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The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0212 Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Date: May 30, 2012 4:59:58 AM EDT
Subject: Re: SHAKSPER: Maria
Richard Madeleine has spent a long time working on the training of boy actors, and has (in a paper given at a colloquium I attended, but that I think is, unfortunately, still unpublished) put forward the theory that as boys probably ‘shadowed’ specific senior actors, some comic female roles may have been written for boys apprenticed specifically to clowns. Richard felt that Maria is being ‘mentored’ by Sir Toby. To extend this speculation a little further than Richard did (and I do concede this is speculation), Maria’s absence during the uncovering of the gulling of Malvolio could be because the boy’s mentor has been taken off stage at V.1.192, and couldn’t be there to shepherd him.