Collection No. 11: The Rehearsal, by Catherine Clive

Publication Details | Synopsis | Secondary Commentary |Varieties & Dialects | Other

Publication details

Author: Clive, Catherine
Author dates: 1711 - 1785
Title: The Rehearsal (alt. title: Bays in Petticoats)

First played: 1750
First published: 1753, by R. Dodsley. 43p.
C18th availability: Available from ECCO (1753)

Modern availability: Available from LION (1996)

Genre: Comedy / Farce

Trend(s): Contemporary Satire; Gender

Character types : Professional Female; Educated Female

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The play details the foibles of Mrs. Hazard, a female playwright.

Act I.
Two servants, Gatty and Tom, discuss how their mistress is writing a farce, at which all the visitors laugh. Gatty and Tom hope that the farce will fail; further, it is rumoured to be plagiarized from an invalid gentleman’s work. Mrs. Hazard (acted by Mrs. Clive) rings the bell many times, and finally enters the room, frustrated with the lazy servants. Mrs. Hazard sings a recitative in which she explains that she is preparing for her farce. Mr. Witling is admitted in. Witling repeats some slander about Mrs. Hazard; she is displeased by his part in the anecdote, but bears it for the sake of her play. Mrs. Hazard is preparing for the final rehearsal of her play, which is to open next week. She describes her farce: it is a “burletto” with scenes taken from Don Quixote. She regrets that none of the tragedians (e.g. Garrick and Barry) can sing. There are only three characters in the farce; one is a madwoman, to be played by Mrs. Clive (the author). A young woman arrives; Witling asks that she not be admitted, and Mrs. Hazard is angry as she was about to go out, but the woman is shown up anyway. She wants to sing on the stage, but cannot sing and has a poor ear. She sings a song.  Mrs. Hazard interrupts her to correct her pronunciation: on the stage, songs must be sung with an Italian accent, according to the fashion. A servant enters to tell Mrs. Hazard that her chaise has been waiting for half an hour; she leaves quickly.

Act II.
Witling and Mrs. Hazard arrive at the theatre, where they meet Mr. Cross. All the members of the production are there, except for the notorious Mrs. Clive. Mr. Cross departs then returns to announce that Mrs. Clive will not be attending the dress rehearsal as she is visiting some ladies at a benefit. Mrs. Hazard is to take Mrs. Clive’s part for the rehearsal. The play begins: Miranda and Corydon, two lovers, sing arias and recitatives; Marcella, another character, enters. Witling falls asleep. Mrs. Giggle and her friends interrupt the rehearsal; Mrs. Hazard is livid. To take revenge on Mrs. Hazard for writing a boring play, Witling and Mrs. Giggle plan to start laughing when Mrs. Hazard begins to sing Mrs. Clive’s part. Sir Albany counsels Mrs. Hazard to abandon play-writing because of her lack of education. The rehearsal has to be cancelled because the visitors have delayed it too long. Mrs. Hazard leaves angrily. The ladies stay to see the players practice a dance.

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Secondary commentary

A) Crouch, K.A. ‘Clive , Catherine (1711–1785)’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 May 2008.

"She tried her hand at writing farces, which became a feature of her benefits. Her first, The Rehearsal, or, Bays in Petticoats, was first presented at her benefit in 1750. There were scattered additional performances, and it was eventually published in 1753."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

Mrs. Hazard (the woman playwright) and her friend Witling make some grammar errors. Clive was reputed to have very poor spelling; the fairly standard orthography suggests that her play was proofread before publication.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: Mrs. Hazard
a. Sample of dialect
[page 12]
Mrs. Hazard . Ha!---Why perhaps they may'nt find out one so soon as t'other. Ha, ha, ha, well, let me die if that is not a very good thing.---But 'tis well for me, Witling , the Town don't hear me; not that I mean quite what I say neither, for to do them Justice,

[page 13 ]

they're generally in the right in their Censure; tho' sometimes indeed they will out of Humanity forgive an Author Stupidity, and overlook his being a Fool; provided he will do them the Favour not to be a Beast; for which Reason, Witling , I have taken great care to be delicate; I may be dull, but I'm delicate; so that I'm not at all afraid of the Town: I wish I cou'd say as much of the Performers: Lord, what pity 'tis the great Tragedy Actors can't sing! I'm about a new Thing, which I shall call a Burletto, which I take from some Incidents in Don Quixote , that I believe will be as high Humour, as was ever brought upon the Stage. But then I shall want Actors; oh! if that dear Garrick cou'd but sing, what a Don Quixote he'd make!

[page 24]
Mrs. Hazard . Mr. Cross , what did you say? I can't believe what I have heard! Mrs. Clive send me word she can't come to my Rehearsal , and is gone to Ladies about her Benefit! Sir, she shall have no Benefit. Mr. Witling , did you ever hear of a Parallel to this Insolence? Give me my Copy, Sir; give me my Copy. I'll make Mrs. Clive repent treating me in this manner. Very fine indeed! to have the Assurance to prefer her Benefit to my Rehearsal ! Mr. Cross , you need not give yourself the Trouble to set down any Places for me at your Benefit, for I'll never come into the Play-house any more.

b.1 Orthography: “Burletto” (Burletta)
b.2 Grammar: “the Town don’t hear me”; “not that I mean quite what I say neither”; “Mrs. Clive…is gone” (vs. “has gone”)
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: a woman playwright; several men (Mr. Surly, Sir Albany) express doubts about her ability to write, and criticize her for ‘exposing herself’
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Witling’s speech
a. Sample of dialect

Witling. Hey!---why---oh, at Frank Surly ; he look'd so like a---ha, ha, ha, i'gad I can't find a Simile that can give you an Idea of such a Face. Oh, thinks I, my dear, you're in a fine Humour to make us some Diversion. So, says I, Frank , I hear the Match is quite concluded between Mrs. Hazard and you; and that she has fix'd the first Night of her Comedy for your Wedding-Night.---Sir, says he, (with a very grave Face) you may say what you please of Mrs. Hazard ; for as she's going to expose herself, she must expect that every Fool will be as impertinent as she is ridiculous:---but I would advise you not to mention my Name any more in that Manner, for, if you do, I shall take it extremely ill. Lord! says Miss Giggle , Mr. Surly , how can you be so cross? expose herself!---I'll swear, I believe Mrs. Hazard can write a very pretty Play, for she has a great deal of Wit and Humour.---Wit and Humour! says he, why there isot ten Women in the Creation that have Sense enough to write a consistent N. B. ---Marry her! I would sooner marry a Woman that had been detected in ten Amours, than one, who, in Defiance to all Advice, and without the Pretence that most People write for, (for every body knows she's a Woman…

b.1 Orthography: ‘i’gad”
b.2 Grammar: “there is not ten Women”
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: friend of Mrs. Hazard
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects

Comments on the Italian style of singing:

[page 19]
Mrs. Hazard . Pray let's hear it.
(Miss sings.)
Oh fie! Miss! that will never do; you speak your Words as plain as a Parish-Girl; the Audience will never endure you in this kind of Singing, if they understand what you say: you must give your Words the Italian Accent, Child.---Come, you shall hear me.
(Mrs. Hazard sings in the Italian manner.)
There, Miss, that's the Taste of singing now.---But I must beg you wou'd excuse me at present; I'm going to the Play-house, and will certainly speak to the Managers about you; for I dare believe you'll make a prodigious Figure upon the Stage.

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Other points of interest

Comments on men and women's education:

[page 38]
Sir Albany . I say, Madam, will you give me leave, as you're going to entertain the Town, (that is, I mean, to endeavour, or to attempt to entertain them) for let me tell you, fair Lady, 'tis not an easy thing to bring about. If Men, who are properly graduated in Learning, who have swallow'd the Tincture of a polite Education, who, as I may say, are hand and glove with the Classics, if such Genius's as I'm describing, fail of Success in Dramatical Occurrences, or Performances,

[page 39 ]

('tis the same Sense in the Latin) what must a poor Lady expect, who is ignorant as the Dirt.

Mrs. Hazard. Pray Sir, how long have they let you out?

Sir Albany . Therefore, I hope you have had the Advice of your Male Acquaintance, who will take some Care of your Diction, and see that you have observed that great Beauty, neglected by most Dramatic Authors, of Time and Place.

Witling. Oh Sir Albany , I'll answer she has taken care of Time and Place; for it will begin about half an Hour after Eight; and be acted at Drury-Lane Theatre.---Ha, ha, ha, there's Time and Place for you.

Mrs. Hazard . And so, you're hand and glove with the Classics, are you? Why thou elaborate Idiot, how durst you venture to talk to any thing that's Rational?---Consult my Male Acquaintance! I thank my Stars, thou art not one of 'em. Where did you pick up this Creature?---what's his

[page 40 ]

Name?---Can you spell your own Name, you ugly Brute?

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©2008 Arden Hegele