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23 votes
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When did men dressed as women stop being the norm in English theatre?

It started in the 1600s, and was a gradual process not a sudden one. By the Edwardian era, it was no surprise to the audience to see an actress on stage. Up until the 1600s, women had very few rights,...
Beastly Gerbil's user avatar
13 votes
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Has there ever been a stage production of Chapter 15 of Ulysses?

From A Critical Companion to James Joyce by Fargnoli and Gillespie I learnt the fascinating tidbit that the Circe episode not only was adapted to a play entitled Ulysses in Night-town (directed by ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
13 votes
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Would the chorus leader typically speak/sing along with the chorus in classical Greek plays?

I have some general advice when tackling questions about ancient literature, which is to always check primary texts. Secondary sources are vital for understanding and interpreting primary texts, but ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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13 votes
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What's the difference between a five-act play and a three-act play?

This is an excellent site discussing five-act structure in Shakespeare, containing a diagram and numerous examples. Essentially, the five-act structure can be broken down as: Prologue Conflict ...
DukeZhou's user avatar
  • 4,253
12 votes

In musical theatre, what does "book by" mean?

The book the element of the musical that consists of plot, characters, and spoken dialogue. The book writer is the person who develops the plot, characters, and dialogue for the stage. These can be ...
verbose's user avatar
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11 votes
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Meaning of "See you at the A and P" in Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet

Until they went bankrupt in 2015, A&P was a chain of supermarket stores, and in their heyday, they were a fairly large chain. See Wikipedia. The British equivalent of this line would thus likely ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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11 votes
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Identification of play about fictionalizing an in-universe murder

This sounds very much like Deathtrap, a play in two acts written by Ira Levin in 1978. A playwright suffering from writer's block, Sidney, invites a younger colleague, Clifford, to his house ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
9 votes
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Name of a play about the morality of prostitution (kind of)

Mrs Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw. From Wikipedia's description: Vivie Warren, a thoroughly modern young woman, has just graduated from the University of Cambridge with honours in ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
7 votes

What is the oldest preserved stage direction?

TL;DR: The history of the texts makes it impossible to be sure when stage directions, or even attributions to speakers, were added to Classical Greek plays. A possible (but doubtful) early candidate ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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6 votes
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In musical theatre, what does "book by" mean?

It refers to the script, as in Wiktionary definition 6 or Merriam-Webster definition 6: The script of a musical or opera. Looking at the Wikipedia page for the Bonnie and Clyde musical: Bonnie &...
Adam Burke's user avatar
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6 votes
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First English Renaissance play where women disguise as men?

After some more research, I found the answer to my question. According to The Growth Of English Drama by Arnold Wynne (p. 176), [George Peele's play] Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes merits a passing ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
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How can we reconcile the bareness of Shakespearean stages with the complex stage directions of The Tempest?

The bareness of the stage in The Globe and other theatre venues used by the Lord Chamberlain's Men and the King's Men should not be taken to imply that there weren't any other elements of stagecraft. ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
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Play involving a writer being questioned by the police after children start dying in a way matching his stories

From Wikipedia: The Pillowman is a 2003 play by British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. Katurian, a writer of short stories that often depict violence against children, has been arrested by two ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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5 votes
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Was it so unusual for the time for Journey's End to have no leading lady?

It's pretty unusual but not unknown. A well-known play of the time with a virtually all-male cast was James Fagan's adaptation of Treasure Island, first performed at the Strand in 1922 and revived ...
Lewis 010's user avatar
  • 436
4 votes
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What play are these lines a reference to?

Could it be a reference to the ending of The Dumb Waiter? In this play, Gus and Ben are hitmen partners; Gus leaves the room before their victim is due to arrive, Ben prepares his weapon for the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
4 votes

Tudor or Jacobean plays that are sequels to a Shakespeare play?

To my knowledge, the only Elizabethan or Jacobean play that is a sequel to a Shakespeare play is The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tamed by John Fletcher, a play that was first performed in 1609 – 1610. ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
4 votes
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Literary term for the stagehands on "The Masked Singer"

The usual English term is supernumerary. From the OED: Theatre. A person outside a regular acting company who is employed to appear on stage in a non-speaking role; an extra. “Supernumerary, N., ...
verbose's user avatar
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3 votes
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Identification of Theatrical Play about Vietnam War

"Kennedy's Children" by Robert Patrick came up in Google Books searches for Vietnam "friend chick" Mark. It can be read on pointlessplea.wordpress.com. According to Wikipedia the ...
Ayshe's user avatar
  • 5,206
3 votes
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Secondary literature on "The Warden of the Tomb"

Below are a few references in English: S. Zhao (2012): "Kafka, Hamlet and the Modern Psyche's Ecology", Foreign Literature Studies, 34(1):152-159. From the abstract: "Shakespeare's Hamlet has special ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
2 votes
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What was the play 5-10 years ago where all the dialogue consisted of generic words describing what might be said

You might be thinking of this: Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer (2011), by Youtubers BriTANick (original video title Trailer For Every Oscar-Winning Movie Ever [2010]) It's not a play or a piece ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
2 votes

What is the evidence for the width of the trap in the stage of Elizabethan playhouses?

This paper by Andrew J. Power gives a fairly comprehensive use of trapdoors in the Shakespearean era. It's worth noting that the trap would be used any time there is a need for a depression in the ...
D. A. Hosek's user avatar
  • 3,185
1 vote

Which publication first defined the theatre convention of the fourth wall?

The reason why the concept is usually attributed to Denis Diderot is the following passage in his Discours sur la poésie dramatique, which contains the following sentences: Soit donc que vous ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
1 vote

Why is there so much emphasis on snack foods in the plays of Martin McDonagh?

If you look at Morrison's "Bread and Butter to Boiling Oil: From Wilde's Afternoon Tea to the Beauty Queen of Leenane," New Hibernia Review, Volume 14, Number 3, Autumn 2010, you will see that ...
Chris Morrison's user avatar

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