This article explores the excrementality of Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair by examining how Ursula’s hidden chamber pot is representative of both Jonson’s fictionalized Fair and the entire play text, and is embodied for an early modern audience through sensory experience. This sensory experience relies on cultural understandings of both gender and excrement, on playgoers’ memories of the actual Bartholomew Fair, and on the fact that the play’s opening night occurred at the Hope Theater. Thus, various spaces reflect one another to craft an immersive playgoing experience through the excremental, a fact enhanced by the metatheatrical aspects of the play. This results in the transformation of the play and initial performance—the only performance during Jonson’s lifetime—into an excremental ecology, or a system in which places, and the ability of places to signify once another, are manifest through waste. The article ends by considering possible contemporary means of staging these aspects of the play.
Druzak, Courtney A.
"The Excremental Ecology of Ben Jonson’s "Bartholomew Fair","
ROMARD: Vol. 60, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/romard/vol60/iss1/3