book-keeper

Definition

Theater

  • In the Elizabethan theater, a member of the company whose primarypurpose was to keep and protect copies of the play from rival companies.In the absence of copyright laws, the book-keeper would copy out anactor's part and give him only his own lines and the required cues.After a rehearsal or a performance, the actor returned the text tothe book-keeper. This control of valuable original texts by a fewindividuals is probably one reason why so many Elizabethan plays havebeen lost.
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