Deeper into Jeopardy! XLII: ’99 – $200

I hope everyone enjoyed and aced the online tests last week, but regardless of the result, Jeopardy! marches on. The seemingly unflappable contestant Alex Jacobs won all five games this last week plus the Friday the week before, with lock games in four out of six. Pretty impressive. This installment’s category comes from his second game, and concerns all those years that Prince would have written songs about had he been born in a different century, one can only assume. Prince is a timeless being.

Jeopardy! category: ’99 (13-4-2015)

$200 clue: The troupe known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men was rehoused in this London theatre in 1599

Correct response

The gist: “All the world’s a stage,” says the melancholy Jaques in the Forest of Arden. That statement, opening one of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches, is an adaptation of the motto of the Globe Theatre, where the playwright’s company spent most of their time (including as the King’s Men once King James I took the throne of England and Scotland in 1603 and assumed patronage of the troupe). The motto read, in Latin, “Totus mundus agit histrionem,” commonly translated as “the whole world is a playground,” though for my $200 it’s more like “the whole world puts on a play-act.” In any case, the marketing potential of that sort of phrase, taken from a well-known tract by the first century CE Roman writer Petronius, is pretty obvious.

The Theatre was built by the members of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, with Shakespeare himself holding a 1/8 stake in it at the time of its construction. It was a circular wooden amphitheatre, with a capacity around 3000, including the so-called “groundlings” who paid a penny to stand in the pit in front of the stage. built with lumber from both the company’s former theatre and from the building whose site it took over. The first play performed in the Globe may have been Julius Caesar, although this is disputed by some historians; the first play with good documentation is Ben Jonson‘s satire Every Man Out of His Humour. The Globe housed the majority of performances of Shakespeare’s plays after its completion, save for a period between 1613 and 1614 when it was being rebuilt following a fire caused by a faulty stage cannon in a production of Henry VIII. Shakespeare died in 1616, but his company continued to perform in the Globe until 1642, when all theatres in London were closed by an ordinance introduced by the Puritans in the opening days of the First English Revolution. Today, the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a scholarly replica of the original, stands about 750 feet from where the Globe once stood.

A contemporary sketch of the reconstructed Globe, from after the fire

A contemporary sketch of the reconstructed Globe, from after the fire

The clue: This certainly isn’t the easiest the writers could have made this clue, even though it’s just for $200. Still, though they don’t mention Shakespeare by name, it being about theatre in late 16th century London, combined with its easy slot, strongly suggest that this is Shakespeare we’re talking about. If you can make that jump, then, the clue still boils down to “where were Shakespeare’s plays performed,” which anyone who took high school English ought to know.

In Jeopardy!: The Globe Theatre is mentioned in 19 regular and two FJ! clues in the J!Archive, although five of those are a category called “The Globe Theatre” that’s actually about theatre around the world. Of the remainder, they pretty much cover the gamut, mentioning Shakespeare, its London location, and its date of construction. Two, however, are actually about the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. As for the FJ! clues, one claims that recent research indicates it was actually 20-sided and not truly circular, and the other one mentions the building’s two builders – Richard Burbage for the  1599 version and Sam Wanamaker for the 1997.

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