This “prologue” is modelled on the early modern dramatic prologue and playfully addresses the reader as though they are entering a playhouse in the moments before the drama begins. It moves out from Dekker’s satire of playgoing in The Gul’s Horn Book (1609) to a brief indication of the manifold meanings of play for early modern audiences. It then addresses the uses of the term in archival sources such as court depositions, where it was employed to describe anything from games of bowling to rounds of gambling. Throughout, the prologue is interrupted by The Taming of the Shrew’s “induction,” which points to the wider recreational possibilities of playing spaces via its alehouse milieu and a pointed exchange about the semantics of the term “play.” The multiplicity of play encompassed here in turn presages material in the wider collection, as appropriate to the edition and its chapters.
|Title of host publication||Shakespeare/Play|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2023|