Venetian Comedy, The

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Historical Records

Performance Records

Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary


Fol. 10 (Greg, I.19)

ye 25 of aguste 1594

Rd at the venesyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ls vjd
ye [7]5 of septmbʒ 1594

Rd at the venesyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xxxvjs vjd
ye 15 of septmbʒ 1594
———
Rd at the venesyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xxxvjs vjd
ye 22 of septmbʒ 1594

Rd at the venesyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xxvs
ye 24 of septmbʒ 1594
ne . .
Rd at venesyon & the love of & Jngleshe lady . . . . . . . .
xxxxvijs
ye 3 of octobʒ 1594

Rd at the venesyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xvijs
ye 11 of octobʒ 1594

Rd at the venesyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xvjs


Fol. 10v (Greg, I.20)

ye 11 of novembʒ 1594
———
Rd at the venesyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xxjs
ye 26 of novembʒ 1594

Rd at the venecyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xiijs


Fol. 11 (Greg, I.21)

ye 10 of febreary 1594
———
Rd at the venesyan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xxs


Fol. 11v (Greg, I.22)

ye 25 of febreary 1594

Rd at the venesyan comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xxs
ye 8 of maye 1595
. . . . . . . .
Rd at the venesyon comodey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xxxs



Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's men introduced "The Venetian Comedy" on the 25th of August in 1594, and Henslowe entered the play as "ne" in his book of accounts. If the apparent error on 24 September 1594 is discounted, the play received 11 performances through the 21st of May 1595 with average an average return of 34s to Henslowe (a very respectable average).

Probable Genre(s)

Comedy

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Unfortunately, the generic nature of the title does not give a clue to the narrative material relied on for the script.


References to the Play

None known.


Critical Commentary

Malone did not guess at the guess at the content of this play, nor did Collier, whose only observation was to reject any relationship to "The Love of an English Lady" and Shakespeare's Merchant of Venic (p. 40, n.1). Likewise Fleay, BCED (uncharacteristically) did not suggest a connection to some other play or familiar narrative (2.303, #155).

Greg II read Henslowe's entry for 24 September 1594 as "a double performance" (p. 167, #51). Further, he puzzled over the proximity of "The Venetian Comedy" to "The French Doctor," introduced on 18 October 1594 with the mark of "ne." He laid out a case full of supposes for their being :"identical" in an entry on the latter play (p. 170, £57).

Gurr, addressing specifically Henslowe's entry on the 24th of September 1594 ("ne" ... Res at venesyon & the love of & Jngleshe lady," considers the inclusion of "venesyon" a mistake, and he deletes 24 September from the list of performances of "The Venetian Comedy" (207, n.17).

Wiggins, Catalogue #964 includes the 24 September 1594 performance among the offerings of "The Venitian Comedy" but adds that it "may be an error."




For What It's Worth

Knutson uses the complex of five similar titles—"The Grecian Comedy,""The Love of an English Lady," "The Love of a Grecian Lady," and "The Grecian Comedy"—to illustrate the difficulties of separating discrete titles from variant ones (pp. 21-22). She reduces these five to two: "The Venetian Comedy" and "The Grecian Comedy" (which subsumes "The Love of an English Lady," "The Love of a Grecian Lady," and "The Grecian Lady"). See in addition Critical Commentary and the pages for "The Love of a Grecian Lady," "The Love of an English Lady," and "Grecian Comedy" for alternative opinions on the relationship of this play-set in the Admiral's repertory at the Rose in the fall of 1594.





Works Cited

Gurr, Andrew. Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company 1594-1625. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Knutson, Roslyn Lander. The Repertory of Shakespeare's Company, 1594-1613. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1991.



Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; 10 August 2020.