Source: Diary of Samuel Pepys, 16 August 1667
Production: John Dryden, Sir Martin Mar-all, or The Feign’d Innocence, Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre, London, 16 August 1667
Text: Up, and at the office all the morning, and so at noon to dinner, and after dinner my wife and I to the Duke’s playhouse, where we saw the new play acted yesterday, “The Feign Innocence, or Sir Martin Marr-all;” a play made by my Lord Duke of Newcastle, but, as every body says, corrected by Dryden. It is the most entire piece of mirth, a complete farce from one end to the other, that certainly was ever writ. I never laughed so in all my life. I laughed till my head [ached] all the evening and night with the laughing; and at very good wit therein, not fooling. The house full, and in all things of mighty content to me.
Comments: Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) was a British naval administrator and diarist. The comedy Sir Martin Mar-all was John Dryden‘s most successful theatrical production. It was loosely based on Molière’s L’Étourdi and in the Stationer’s Hall record was registered under the name of William Cavendish, the Duke of Newcastle, but is recognised as being largely Dryden’s work. Pepys saw the play again on the 19th and the 20th of August, and seven times in all.