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Global Economics: A History of the Theater Business, the Chamberlain's/King's Men and Their Plays, 1599-1642 (Hardback)Melissa D. Aaron (author)
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 01/06/2005
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This book is a study of the Chamberlain's/King's Men as a business. It investigates the economic workings of the company: the conditions under which they operated, their expenses and income, and the ways in which they adapted to fit changing circumstances. Each chapter focuses on a different moment in the company's history, and consists of "economic readings," exploring texts by Shakespeare and other authors through an economic lens, as the property of the company and through the circumstances in which they were written. "Henry V" is read against the building of the Globe Theatre, "Hamlet" as a summation of the company's economic status. As the company became more conservative, its expenses higher, its productions more lavish, and its repertory and audience smaller, it also became more financially vulnerable. Chapter 1, 1599-1603, shows how the Chamberlain's Men became the most successful theater company of their time, beginning with the building of the Globe and ending with the accession of James and the company's change in status to the King's Men. Chapter 2, 1610-13, examines the symbiotic relationship between James's court and the King's Men. It traces items that changed ownership, such as costumes and masque techniques, and shows how the King's Men were able to exploit both public and private markets while retaining their independence. Chapter 3 shows the company from 1623-26. During hard economic times, the company thrived, printing the "First Folio" and risking official displeasure with the explosive "A Game at Chesse", until the plague of 1625 destroyed their finances. The chapter ends with an economic reading of Massinger's "The Roman Actor", which echoes their financial situation, parallels "Hamlet", and foreshadows bad times to come. Chapter 4, 1632-42, explores the gradual takeover of the company by the court, financially and artistically. The theater closure of 1642 only expedited the inevitable - Shakespeare's company going out of business. As the production of Shakespeare became expensive, canonized, and produced by and for an elite, it set a paradigm that has been influential to the present day.
Publisher: Associated University Presses
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 234 x 157 x 20 mm
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