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Cover Art
Author Gibson, Joy Leslie.

Title Squeaking Cleopatras : the Elizabethan boy player / Joy Leslie Gibson.

Published Stroud, Gloucestershire : Sutton, 2000.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  792.028083 GIBS    AVAILABLE
Physical description xiv, 222 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 211-216) and index.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents 1 Education and Apprenticeships 13 -- 2 To be a Woman 33 -- 3 To be an Actor 55 -- 4 Anatomy of Speech 69 -- 5 Woman's Part 101 -- 6 Other Playwrights 121 -- 7 Children of St Paul's 145 -- 8 Children of the Revels 161 -- 9 Boys will be Girls and Girls will be Boys 175 -- Appendix 1 Punctuation of Ophelia's Speech, Hamlet, Act 3 scene i, 'O, What a Noble Mind' 203 -- Appendix 2 Sumptuary Laws 207.
Summary That woman is a woman!' So thundered Simon Callow in the film Shakespeare in Love, thus underlining one of the great differences between our theatre and that of the Elizabethans where women were prohibited from appearing on the stage. In this highly controversial book, the first on the subject for over sixty years, Joy Leslie Gibson looks at the female roles in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama from the point of view of the boys who actually had to create these fascinating and dramatic parts.
Some scholars believe that the roles were too demanding to be played by adolescents. In examining in fine detail thirty-seven of Shakespeare's plays and thirty works by his contemporaries, such as Middleton, Dekker and Marston, Joy Leslie Gibson argues convincingly that they could have been performed by adolescents whose life experience was very different from that of English boys today, and considerably more brutal. Contesting that the emotions of the parts were written to be within the boys' range, discovering the age at which boys' voices broke, and demonstrating how the playwrights helped them by tailoring the parts to their vocal and emotional abilities, the author has produced original and stimulating ideas to support her argument.
Gibson considers the social position of women in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and how the boys would have been trained; she also discusses costume and the part cross-dressing played in Elizabethan society, which provides a piquant view of the times. Finally, she gives an inspiring account of why the convention of the boy player was acceptable.
Scrupulously researched, this ground-breaking book sheds new light not only on Elizabethan drama but also on society as a whole. It will be required reading for any lover of Shakespeare or anyone made curious by a visit to the theatre to see one of Shakespeare's plays.
Subject Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Stage history -- England -- London.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Stage history -- To 1625.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Characters -- Women.
English drama -- Early modern and Elizabethan, 1500-1600 -- History and criticism.
Actors -- England -- History -- 16th century.
English drama -- 17th century -- History and criticism.
Child actors -- England -- History -- 16th century.
Child actors -- England -- History -- 17th century.
Theater -- England -- History -- 16th century.
Theater -- England -- History -- 17th century.
Women in literature.
Great Britain -- Social life and customs -- 16th century.
Great Britain -- Social life and customs -- 17th century.
ISBN 0750924888