relished in the movie Shakespeare in Love were the in-jokes and
literary allusions. Like the boy with the rats who complains to Will
Shakespeare about the shortage of gore and death in his plays. That boy,
John Webster (1580?-1625?), grew up to write his own bloodthirsty play,
The Duchess of Malfi, a tragedy of revenge that ends in virtually
touches on Willís rivalry with fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe too,
and the self-importance of actor Ned Alleyn. Likewise the dual careers of
actor/theatre owner Richard Burbage.
short and heavily built, on stage Burbage (1567?-1619) cut an impressive
figure and was highly regarded as tragedian. He was the first actor to
play characters such as Hamlet, Henry V, Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Richard
III and Romeo.
rivalry? What about a notorious anecdote about Burbage and Shakespeare as
sexual competitors? (It began in 1602 as a diary entry by lawyer John
performance of Richard III, Burbage is informed that a lady in the
audience wants him to visit her at home that night. He is to announce
himself as Richard III. Shakespeare overhears the message and makes sure
he gets there first. While she is entertaining Shakespeare, Burbage
arrives, introducing himself in the agreed manner. When the maid relays
the news to her mistress, Shakespeare sends down word to him that "William
the Conqueror was before Richard III."