Rangers Comedy, The
Performance Records (Henslowe's Diary)
F. 9 (Greg I.17)
From the play list for "the Quenes men & my lord of Susexe to geather" for Easter 1594:
Rd at the Rangers comodey 2 of [marche] Aprell 1593 iijli
F. 9 (Greg I.17)
From the play list for "my lord admierals men" on 14-16 May 1594:
Rd at the Rangers comodey the 15 of maye 1594 xxxiijs
F. 9 (Greg I.17)
From the play list beginning 15 June 1594, the date on which W. W. Greg decided that the Admiral's players had returned to the Rose after their 10-day run at Newington with the Chamberlain's players (II. 86):
ye 18 of June 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey xxijs ye 22 of June 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey lviiijs
F. 9v (Greg I.18)
ye 5 of Julye 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey xviijs ye 17 of Julye 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey xvs ye 1 of aguste 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey xiijs vjd ye 20 of aguste 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey xiiijs vjd
F. 10 (Greg I.19)
ye 16 of septmbʒ 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey xvs ye 2 of octobʒ 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey xs
F. 11 (Greg I.21)
ye 19 of Jenewary 1594 Rd at the Rangers comodey xvs
The play was introduced at the Rose beginning 2 April 1594 (Easter Week), as an offering by the Queen's men and Sussex's men playing together. It was not marked "ne." It had not appeared among the offerings of Sussex's men during their recorded run at the Rose, 27 December through 6 February 1594. It migrated from the repertory of the combined companies to the holdings of the Admiral's men, who gave it 9 performances on their return to the Rose in mid-June 1594.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
No one has suggested a narrative source or dramatic analogue for this play.
References to the Play
Collier suggested that The Rangers Comedy had been purchased from either Sussex's men or Queen's by Henslowe, who, by making it available to the Admiral's men, "communicated his right to act it to any company with which he was concerned" (34).
Fleay repeated Collier's assertion that the play had been "bought by Henslow" (2.299).
Greg noted the absence of the play from the offerings by Sussex's men and assigned it a provenance with the Queen's men. He too repeated the claim that Henslowe was the real owner, and he added that the Queen's company must have "sold [it] to him when they were in low water" (II.162, Item 38).
Gurr, making a point about how busy the schedule of playing was for Edward Alleyn, hints at a narrative for The Rangers Comedy by imagining that in the week of 17 June 1594 he would have played "the hero of The Ranger's Comedy" among other star parts (50).
See also Wiggins serial number 869.
For What It's Worth
Collier and Fleay did not add an apostrophe to the title of the play. Greg did, choosing "Ranger's," and subsequent scholars have followed his example. Since the use of an apostrophe does have implications for the narrative matter of the play, however, the choice here is to remove the apostrophe.
Collier, John Payne (ed.) The Diary of Philip Henslowe, from 1591 to 1609. London: Shakespeare Society, 1845. Google Books
Fleay, F. G. A Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama, 1559—1642. 2 vols. 1891; rpt New York: Burt Franklin, 1962. Internet Archive [vol. 2]
Gurr, Andrew. Shakespeare’s Opposites: The Admiral’s Company 1594-1625. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 22 February 2010.