Actors Mufti Nassuf etc
34 Tereus with a pastoral M.A
Actors. Agnostus Eupathus &c
Actors Mufti Nassuf &c
Unknown, but of the other play-titles on the list, ten can be associated with the professional theatre. The presumption, then, is that this play too came from that theatre.
History/current affairs play
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
The career of Nasuf Pasha, Grand Vizier of Constantinople, executed in 1614.
References to the Play
The only discussions of this record prior to the Lost Plays Database are those of Adams and Bentley. Both list Record 34 as if a single play, and then consider the possibility that there might be two separate plays contained within it. Thus, Adams comments that the details of Record 34 are hard to interpret:
To me it seems likely that Hill is describing a single dramatic manuscript in two parts, and quoting the name of typical "actors" from both parts by way of illustrating each. (94)
The implication here is that the two parts are, firstly, a play about Tereus, and secondly, a pastoral, and that one should imagine a mufti somehow featuring in a pastoral, perhaps as comic relief. Similarly, Bentley discusses the problem under an entry for M.A.'s Tereus with a Pastoral (?), observing that "This rather enigmatic set of notes might indicate one play or two", or, again, one dramatic manuscript in two parts. Bentley adds: "neither Tereus nor any of the character names is familiar from other seventeenth-century records". (Bentley, 3.1)
To sum up: the lost play here called Actors Mufti Nassuf &c featured, as a character, Nassuf, Grand Vizier of Constantinople in the reign of Ahmed I. It was therefore a play about near-contemporary Turkish history. Given the meteoric nature of Nassuf's rise and fall, it is hard to see the play as other than a tragedy culminating in Nassuf's violent death, in his own house, by strangling and knife.
For more on the other play(s) referred to in Record 34, see Tereus with a pastoral.
For What It's Worth
Adams, Joseph Quincy. “Hill’s List of Early Plays in Manuscript,” The Library 20 (19 39): 71-99.
Harbage, Alfred. "Elizabethan: Restoration Palimpsest", Modern Language Review 35 (1940): 287-319.
Steggle, Matthew. "A Lost Turk Play: Actors Mufti Nassuf &c (1614-42)", Ben Jonson Journal 19.1 (May, 2012): 45-64.
Site created and maintained by Matthew Steggle, Sheffield Hallam University: updated 08 Nov 2012.