View Full Version : Playwrights From Around Shakespeare's Time Other Than Shakespeare
06-14-2007, 12:48 AM
Are there any other playwrights from Shakespeare's time, or anyway from times near to his time, whose plays get performed with any regularity today? Or even at all?
06-14-2007, 12:55 AM
I saw a production of his work The Duchess of Malfi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchess_of_malfi) a couple of years ago.
06-14-2007, 12:59 AM
I'm not sure how frequently his plays are performed these days, but Christopher Marlowe is the most immediate contemporary that comes to mind.
06-14-2007, 01:22 AM
In my mind, John Webster, but not for the same play mentioned above. He wrote The White Devil, which is one of my favorites. This may not be something that is normally performed, but I have had discussions on it regularly and seen it performed once. Of course, I have taken several courses on 17th century literature already, so it's popularity may be more in my study area than in reality.
Also, the slightly less popular (IMHO) Cyril Tourneur. The play I read for class was The Revengerís Tragedy.
Since Middleton was mentioned, let me plug The Changeling. It's a very interesting play.
06-14-2007, 01:44 AM
The only Elizabethan playwright who had his collected works published in his lifetime was Ben Johnson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Jonson) (who also wrote an introduction to the Shakespeare First Folio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Folio)). His comedy Volpone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volpone) is still produced today. A famous production at the Old Vic in 1972 starred Paul Scofield, Ben Kingsley, and John Gielgud.
06-14-2007, 02:08 AM
Christopher Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare, probably a friend of his, and Marlowe's Tragical History of Doctor Faustus still gets performed with regularity. I saw it in a very good production about two years ago. That play is where the phrase "the face that launched a thousand ships" comes from. If you want to start a fight between Elizabethan scholars, you can even bring up the theory that Marlowe wrote at least some of Shakespeare's plays.
Miguel de Cervantes is not an English playwright but he is usually considered to be Shakespeare's Spanish equivalent, and he died within a couple days of Shakespeare, if not on the same day (records are conflicting). His plays are still performed, but he's most famous for his novel "Don Quixote".
06-14-2007, 09:42 AM
John Webster was
one of the best there was.
He was the author of
Two major tragagies.
The White Devil and
The Duchesses of Malfi
The White Devil and
The Duchesses of Malfi...
Thank you Echo and the Bunnymen
06-14-2007, 10:03 AM
Not a playwright but Sir Edmund Spencer (circa 1552 - 1599) is worth a mention for his epic poem The Faerie Queen (1590 & 1596). This work has often been interpreted as a play and still is, in small theatre companies at least.
Confusingly and irrelevantly, there is also a ballet The Faerie Queen but this is based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
06-14-2007, 10:37 AM
I've read lots of Christopher Marlowe and Ben Johnson (and saw a hilarious performance of "The Alchemist" years ago).
There's also Beaumont and Fletcher
and Thomas Kyd
06-14-2007, 10:58 AM
I've seen performances of plays by Jonson and Marlowe. Of course, the trouble is that, in comparison with Shakespeare, almost everyone suffers.
06-14-2007, 11:11 AM
How about "author unknown"? Ten years ago, or thereabouts, I saw a production of Arden of Faversham (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arden_of_Faversham), which is conventionally dated to close to the beginning of Shakespeare's career but which is almost certainly not by Shakespeare. It's not done very often; it's mostly a curiosity. Nevertheless, it survives and is occasionally produced.
Also, this article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Renaissance_theatre) may be of interest.
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