Background & History
Friendly Folio - Parts / Sides
To find the Part or Side for a particular character, type the name into the Search box below. All the Parts that contain that name will come up, together with which play they are in, and what else that character is known by. You can then choose the one that you are interested in by clicking on the name. To help you, we have put into our database all the alternative names and spellings, as well as other titles the character was known by, so you can always put one of these in to find the Part you want.
If you want to know all the Parts in one particular play, then go to Plays, click on the title you want, and all the Parts in that play will be listed for you to choose from.
Cost: Because of the different lengths of parts (and so the amount of work needed to prepare them), the standard price for a Part (up to 15 pages) is £3, with Parts longer than 250 lines (from 15 to 35 pages) being £4, and the four very long Parts (Hamlet; Henry V; Iago; and Richard III - 45 to 55 pages) being £5. Please note: you are provided with reasonable photocopying rights, but no re-sale rights. We accept either PayPal or credit card.
Getting the script: We will send the script to you by email in PDF format, unless you specifically request it in Word or WordPerfect. We will email your order to you once your payment has been verified. This will normally be within 2 working days.
More about Parts / Sides
When the plays were written, the actors would never have received the complete text of the play, but rather they would have worked from their own Part or Sides (sometimes they were called Lengths). These parts contained all the lines their character spoke, together with the last few words of the preceding speech. These words were known as their Cue or Q, and no indication was given as to who spoke them, or how long the previous speech was. All our Parts use the Friendly Folio text.
It is possible that the actors sometimes wrote out their own parts (as they certainly were doing in the nineteenth century). They would keep their parts as their own personal property, thus explaining why there are so few preserved from this period of theatre history. These are what the actors worked from, these were what they would use when learning their lines on the morning of the performance (there is a reference in Nicholas Breton's A Mad World, My Masters, published in 1603, to the fact that the actors would start to con (learn) their lines at seven in the morning). See also Original Practices.
When Shakespeare wrote his plays, he would have known that his actors had studied their characters from a part, and so all the information that the actor would have had (coupled with the lack of rehearsals in the modern sense of the word) would have been in his own lines, and by looking at the Platt. It is therefore very instructive to study the part in the way the original actor would have done, and this is the value of a Part or Sides, and what we call a Cue Script when it is only a portion of the complete part.
Our Parts are modelled on the originals, with First Folio punctuation and spelling, and with a line drawn before each set of cue words. When a stage instruction for an entrance or exit is missing in the original, it is supplied in these scripts, with a note that it is our addition (or comes from a Quarto version of the play) rather than the way it was originally printed. Please note that in performance it may well be discovered that there are other alternatives as to exactly when to come on or leave the stage.
When it comes to the cue words, there are no existing original parts from any of Shakespeare's plays for guidance. The only extant professional theatre part from that time (four university parts of the period also survive) being the main part from Orlando Furioso that Edward Alleyn performed at the Rose Theatre, and a number of parts from the French, German and Spanish theatres. We have standardised on the cue words making up a double iambic (di-dum, di-dum) as the best guide as to how many of these words we should include.
The whole Part can be put together round wooden dowels to make a Role, so that it resembles what the original actors would have had in their hands when preparing for a performance, so with each Part we include, free of charge, the Parts Extras: How to make up a Role in the original way; Acting from a Cue Script; and the famous 20 Acting Clues on acting from Folio text.
We have included all the alternative names for a character in a hidden file, so a general Search for 'Queen' will find everyone who has the title of Queen even if they go under another name, and this will also find those who will become a Queen in the plays. Elizabethan spelling varies from ours, so although we use what the Folio sets down, we have tried to put in all the modern variations of the name that are generally used.
We can now provide a complete package of the script for a play together with all its Parts. The price varies between £65 - £85 according to the number of Parts that we have to prepare, and included in the package is also a copy of the Platt for that play, together with all the additional FriendlyFolio bonus items. When it is not certain that a Part is doubled up or not (such as the Clowne and Peter in Romeo and Juliet), then both the individual Parts and the Combined Parts are provided. The aim is to provide you with everything you need to present a play using Original Practises. To help you get your cast ready for such a production, we can also supply some short Cue Script scenes to get the actors used to working this way.