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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Re: Rushes on the Indoor Stage
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0262  Wednesday, 30 January 2002

[1]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Jan 2002 23:30:28 +0000
        Subj:   SHK 13.0239 Rushes on the Indoor Stage

[2]     From:   Rita Lamb <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Jan 2002 00:02:44 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0239 Rushes on the Indoor Stage


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Jan 2002 23:30:28 +0000
Subject: Rushes on the Indoor Stage
Comment:        SHK 13.0239 Rushes on the Indoor Stage

See 'Duchess of Malfi' Act V: Cardinal talks of fights in the rushes. My
text is in class - very sorry, can't give you the exact reference.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rita Lamb <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jan 2002 00:02:44 -0000
Subject: 13.0239 Rushes on the Indoor Stage
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0239 Rushes on the Indoor Stage

There's a reference to rushes in Nashe's 'Summer's Last Will and
Testament'.  The play was registered for publication on 28 October 1600,
but internal evidence suggests it was privately staged in the Great Hall
of Croydon Palace before Archbishop Whitgift and his household in early
October 1592.

In it there's a character called Back-winter, who has a number of
unbalanced and furious speeches.  After he leaves, another character
speaks directly to the prompter:

'...you might haue writ in the margent of your play-booke, Let there be
a fewe rushes laide in the place where Back-winter shall tumble, for
feare of raying his cloathes: or set downe, Enter Back-winter, with his
boy bringing a brush after him, to take off the dust if need require.
But you will ne're haue any ward-robe wit while you liue.'

So apparently the actor playing Back-winter threw himself down and raved
on the floor during his scene.  As he plays the son of a royal
counsellor, perhaps his costume was rich and expensive, and should have
been protected from contact with the floor?

Earlier in the play a hobby-horse dancer is told 'You, friend with the
Hobby-horse, goe not too fast, for feare of wearing out my Lords
tyle-stones with your hob-nayles'.  Taken with the first comment this
perhaps suggests there were no rushes laid for this performance.

RLamb

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