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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: November ::
Play structure; prologues, & epilogues
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2131  Thursday, 6 November 2003

From:           Thomas M. Lahey <
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Date:           Wednesday, 5 Nov 2003 12:36:02 -0800
Subject:        Play structure; prologues, & epilogues

Hi,

I'm hoping someone (s?) has this knowledge at their fingertips including
if there are no conventions, i.e., playwrights can do whatever they
want.  In particular:

1)  A play has so many acts (Macbeth:  5).
2)  An Act has so many scenes (Lear, Act 5 has 3 Scenes).
3)  A Play can have a Prologue; acts like Act 0, but there is only the
one "scene" (Troilus & Cressida has an actor play the Prologue; in Romeo
& Juliet it's the Chorus).
4)  A Play can have an Induction (Taming of the Shrew), acts like Act 0,
can have Scenes.
5)  A play can have an Epilogue following the last act, but there is
only the one "scene" (As You Like It).

Q1)  Anyone aware of a reference for the rules/conventions for
structuring a play.

Q2)  OED (Encyclopedic) definition allows a Prologue before any act.
Are there plays with a Prologue before any act but 1?

Q3)  Any plays with a Prologue and an Induction?

Q4)  Any other thoughts?

Thanks,
Tom

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