The Age of Heywood

As I mentioned, briefly, in a previous post, The Shakespeare Institute is hosting a Heywood Marathon: a readthrough of the extant plays attributed to Thomas Heywood. Time constraints mean I have missed much of it, but I’ve been able to take in the Age plays; a cycle of classical histories. Further time constraints mean I can’t provide anything substantial by way of analysis, but I wanted to share something of the experience of reading the plays by providing some links to tweets. What these tweets reveal (and there are many more of them; check the hashtag) is that there is a real appetite for the plays. And justly so; they call upon the use of a range of, frankly remarkable, special effects. Consider, for example, the end of The Golden Age:

Iris descends and presents [Jupiter] with his Eagle, Crowne and Scepter, and his thunder-bolt. Iupiter first ascends vpon the Eagle, and after him Ganimed

Neptune drawes the Sea, is mounted vpon a sea-horse; a Roabe and Trident, with a crowne are giuen him by the Fates

Then, after the sound of ‘Thunder and Tempest’ Neptune riseth disturb’d: the Fates bring the 4 winds in a chaine, & present him to Aeolus, as their King

Pluto drawes hell: the Fates put vpon him a burning Roabe, and present him with a Mace, and burning crowne

These examples, and more besides, offer an important counterargument (if any is needed) to modern conceptions of the ‘bare’ stages of outdoor playhouses. It’s fascinating to consider how the Red Bull might have pulled off these effects.

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2 thoughts on “The Age of Heywood

  1. I am also most sad to be missing the marathon this year. I like the Heywood plays I know and would love to get to know him better. Cheers to all who are reading!

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