Source: Diary of Samuel Pepys, 18 August 1664
Production: James Shirley, The Court Secret, Bridges Street theatre, London, 18 August 1664
Text: Dined alone at home, my wife going to-day to dine with Mrs. Pierce, and thence with her and Mrs. Clerke to see a new play, “The Court Secret.”
I busy all the afternoon, toward evening to Westminster, and there in the Hall a while, and then to my barber, willing to have any opportunity to speak to Jane, but wanted it. So to Mrs. Pierces, who was come home, and she and Mrs. Clerke busy at cards, so my wife being gone home, I home, calling by the way at the Wardrobe and met Mr. Townsend, Mr. Moore and others at the Taverne thereby, and thither I to them and spoke with Mr. Townsend about my boy’s clothes, which he says shall be soon done, and then I hope I shall be settled when I have one in the house that is musicall.
So home and to supper, and then a little to my office, and then home to bed. My wife says the play she saw is the worst that ever she saw in her life.
Comments: Elisabeth Pepys (1640-1669) was the wife of the British naval administrator and diarist Samuel Pepys. She frequently attended the theatre with her husband, but at times with female friends alone or a female servant, and on this rare occasion we get to hear her view of a production. The tragicomedy The Court Secret was James Shirley‘s final play, composed before 1642 but first printed in 1653 and not performed until 1664. It was peformed by the King’s Company at the Bridges Street theatre (the first theatre on the Drury Lane site).