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Home :: Archive :: 2011 :: February ::
Corpsing?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0031   Wednesday, 2 February 2011

From:         Robert Shaughnessy <
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Date:         January 28, 2011 4:20:05 AM EST
Subject: 22.0024   Corpsing?
Comment:      RE: SHK 22.0024   Corpsing?

>Does anyone know of any references in early modern drama or associated 
>materials to the phenomenon now known as "corpsing" where an actor becomes 
>seized by laughter in the middle of a performance? There are obvious places 
>for playing games of this kind in Shakespeare, when Malvolio opens his letter 
>and when Falstaff abuses "the gunpowder Percy" for instance, but specific 
>accounts are hard to come by.

It doesn't address early modern performance directly (though does refer to Rabelais), but you may be 
interested in Nick Ridout's astute, eloquent, and very funny, discussion of this phenomenon in his Stage 
Fright, Animals, and other Theatrical Problems (CUP, 2006).

Best wishes,
Robert Shaughnessy
Drama and Theatre Studies
School of Arts
Jarman Building
University of Kent
CT2 7UG


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