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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: September ::
Henslowe's 'ne
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1668  Tuesday, 7 September 2004

From:           Alan Dessen <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Sep 2004 09:41:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 15.1658 Henslowe's 'ne'
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1658 Henslowe's 'ne'

The answer to Chris Whatmore's question--"On the subject of increased
takings on 'ne' days, I still doubt that the ticket prices would have
been higher for new plays (would you pay extra to see a play you'd never
heard of?)--is "yes."  See the section on "First Performances," pp.
184-95 in Tiffany Stern's recent essay "'A small-beer health to his
second day': Playwrights, Prologues, and First Performances in the Early
Modern Theater," *Studies in Philology* 101 (2004): 172-99.  I won't try
to summarize a lot of evidence and analysis, but she starts with
citations showing the repeated use of "test" or "trial" linked to first
performances and then notes: "What is being tested in the first
performance is not the players .... Rather, the text itself is being
auditioned, and the audience are paying for the right to put it in the
dock" (186).  She concludes this section: "A play grew in desirability,
it seems, after having been sanctioned *in* performance *by* the
spectators" (195).

Alan Dessen

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