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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the history of theatrical interiority and shows when and why early modern theatre became invested in it. More specifically, it examines the way the enclosure of the theatres made possible not only a newly commercialized drama but also characterization and plot-structure that depended on an implied but unrevealed depth. The chapter first considers the analogy between round amphitheatres and ‘round’, complex characters before discussing the culture of the money box to establish the link between early modern theatrical economics and its aesthetics. It then looks at the play’s resistance to closure, its messiness and overcomplication, and the ‘interiority’ of its characters and how characters in later revenge plays construct interiority as negative space. It argues that characters are not people so much as playhouses, propagating the illusion of depth after depth has run out, and explains how ‘interiority’ in the early modern theatre begins as merely its exterior reinscribed—its circle reduced into the body of the actor until it became a point, elemental and ‘inviolate’.

Keywords: interiority, early modern theatre, enclosure, drama, amphitheatres, characters, money box, revenge plays, playhouses

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