Fundoo Times
Read about Robert Armin and William Kempe that used to play famous clowns, fools and tricksters in Shakespeare literature and classics.

Shakespeare's Clowns & Fools

In medieval mystery plays, the play would often see a buffoon or a prankster getting better of the Devil in the game of wits. It was here perhaps that Shakespeare and other English authors got their inspiration for introducing the English clown in their plays. The famous and foremost professional stage clowns William Kempe and Robert Armin were both connected with Shakespeare's company. It has been believed that play scripts now available have been published to include the ad-libs by the clowns. In fact, Hamlet's order that clowns could speak only what had been written down for them was in fact, a comment that came from Shakespeare's heart on ad libbing done by Kemp.

William Kemp was an important star, mainly because of his partnership in the company and the Globe Theatre. He specialized in playing stupid country type characters that later came to be known as Auguste style. Robert Armin was an expert and specialized at playing court jester type fools. He even wrote a book on famous court jesters that ranks among the first ever published histories of clowning. When Armin replaced Kemp, Shakespeare changed his style of script writing to suit the style and abilities of the newcomer, proving that he was even a greater genius as a playwright than merely coming out with good plays.