Internet Shakespeare Editions


"Houses" on the stage at Court

From the passion play at Valenciennes. The original is in the Bibliothèque Nationale

"Houses," large, moveable structures representing a place or an object like the arbour where Horatio is hanged, or where Benedick hides, were certainly used in drama at Court. The accounts for the Office of the Revels record expenditure for "Apt houses, made of canvas, framed, fashioned, and painted accordingly." The Accounts continue:

The mount; dragon with the fire works; castle with the falling sides; tree with shields; hermitage and hermit; savages; enchanter; chariot, and incident[al]s to these.

A story of Pompey enacted in the hall on Twelfth Night, whereon was employed new one great city, a senate house and eight ells of double sarsenet [a fine silk material] for curtains.

The picture here is of a mystery play which used houses: the two pictured here are for Nazareth and the Temple.