Last month, archaeologist Stephen White of University College London announced the discovery of the Red Lion site, an often-forgotten Elizabethan playhouse that is the earliest we know of. Theatre historian Holger Syme discusses the implications of this discovery, especially the way that archaeological discoveries of the past thirty-five years seem to be cumulatively disproving the idea of the thrust stage.
For more on the earliest years of the London playhouses, see Holger’s theatre history posts on his website, http://www.dispositio.net, as well as the Before Shakespeare project, on the earliest years of the London playhouses, for which Holger is an advisor, BeforeShakespeare.com.
Like so many early modern performances, this film guest stars his very excited dog…
Chris Goode explores theatre as a live art based in community, encounters and conversation, a frame saying “now pay attention to this”. He talks us through his work, especially his online anthology of spoken word, What Words, and asks when, where and why we need language to work really hard as a container for the things we want to say.
Harry Newman tells us about the idea of fictional character as a kind of ‘virtual human’ or ‘models of humanity’. We hear about spacious fictional worlds on TV and in the early modern playhouse, and Harry asks if the early modern period had the concepts of the paywall and reboot, and considers literature and performance as an ‘ongoing experiment in world-building’.
Ambereen Dadabhoy tells us about the early modern Mediterranean, the English playhouse and the history of race. We hear about the lack of racial literacy in early modern studies, the way ‘a white way of knowing’ has dominated scholarship, and how to ‘follow the lead of those who have championed racial literacy’.
In our third film on wrestling, the wrestler, writer and comedian RJ City tells Andy Kesson about storytelling with the body, playing against genre conventions and wrestling as a kind of exploration of bodily intimacy and care. Basil Fawlty, Roland Barthes and Bertolt Brecht also feature.
Ian Burrows chats to Emma Whipday about slapstick, so-called ‘snowflake’ students, and content warnings for Shakespeare Ian works on early modern drama, and is particularly interested in how actors’ physicality was presented and interpreted on stage and in print.
Alison Bomber, voice coach, tells us about making the ‘right noise’, using breath and vibration to make connections between sounds, bodies and imagination. You’ll never think about inspiration in the same way again.
The early modernists Derek Dunne, Tom Harrison and Paul Salzman get together from their own places of social isolation to discuss plague and social isolation in Ben Jonson’s early seventeenth-century play, The Alchemist.
Following the cancellation of their 2020 production of Ben Jonson’s The Silent Woman due to COVID-19, Edward’s Boys perform extracts from the play and reflect on their experiences of rehearsing and (almost) performing it.
Scripted and presented by Harry McCarthy
Recorded by Eddie
Edited by Peter Knowles
Edward’s Boys: Callum; Enrique; Ewan; Felix; Jamie M; Joe M; Johan; Myles; Nilay; Rhys; Ricky; Ritvick; Seb; Tom H; Tom L; Will; Yiannis.
Directed and produced by Perry Mills
Music Credits: “Shanty Shanty”, “Without Name”, “Synthwave”, “Elipsis” and “Exess-1” by Electronic Senses, licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.