Interrogating The Soddered Citizen



The Soddered Citizen, a play performed by the King's Men's company during the 1630s, survives in a single, incomplete manuscript, a facsimile of which is held at the British Library. It has received minimal critical attention since its discovery in the 1930s. The much-altered text of the play carries numerous indications of performance intentions, and has been the subject of discussions about changes to be made, evidenced by the nature of the alterations, to which several different hands have contributed. I give a brief account of the play, reasons for attribution of authorship to John Clavell, the plot, and allocation of roles. This is followed by analysis of some of the textual changes, and a discussion of stage directions, in order to substantiate my proposal that the text, though damaged and lacking its final resolution, is a rare survival of a script used by the players for editing and performance decisions, and of potential value in the search for ideas about early modern staging.