Melissa thomas 2009

Long prior to the creation of modern-day technologies, such together radios and televisions, movies, video clip game systems and the ever before popular internet, civilization in the Elizabethan period created sophisticated system of tasks and occasions to save themselves entertained. "...they to be expressive and also eloquent, ostentatious and pleasure-loving, not industrious or hardworking, but bold and self-confident, markedly fearless of death, mercurial and also inconsistent, love change, above all, passionate" (Rowse 353). And also one of their key passions was theatre.

You are watching: Why did drama become so popular during the elizabethan period?

Theatre was for world in Early contemporary England what television is for united state today. Civilization went to the theatre to it is in entertained, and the poor and also the wealthy alike gathered in playhouses in the afternoon to check out plays performed. Shakespeare was among the most popular playwrights of this time and also often if you were going to go see a play performed it to be most likely written by him. Henry IV was one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, mainly since people that this time love the personality of Falstaff(Weil 4).

Going come a play in early modern-day England not only connected the actual plot of going to check out the play, however it was also about paying money to enter the playhouse and also mingle with observe and also be it was observed by people of both sexes and many various social classes(Howard 73). There to be a wide range of social and educational levels in Shakespeare’s audience, especially since the brothels of London were close to wherein the theatres to be built. (Best).

Even though most everyone checked out theatre productions there to be not countless theatre’s actually developed in London. Theatres to be instead constructed on the South financial institution of the Thames River. This to be to stop the strictly regulations the London in ~ the time. The city of London walk not approve of theatre due to the fact that public performances were thought to be a breeding ground because that the plague and also for unseemly actions (Howard 73). The theatre regularly served together a ar for prostitutes and also their customers, and also many human being did not like the fact that the theatre permitted several various social teams to mix together (Howard 75). Additionally since theatre performances took ar in the center of the job they take it worker’s far from their jobs which was frowned upon (Greenblat 32). There to be no toilet infrastructure in the theatres and also people relieved themselves outside. Sewage was hidden in pits or disposed the in the flow Thames, this wrong sanitation might have been responsible because that outbreaks that the plague, which was the only time once then over there was much less of one audience at the theatres (Elizabethan Era).

Even though theatres moved out that London come avoid particular persecution they were still censored. There was a government branch dubbed the Office the the Revels that’s job was come make certain that plays go not current politically or socially sensitive material (Greenblat 18). Prior to every theatre power an main would read a manuscript that the play, acquisition out any type of material they reputed offensive (Greenblat 19). This would become daunting for plays such as Henry IV or any type of other background play the was essentially around the government.

Theatres in Early modern-day England were not choose the theatres we have today, they to be open-air which method they were lot like our contemporary sports stadiums (and the audience often tended to act much like contemporary sports spectators). The plays were lighted mostly by herbal light, and also could no take place at night or in poor weather (Hodges 43).

As viewed in the photo to the left the the globe Theatre, the rectangular stage thrust out right into a circular area called the pit. As soon as audiences were purchasing tickets for a play lock could pick to either sit right here in the pit or to sit in the balconies (Albright 47). Elizabethan general public or human being who to be not the aristocracy were described as groundlings. They would certainly pay one coin to was standing in the Pit that the world Theater (Howard 75). The upper class spectators would pay come sit in the galleries frequently using cushions because that comfort. Rich nobles can watch the play from a chair set on the side of the globe stage itself, so an audience viewing a pat may often have to neglect the truth that over there is a noble man sitting ideal on the stage(Elizabethan Era).

Theatre performances were held in the afternoon, due to the fact that there to be no fabricated lighting, this compelled the creative thinking of the audiences throughout scenes that were come take ar at night (Elizabethan Era). Men and women attended plays, however often the thriving women would wear a mask to disguise their identity (Elizabethan Era). Even though women did attend theatre, and also even Queen Elizabeth herself loved the theatre women that attended theatre were often looked under upon. In reality if a mrs was attending the theatre the was generally assumed she was a prostitute. This is since the theatre was taken into consideration an unseemly place, and most people thought the women must be at home with their children (Howard 76).

Since most theatre performances were frequently three hrs long (Henry IV would have been somewhere about two and a half), the actions of the audience became an extremely rowdy, the audience did not keep quiet, or come on time, or remain for the entirety performance they would simply get up and leave whenever lock felt prefer it. They joined in ~ above the action occurring top top stage, interrupted the actors, and even sometimes obtained on the stage.

They likewise talked throughout dull moments, and also threw rotting vegetables, specifically tomatoes at the gibbs (Elizabethan Era). A power of Henry IV was probably an extremely distracting in a Shakespearian theatre. Shakespeare must have actually thought so too, moving his play company out the open-air theatres in 1609 to do at Black-friars which to be an indoor theatre that was claimed to develop a more refined audience (Elizabethan Era).

It’s believed that while the upper course theatre goers were much better behaved that the groundlings lock were not without your streaks of bad behavior. The upper course spectators more than likely cheered for top class characters in plays such as Westmorland or Prince Hal. And also of food lower course spectators would certainly cheer because that lower class characters, and if these 2 social great were ever dueling in a play, it was helpful pandemonium in the theatre (Audiences). The audience would also cheer because that the good guys, and also boo the negative ones.

Though we recognize a little bit about the actions of theatre audience we perform not know much about the yes, really Elizabethan stage, however because plays of this time were written expressly for this stage, we can obtain an idea by looking at the stage directions in the play(Albright 38).

Though the theatre seems rudimentary compared to our theatres today, Shakespearian plays were no without unique effects. Special impacts were a spectacular addition at the Elizabethan theaters thrilling the audiences through smoke effects, the shooting of a actual canon, fireworks (for dramatic battle scenes) and also spectacular flying gateways from the rigging in the heavens(Elizabethan Era).The stage also featured trap doors to offer as graves, or to permit ghosts to increase from the earth.

There to be a wall surface covered through a curtain the separated the earlier of the stage from the actor’s dressing room, this wall was called the arras, in action II, scene 4 the Henry IV, the prince speak Falstaff to hide from the Sheriff through hiding “behind the arras”, this would have actually been wherein the gibbs hid. Not all theatres were collection up choose this, over there were some indoor theatre’s that had actually a pit that was filled v chairs, but since only the really wealthy might afford admission to these theatres they to be often thought about private(Hodges 55).

Even though theatres in Shakespearian England did not employ the use of scenery, theatre suppliers put a lot of of effort into developing their costumes with good care. One acting agency held your costumes to be your most an useful items (Hodges 54). The costumes however came to be a topic of conflict when some aristocrats felt that actors can use them to disguise your social status, outside of the play-house (Howard 145). Costumes were likewise used come disguise the genders the actors. Every actors in the theatre during Shakespeare’s time were men, for this reason young boys were play female’s parts, and also they necessary costumes the made castle believable as females.

Even though historians have controlled to reconstruct the appearance of original theatres, even structure the new Globe in London, lot of the information on how plays to be performed throughout this time has been lost, the only thing that gives us an idea regarding how these plays to be performed is the stage directions discovered in the text. We don’t know much around the actors and how they chose to beat the parts, except from what is written in very first hand accounts of the plays (Howard 48).

The plays to be performed day-to-day with a various play every day; since the plays adjusted daily they needed some method to advertisement what to be to be presented that afternoon, therefore Flags were put up on the day of the performance which sometimes shown a snapshot advertising the next play to be performed. Shade coding was likewise used to advertise the type of pat to be performed - a black color flag intended a tragedy, white a comedy, and red a history (Elizabethan Era).

Just as we don’t recognize much about the theatre, or around the method the dram were in reality performed we don’t know much around when King Henry IV was in reality performed. The is generally assumed that the play was written and in performance by 1597(Lamb 9), this is not documented. The earliest performance us are specific of took location in 1600 as soon as the play was acted in court because that the Flemish ambassador. Over there were other court performances in 1612 and 1625(Lamb 15). This performances would have been considerably different 보다 the performances defined above. They took ar in the residences of nobility, and also at finest a play agency was inquiry to execute for “royals” around a dozen time a year (Gurr 25).

When lock did carry out for the court, there was a significant amount of money payment for unique effects, and also scenery that would certainly not have been provided in the normal theatre performances. However the biggest difference in these performances is the they to be of course inside and not virtually as crowded and members of the aristocracy were considerably better behaved 보다 the commoners the were discovered at the play-houses. So when plays took ar at court there was typically no rotten vegetables throwing, and also no shouting out by the audience members (Gurr 27).

Henry IV go not show up to have actually been renowned as a beat in court, so once it was seen it was most likely with the distractions described earlier. However, it appears that the distractions were not distracting come theatre goers that the time; this play to be actual one of Shakespeare’s much more loved dram (Lamb 17). The beat was published in 1598, 1599,1604,1608,1613, 1622, 1623, 1632 and also 1639 (Lamb 17). This huge number of printings means that the pat was commonly performed and was a “commercial success”. So more often 보다 not as soon as a red flag to be flying over a theatre it meant you were in because that a power of Henry IV. This is thought to be since audiences love the personality of Falstaff, more likely than no they cheered as soon as he to be on stage, and laughed in ~ him profusely (Lamb 17). In reality the character was such a crowd pleaser that Shakespeare put him in two an ext plays.

We might not understand much about the way that Shakespearian plays were acted or carry out or what the theatre looked like exactly. Nor do we in reality know exactly how the audiences acted, however thanks come the scripts of the plays, and also historical newspaper we can make part educated guesses.

Works Cited

Albright, Victor. The Shakespearian Stage. New York: Columbia college Press, 1926.

Alchin, L.K. "History that the Elizabethan Era." Elizabethan Era. 04 MAR 2008. Elizabethan Era. 11 Nov 2021>.

Best, Michael. "Shakespeare"s Life and also Times." net Shakespeare Editions. 2005. College ofVictoria:Victoria. 01 Nov 2021>.

Greenblatt, Stephen. "Shakespeare"s world." Norton Shakespeare. Brand-new York: W.W. Norton and Co.,1997.

Gurr, Andrew. The shakespearean Stage, 1574-1642: 1574-1642. Cambridge college Press, 1992.

Hodges, Walter. The globe Restored. New York: Coward McCann Inc.,

Howard, Jean. The Stage and also Social struggle in Early modern England. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Lamb, Sidney. Cliff"s finish Shakespeare"s King Henry IV part 1. Foster City CA: IDG books Worldwide, 2000.

See more: How Many Drinks Are In A 10-Ounce Glass Of Wine That Is 12% Alcohol?

Rowse, A.L. The Elizabethan Renaissance. Brand-new York: Charles Scribner"s Sons, 1972.

Weil, Herbert and Judith Weil. The first Part that King Henry IV, brand-new Cambridge Shakespeare, 1997.