English Research Seminar

Falstaff's Cues

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Seminars

It is now thirty years since David Wiles suggested that Shakespeare created the role of Falstaff for William Kemp, famous as an improviser and ballad author, as well as being allegedly 'hard to study'. In this seminar, Stephen Longstaffe suggests that Wiles's theory is supported by attending to the cues embedded in the Henry IV plays.

  • From: Wednesday 11 October 2017, 1 pm
  • To: Wednesday 11 October 2017, 2 pm
  • Location: 101, Mary Ann Evans Building, Clifton Campus, NG11 8NS

Past event

Event details

The next speaker in the 2017-18 English Research Seminar series  will be Stephen Longstaffe whose interests centre around early modern politics, performance and comedy. His recent publications include a chapter on The Troublesome Reign of King John in the Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama (OUP, 2012) and 'The plebeians revise the uprising: what the actors made of Shakespeare's Jack Cade'  in Shakespeare and the Politics of Commoners: Digesting the New Social History (OUP, 2017).

Abstract

It is now thirty years since David Wiles suggested in Shakespeare’s Clown: Actor and text in the Elizabethan playhouse that Shakespeare created the role of Falstaff for William Kemp, famous as an improvisor and ballad author, as well as being allegedly ‘hard of study’. But the part of Falstaff is very different from the generally accepted Kemp ‘line’ for Shakespeare’s company and, the work of Robert Hornback aside, nobody has added much to Wiles’s position.  This paper will  suggest that Wiles’s theory is supported by attending to the cues embedded in the Henry IV plays. Falstaff’s cues are not at all those you would expect from reading the standard work on Shakespearean cues, Palfrey and Stern’s Shakespeare In Parts (OUP, 2008). In fact, they resemble far more the cueing practices of the Queen’s Men in their history The Troublesome Reign of King John. As Shakespeare revised this play for his own King John, he hit upon a way of scaffolding Kemp’s performance avoiding excessive dependence on hearing the final few words of the speaker preceding him, so that one of the most famous performers of his time could finally assay a lead role - Falstaff.


The English Research Seminars are open to all staff and students across the School of Arts and Humanities and beyond.


For any enquiries please contact the Research Office by email, or by telephone on +44 (0)115 848 2301.

Location details

Address:

Mary Ann Evans Building
Clifton Campus
NG11 8NS

Past event

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