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Squeaking Cleopatras? Shakespeare's boy players

Gibson, Joy Leslie (1994)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

There are four major questions which are asked and answered in this thesis.
1) What were the experiences that the boys had in every day life?
A discussion on the conditions of life in Elizabethan England, together with suggestions of how the boys acquired the skills they needed. What ages were the boys? This leads to a comparison with boys in Cathedral choirs.
2) What technical help did the writers give to the boys?
An analysis of major speeches from Shakespeare showing the possible, practical breathing patterns.
3) Were the boys able to meet the emotional demands of the parts?
The Elizabethan ideas on femininity are demonstrated and it is shown that subjects specific to a woman's life are not written about. An analysis of speeches from Shakespeare and other dramatists shows that excessive emotional demands were not made on the boy players.
4) What did the Elizabethans actually see when they went to the theatre?
Acting is an illusion and collusion. The costumes of the day helped the boys, as did the smallness of the parts. Proof that the boys were sucessful.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Jackson, Russell (1949-)
School/Faculty:Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
Department:Shakespeare Institute
Additional Information:

A version of this thesis was published as
Joy Leslie Gibson
Squeaking Cleopatras: the Elizabethan boy player
Stroud: Sutton, 2000. ISBN 0750924888

Subjects:PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3121
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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