AS well as being very enjoyable with some excellent acting, I found things I'd simply not seen- or not fully appreciated- in reading.
The obvious one was the bawdiness- which came out much more in performance and gesture than from the text.
But importantly I hadnt fully recognised the character counterpointing ( of the two millers, the gentlewoman and laundress, for example) which made their exchnages into a parody of humanist dialogues.
Overall the satire on social hierarchy as well as contemporary religious politics made it more daring than I'd appreciated and raised very interesting questions about courtly audiences and what they were ready to see...
It would have been very good to have had a day colloquium from this and to hear a discussion by all the experts who were assembled last night. A thought for another time.
Yes, some of the structural elements of the play which are somehow flattened by the homogeneity of the printed page did come out very clearly in performance. As well as, I think, the 'mixed media' aspects of the text with the various contrasts between the pageant-like, declamatory opener, the satirical humanist dialogues (as you say), and also the triangulated interactions of characters (Millers and Merry Report, Gentlewoman, Laundress and Merry Report). Producing the play conveyed more strongly the way in which Heywood exercises a variety of dramatic forms in this particular piece.
Eleanor Rycroft at Oct 01, 2009 16:50