George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 10 July 1787]

Tuesday. 10th. Attended Convention. Dined at Mr. Morris’s. Drank Tea at Mr. Binghams & went to the Play.

The play was performed at the Southwark Theater, located just south of the city boundary. Because of a state law (1779) prohibiting theatrical performances, the building was called an opera house by the American Company, which played there from 25 June to 4 Aug. To skirt this same law the plays presented were billed under false titles that could still be recognizable by the theater-going public. Hence, in this evening’s “concert” James Townley’s High Life below the Stairs was billed as an “entertainment” called “the Servants Hall in an Uproar,” while the farce Love in a Camp, or Patrick in Prussia was advertised as a “Comic Opera” (SCHARF [1] description begins J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott. History of Philadelphia. 1609–1884. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1884. description ends , 2:965–67; SEILHAMER description begins George O. Seilhamer. History of the American Theatre. 3 vols. 1888–91. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 2:217–21).

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