The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0602 Thursday, 31 March 2005
From: William Godshalk <
Date: Wednesday, 30 Mar 2005 16:30:08 -0500
Subject: The Use of Rolls?
John Briggs is perfectly right that my comment on rolls/roles/scrolls
had little or nothing to do with Ralph Crane as Accidental Editor.
It appears that each actor in a Renaissance acting company got a roll
with his individual part, including cues. Each actor did not have a copy
of the entire playbook. Nor did the actors necessarily rehearse as a
group. (I'm following Tiffany Stern's description of rehearsals.) It
would seem to me that these rolls must have been kept by the company in
its archive or library. If and when the play were revived, the actors
might well have to relearn some of their lines and cues. Or if the actor
were new to the company or the play, he would have to learn all his cues
and lines for the revival. If the playbook happened to get lost or
destroyed, wouldn't it be possible to reconstruct the script from the
rolls? The rolls (I suppose) would silently contain the cuts for the
How much do we know about rolls and their uses?
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