Tuesday 12 February 1660/61

To my Lord’s, and there with him all the morning, and then (he going out to dinner) I and Mr. Pickering, Creed, and Captain Ferrers to the Leg in the Palace to dinner, where strange Pickering’s impertinences. Thence the two others and I after a great dispute whither to go, we went by water to Salsbury Court play-house, where not liking to sit, we went out again, and by coach to the Theatre, and there saw “The Scornfull Lady,” now done by a woman, which makes the play appear much better than ever it did to me. Then Creed and I (the other being lost in the crowd) to drink a cup of ale at Temple Bar, and there we parted, and I (seeing my father and mother by the way) went home.

16 Annotations

vincent   Link to this

another "...Upon the unparalelld Playes written by those Renowned Twinnes of Poetry BEAUMONT & FLETCHER. ..." http://www.gutenberg.net/1/0/6/2/10620/10620.txt
Evelyn did see play
Evelyn Diary 1661 jan 25th
... 25. After divers yeares, that I had seene any Play, I went to see
acted the Scornfull Lady at a new Theatre in Lincolns-in fields. ...
http://astext.com/history/ed_1661.html

vincent   Link to this

v. suspect."...Then Creed and I (the other being lost in the crowd) to drink ..." It was known that there were other entertainments available around the theatre and the Good Capt!!!: standing room only [jostling etc. change positions for a better view, naturally] in the pits again?

vincent   Link to this

3 spellings for the play:todays ..LL and no - then in nov last:The Scorn-full Lady http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/11/27/
then last nov 27
"The Scornful Lady," acted very well, it being the first play that ever he saw
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/01/04/

3 quotes ::
Kiss till the cows come home. - Scornful Lady (act II, sc. 2)

Beggars must be no choosers.- Scornful Lady (act V, sc. 3) [

My dancing days are done.- Scornful Lady (act V, sc. 3)

steve h   Link to this

A different attitude to theatre-going

The switch in theatres (poor seats available? an empty or rowdy house?) is typical of the difference between our age and Pepys' s with regard to theatre-going. Leaving early or arriving late were commonplace, as we see elsewhere in the diaries and in anecdotes from the times. Instead of a rapt and respectful audience following veery word, there were people coming and going, buying food, chatting, arguing, checking out both the royals and the whores, and flirting. Full attention was paid usually when it was commanded by a good actor in a bravura scene or by some remarkable scenery, costume, song or dance, etc.
The idea of a theatre as a temple of art is a late 19th century invention (Wagner, Stanislavksy). It's better to think of these performances as something between a sporting event and a puppet show at Bartholemew Fair, rather than as a typical Broadway/West-End show. let alone a performance of Chekhov or Pinter.

Michael   Link to this

This "theatre hopping" reminds me of the channel hopping we do today on the TV with our remote control. Obviously it requires a bit more effort, but there are similarities in spirit.

Jim   Link to this

"This is where I came in" -- when I was a kid in the days of stand-alone movie theatres with continuous performances, people might come into a film thirty minutes late, stay through the end of the film, the newsreal, cartoon, and coming attractions, into the next showing of the feature film until they came to the point where they had originally entered. These days, with multiplex theatres with ten, twelve, even twenty screens, I think theatre hopping has returned. I know that on more than one occasion I have entered one screening room in a multiplex, seen that there were no good seats free and, not wanting to get a stiff neck from sitting in the very front row, have decided on the spot to watch a different film on one of the other screens. Amazing how many things of human nature don't change -- that sounds very much like what Sam and his friends did.

Brian G McMullen   Link to this

'where not liking to sit'

Is it possible that the diary has been misinterpreted? Might the statement mean:

'where not likely to sit'

Thus Sam has decided not to stand in the pit but to find entertainment where he could sit.

Or am I totally wrong and he wants to stand?

vincent   Link to this

Girl watching or play watching how many of us have discussed the pros & cons of where the best watching or entertainment is to be found "...Thence the two others and I after a great dispute whither to go,..."

Conrad   Link to this

'Where not liking to sit', to my reading means that they couldn't find good seats, where they could see the stage, for instance, so they left. This theatre had problems with the audience being able to see what was happening on the stage.

Captain Caveman   Link to this

There are just two theatres for Pepys to choose between. Apparently, there is a bad one (Davenant's) and a good one (Killigrew's), and will be until Davenant moves out of Salisbury Court. That explains why Pepys keeps going back to see the same plays over and over.

Jenny Doughty   Link to this

'That explains why Pepys keeps going back to see the same plays over and over.'

I don't think that's necessarily so. People nowadays often watch movies that they've seen before.

Captain Caveman   Link to this

I don't think that's a very useful analogy.

Kevin Sheerstone   Link to this

Captain Caveman: I do. I have watched "Zulu" 39 times - and I'm looking forward to the 40th.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: Same plays over and over.

Remember, too, Steve H's good point that the play was only part of the entertainment at the theater...

vincent   Link to this

"play was only part of the entertainment " how true, remember the spittal ?

Bill   Link to this

“The Scornfull Lady,” now done by a woman"

According to Downes's "Roscius Anglicanus" the characters were taken as follows:—Elder Lovelace: Burt; Young Lovelace: Kynaston; Welford: Hart; Sir Roger: Lacy; The Lady: Mrs. Marshall; Martha: Mrs. Rutter; Abigil: Mrs. Corey.
---Wheatley, 1896.

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