Protest and Playwriting and Sir Thomas More
This chapter explores the relationship between the collaboratively written play text of Sir Thomas More and the play’s central scenes of protest, which depict London citizens rising up against the city’s alien population in the famous May Day riots of 1517. Even as the play retells a familiar trope of citizen identity based on the exclusion of strangers, the play simultaneously proposes an alternative structure for practicing the city in what might be called networks of collaboration. Inviting us to read the collective labor of playwrights together with the common cause of citizens, the play glimpses the possibilities for reciprocity that run counter to the institutional exclusions of early modern London, including those staged in its incendiary opening scene.
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