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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: November ::
The Rude Mechanicals
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1843  Wednesday, 9 November 2005

From: 		Gabriel Egan <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 8 Nov 2005 17:45:31 -0000
Subject: 16.1834 The Rude Mechanicals
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1834 The Rude Mechanicals

Sandra Sparks wrote

 >It is my belief that the Rude Mechanicals of "Midsummer" and the company
 >of players in "Hamlet" both exhibit a trait of performances before the
 >playwrights of Shakespeare's time started developing the modern form of
 >theater: because crowds tended to be noisy and have short attention
 >spans, especially when the plays were done in the open during market
 >fairs, a brief version of the play would be given to get people's
 >attention, then the full play would be given for those who planned to
 >stick around!

It is noticeable, however, that the onstage audiences of the inset plays 
in MND and HAM are aristocratic and boorish, endlessly interrupting and 
making lame jokes. Shakespeare shows the toffs, not the plebs, 
exhibiting the failings Sparks notes.

Gabriel Egan

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