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MonkeyNotes-Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare
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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Drama was the prime means of public entertainment during Shakespeare's time. Traveling actors went around the country and could be hired by those who wanted their services. London was growing as a trade center and merchants arrived from many lands. Also, the Tudor monarchy preferred to stay in the capital. These twin factors helped the companies of actors to prosper. They acted regularly before audiences at places, which became established as centers for actors. Theater houses like the "Globe", the "Curtain" and the "Fortune" were built. Shakespeare's company owned the "Globe" which was patronized by the Lord Chamberlain and hence, was successful.


The "Globe" was an open-air theater. Plays were staged in the afternoon (there was no artificial lighting). The stage jutted out into the audience, the majority of which stood on the ground around the stage. They were called "groundlings". Other spectators paid higher prices to sit in the galleries about.

There were three openings at the back of the stage, in the center and one on each side - hidden by a thick curtain. The stage floor often had one or more trap doors, useful for the speedy disappearance or reappearance of characters, especially ghosts. Above the stage was a balcony, usually used for love scenes. There was no stage scenery though props were widely used. Black stage hangings were used for tragic plays and colorful curtains for comedies or 'light" plays.

Actors on the Shakespearean stage were often youths. Boys with high-pitched voices were trained from early years, usually to take women's parts, since women were not allowed on the stage.

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