempt.

My question: What were those ways? And how do we know?

For instance: Audences pelted less-than-persuasive vaudeville performers
with organic "matter in transition" in the early twentieth century. Is
there any persuasive evidence that groundlings took the same approach?
If so, where is it to be found?

Everything I remember reading on this topic (which, admittedly, isn't
much) is filled with phrases like "must have," "surely," and
"undoubtedly," terms that have led me, over the years, to believe that
the events described need not have taken place, are less than certain,
and are worth doubting.

Getting a tan from standing in the Massachusetts rain,

Brandon

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