Claracilla

or, Claricilla

a tragicomedy by Thomas Killigrew

first published 1641


About the Play

Pepys saw Claracilla for the first time on July 4, 1661, noting only that it was “well acted” but poorly attended.

One of Killigrew’s early plays, and one of two printed before the Civil War closed the theaters. According to the title page of the 1663 edition, it was written in Rome, probably during the 1630s.

A conventional tragicomedy, set in Sicily, the play was mounted in secret during the Interregnum and revived and reprinted after the Restoration. The diarist Samuel Pepys saw and wrote of the play several times in the 1660s.

In the 1641 edition, and the 1640 entry in the Stationers’ Register, the play is spelled “Claracilla;” the post-Restoration edition spells it “Claricilla.” Both names have been used in the later literature.


Known Editions

  • The Prisoners and Claracilla. Two Tragae-Comedies. As they were presented at the Phoenix in Drury-Lane, by her Mties Servants. Written by Tho. Killigrew, Gent. LONDON: Printed by T. Cotes, for Andrew Crooke, and are to be sold at his shop, at the signe of the Greene Dragon in Pauls Church-yard. 1641

    Here and in the Stationers' Regster the play’s title is spelled “Claracilla.”

  • CLARICILLA, A TRAGI-COMEDY, The Scene SICILY. Written by THOMAS KILLIGREW, IN ROME. DEDICATED To His Dear SISTER THE Lady SHANNON. LONDON: Printed by J. M. for Andrew Crook, at the Sign of the Green Dragon in St Pauls Church-yard. 1663

    This edition is represented only by a separate title page in the “Comedies, and Tragedies” of 1664.

  • Comedies, and Tragedies. Written by Thomas Killigrew, Page of Honour to King Charles the First. And Groom of the Bed-Chamber to King Charles the Second. LONDON, Printed for Henry Herringman, at the Sign of the Anchor in the Lower Walk of the New-Exchange. 1664

    Claracilla is included with a separate title page, dated 1663.


References from Secondary Sources

  • Edward Arber, ed., Stationers' Register (1875)

    4to Augusti 1640. Master Crooke. Entred for his Copie vnder the handes of Doctor WYKES and Master ffetherston late warden a play called CLARACILLA by Master KILLEGRAY...vjd.

  • Walter Wilson Gregg, A List of English Plays (1900)

    KILLIGREW, Thomas. (1612-1683.)

    The Prisoners and Claracilla. Two Tragae-Comedies. As they were presented at the Phoenix in Drury-Lane, by her Mties Servants. Written by Tho. Killigrew, Gent. T. Cotes for Andrew Crooke. 1641. 12mo. Claracilla has a separate titlepage with the same imprint. B.M. (11,773. d. 6). Bodl.

    Comedies, and Tragedies. Written by Thomas Killigrew, Page of Honour to King Charles the First. And Groom of the Bed-Chamber to King Charles the Second. for Henry Herringman. 1664. Fol. This collection, with a portrait by Faithorne, consists of the following plays, each having a separate titlepage with the imprint J. M. for Henry Herringman, 1663, except the last two, which bear the date 1664...Claricilla...B.M. (C. 39. k. 4). Bodl. U.L.C. Dyce. T.C.C.

  • James O. Halliwell, A Dictionary of Old English Plays (1860)

    CLARICILLA. A tragi-comedy by Thomas Killigrew, acted at the Phoenix in Drury Lane. 12mo. 1641; fol. 1664. It was performed at the King’s House after the Restoration.

  • William Carew Hazlitt, The Play-Collector's Manual (1892)

    Claracilla: A tragi-comedy by Thomas Killigrew, acted at the Phoenix in Drury Lane. 12mo, 1641; fol., 1664. It was performed at the King's House after the Restoration.

  • Leslie Hotson, The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage (1928)

    Quoting from the underground Royalist newsbook Mercurius Democritus, Hotson describes an illegal performance of Claracilla during the Commonwealth, which, having been betrayed by one of the actors, was raided by the Puritan authorities.

  • Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys (N.D.)

    Pepys saw Claracilla for the first time on July 4, 1661, noting only that it was “well acted” but poorly attended. He saw it again on January 5, 1662/3, judging it a “poor play.” Despite this, on March 9, 1668/9, he attended again with a large party; this time, he told his diary that it “do not please me almost at all, though there are some good things in it.”