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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: April ::
Rushes on the Elizabethan Stage
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0370  Friday, 28 April 2006

[1] 	From: 	David Frankel <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 27 Apr 2006 12:15:06 -0400
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0364 Rushes on the Elizabethan Stage

[2] 	From: 	Sidney Berger <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 27 Apr 2006 13:00:16 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0364 Rushes on the Elizabethan Stage


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Frankel <
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Date: 		Thursday, 27 Apr 2006 12:15:06 -0400
Subject: 17.0364 Rushes on the Elizabethan Stage
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0364 Rushes on the Elizabethan Stage

The following comes from Patrick Finelli's mini-essay on the Green Room 
at http://www.connectedcourseware.com/ccweb/grnrm.htm:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first reference is in 
Colley Cibber's Love Makes a Man (1701)

"I do know London pretty well, and the Side-box, Sir, and behind the 
scenes ay, and the Green-Room and all the Girls and Women-Actresses 
there." [3]

Fielding provides further evidence about backstage activities in 1736:

"Sir, the Prompter and most of the players are drinking tea in the 
Green-room." [4]

Incontrovertible evidence that the room's identity is derived from its 
location is found in Shadwell's earlier play, A True Widow (1678) after 
Gartrude favors Selfish with her love and beauty backstage in return for 
a song. The conceited Selfish greets the retired gentleman Bellamour with:

I am the happiest Man, I think, that ever the Sun shin'd on: I have 
enjoyed the prettiest Creature, just now, in a Room behind the Scenes. [5]

The transition in nomenclature is clear before the end of the act when 
the suitor Stanmore reveals that Selfish told him about deflowering 
Gartrude. The place and the action are unmistakable:

"Selfish, this Evening, in a green Room, behind the Scenes, was 
before-hand with me; she n'er tells of that: Can I love one that 
prostitutes her self to that fellow?" [6]

Samuel Pepys describes an encounter with Nell Gwyn and others in the 
Scene-room at the Drury Lane Theatre Royal in 1667:

I to my tailors and there took up my wife and Willet, who stayed there 
for me, and to the Duke of York's playhouse; but the House so full, it 
being a new play The Coffee-House, that we could not get in, and so to 
the King's House; and there going in, met with Knepp and she took us up 
into the Tireing-rooms and to the women's Shift, where Nell was dressing 
herself and was all unready; and is very pretty, prettier then I 
thought; and so walked all up and down the House above, and then below 
into the Scene-room, and there sat down and she gave us fruit and here I 
read the Qu's to Knepp while she answered me, through all her part of 
Flora's Figarys, which was acted today. [7]

C. David Frankel
Assistant Director of Theatre
School of Theatre and Dance
University of South Florida

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sidney Berger <
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Date: 		Thursday, 27 Apr 2006 13:00:16 -0500
Subject: 17.0364 Rushes on the Elizabethan Stage
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0364 Rushes on the Elizabethan Stage

I believe the tradition of the "Green Room" was begun by noted 
eighteenth century actor, David Garrick who chose that space for his 
actors to greet their guests. In that way, he avoided civilians 
traipsing through the backstage area. It was called the Green Room 
because the walls happened to be of that color.

Sidney Berger

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