Shakespeare, W - Much Ado About Nothing (Arden, 2006).pdf

Origins while modern audiences are used to imagining

Info icon This preview shows pages 132–136. Sign up to view the full content.

Origins While modern audiences are used to imagining the play's staging in verisimilar terms (and a high-Renaissance Italianate setting has always proved tempting to designers with big budgets), the Elizabethan stage on which the play originally appeared (perhaps 110
Image of page 132

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

Introduction the Curtain, north of the city of London, but the Globe is also a possibility) required a different kind of imagination. While spe- cific details are inevitably speculative, this stage probably would have been a thrust stage, about forty feet across, surrounded by a standing-room pit and tiered galleries. At the rear of the stage would have been the 'tiring-house', a space with two or three curtained openings, and perhaps a gallery above; above the stage (though not covering it entirely) may have been an overhanging roof, supported by downstage pillars. The outdoor Renaissance theatre space was not dedicated to realistic staging; there was no representational scenery per se (although there may have been properties, such as an arbour, or a monument, both of which are in Henslowe's list of properties for the Rose playhouse). Shakespeare wrote his play for this kind of stage. It would have been a fast- paced production. The rapid Elizabethan delivery would have fuelled the bantering quality of the language, and the unlocalized nature of its settings works well with the shifting continuity of Shakespeare's scenes. For instance, the editorial controversy over whether Don Pedro and Claudio's conversation, an exchange which seems to take place wherever the play opens - somewhere in the vicinity of Leonato's house - but is overheard by a man of Antonio's in 'a thick-pleached alley in mine orchard' (1.2.8-9), and then also by Borachio while being 'entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room' (1.3.54—5), has posed problems for productions dedicated to realistic scenery (unless we imagine it as a conversation continued out of our earshot in successive locations). The Elizabethan stage, however, does not require that the scenery change with the language - rather, the language creates the scenery. Borachio's 'arras' (1.3.57) could be one of the tiring-house curtains or its gallery; the 'penthouse' of 3.3 (100) the tiring-house roof. But such concrete locations are not essential; the governing distinction of this play's settings in the early acts is that of indoors and outdoors, and an architecture of the social proximity conducive to overheard conversations. In 111
Image of page 133
Introduction 1 lie Spanish 1 ragcdy: Or, H i E R o x i u o i s mad a^ainc. Containing the lamentable end of Don Horatio, and Jteùmperid', With the piîtifull Death Of H I E K O K I M O . fflmly C&rreihd, Amended, and'Enlarged with mm Additions, as It hath of late been diners times Aâed. L O N D O N , Piloted by Auguftine LMdifams , and are to bee Ibid by fob* Grtfmmd* at his Shop m Pauls Alley ^at the Signe the Gunae* i £ a 3, 16 Title-page of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy (1623), showing a stage- property arbour 112
Image of page 134

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

Introduction Acts 4 and 5 a church, a jail and a monument are indicated by the language, as are the distinctions of night and day.
Image of page 135
Image of page 136
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern