’Tis Pity remained in the repertoire of Christopher Beeston’s company until his death in 1638, and was then included in the plays protected by the Lord Chamberlain for Christopher’s son, William, who succeeded his father as manager of the Phoenix playhouse (see pp. 5–9) where he ran the King and Queen’s Young Company. All the London commercial playhouses were closed by Order of Parliament in 1642, but ’Tis Pity was among the first plays to be revived when they reopened following the restoration of Charles II. On 9 September 1661, the avid play-goer Samuel Pepys, after lunching rather too well (‘I drank so much wine that I was not fit for business’), ‘walked in Westminster Hall awhile, and thence to Salisbury Court playhouse, where was acted the first time [i.e. since the theatres re-opened] ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, a simple play and ill-acted’. Pepys’s disappointment was mitigated by the presence of a ‘most pretty and ingenious lady’ sitting near him, but it is especially frustrating for us that he failed to record exactly who he saw perform the play, as this production featured the first women to play the female roles but who these actresses were is not known. The company at Salisbury Court was led by George Jolly, who in 1662 took his company out of London to tour its repertory of pre-Interregnum plays, and there is a record, though no detail, of a performance of ’Tis Pity at the King’s Arms in Norwich later that year. However, responses throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the content of the play, and in particular to Ford’s handling of his material (see Chapter 6) helped keep ’Tis Pity off the stage for another 250 years, until it was revived in November 1894 in Paris.
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