The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0856 Thursday, 28 September 2006
From: Peter Farey <
Date: Wednesday, 27 Sep 2006 07:18:10 +0100
Subject: 17.0845 Metatheatrics
Comment: Re: SHK 17.0845 Metatheatrics
Larry Weiss reminds me that when we were discussing this I did for my
own amusement see whether I could find an example in every play. The
only one in which I couldn't find anything was Timon of Athens, although
I think that one or two of the 'chorus' or 'play within a play' ones,
where they really are talking about actors, are probably not quite what
the original question was all about. Here are the ones I did find.
Antony and Cleopatra:
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I' th' posture of a whore."
All's Well That Ends Well:
"Faith, sir, he's led the drum before the English
As You Like It
"This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.
All the world's a stage,
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,"
"Like a dull actor now
I have forgot my part, and I am out
Even to a full disgrace."
"Shall 's have a play of this? Thou scornful page,
There lie thy part."
"My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius
was an actor in Rome - "
Henry IV, part 1
"O Jesu, he doth it as like one of these harlotry
players as ever I see!"
Henry IV, part 2
"Let order die!
And let this world no longer be a stage
To feed contention in a ling'ring act;"
"O for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention:
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene."
Henry VI, part 1
"Accursed tower! Accursed fatal hand
That hath contrived this woeful tragedy!"
Henry VI, part 2
"But mine is made the prologue to their play,
For thousands more that yet suspect no peril
Will not conclude their plotted tragedy."
Henry VI, part 3
"And look upon, as if the tragedy
Were played in jest by counterfeiting actors?"
"Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow
We now present."
"But bear it as our Roman actors do,
With untired spirits and formal constancy."
"By heaven, these scroyles of Angers flout you, Kings,
And stand securely on their battlements
As in a theatre, whence they gape and point
At your industrious scenes and acts of death."
"When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools."
Love's Labour's Lost
"O Lord, sir, the parties themselves, the actors,
sir, will show whereuntil it doth amount."
Much Ado About Nothing
"That's the scene that I would see, which will be
merely a dumb show."
A Midsummer Night's Dream
"First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats
on; then read the names of the actors;"
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more."
Measure for Measure
"I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes."
The Merchant of Venice
"I hold the world but as the world, Graziano -
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one."
The Merry Wives of Windsor
"Mistress Page, remember you your cue."
"I warrant thee. If I do not act it, hiss me."
"Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure
prologue to the history of lust and foul thoughts."
(cf. H5 "prologue to this history")
"Now to Marina bend your mind,
Whom our fast-growing scene must find
"As in a theatre the eyes of men,
After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,"
"Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian,
Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,"
Romeo and Juliet
"My dismal scene I needs must act alone."
The Taming of the Shrew
"An 't please your honour, players
That offer service to your lordship."
"Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air;"
"O, why should nature build so foul a den,
Unless the gods delight in tragedies?"
Troilus and Cressida
"Sometime, great Agamemnon,
Thy topless deputation he puts on,
And like a strutting player, whose conceit
Lies in his hamstring"
"If this were played upon a stage, now, I could
condemn it as an improbable fiction."
Two Gentlemen of Verona
"And at that time I made her weep agood,
For I did play a lamentable part."
Two Noble Kinsmen
"The scene's not for our seeing; go we hence
Right joyful, with some sorrow."
The Winter's Tale
"It shall be so my care
To have you royally appointed as if
The scene you play were mine."
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