Staging the Henrician Court : A play performed by boys?

This page last changed on Dec 07, 2009 by Eleanor Rycroft.

When it is specified on the title page of the 1533 edition that The Boy be performed by "the least that can play", it is either implied that the other parts were taken by boys in the original performance or that the smallest performer from the Children of the Chapel was selected for the part amongst an adult company. Our concern with doing a boy's production of the play was that of historical distance; the loss of the convention of boy playing in Western theatre acting as a hindrance rather than a help in a contemporary interpretation of 'The Play of the Weather'. Boys certainly performed in interludes at court, but women were also involved in courtly drama, particularly masques and pageants. What are your thoughts on the cross-gendered casting of the adult parts in our production?

When you say that women were involved with courtly drama, is it likely that they would have performed in a play such as Heywood's? It has (perhaps through a lack of insight) just struck me that the female characters are performed in this version by women and that may not have originally been the case (how different the female characters would be when played by men!). Looking round the forum I can find little mention of this issue. By contrast there has been some discussion of a boys performance. What views have been taken on this?

Posted by p0016428 at Jul 26, 2010 12:37

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