In the play's first few minutes, a stage manager, sitting in a sort of prompter's box
, gives cues to Jennings and Jones when they seem to forget their lines.
Samuel Johnson, who said of the plays that they "may be considered as a Map of Life, a faithful Miniature of human Transactions, and he that has read Shakespear with Attention will perhaps find little new in the crouded world." The statement stands as proven--in the fabric of almost everything written in English over the last three centuries, by the anthology of wise saws and modern instances that constitute our secular scripture, by the numberless occasions on which, with Shakespeare in the prompter's box
, we remind ourselves of what, in such a place and on such a night as this, Romeo might have said to Juliet or Macbeth to Banquo's ghost.
She came to all the shows and stood by the prompter's box
, sometimes for three performances a day!
For comic relief and metatheatrical effect, a commedia character is introduced, a bald-headed ancient woman (played by a man in this production) who pops in and out of the prompter's box
. Her name is Edda, which in Icelandic means "great-grandmother" as well as "poetics." Although the young poet is treated with respect, Edda is the butt of numerous jokes.