Audience, playhouse and play in Restoration theatre, 1660-1710
This thesis addresses three aspects of the relationship between audience, playhouse and play in Restoration theatre from 1660 to 1710. It provides a comprehensive account of the composition of the Restoration audience, an examination of the effect this group of men and women had upon the plays they attended and an account of the ways in which the plays and playhouses of the Restoration touched the lives of London's inhabitants. In the first part of this dissertation I identify the audience. Chapter 1 deals with London's playhouses, their location, archictecture and decoration. It shows how the playhouses effectively created two sets of spectators: the visible and the invisible audience. Chapter 2 is a detailed examination of those audiences, and the social and occupational groupings to which they belonged. Chapter 3 deals with the support the stage received. It analyses attendance patterns, summarizes evidence of audience size, presents case studies of attendance patterns and outlines the incidence and effects of recurrent playgoing. In the second part of the dissertation I deal with theatricality, with the representation of human action on and off the stage. I examine the audience's behaviour in the playhouses and the other public places of London. I focus on the relationships between stage and street to show how values and attitudes were transmitted between those two realms. To do this, I analyse three components of theatrical behaviour--acting, costume, and stage dialogue and look at their effect on peoples' behaviour in and ideas about the social world. Chapter 4 is an introduction to late seventeenth century ideas of theatricality. Chapter 5 examines contemporary ideas of dress and fashion and of their relationship to stage costuming. Chapter 6 considers how contemporary ideas about conversation and criticism affected and were in turn affected by stage dialogue.