< Theatre Notebook

Vol. 70, No. 2

pp73-150, 2016

Articles

  1. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW: STAGING THE DIGBY MARY MAGDALENE

    by MATTHEW EVAN DAVIS

    The fifteenth-century anonymous play of the Digby Mary Magdalene (named such after an early owner of the manuscript) has thirty-seven locations and over fifty characters; it attempts to recount all three of the major threads of the Magdalene’s vita as depicted in Jacobus de Voragine’s thirteenth-century Latin hagiographical text Legenda Aurea. The beginning of the play deals with the vita evangelica, or the accounts of Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, and the sinner in Luke conflated into a single figure. It then segues into a modified version of the vita apostolica, or circumstances of the post-Biblical evangelism of the saint, before concluding with the vita eremitica, which describes Mary Magdalene’s thirty-years living in the desert as a hermit, without food or drink (Jansen 37-39). She is framed in the vita evangelica portion of the play as an allegorical “everyman” figure, similar to the protagonists of the anonymous fifteenth-century East Anglian morality plays Mankind and the Castle of Perseverance, and used to discuss the importance of penance as a means of salvation through interaction with allegorical figures.

  2. TWO ACCOUNT BOOKS FOR COVENT GARDEN THEATRE, 1757-58

    by TERRY JENKINS

    The first Covent Garden theatre opened in December 1732. It was built by the theatre manager and harlequin John Rich (1692-1761) who, for the previous eighteen years, had run the theatre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The British Library has a collection of six account books for the early years of Covent Garden’s existence, before the theatre was sold to new owners in 1767 after Rich’s death. The volumes are for isolated years, and one covers the 1757-58 season (British Library: Egerton MS 2270). It has also long been known that there is a ‘copy’ of this volume in the library at Aberystwyth University. As far as I am aware, nobody has ever compared the two versions, and examination shows there are many subtle differences. In this article, therefore, I shall examine these differences and, for the sake of clarity and conciseness, I shall henceforth refer to the two documents as Aber for the Aberystwyth version, and BLib for the one in the British Library. Before considering why Aber was compiled, and for whom, I shall describe the major differences between the two books.

  3. EDWARD GORDON CRAIG'S TWO COLLABORATORS: MICHAEL CARMICHAEL CARR AND HIS DUTCH WIFE CATHARINA ELISABETH VOÛTE

    MIN TIAN

    A few months after he settled in Florence, Italy in 1907, Edward Gordon Craig launched the construction of his model stages and marionettes, the experiments on his different staging projects, and the publication of his journal The Mask, bringing forth and putting into practice his dreams and ideas of a new art of the theatre. Working with him was a group of artists and workers of multiple nationalities. Among them was a young couple, Michael Carmichael Carr (1881-1929), a Californian- born artist, and his Dutch wife. Over a century, while numerous studies of Gordon Craig as one of the founding fathers of modern Western theatre have appeared, Carr was remembered more for his euphonious name than for his professional career that has gone scarcely documented; worse still, his Dutch wife has remained nameless and has continued to be called Carr’s “Dutch wife” whenever she was mentioned along with her husband.1 Drawing on archival materials and other rarely used sources, this article for the first time documents the Carrs’ collaboration with Craig and shows its significance in our understanding of Craig’s work in some of the most productive years of his artistic career.

BOOK REVIEWS

The Theatre of Timberlake Wertenbaker

Sophie Bush

Early African Entertainers Abroad: From the Hottentot Venus to Africa's First Olympians

Bernth Lindfors

As Above, so Below: Staging the Digby Mary Magdalene –§– Two Account Books for Covent Garden Theatre, 1757-58 –§– Edward Gordon Craig’s Two Collaborators: Michael Carmichael Carr and his Dutch Wide Catharina Elisabeth Voûte.

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