The Profession of Player in Shakespeare’s Time, 1590-1642 by Gerald Eades Bentley

By Gerald Eades Bentley

This booklet is a finished research of the familiar practices of English avid gamers of the period--how they lived and labored and have been paid, equipped, and solid for elements within the phenomenally well known theaters of britain. Gerald Bentley discusses sharers, employed males, boy apprentices, musicians, traveling teams, and executives, exhibiting that gamers usually led tricky yet heavily expert lives.

Originally released in 1984.

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2 9 One could wish for more evidence of the deliberations of the sharers before they accepted a proffered manuscript and turned it over to the prompter for annotation and the prepa­ ration of sides. And who was in charge of the casting? I can­ not answer this question with confidence. Presumably casting was discussed with attached dramatists while their plays were being composed, but many plays written by free-lance dram­ atists were performed. Surely such dramatists as Henry Shir­ ley, Robert Davenport, Lodowick Carlell, Arthur Wilson, William Berkeley, or Jasper Mayne, who had a play or two produced by the King's men, were not consulted about the casting.

5 These eight players were leading members of four London companies: Heminges and Burbage, the King's Men; Beeston and Lee, Queen Anne's company; Rowley and Newton, the Palsgrave's company; and Thomas Downton and ·* See below, pp. 41-45. •' E. K. Chambers and W. W. Greg, "Dramatic Records from the Privy Council Registers, 1603-1642," Malone Society Collections 1, pt. 4 (1911), 372. 2 I T H E PLAYER AND H I S COMPANY Humphrey Jeffes, Prince Charles's (I) company. These four were evidently the officially recognized London companies in 1615.

Will that night they play their new play read this. . " In December 1613, Daborne, still wanting money, wrote that the new play he was working on would make "as good a play for your public house as ever was played" '• See Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage, 1, 108-134. , Henslowe's Diary, pp. , Henslowe Papers, p. 49. 39 SHARERS and that "upon the reading it" the company would have Henslowe pay out for them £20 rather than lose such a fine play. "26 One cannot be certain, of course, that this custom of reading a new manuscript to all sharers was universal, but evidently it was common.

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