Further demolition material found near the stage was lath and plaster used for wall surfaces and ceilings, and may also have related to the underside of the stage cover if this had been rendered for decorative painting.326

A single reference in Thomas Heywood’s The Brazen Age (1613)—‘From the heavens discends a hand in a cloud, that from the place where Hercules was burnt, brings us a starre, and fixeth it in the firmament’—may refer to the Rose theatre space, Rhodes suggests, and implies that the underside of the stage roof may have been decorated.327

In the model, the heavens have been extended beyond the stage roof onto the frons scenae. The background is painted a dark indigo, affixed with gold stars—similar to the ceiling at Hampton Court Palace (see fig. 69a [4.13.2]).

In June 1595, Henslowe records paying for ‘carpenters work & macking the throne in the heuenes.’

Notably, this addition would appear to be within the existing structure of the gable space above the rear of the stage rather than a specially built ‘hut’ above the stage.

Stage directions in plays thought to have been written for or staged at the post-1591/2 Rose playhouse refer to objects being raised, lowered, or projected from the trap in the heavens:

Alphonsus, King of Aragon (1599) opens with the direction, ‘let Venus be let downe from the top of the Stage’ and closes with the stage direction ‘Exit Venus. Or if you can conveniently, let a chaire come downe from the top of the stage, and draw her up.’328

Whether it was in fact convenient at the Rose isn’t stipulated, and leads Wickham to suggests that ‘[Greene] hopes for a spectacular visual beginning and end to his play but is quite prepared to accept a strictly pedestrian conclusion if no machinery for an accent to heaven exists,’ as is the case before its erection by Henslowe in 1595.329 The addition of the effect was likely added to performances post-1595, which, when printed in 1599, belonged to Henslowe/Alleyn’s company.

In Englishmen for my money, someone is lowered in a basket.

Doctor Faustus, calls for ‘Musicke while the throne descends.’330

In A Looking Glass for London and England, a direction gives: ‘A hand from out a cloud, threatneth a burning sword,’ with the dialogue, ‘Behold dread Prince, a burning sword from heaven / Which by a threatening arm is brandished.’331

[326] Bowsher and Miller, The Rose and the Globe, 120.

[327] Rhodes, Henslowe’s Rose, 90. Thomas Heywood, The Brazen Age (London: Nicholas Oakes, 1613), Sig. L3r (STC 2nd 13310). It has been suggested that Heywood’s The Silver Age and The Brazen Age are the same plays as parts 1 and 2 of Hercules (the fifth act on the title page is described as ‘The Labour and Death of Hercules’), which Henslowe records as having been performed several times between May and November 1595 by the Admiral’s Men who were playing at the Rose. (Foakes, Henslowe’s Diary, 29–33.) Heywood’s account at Campus Martius (Julius Ceasar’s amphitheatre) paints a picture of ‘the couerings of the stage, which wee call the heauens (where vpon any occasion their Gods descended)’ (D2v), which depicted ‘the Elements and planets in their degrees, the sky of the Moone, the sky of Mercury, Venus, Sol, Mars, Iupiter and Saturne; the starres, both fixed and wandering: and aboue all these, the first mouer, or primum mobile, there were the 12 signes [of the zodiac], the lines Equinoctiall and Zodiacal’ (An Apology for Actors, containing three briefe treatises, London: Printed by Nicholas Okes, 1612; D2v–D3r). We might be cautious about using this description of a far grander setting, in a document dated sometime after the Rose was pulled down in 1606, to inform us of how the Phase II heavens may have looked, although its cosmic elements—stars, planets, moon, etc.—would seem universal.

[328] Performed at the Rose in August 1594.

[329] Wickham, ‘”Heavens”, machinery, and pillars,’ 11.

[330] Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Sig. H2r. In 1602, Henslowe recorded in his diary the payment of £4 to William Birde and Samuel Rowley for their additions to Doctor Faustus (Foakes, Henslowe’s Diary, 206), known as the B-text.

[331] Lodge and Greene, A Looking Glasse for London and England, Sig. G2r.