Clorys and Orgasto

Anon. 1592

Historical Records

Performance Records

Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary

A single record of performance survives in Henslowe’s accounts for early 1592 (new style):

Fol. 7 (Greg I, 13)

Res at clorys & orgasto the 28 of febreary 1591 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xviijs

Theatrical Provenance

The sole record of this play is its appearance in the playlists of Lord Strange's men at the Rose playhouse during the first run of theirs recorded at that venue. Philip Henslowe began to list the plays performed at his playhouse (the Rose) on 19 February 1592, heading that list with the name of the company in residence: Strange's men. "Cloris and Ergasto" (the title as modernized by Wiggins, Catalogue, #878) is entered for 28 February and not entered again.

Probable Genre(s)

Harbage guesses that the play was a pastoral; Wiggins. Catalogue, #878 follows suit, adding that the names of the title characters are "standard pastoral names."

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Information welcome.

References to the Play

Information welcome.

Critical Commentary

Malone makes no comment on this play. Collier expresses no opinion on the narrative or genre of the play but noted that the one performance did not necessarily mean that the play "was not successful" because it apparently had been in performance previously (p. 21). Fleay, BCED makes no comment on the play. Greg II, observing that "'Orgasto' hardly seems a possible name," changes the title to "Cloris and Ergasto" and suggests that \

Manley and MacLean note that this play is one of several "[e]specially vexing" in that the title is "difficult to match to extant sources or stories" (p. 127).

Wiggins, Catalogue, #878 dates this play in 1591 within a range of 1576-92. In its entry, he provides an explanation for dating plays that appear in Henslowe's lists for 1592-3 without the mark of "ne" yet lack any further documentary evidence of their maiden runs. He uses the number and pattern of performances of these plays in Henslowe's records as a guide to their stage debut: the fewer performances in Henslowe, the earlier the date of that play's first staging. (Wiggins's fullest explanation of his reasoning is in this entry for "Clorys and Orgasto" [#878]).

For this play specifically, Wiggins notes that it was given just one performance; he therefore considers it the most likely play in the company's repertory at this time to have been in production for some time already and thus by February 1592 to be at "the fag end" of a possibly successful run. Alternatively, he allows that its single show in Henslowe's list might have been "the last gasp of an ignominiously brief stage life."

For What It's Worth

Works Cited

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 1 November 2018.