An Occasional Play

Romeo and Juliet features quite a lot of page boys for a Shakespeare production. As if the company’s trebles are on parade for a special occasion. The play also parades an unusual amount of adults in a nobleman’s colours. Because this apparel matches a page’s outfit to the button, these observations add up to a presentation of the Burbage troupe in the livery of a new patron. Within the established time window (1594 – 96) only the transfer from The Earl of Derby to the Lord Chamberlain fits the bill, because the 1596 transfer of the patronage to the second Baron Hunsdon came with his inheritance of the first Baron’s entire estate. At the time  the office of Lord Chamberlain was not included, and Shakespeare was one of Lord Hunsdon’s Men until the spring of 1597, when George Carey succeeded in his father’s office. But these mutations were of no concern for the Hunsdon livery.