Internet Shakespeare Editions


Two private stages

Messalina Roxana

The titlepages to two plays, printed in 1632 and 1640 respectively, provide small illustrations that give some idea of the private stages on which they were acted. Roxana and Messalina.

Note in both illustrations the tapering, thrust stage, the use of candles for lighting, the curtain (or arras) at the back, the railings separating the audience from the players, and, in the Roxana woodcut, the spectators behind and above the stage. A trapdoor in the stage is clearly marked on the stage from the Messalina title page.