What was it like to see an early performance of a theatrical sensation? On 11 May 1597, the Admiral’s Men premiered a play at the Rose playhouse that was to change
What was it like to see an early performance of a theatrical sensation?
On 11 May 1597, the Admiral’s Men premiered a play at the Rose playhouse that was to change English theatrical history forever. ‘The comedy of umers’ as the theatre owner Philip Henslowe named it in his accounts, is now better known as George Chapman’s The Comedy of Humours or An Humorous Day’s Mirth and it is credited with helping to inaugurate a comic genre that was to dominate English theatre for well over a decade. After a slow start at the box office, the play quickly became a theatrical sensation, and its influence on the work of Ben Jonson, one of English theatre’s greatest comic writers, is clear to see. This talk will first ask what it was that made the play so successful. It will then consider why it is that the only person who left a record of having seen one of the play’s earliest performances, was so decidedly unimpressed.
Eoin Price is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Swansea University. He is the author of ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ Playhouses in Renaissance England (Palgrave, 2015) and his essays appear in journals such as the Review of English Studies and Shakespeare Survey. In 2020 he won the Calvin and G. Rose Hoffman Prize for Distinguished Publication on Christopher Marlowe. His current project, Playgoing Time in Elizabethan London, is funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.
Tickets are £7 (£5 for Friends of The Rose) and can be booked through TryBooking. You will receive a link to this Zoom event via email. Any additional contributions for The Rose Playhouse will be much appreciated and go towards funding the Rose Revealed Project.
Please note that booking for this event will close at 5.30 pm on 3 July.