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this day in history 1665

First play performed in USA

Theatre is Just Telly Without All The Wires And Stuff

Two theatrical firsts were achieved on this day. Not only was it the first recorded instance of a play being performed in North America, it’s also the first recorded terrible review of a play in North America. The production in question is the delightful sounding Ye Bare and Ye Cubb which was presented at Fowkes Tavern in Virginia in 1665. Sadly, no copies of the play exist so we don’t know what offended a critic named Edward Martin, but whatever it was, not only did it lead to the production being halted but it also resulted in all the actors getting arrested.

They found themselves charged with the appalling crime of ‘performing a play’. To make sure this piece of theatre was worthy of imprisonment, the local magistrate insisted that they perform it in full, right there in the court. They must have really put on a fabulous show as not only were all the charges dropped, the critic was fined for causing all this fuss in the first place. If only such theatrical justice were available today.

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