Study Guide

Shakespeare in Love Scene 1

Scene 1

Scene 1

  • We begin in 1593.
  • A text prologue tells us that two Elizabethan theatre playhouses battled it out for writers and audiences. (And whether to spell it "theater" or "theatre." "Theatre" wins. It's more pretentious that way.)
  • Richard Burbage, the Clooney of the time, was at the Curtain Theatre.
  • The other theatre, (The Rose) is founded by Philip Henslowe, is a bit strapped for cash.
  • The camera pans down to a flyer advertising a new play: The Moneylender Reveng'd. It has a little illustration of a guy being stabbed in the face. This sounds like a good play.
  • We cut to men torturing Henslowe backstage at The Rose for not paying his bills. This isn't a play.
  • He is being tortured by having his feet lowered onto hot coals. Yowza.
  • The man says he can pay up in three weeks, max.
  • He has a wonderful new play, a comedy by William Shakespeare: Romeo and Ethel: The Pirate's Daughter.
  • Mr. Fennyman, the debt collector, is satisfied this new play will pay the debt.