Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: October ::
Actors Connected with Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0868  Monday, 2 October 2006

[1] 	From: 	J H Forse <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 29 Sep 2006 11:16:54 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0860 Actors Connected with Shakespeare

[2] 	From: 	Bill Lloyd <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 29 Sep 2006 13:34:47 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0851 Actors Connected with Shakespeare

[3] 	From: 	Anne Cuneo <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Saturday, 30 Sep 2006 10:06:08 +0200
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0860 Actors Connected with Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		J H Forse <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 29 Sep 2006 11:16:54 -0400
Subject: 17.0860 Actors Connected with Shakespeare
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0860 Actors Connected with Shakespeare

Though old, Nungezer's A Dictionary of Actors: and of Other Persons 
Associated with the Public Representation of Plays in England before 
1642 might be of some use.

J H Forse

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Lloyd <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 29 Sep 2006 13:34:47 EDT
Subject: 17.0851 Actors Connected with Shakespeare
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0851 Actors Connected with Shakespeare

Roy Flannagan asks:

 >May I ask what the best sources are, in books and on-line, for
 >authoritative information about actors connected with Shakespeare for
 >whom he might have written specific parts?  Boy-actors as well as men,
 >comic as well as tragic.

     -- Edwin Nungezer, * A Dictionary of Actors*
This incorporates the information found in Chambers, *Elizabethan Stage* 
with much else, and is excellent as far as it goes; but it was published 
in 1929 and a lot has been learned since then.

     -- G. E. Bentley, *The Jacobean and Caroline Stage*, especially Vol 
I 'Dramatic Companies' and Vol II 'Players'.   Although Bentley aims to 
cover the period after the death of Shakespeare, many of Shakespeare's 
fellows (e.g. Heminge, Lowin) and their immediate successors are 
covered. This was published in 1941 so, as with Nungezer, in spite of 
its excellence it is not up to date.

     -- T.W. Baldwin, *The Organization and Personnel of the 
Shakspearean Company*

     -- David Grote, *The Best Actors in the World*

     -- Andrew Gurr, *The Shakespeare Company 1594-1642*

These books all attempt to give a thorough picture specifically of 
Shakespeare's company, but should be used with care. The erudite 
Baldwin's claims outrun his evidence and his theory of 'lines' has been 
much criticized; nonetheless a valuable book, caveat emptor. The amateur 
Grote's book is more recent and vaguely similar: some interesting ideas, 
but rife with unsupported assertions and eccentric theories. Gurr's book 
more approaches a 'standard work' and contains much that is valuable but 
he is careless with details, and information gleaned there from should 
be double-checked.

     -- David Kathman's on-line *Biographical Index of English Drama 
Before 1660*
     http://shakespeareauthorship.com/bd/
This is the most reliable guide to such information. It does not offer 
actual biographies of Shakespeare's fellows, but is a thorough 
bibliography of books and articles pertaining to them and is pretty 
up-to-date. This is where you'll find most of what has been learned 
since Nungezer and Bentley. Also, three of Dave's recent articles 
contain much that is new and illuminating about Shakespeare's fellows:

     -- 'Reconsidering the Seven Deadly Sins' in *Early Theatre* 7.1 (2004)

     -- 'Grocers, Goldsmiths & Drapers: Freemen & Apprentices in the 
Elizabethan Theatre' in *Shakespeare Quarterly* 55.1 (Spring 2004)

     -- ''How Old Were Shakespeare's Boy Actors?' in *Shakespeare 
Survey* 58 (2005)

Unfortunately, definite evidence of which parts Shakespeare intended for 
which actors is pretty sparse:

     Richard Burbage: Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, Lear
     Will Kempe: Peter in R&J, Dogberry
     Richard Cowley: Verges
     Beyond that is a world of speculation.

     Did Burbage act Macbeth (etc) and Kempe Bottom (etc)?
     Very probably, but prove it.

Lowin became famous for acting Falstaff, but was still an apprentice 
goldsmith when Shakespeare wrote the part for someone else. Kempe? Pope? 
Heminge? Arguments have been made but there is no certainty.

Touchstone: Kempe or Armin? arguments have been made, etc.  Did Armin 
play all the obvious fool roles after 1600? All's Well: LaVatch or 
Parolles? Lear: Fool or Edgar? etc

John Heminge was sometimes referred to as 'old Heminge' and so is 
usually assigned, for instance, Caesar and Polonius. But he was only 34 
in 1600. Why not George Bryan or Augustine Philips?

The small/thin hired man John Sincler can be connected with several 
small parts, but can we really say Shakespeare wrote them *for* him?

     ...you see the problem.

Some idea of the [ahem] 'lines' Shakespeare's fellows took can perhaps 
be gotten from roles we know they acted in plays by Webster, Jonson, 
Fletcher and a few others. For instance I think Henry Condell was the 
first actor of Iago because he is known to have acted the wily, 
murderous Cardinal in the Duchess of Malfi, watching dispassionately as 
his brother the Duke (Burbage) raves in madness; and also the hovering, 
duplicitous Mosca to Burbage's Volpone; and the surly soldier Surly in 
The Alchemist. But it's at best an educated guess.

So information there is, but 'authoritative'... be careful.

Bill Lloyd

[Editor's Note: I heartedly second Bill's suggestion of consulting David 
Kathman's on-line *Biographical Index of English Drama Before 1660.* -HMC]

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Anne Cuneo <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Saturday, 30 Sep 2006 10:06:08 +0200
Subject: 17.0860 Actors Connected with Shakespeare
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0860 Actors Connected with Shakespeare

I strongly recommend:

T.W. Baldwin The Organization and Personnel of the Shakespearean 
Company, 1927

T.W.Baldwin has done a thorough job, and tries to answer precisely the 
questions asked by Roy Flannagan. I have used his research extensively. 
Unfortunately, I cannot remember which library I borrowed the book from, 
and have just as foolishly not registered where it was published, only 
when the book has been reprinted, or republished, in New York, in 1961, 
there is a copy in the Swiss Central Library, so I suppose there are 
copies in many American ones.

Anne Cuneo

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.