for Kean's production of Dion Boucicault's The Corsican Brothers in 1852 included the instruction "Put Wing Lights quite down.
Similarly, one all too frequently finds the use of "promptbook
" (a term not recorded in use until 1772) commonly replacing " playbooks" (an Elizabethan term) thereby distorting the meaning of the term, the use of the books in the playhouses, and by extension, the understanding of much of the ways in which Elizabethan players functioned in their theatres.
See, for example, the promptbook
printed in [John] Bell's Edition of Shakespeare's Plays, they are now performed at the Theatres Royal in London; Regulated from the Prompt Books of Each House, 3 vols.
"While combing through our promptbooks
for candidates to include in the exhibition," explains Eric Colleary, the Ransom Center's curator of theatre and performing arts and a curator of the exhibition, "I learned we had John Wilkes Booth's promptbook
for Richard III, with extensive notes about the production written in his own hand.
with handwritten annotations, 1908 or 1909.
Not many standardized taxonomy vocabularies will include Promptbook
or Rehearsal Report as these are specialized terms pertaining only to scenarios found in the theatre world.
The original SPs throughout this scene, which denote actors' (or intended actors') names, betray the marks of the play's composition, and perhaps that the copy-text that served as the basis for Q was a promptbook
used in the theatre (and hence puzzled over by a compositor).
, Shakespeare Centre Lib., Stratford-upon-Avon.
He then explains that Taylor 'turned the consensus upside down, arguing that F derives from the promptbook
, and Q from foul papers' (p.
Although they use their hypothetical history of the texts to support their emendatory rules, they do not posit, as is lately common, "any particular lost text, be it holograph, promptbook
or performance" behind their copy-text when they emend it, only the recognition that "somewhere behind each text lies an authorial manuscript" (510).
However, my recent examination of the promptbook
Richard Schoch uncovers what the Victorian promptbook
fails to preserve; Simon Palfrey and Tiffany Stern elucidate the implications of "sides" to early modern acting; Lanier calls up the spirit of the Master that haunts Audio Shakespeare; Ric Knowles demonstrates how the conditions of reception color the record of performance; Susan Bennett takes into account the tourist economies that motor Shakespeare festivals; James Bulman reveals the present-day reverberations of 'period' (all male) casting; Michael Cordner shows the poor accountability of Shakespeare editions to mise-en-scene; and in two separate but complementary essays, Yong Li Lan and Joanne Tompkins unfold the purposefulness and performativity of "non-understanding" to Shakespeare in intercultural performance (Lan, 533).