Thursday, September 28, 2006

*Arden* and a metatheatrical moment

I was rereading Arden of Feversham the other day for a class. As you may remember, the play's a rather black comedy, culminating in the murder of Thomas Arden by his wife Alice and her nefarious pals, after which the Mayor comes, the body's found, and the murderers are headed to an unpleasant future. There's a short bit where the mayor comes in and sees Arden's blood on a hand towel and knife, and asks about it.

Alice answers, "It is the pig's blood we had to supper" (14.389).

I just totally cracked up in my office reading because it WAS probably pig's blood, since (from what I've read) early modern practice was to use pig's blood in a pig bladder from the butcher's shop to enact blood on stage.

It's the early modern equivalent of watching some TV crime drama and having the murderer say of the blood, "It's just catsup!" or whatever they use these days.

I just love those sorts of bizarre moments of meta-theatrical awareness.

My students didn't think it was nearly as funny as I did.

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