ABSTRACT

In addition to writing successful mainpiece comedy and tragedy, Cowley experimented with three shorter ephemeral dramatic forms: farce, interlude and pantomime. eatre historians have argued that the real innovation in the theatre was taking place in such marginal a erpiece genres.1 is chapter shows how Cowley employed these three with an explicitly gendered objective in the case of farce, and a more disguised one in the interlude I shall focus on each of the short forms in turn, rst de ning the genres and looking at other contemporary examples. e use to which Cowley puts each of these three shorter illegitimate dramatic forms is then examined. She satirized a ectation in the use of language, exposed the exclusion of women from the education enjoyed by men of the elite classes and avenged her sex’s treatment by the sarcastic pen of male writers (prologue to Dupe). e three shorter, ephemeral dramatic forms with which Cowley experimented early in her career, all of a low status but popular with audiences, o ered her the possibility of more acerbic satire than did mainpiece comedy.