Duration of Performances and Lengths of Plays: How Shall We Beguile the Lazy Time?

  title={Duration of Performances and Lengths of Plays: How Shall We Beguile the Lazy Time?},
  author={Michael J. Hirrel},
  journal={Shakespeare Quarterly},
  pages={159 - 182}
Prevailing opinion for many years has held that Shakespeare's long plays cannot have been performed in his own time without substantial cuts. However, a careful review of the evidence shows that those plays could have been, and probably were, performed essentially as written. The typical Elizabethan theatrical event lasted almost four hours. That duration remained consistent, even as the times of day at which an event began and ended shifted in the middle 1590s. But the theatrical event was a… 

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