'Wanton Females of All Sorts': Spectatorship in The Antipodes

  • Nova Myhill New College of Florida
Keywords: Richard Brome, The Antipodes, William Prynne, Histriomastix, antitheatricality, audience, Caroline drama, female spectatorship, private theatres,


Focusing on Richard Brome's presentation of the theatre in The Antipodes (1638) as a force for social stability and sexual regulation, this essay reads the play as a response to the attack on the stage in William Prynne’s 1633 Histrio-mastix, particularly in terms of the increasingly prominent female playgoer in the 1630s. Satirizing assumptions about the sexually predatory spectacle and the emotionally liquid playgoer that underlie anti-theatrical anxieties of early modern London, The Antipodes also suggests a larger model for relations between theatre audiences and theatrical spectacles. This model ultimately places authority with spectators rather than players or playwrights and imagines the audience, like the chaste and witty Diana, asserting its control over the private theatres of Caroline London.