Researching Court Performance

Authored by: Sarah Carpenter

The Routledge Research Companion to Early Drama and performance

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472421401
eBook ISBN: 9781315612898
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043669

10.4324/9781315612898.ch8

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Abstract

The royal courts have long been recognised as patrons of early drama. But the institution of the court presents us with a performance culture which is more complex, diverse and challenging than that of any scripted play. It is a culture in which performers and spectators shift and blur into each other; in which entertainment and leisure are inseparable from power and politics; a culture of vivid spectacle and of subtle obliqueness. At court, performance offers not so much a recognisably alternative play world, as a performed extension of courtly life itself, which is always lived largely in public. Plays are only one strand in a world of performance in which monarchs, courtiers and nobles can function as actors, playwrights and directors, as well as spectators and recipients, of courtly show.

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