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The Roaring Girl (New Mermaids) Paperback – 29 Aug 2003

2.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Drama; 2 edition (29 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071366813X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713668131
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Thomas Dekker was an English Elizabethan dramatist, born in 1572. Possibly of Dutch origin, very little is known of Dekker's early life and education. His career in the theatre began in the mid-1590s but it is unclear how or why Dekker came to write for the stage. By that time he was odd-jobbing for various London theatre companies, including both the Admiral's Men and its rivals the Lord Chamberlain's Men; he probably joined the large team of playwrights, including Shakespeare, who penned the controversial drama Sir Thomas More around this time. Dekker struggled to make ends meet, however, and in 1598 he was imprisoned for debt. 1599 was, by contrast, an annus mirabilis for Dekker. The theatrical entrepreneur and impresario of the Admiral's Men, Philip Henslowe, lists payments to Dekker that year for contributions to no fewer than eleven plays; two of these, Old Fortunatus and The Shoemaker's Holiday, were selected to be performed at Court during the Queen's Christmas festivals. Dekker received royal favour again after the death of Elizabeth and the accession of King James I in 1603 when he was contracted with Ben Jonson to write the ceremonial entertainments for James's coronation procession through London. He was sorely in need of such commissions; the playhouses were closed for much of this year because of a plague outbreak that killed as many as a quarter of London's population. During the outbreak, he retooled himself as a writer of satires - a genre in which he had acquired some dramatic experience in 1602, when he penned Satiromastix, a play that took aim at Ben Jonson (who had lampooned him the previous year in Poetaster). Dekker's prose satires about the plague year reveal a new skill for gritty reportage and sympathetic attention to the enormous sufferings of the afflicted. He repeatedly returned to this genre when he was prevented, whether by theatre closures or by imprisonment, from writing for the stage. Like The Shoemaker's Holiday, Dekker's plays in the years of James's reign tend to dramatize the stories of citizens. And they again display a sympathetic fascination with socially marginal characters, often women - a prostitute (The Honest Whore, co-written with Thomas Middleton, 1604), a transvestite (The Roaring Girl, 1611, also co-written with Middleton), and a witch (The Witch of Edmonton, 1621, co-written with John Ford and William Rowley). But Dekker's financial woes continued through these years, and he was once more imprisoned for debt between 1612 and 1619, a harrowing experience that he later claimed turned his hair white. Upon his release, he continued to write plays, citizen pageants, and prose pamphlets, but he never enjoyed the success of his earlier years. He died, leaving his widow no estate except his writings, in 1632.


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Customer Reviews

2.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The character of Moll Cutpurse is so capacious that one gender is not enough to contain her spirit, and a big stage is the natural venue for a life story that seems one long fabulous performance. Moll is based on Mary Frith, born in the London of the 1580s and, by the time this play by Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton appeared in 1611, she already had a notorious reputation as a woman who spoke her mind, smoked and drank in taverns, and wore both a sword and men's clothing. The play is much more than a one-woman show, however, and it remains a powerful social comedy. This edition is the prompt book for the 2014 RSC production (with the excellent Lisa Dillon in the title role), which cuts some of the characters from the original text and simplifies the language in places (changes that did not detract from the performance I saw).

Moll speaks the prologue, telling us that tragic passion is "out of fashion" and that she's not one of those roaring girls "who beats the watch" or "sells her soul to the lust of fools and slaves" - the subject of this tale "flies with wings more lofty." Although she's the star of the show, and despite the cuts, there's still a wide range of well-drawn characters, including the magistrate Sir Alexander Wengrave at the top of the social tree, the Tiltyards and the Gallipots in the middle, and Trapdoor and the servants at the bottom.

The romantic story is familiar enough: boy loves girl, girl loves boy, a parent doesn't approve, and someone has to come to the rescue. First, Sebastian deceives his father into believing he wants to marry Moll (he really wants to marry Mary), and so he sets about proposing to Moll once he knows his father, Sir Alexander, is in earshot. Moll, however, has "no humour to marry" even in jest.
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Format: Paperback
Some of the reviews appear to reference another edition of this play. This edition is a new release for the RSC's Roaring Girls Season. This is an edited edition with a reduced cast, reflecting the ensemble size for the season. It benefits from introductory notes which provide insight into the director's production choices and editorial decisions. This prompt copy edition provides a valuable record for this excellent oroduction.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THIS IS AWFUL. IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE AND IS MERE JUMBLED LETTERS ON THE PAGE DUE TO THE PUBLISHERS AUTOCORRECT SOFTWARE. DO NOT BUY THIS I AM HAVING TO CHUCK IT AWAY. WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY
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Waste of time. As others have mentioned here this is a lazy OCR scanned copy of the original text. Not a single page has any legible text. DO NOT BUY THIS.
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