By Susan J. Owen
This 'Companion' illustrates the energy and variety of dramatic paintings 1660 to 1710. Twenty-five essays through top students within the box assemble the easiest contemporary insights into the entire variety of dramatic perform and innovation on the time.
• Introduces readers to the hot increase in scholarship that has revitalised recovery drama
• Explores historic and cultural contexts, genres of recovery drama, and key dramatists, between them Dryden and Behn
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Extra resources for A Companion to Restoration Drama
Finally, at its best, this criticism can be entertaining and even fun. Almost every critic writing during this period was trying to make criticism accessible and appealing to a broad audience. Students who take the time to read, in their entirety, Dryden's An Essay of Dramatick Poesie (1668), The Rehearsal (1672), Rymer's A Short View of Tragedy (1693) and Jeremy Collier's A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage (1698) will be rewarded with both a better understanding of late seventeenth-century dramatic theory and a keener appreciation for English wit.
It was all part of their afternoon at the theatre. For the acting companies, playing to such spectators was a formidable challenge. Common sense would dictate that they should not present plays that had characters speaking directly to the audience, for surely that would encourage the audience to talk back. Yet Restoration plays, following the Shakespearean tradition, invited audience participation; direct address was written into most of them. There must have been a tacit agreement, sometimes broken, that spectators would enjoy the theatrical experience without disrupting it.
When Cosimo III of Tuscany visited Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre (not Bridges Street, as was once thought) on 15 April 1669, one of his entourage, Lorenzo Magalotti, took notes. The pit was surrounded within by separate compartments in which there are several degrees [steps] of seating for the greater comfort of the ladies and gentlemen who, according to the liberal custom of the country, share the same boxes. Down below [in the pit] there remains a broad space for other members of the audience.
A Companion to Restoration Drama by Susan J. Owen