“Turn off the dark!” – S. Pepys


Scene from Peter Greenaway’s The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)

Samuel Pepys, 17th Century Theater Critic
The Heiress – William, Duke of Newcastle – ★★☆☆☆

Tuesday February 2, 1669:

“…to the King’s playhouse, where “The Heyresse,” not-withstanding Kinaston’s being beaten, is acted; and they say the King is very angry with Sir Charles Sedley for his being beaten, but he do deny it. But his part is done by Beeston, who is fain to read it out of a book all the while, and thereby spoils the part, and almost the play, it being one of the best parts in it; and though the design is, in the first conception of it, pretty good, yet it is but an indifferent play, wrote, they say, by my Lord Newcastle. But it was pleasant to see Beeston come in with others, supposing it to be dark, and yet he is forced to read his part by the light of the candles: and this I observing to a gentleman that sat by me, he was mightily pleased therewith, and spread it up and down. But that, that pleased me most in the play is, the first song that Knepp sings, she singing three or four; and, indeed, it was very finely sung, so as to make the whole house clap her…

“…my wife being in mighty ill humour all night, and in the morning I found it to be from her observing Knepp to wink and smile on me; and she says I smiled on her; and, poor wretch! I did perceive that she did, and do on all such occasions, mind my eyes. I did, with much difficulty, pacify her, and were friends, she desiring that hereafter, at that house, we might always sit either above in a box, or, if there be [no] room, close up to the lower boxes.”

via The Diary of Samuel Pepys

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