The Adaptability of the Plays
Where McMillin and MacLean found a strong consistency in the casting demands for the three plays, our experiment discovered important differences. The problems we had recruiting student “apprentices” placed us in a position comparable to that faced by early modern companies when members left, passed away or financial hardship demanded that the number in the company be reduced. Over the course of the rehearsal process the company expanded twice, recruiting one student at the start of work on Famous Victories and the second after the first performance. All in all, the experience told us much about the flexibility of the company, the rehearsal process, and the adaptability of the plays.
We were fortunate that we were preparing the plays in our chosen order, since King Leir was easier to adapt than Famous Victories and it would have been impossible to perform Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay with a company of 12 without seriously editing the text.