Apprenticed to Edward Alleyn from at least 1593, John Pig (also "Pyk") is named in one of theater historians' most favorite documents, the exchange of letters between Joan and Edward Alleyn when Lord Strange's men were on tour in the summer of 1593. Indeed he is the author of one (unless it is a pretense). He refers to himself with appropriate deference as Joan's "honest ancyent and Loving servant," then signs off with a playful comedic trill: "yor petty prety pratlyng parlyng pyg." In the body of the letter, Pig provides first a chatty riff on his London circle including the Henslowes, his sister Bess, his neighbor Doll, and his wife Sara (for cleaning his shoes), and an old man with whom he has had a disagreement. He shows the influence of his profession by swearing "by the fayth of a fusyan kinge" not to return home until he can bring good fortune with him. Compounding his pretense, Pig adds a postscript suggesting he has written without the aid and knowledge of his master, Edward, and another senior company member, Thomas Downton (Greg, Papers, MS I, art. 15, p. 41).
Elsewhere, in records by Henslowe at the Rose, Pig is named various contexts:
Costumes in Inventories
- Item, j red sewt of cloth for pyge, laed with whitt lace." (Greg, Papers, APX, I, i, p. 115, l.32)
- Item, Pyges damask gowne. (Greg, Papers, APX, I, i, p. 118, l. 102)
- Item, j harcoller tafitie sewte of pygges." (Greg, Papers, APX, I, i, p. 118, l. 104)
- Item, j white tafitie sewte of pygges." (Greg, Papers, APX, I, i, p. 118, l. 105)
- Item, j littell gacket for Pygge. (Greg, Papers, APX, I, i, p. 121, l. 166)
The following items from Henslowe's diary are assumed to "Alice Pierce:
- "Layd owt more the same tyme for makynge & a payer/ of yeare sleavse of the bodeyes of pyges gowne" vjs vijd (Foakes, 73).
- Another entry for this costume does not name Pig but does specify the part for which the gown was made and thus the play: "layd owt for mackynge allce perces bodeyes & A payer of yeare sleaues the some of vjs vijd" (Foakes, p. 85).
Lent vnto John haslette valter the 27 of marche 1598 } in Redy mony the some of tenneshillinges } xs I say . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }
- "Frederick and Basilea," Andreo
- "Alice Pierce," Alice
- "Troilus and Cressida," part unidentified
- The Battle of Alcazar, ?Page, if he is indeed "mr allens boy" (Greg, "in the interests of economy" supposes "that Pig and Alleyn's boy were the same" (p. 67).