By Any Other Name by Erin Cotter EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Status: Available for Free Download
- Author: Erin Cotter
- Language: English
- Genre:Historical Fiction
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
- Price: Free
JUST SOUTH OF the river Thames is a theater called the Rose.
The name is misleading, for a persistent fog of London’s foulest stenches
perfumes the stage. Should a man nd himself there alone, he’s like to be
relieved of his purse at best or have a knife slipped betwixt his ribs at worst. ’Tis a
question of when, and not if, a carelessly lit pipe poofs the building into a pile of
ashes. Then the good people of London would cheer to see it dashed from the
earth because the Rose Theatre is beyond a doubt one of the most disreputable
places in all of Queen Elizabeth’s England.
But I love the piss-sodden place because it pays me to do the thing I do best:
pretending to be someone I’m not.
The Rose is where I am, on an April afternoon, a crowd thickening before
the stage like milk before it spoils. Today we are performing The Tragedy of
Dido, Queen of Carthage. We’ve reached the part where Queen Dido laments the
loss of her lover, and it’s supposed to be very tragic. Usually I can muster up a
few tears from the crowd for this bit. But today the tears shall not come—no,
instead the audience is laughing at me.
“I’ll frame me wings of wax like Icarus, / And o’er his ships will soar unto the
Sun, / That they may melt and I fall in his arms…” My voice cracks, and titters
ring out in the rst rows of the audience. A drop of sweat—heavy with the white
lead paint plastered on my brow—rolls into my eye and stings something erce.
“Aye, she’s got the stones for the part all right!” someone crows.
The laughter swells like an ugly pimple. A sprinkle of roasted hazelnuts
bounces o my skirts. I swallow and tug down the bodice of the dress, revealing
a tuft of the itchy hay that serves as my tits. A woman in the front row points
and whispers to her friend, both laughing.
I turn away from them. Good God, keep it together, man! One wrong step on
the rain-slick boards and I’ll be on my arse and truly give the crowd something to
roar about. As a boy actor, I play all the women’s parts in the plays. While the
audience doesn’t really believe that I am a woman, I must do my best to keep up
the charade. Otherwise the crowd turns mean, and Henslowe, the theater
manager, threatens to dock my pay.
I stumble through the next lines, my voice cracking on every other word.
Zounds, was this dress always so sweltering? I try to furtively wipe away the
sweat, but even this elicits another hail of hazelnuts and laughter. The crowd
eagerly presses forward in the balconies overhead, faces rapt. Even the rooks
nesting upon the thatched roof have stopped screaming, allowing the wide gray
sky overhead to swallow my shaking voice. I spot the other players of the
Admiral’s Men hidden in the theater’s wings, here to witness my embarrassing
failure—including my delicious Thomas, his perfect face pale as a corpse.
For More Read Download This Book