Play directory : The Seven Deadly Sins

Welcome to The Mandy Network Plays Directory.

The information below is intended to give you a brief guide to the show and highlight some of the other The Mandy Network members who have also been involved in this show.

  • Author
    attributed to Richard Tarlton
  • Written
  • Overview
    The Seven Deadly Sins was a two-part play written c. 1585, attributed to Richard Tarlton, and most likely premiered by his company, Queen Elizabeth's Men.[1] The play drew upon the medieval tradition of the morality play; though it was very popular in its time, no copy of either part has survived.

    The play is significant, however, because the "plot" of Part 2 still exists; it was discovered in the cover of a 17th-century manuscript play, The Tell Tale, in the collection of Edward Alleyn's papers at Dulwich College. As the term was used in English Renaissance theatre, the "plot" of a play was a chart that summarized its action; it was posted in the "tiring house" or backstage area of a theatre. The plot of S.D.S. 2 has a square hole punched in its middle, where it was hung on a board for all to read. The cast members of an Elizabethan dramatic production had their own parts written out for them, with relevant entrances and cues — but they did not have their own individual copies of the play text as a whole. So the posted plot was an important resource in keeping the production organized. Surviving Elizabethan plots are extremely rare — only half a dozen exist.[2]

    The existing plot for S.D.S. 2 is not from the original production c. 1585, but from a later production c. 1590–91.[3] It was acted by personnel from Lord Strange's Men and the Admiral's Men, and took place at The Theatre, the first of the large public theatres of the Elizabethan era. The plot shows that Part 2 consisted of episodes concerning three of the seven deadly sins, Envy, Sloth, and Lechery; S.D.S. 1 must therefore have dealt with Greed, Gluttony, Wrath, and Pride.