dumb show


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dumb show,

a theatrical pantomime included as part of a drama, especially in Elizabethan works, from the middle of the 16th cent. well into the 17th cent. Whether presented as a spectacle, with music, or as a masque with the players as allegorical characters, the dumb show appeared as prologue, between the acts, or during the play itself. It usually either presaged the events of the play or interpreted them as a chorus does.

dumb show

a part of a play acted in pantomime, popular in early English drama
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References in classic literature ?
But as the common folk could not understand what was said, the plays were chiefly shown in dumb show. Soon, however, Latin was given up, and the plays were acted in English.
In dumb show I had to order him to stay where he was, to leave my man to me.
The final chapter is Gillian Woods's 'Understanding Dumb Shows and Interpreting The White Devil', an assessment of 'the interpretive relationship between dumb show and main action, stage direction and dialogue' in Webster's play, which Woods argues, 'is especially concerned with problems in understanding; it asks, how can you read what you see?' (289, 304).
She saw her union with Prince Charles as an absurd and elaborate royal dumb show because the royal couple had to project that they were happy.
These will feature at various points including during an energetic Dumb Show (a traditional means of summarising the action through mime and movement) performed by our fantastic youth company.
He was an excellent coach in dumb show and joined in the games sometimes to demonstrate points about the game.
Conducted by Christopher Molcrzewski, the 17-piece orchestra sounded ragged; obtruded, meanwhile, was a dumb show involving a workaholic, a computer terminal and some comic business.
Anthony Dowell makes the same mistake as the High Brahmin, delivering a melodramatic dumb show as if flashing eyes and upright posture will fool us into believing in a character in whom he doesn't believe himself.
Nevertheless, she argues, her interpretation is worth considering because it helps us to make sense of the scenes of Hamlet with the Ghost and the absence of any scripted response by Claudius to the dumb show. The latter problem, of course, was solved long ago by Dover Wilson who maintained that Claudius does not see the dumb show performed because he is distracted by entertaining his guests.
dumb show, nightly they flash us Their message and melody,
In the play's second dumb show, the royal spectator is confronted with an 'Irishman' with 'long black shagged hair down to his shoulders, apparelled with an Irish jacket and shirt, having an Irish dagger by his side, and a dart in his hand'.
In the Mousetrap scene (3.2) Cochrane's Claudius self-importantly watches from the balcony above, surrounded by his courtiers, but he entirely misses the "dumb show" that precedes the lengthier reenactment of The Murder of Gonzalo--his attention is consumed by a messenger who enters and hands him a paper detailing some unknown issue.