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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: October ::
Largest Number of Roles/Characters
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1794  Tuesday, 25 October 2005

[1] 	From: 	Bill Lloyd <
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	Date: 	Friday, 21 Oct 2005 08:18:46 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1782 Largest Number of Roles/Characters

[2] 	From: 	Stuart Hampton-Reeves <
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	Date: 	Monday, 24 Oct 2005 12:14:41 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1782 Largest Number of Roles/Characters


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Lloyd <
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Date: 		Friday, 21 Oct 2005 08:18:46 EDT
Subject: 16.1782 Largest Number of Roles/Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1782 Largest Number of Roles/Characters

In Re: SHK 16.1771 Largest Number of Roles/Characters

Are we counting non-speaking roles, or only roles with lines? I suspect 
Harbage's list counts two for whenever "soldiers" etc enter and those 
are often mutes.

Thomas Heywood's The Silver Age, just looking at the Dramatis Personae 
in the Shakespere Society edition, comes to 56 roles, if we count the 
Six Centaurs, the Seven Planets and two each for Captains, Servingmen, 
Swains, Theban Ladies, and Furies [though the actual performances may 
have used more than two each of these].

Then there's the lost play Tamar Cham performed by Edward Alleyn and the 
Lord Admiral's players probably in 1602. All that survives is the 
"platt" [which can be seen in Greg's Dramatic Documents Vol 2] and so 
it's hard-to-impossible to tell which are speaking roles and which 
aren't -- you can assume the named characters speak but what about 
Tarmia's two little sons? and do both Nymphs speak or only one, or do 
they just gesture or dance? etc etc.   But counting all roles, speaking 
or non speaking, I get an astounding total of 75!  Of course this 
includes the 24 'roles' provided by the procession of captives at the 
end-- two each of Tartars, Geates, Amozins, Nagars, ollive cullord 
moores, Canniballs, Hermaphrodites, people of Bohare, Pigmies, Crymms, 
Cattaians and Bactrians. Apparently anyone standing around was called 
into service for this procession-- Old Browne, The Red-faced Fellow, and 
others known only from this procession;-- and some processioners must 
have doffed costumes once they went out and donned new ones to proceed 
back in, as Little Will Barne, for example, plays both an Amozin and a 
Pigmie. Still, without the procession, there's 51 roles.

Bill Lloyd

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stuart Hampton-Reeves <
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Date: 		Monday, 24 Oct 2005 12:14:41 +0100
Subject: 16.1782 Largest Number of Roles/Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1782 Largest Number of Roles/Characters

2 Henry VI also has that great stage direction 'Enter Cade with infinite 
numbers' ...

Stuart Hampton-Reeves

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