Feeding the Thousands

The use of the central yard as a banqueting hall, follows from its previous use as a reception room. Which in turn follows from its preparation for a trifling foolish banquet :

Enter Romeo (masqued, and just too late to witness his own exit opposite)
Servant : Wheres Potpan that he helpes not to take away?

Circle reasoning sometimes works. But tomorrow afternoon the torches will be put to their normal use of evoking the suggestion of darkness. And a banquet for up to a thousand paying guests is impractical. The yard will therefore return to its proper use as audience territory. Fine-tuning a commercial play to a special occasion, however, is peculiar. And suggests some kind of lunch-break at this point of the original 1594 commercial production.

St. Peter in Chains is Lammas too ; the thanksgiving day for the wheat. It would be a complicated operation to butter the day’s traditional loafs of bread for the visitors of such a large playhouse, but it may have been done. As a goodwill gesture from the Lord Chamberlain for instance. The distribution would have caused no problem anyway, because selling food to the audience during performances was a theatre company’s daily business.