The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0856  Thursday, 28 September 2006

From: 		Peter Farey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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;"

Henry V
   "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?"

Henry VIII
   "Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow
    We now present."

Julius Caesar
   "But bear it as our Roman actors do,
    With untired spirits and formal constancy."

King John
   "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."

King Lear
   "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
    At Tarsus,"

Richard II
   "As in a theatre the eyes of men,
    After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
    Are idly bent on him that enters next,"

Richard III
   "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."

The Tempest
   "Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
    As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
    Are melted into air, into thin air;"

Titus Andronicus
   "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"

Twelfth Night
   "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."

Peter Farey

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