Shakespeare Research Project

By: Ross Zuber

Why could not a girl be in a play and how did Shakespeare incorporate girl roles into a play?

Females In The Elizabethan Era

To make Shakespeare's life harder than it needed to be in that era. Women were not allowed to act on stage with men although there are many female roles in all plays not just Shakespeare's. Most women were not allowed to even come to an event and participate with others since it was thought to be to publicized.

Growing Into Actors

From the very start of most actors lives in the Elizabethan era you were given a acting mentor. Raised from a really young age each child would learn the ins and outs of plays. They would become excellent players at that time. Each kid would study various rhetoric, become well educated in grammar, strong singer and dancer, and lastly a strong reader.

Joseph Taylor (1586 - 1652)

Among one of the many young boy actors that acted as a female. Significant actor for Shakespeare he was one of the few actors actually recorded in Shakespeare's book First Folio. Taylor was a very well known actor of his time and had been one of the famous children in Shakespeare's plays.

Acting As A Women

Most boys that acted as women started at the age of thirteen and was able to normally keep acting as a women until about nineteen. They were taught how to be a great actor over the years as a child. Usually would continue the career of acting. Although acting in their teens sometimes had an irreversible affect on them due to their lack of nutrition. The young actors had their own type of diet to keep them skinny to appear as a girl would on stage.

The Trick

Just like in this day and age actors used make-up to deceive the eyes of who or what they were really seeing. Normally the boys face would be cover in a lot of white lead based make-up. As most people know now that lead based anything is not good for humans. The actors unfortunately did end up with skin cancer. Most of the time it was the young boys acting like women due to the fact that they usually had the most make-up on to make them look more like girls.