The Casting of Sancho in Durfey's The Comical History of Don Quixote, Parts I-II (1694)


  • María José Mora


Thomas Durfey’s The Comical History of Don Quixote, Part I and Part II were produced by the United Company in May/June, 1694. As was customary practice, the central characters were taken by the same actors in both plays. The signal exception was the character of Sancho, which in Part I was given to Thomas Doggett, a junior but already popular comedian, and in Part II to old Cave Underhill, who had been acting since the reopening of the theatres in 1660. The reasons for this change seem to be related to the disputes between the managers and actors on the matter of salaries. Textual evidence suggests that, as he was writing the second part, Durfey may not have been certain who would finally play Sancho. Meta-theatrical allusions show that at one point he had Doggett in mind, but eventually revised the dialogue to introduce jokes that were specifically targeted for the older comedian.


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