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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
The Use of Rolls?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0643  Wednesday, 6 April 2005

[1]     From:   Kathy Dent <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Apr 2005 00:24:43 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0632 The Use of Rolls?

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Apr 2005 14:43:10 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0632 The Use of Rolls?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathy Dent <
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Date:           Wednesday, 06 Apr 2005 00:24:43 +0100
Subject: 16.0632 The Use of Rolls?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0632 The Use of Rolls?

Paul Werstine has this note in his article 'Plays in Manuscript' in Cox
& Kastan's _New History of Early English Drama_ (p.495):

'Greg actually included texts of only three actors' parts in _Dramatic
Documents_, two medieval examples from the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries and Edward Alleyn's part of Orlando in _Orlando Furioso_; he
did make reference to a fourth, the then newly discovered part from
_Processus Satanae_ (c. 1570-1580), which he arranged to have appear in
the Malone Society's _Collections_ II, part 3 (237-50). Since Greg's
time a small book in which four other players' parts are preserved has
been donated to Harvard (MS Thr 10.1).  "The parts included ... are
Polypragmaticus in Burton's _Philosophaster_, Antonius in an
unidentified Latin play, and Poore in an unidentified English play," as
well as "the part of Amurath" from Thomas Goffe's _The Courageous Turk_
(O'Malley, 56). A transcription of the part of "Poore" is in the Malone
Society's _Collections_ XV (111-69). It is fully described in two
articles by Carnegie.'

Kathy Dent

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Apr 2005 14:43:10 +0100
Subject: 16.0632 The Use of Rolls?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0632 The Use of Rolls?

Bill Godshalk wrote:

 >John Briggs doubts the existence of rolls.

Well, no - especially as one or two actually survive!  I was in fact
querying their universality: all companies, at all times, for all plays,
for all roles?  I think I was warning of the dangers of extrapolation
from limited data.  After all, and for example, a number of players
could have shared a 'literary' transcript!

As for libraries/archives, there were certainly collections of playbooks
held at the playhouses (at least for those plays in the repertory) by
the companies (and presumably held by the 'bookkeeper'), but why should
that necessarily include any rolls/cue scripts?  Or the 'foul
papers'/'fair copies'?

As for the use of cue scripts for modern performances, that has taught
us a number of things - including about the practicality of the prompter
sitting on the edge of the stage with the playbook, which we know (or
think we know) didn't happen!

John Briggs

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