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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Elizabethan Stage

Drama was the prime means of public entertainment during Shakespeare's time. Traveling actors went around the country and were hired by those who wanted their services. In larger cities, such as London, permanent acting groups were formed and attached to a single theater, such as the "Globe", the "Curtain", or the "Fortune". Shakespeare's company owned the "Globe", which was an open-air theater. Since there were no artificial lights, plays were staged in the afternoon. The stage jutted out into the audience, and the "grounding" stood nearby to watch the action. Other spectators paid higher prices to sit in the galleries and watch the play.


There were three openings at the back of the stage, one in the center and one on each side; a thick curtain hid the openings. The stage-floor also had one or more trap doors, useful for the speedy disappearance or re-appearance of characters, especially ghosts. Above the stage was a balcony, usually used for love Scenes. There was no stage scenery although props were widely used. Black stage hangings were used to set the mood for tragic plays, and colorful curtains were used for comedies. Actors on the Shakespearean stage were often youths. Boys with high-pitched voices were trained to play women's parts, since females were not allowed on the stage.

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MonkeyNotes-The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

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