Woman's Plot, The

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Massinger, Philip (1621)

Historical Records

Payments for Court Performance

Chamber Accounts, Payments to Players, etc
Item 149a (Cook 76):

To Iohn Hemyngs in the behalfe of himselfe and the rest of his fellowes his Mate sevaunts for presenting sixe severall Plaies before his Matie by warrt of the xxvijth of Marche 1622 ..... lxli

Inner Temple Library MS 515, no.7
This Inner Temple Library MS, found by Murray (English Dramatic Companies 2.193), adds detail to the Chamber Accounts payment above:

27 Marcii. A warrant for allowance of lxli to John Hemmings and his fellowes the Kings Mats Players for 6 plaies vizt The womas Plott plaid before his Matie 5o Novembris last, The Woman is to Hard for him 26o of the same Monethe, The Island Princes vppon St Stephens day The Pilgrim on new yeares day, The Wildgoose Chase the xxiiii of Januarie, The Coxcombe the 5 of this instant Marche

King's Men repertory list (1641)

On 7 August 1641, the Earl of Essex (now Lord Chamberlain) required the Stationers' Company to forbid the printing of King's Men plays without the company's consent (the desire to protect their plays having been occasioned by the onset of plague and the consequent closure of the theatres from 5 August til the end of November 1641) (Bentley 1.65).

The list of plays specified includes "The womans Plott".

(See the list in full here)

Stationers' Register

09 September 1653 (S.R.II, 1.429 CLIO)

Master Mosely Entred also . . . the severall playes following . . xxs vjd
The Noble choice, or the orator }
The wandring lovers or the painter }
The Italian night-peece, or, the unfortunate piety }
Alexius, the chast gallant, or The bashfull lover }
A very woman, or, the woman's plot. } by Phill. Massinger.
The Judge, or Believe as you list }
The Prisoner, or the Faire Anchoress }
The citie honest man, or the guardian }
The Spanish Viceroy or the honor of women }
Minerva's sacrifice, or the forc'd lady }
The Maids Tragedie, 2d part.

29 June 1660 (SR2, 2.271, CLIO)

Hum. Moseley.
Entred for his copies under the hand of MASTER THRALE warden, the
severall plays following that is to say . . . . Xiijs
The Womans Plott, a Comedy }
The Prisoners, a Tragi-Comedy }
The Honour of Women, a comedy }
Believe as you List, a Tragedy }
The forced Lady, a Tragedy }
The Tyrant, a Tragedy } by Phillip Massinger.
The Bashfull Lovers }
The Gardian }
Philenzo & Hypollita, a Tragi Comedy }
Antonio & Vallia, a Comedy }
Fast & Welcome, a Comedy }

Warburton's list

"The Womans Plott Phill. Massinger " appears as the 26th play noted by John Warburton (1682-1759) in his list of the unprinted MS plays allegedly in his collection until destroyed by Warburton’s cook:

Lansdowne ms 807 f001r.jpg

(British Library, Lansdowne MS 807, fo.1r. Reproduced by permission of the British Library. Click image to view full page; click here for more information on Warburton's list)

Theatrical Provenance

"The Woman's Plot" by Massinger was performed at Whitehall by the King's Men on 05 November 1621.

Probable Genre(s)

Comedy (S.R., Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Unknown. Information welcome.

References to the Play

None known. Information welcome.

Critical Commentary

Fleay notes that a play called The Very Woman, or The Prince of Tarent was licensed by Herbert on 06 June 1634 and later published with The Bashful Lover and The Guardian under Massinger's name in 1655. He argues that the 1653 Stationers' Register entry was in error, and that The Very Woman and "The Woman's Plot" are different plays (BCED 1.215).

Bentley (4.829) is more cynical, claiming Fleay's position "is pure fancy" and arguing that "The identification with A Very Woman ... was clearly Moseley's attempt to license two plays for one fee, as in a number of instances in this list", adding that after Mosely had published A very Woman in 1655, he "duly licensed The Woman's Plot in 1660".

For What It's Worth

Information welcome.

Works Cited

Cook, David and F. P. Wilson, eds. "Dramatic Records in the Declared Accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber 1558-1642". Malone Society Collections VI. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1961.
Murray, John Tucker. English Dramatic Companies, 1558-1642. London: Constable and Company Limited, 1910. Internet Archive

Site created and maintained by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; updated 19 April 2017.