Look, Renaissance theatre was filthy as fuck, alright? The theatres themselves were mostly over the river or right on the outskirts of London because they were considered too immoral to be allowed inside the main city. Their main competition for business was the bear-pits; customers would go straight from one to the other if they had the money. Theatres and brothels were within walking distance of each other and wherever the plays were, the prostitutes followed because it was such good business— some pamphlets of the era describe how you could basically exit the theatre (some of which would just be rooms inside taverns) and find prostitutes leaning against the walls outside. Theatre was erotic! It got the blood pumping! People were being (fake) slaughtered onstage! Boys were dressed as women and kissing each other and people were both shocked and aroused by that! My favourite condemnation of the theatre is from Philip Stubbs’ Anatomie of Abuses (1583, the full text of which is reproduced here):
"Do they not maintain bawdry, insinuate foolery, and renew the remembrance of heathen idolatry? Do they not induce whoredom and uncleanness? Nay, are they not rather plain devourers of maidenly virginity and chastity? For proof whereof but mark the flocking and running to Theatres and Curtains, daily and hourly, night and day, time and tide, to see plays and interludes, where such wanton gestures, such bawdy speeches, such laughing and fleering, such kissing and bussing, such clipping and culling, such winking and glancing of wanton eyes, and the like is used, as is wonderful to behold. Then these goodly pageants being done, every mate sorts to his mate, every one brings another homeward of their way very friendly, and in their secret conclaves (covertly) they play the sodomites, or worse."
So, y’know. Just remember Shakespeare, Marlowe and their contemporaries were condemned as peddlers of filth and had quite a few pamphlets circulated on how they were dragging the fine upstanding citizens of London into sin.
list of things i need to do
- a lot
things im not doing
- any of that
Required by law to re-blog this.
It’s been 1 year since the most influential event of all time.