Live through the entire Shakespearean era of theatre
Did you know that a little before Shakespeare's time, going to the theatre was a disreputable pastime?
The Changed Reputation
What is the Globe?
Seating in the Globe
Most of the poorer audience members, referred to as groundlings, would pay one penny to stand in front of the stage, while the richer patrons would sit in the covered galleries, paying as much as half a crown each for their seats. For the richer people, there were 3 levels. The first was the floor in front of the stage. This had no seats and the tickets were sold to men only. It was very rough and loud. Often fights broke out and very few listened to the play. The next level was on the second floor. This was for couples and to some extent they watched the play. The third floor was for "working" girls who catered to the the men on the first floor. They were not there for the play. Among all of this were ladies who sold baskets of oranges.The same way you get a good seat nowadays--you pay for it. Good seats in Shakespeare's theatres could cost 3 to 4 times as much as the cheap seats (which were standing room, not seats at all).
Some of Shakespeare's Peers (also playwrights)
John Lyly was an English writer, poet, dramatist, playwright, and politician.
Thomas Kyd was an English dramatist, the author of The Spanish Tragedy, and one of the most important figures in the development of Elizabethan drama.
Francis Beaumont was a dramatist in the English Renaissance theatre, most famous for his collaborations with John Fletcher.
Was Shakespeare friends with his peers? Yes. Ben Jonson, a prickly sort of person most of the time, spoke very fondly of him. He worked very closely with other playwrights on a number of plays, John Fletcher in particular. Shakespeare seems to have been an easy man to get along with, and the community of playwrights was usually quite tightly knit.
Did You Know?
- Women did not act. Men would play as women.
- They performed during the day and used the natural light from the sun.
- The audience would eat, drink, and talk throughout the entire performance.
- They used very little scenery and used language to set the scene.
- Audiences weren't very nice. They would boo the actors if they didn't like the performances, and would even throw oranges at the actors.