Account of the Controversy Surrounding the Production and Staging of Nobody from the Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson (1801)
Robinson, Mary, [and Maria Elizabeth Robinson]. Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson, Written by Herself with Some Posthumous Pieces. Vol. 2. London: Wilks and Taylor, 1801. 140-42.
p. 140: In the year 1793, a little farce, entitled Nobody, was written by Mrs. Robinson. This piece, designed as a satire on female gamesters, was received at the theatre, the characters distributed, and preparations made for its exhibition. At this period one of the principal performers gave up her part, alleging that the piece was intended as a ridicule on her particular friend. Another actress also, though in “herself an host,” was intimidated by a letter, informing her that “Nobody should be damned!” The author received likewise, on the same day, a scurrilous, indecent, and ill-disguised scrawl, signifying to her that the farce [to p. 141] was already condemned. On the drawing up of the curtain, several persons in the galleries, whose liveries betrayed their employers, were sent to do up Nobody. Even women of distinguished rank hissed through their fans. Notwithstanding these manœuvres and exertions, the more rational part of the audience seemed inclined to hear before they passed judgment, and, with a firmness that never fails to awe, demanded that the piece should proceed. The first act was accordingly suffered without interruption: a song in the second being unfortunately encored, the malcontents once more ventured to raise their voices, and the malignity that had been forcibly suppressed burst forth with redoubled violence. For three nights, the theatre presented a scene of confusion, when the [to p. 142] authoress, after experiencing the gratification of a zealous and sturdy defence, thought proper wholly to withdraw the cause of contention.