chapter  7
Disgust and delight: Apollo Shroving, The Roaring Girl, and community theatre
Pages 18

I Introduction The problem with theatre history is that the phenomena that comprise a performance – the sights and sounds of a play and the intangible emotional connection between performers and audience – vanish the minute the performance is over. The event may (or may not) leave a few material records: an account of financial expenditure; a script that may (or may not) accurately reflect what was spoken; a costume or prop; an actor’s memoire. Rarely does it leave examples of more than one such possible record. Accounts of audience reactions to performance are even more patchy. Even though the pursuit of an emotional experience is the main purpose in going to a play, it is easy to dismiss as illusory the notion that it might be possible to say anything meaningful about the feelings generated by plays written (and perhaps last seen) hundreds of years ago.