On this day…

June 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

…in 1613, the theater built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s acting company, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, burned down.

“It was a round, wooden building with thatched-roof balconies for the gentry. A cannon was fired during a performance of Henry VIII to mark the King’s entrance, the thatched roof caught fire, and the whole theater was lost in an hour. It was rebuilt the next year, but taken down in 1644 to make space for tenements, after the Puritans closed all theaters.” (Today’s edition of “The Writer’s Almanac”)

Silly Puritans.

So they closed down all theaters in 1644? No wonder Milton was having kittens over censorship that year. No plays, and a very short list of books. I weep for the poor suppressed artists (not to mention art-consumers!) of 17th century England, driven to underground poetry readings and clandestine performances of Hamlet, Everyman, and Dr. Faustus.

How sad that the most brilliant people are stuck being brilliant at the time when nobody wants them. But so it always is. And once they’re wearing a cement kimono they are suddenly the toast of the town.

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