After Shakespeare: Adapting the Bard after 1642

Authors

ŠKROBÁNKOVÁ Klára

Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description The Elizabethan period was probably the most fruitful era of the English speaking drama. Yet, after more than fifty years of continuous progress and state support, the theatres were closed due to the English Civil War and subsequent Puritan Interregnum and the theatrical life almost stopped until the 1660 Restoration when the theatres reopened. But even though the dramatic productions were legally forbidden, the theatrical life did not stop completely. On the contrary, the formal theatre-closure made space for various new theatrical forms, some of them being very much inspired by the relics of the bygone Elizabethan drama. This paper focuses on one of these forms, the droll: a short comical sketch that employed many themes and characters from the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. In 1662 Francis Kirkman published a collection of drolls called The Wits, or Sport for Sport that contained twenty seven drolls and farces. The anthology includes scenes from Hamlet or A Midsummer Night's Dream and also draws upon characters like Falstaff and others. These scenes and sketches were said to have been illegally performed on the stage of Red Bull Theatre. By analyzing these dramatic pieces, I would like to draw one's attention to the genre that is almost unknown to the history of English speaking drama. Although some of the then theatrical forms were researched, the drolls together with their source material are hardly ever investigated. We know next to nothing about the reasons why certain scenes were selected and why some remained ignored. This conference paper focuses on the process of rethinking Shakespeare in order not to only entertain people in the critical period of English history, but also how to preserve the dramatic conventions that William Shakespeare and his contemporaries created.
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