HOW SHAKESPEARE SPENT THE DAY by Ivor Brown

HOW SHAKESPEARE SPENT THE DAY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a refreshing and often remarkable picture of Shakespeare's working day--what time he got up, what time he ate lunch, how many hours he rehearsed a day, his heavy Christmas schedule, his divided activities and how each bore into his time. Ivor Brown sets himself a task like Renan's schedule of the necessary minutiae of a day in the life of Christ, and has considerably more material to work with. That Brown may have reconstructed Shakespeare, much like the Missing Link, from an ape's jawbone rather than a genuine Java man mandible, does not lessen the fascination of watching the Business Man being assembled from a playwright's jawbone. Shakespeare's shareholdings are known; that he was property-minded; and that there was work to be done, such as taking money at the doors and bottled ale to be sold and accounted for. Shakespeare began as a Hired Man, Brown supposes, and worked his way up in the organization. By the time his plays were his company's principal asset, he was helping hire Hired Men and musicians; discovering boy actors and training new talent; perhaps even teaching singing. Preparing the play, getting the play on, bustling in the workshop, enforcing discipline, refining the quality of players, meeting the chaos of going on tour, and trusting himself into those brief periods at the writing desk--all are discussed from the insider's view of the theatre and with keen suppositions. This is to be expected in view of Ivor Brown's earlier reconstructions of Shakespeare's life and times.

Publisher:  ill & Wang