The Elizabethan theater The first permanent playhouses were built in London during the 16th century. In 1576 was built the first 'the theater ' followed by 'the curtain', 'the swan' and 'the globe'. The shape was round or octagonal. The stage at the center wasn't too big. It was roofed and surrounded by the pit. All around the pit there were some roofed galleries. Above the stage there was a balcony reserved to the musicians or also used by the actors and the audience too.The actors could use a lot of special effects like a trap door on the stage. During the performances a flag flew above the theatre's roof.
Behind the stage there was a tiring house for the actors. There was no scenery, but they used tables , chairs and canvases . They could also use candles and torch for night scenes. The act was continuous, whith no breaks in the illusion. The Elizabethan actors were all men and they had little time to learn long plays. They were always ready to improvise and the women role was played by young men.Elizabeth I loved watching plays , but these were performed indoor for her pleasure. In the theater the upper class payed 5 pens for the best seats in the lord's rooms, inside the galleries or on the sides of the stage. Although the 'groundlings' who were the standing members of the audience payed 1 penny which was the price for a loaf of bread. The audience used to put the money into a box at the entrance, from here comes the term 'box office'. The crowd ate and drank during the performances and freely expressed their emotions. They loved metaphor, long speeches and soliloquies. The horror scenes were very popular as well as history plays. There was a 'jig', a comic song, to announce the next play. The audience showed their approval or disapproval by whistling, shouting, applauding and even throwing things at the end of the performance.

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