25 January 1486
Degree of relationship to ancient play:
The translation, probably with additions, was perhaps made by Duke Ercole I. This was the first presentation of a Roman comedy in translation, performed before an audience of over 10,000 as part of the annual carnival festivities (Beacham, p.202). Highet tells us that "the noble house of Ferrare did more than any other family, and more than most European nations, for the development of the modern theatre" (p.133). The cost of the production was between 700 and 1000 ducats. The production involved the construction of a tribunal with wooden houses on the stage, as well as tribunals for spectators, and the appearance of a sailing ship and fireworks. A special platform was built opposite the stage for Duke Ercole, his distinguished visitor the Marquess of Mantua, and the rest of the court. Duckworth states that the 1486 Ferrare performance of Menaechmi (ID 4500) was repeated twice in Ferrare, in 1488 (ID 7974) and in 1493 (ID 7972). However, it is possible that Duckworth is confusing the 1488 repeat performance with the one staged in the same year by clerics in Florence (ID 156).
Media of production: