Thursday, October 25, 2012


Dear Young Will,

Young Will, it seems to me that the manner in which your plays are performed today is much different than it was in your day.  In your day, the players played much more to the audience than they do today, even in the most dramatic scenes.  I don’t know if you’ve seen the move Anonymous, but that’s how your plays are shown being presented.  Very different from today’s wall between the audience and the actors.  If this is in fact accurate, I hate to say that I like today’s more serious manner of presentation better.  What say you?
No Herod Fan
Dear No Herod,

Your Will doth enjoie thy querie as it poseth manie potentialities for debate.  I shouldst note I am not a fan of your modern film “Anonymous,” though Ben Jonson doth find it to be a moste excellente satiricall comedie. 

I hath posted here for thee the imprinte of the first quarto version of mine playe Romeo and Juliet.  Whilst I do not recommend this, as it hath been secreted from the theatre and is not mine final voice, thou canst observe that the play was belovéd by the crowd, who met its final words “with great applause.” If the groundlyngs be not content, the playe wouldst not have been performed so manie times.

Your Will doth sympathise with thy concern.  Thou might recall Hamlet’s words to the troupe in his play, "I would have such a fellow whipped for o'er-doing Termagant, it out-Herods Herod.  Pray you, avoid it.”  Your Will hath seen such performances as do give you grief, goode Sir Epstein, suche as the medieval mysterie playes Hamlet doth so despise. This is like to be a problem in thine own modern age, methinks, where some actors and some styles do seem as Herod, such as would split the ears of groundlyngs.

As to your Will, I do encourage this…what ye moderns do terme presentational methode of actinge in mine comedies most oft as it aideth in the humour.  ‘Tis different from the representational ye observe in mine tragedies, though I do use both methods in mine tragedies, as in the epilogue of Romeo and Juliet.  ‘Tis, methinks, most oft a method suited to purpose.  If the audience doth applaude, your Will hath fared well, in your modern age or mine owne.

Eternally Yours,

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