Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Hamlet Riots

Just to make the point that men of a certain age will riot over anything, I give you... the Astor Place Riot, aka the Hamlet Riots. This took place in '49... that's 1849, and the riot was between fans of rival Shakespearean actors, American Edwin Forrest and British import William C. Macready.

Macready was appearing in the Astor Place Opera House as Hamlet; fans of his American rival were outraged at his disrespecting their boy in print. When police ejected disruptive elements from the theater, it sparked rioting in the streets that ultimately left 22 people dead.

Of course it wasn't really about alternate schools of acting, but about New World rage and Old World arrogance and large pools of mainly idle young men suffering from testosterone poisoning.

Here's some links: New York's Opera House Brawl and The Astor Place Riot.


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