Aladdin

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The traditional tale of Aladdin and his lamp is one of the most popular themes for Pantomime, children’s plays and musicals in the world, performed under a variety of titles over the years.

The original tale

Although the Middle Eastern folk tale of Aladdin is one of the best-known tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (best known as The Arabian Nights), it was not part of the original Arabic text, but is an 18th century addition to his French translation of the book by the Frenchman Antoine Galland, based on a story he had been told by a Syrian storyteller from Aleppo.

For a summary overview on the origins of this tale, see for example the entry on Aladdin in Wikipedia[1].

For more dramatized versions of the Arabian Nights stories, see The Arabian Nights

Stage adaptations

The tale has been a popular subject for pantomime for over 200 years. For example one of the earliest dramatisations in England was done by John O'Keefe for the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, in 1788.

The titles vary greatly, depending on the company, venue, etc.

Among the titles found in South African performances in the 19th century are:

Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp

Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp

Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp! Described as "An original burlesque extravaganza, in one act" by Henry J. Byron (1835-1884), it was first performed at the Strand Theatre, London in 1861 and published by Samuel French in the same year. (Also found as Aladdin, The Wonderful Scamp)

Aladdin, or The Wonderful Woman,


These and other titles found on posters and in advertisements, but in general reviewers, critics, as well as the cast and the public, would simply refer to the play as Aladdin.

There have also been a number of straight plays and musicals based on the tale, for instance Adam Oehlenschläger's verse drama Aladdin (1805), The New Aladdin, an Edwardian musical comedy (1906) and a musical comedy version with a book by S.J. Perelman and music and lyrics by Cole Porter (1958-9), and various versions of Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, a musical stage production that opened in Disney California Adventure in January 2003.

A number of films and TV versions (both live action and animated) have also been made of the story, the best known today perhaps being the Disney animated version of 1992.

For more see the entry on Aladdin in Wikipedia[2].

South African stage adaptations

The basic story has had many adaptations done by South African authors and directors, including:

Aladdin:Pantomime, by De Wet Laubscher (undated)

An Afrikaans pantomime version of the Aladdin tale, the text published by DALRO, 1969.

Aladdin by John Moss in 1978

Aladdin by Maralin Vanrenen and Ian Ferguson in 1984

A Lad 'n a Lamp by Janice Honeyman in 1988

The title also found as A lad 'n a lamp or A Lad 'n' a Lamp.

The text was first developed by Honeyman in 1988 and performed numerous times since - usually directed by the author herself.

(Among the many other titles using this particular play on words have been A Lad an' a Lamp, a 1932 short film in the The Little Rascals comedy series in the USA; A-Lad-In His Lamp, a 1948 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon; A Lad 'n' his Lamp a version of the tale performed directed by Tony Bowman for The Playmakers, an amateur dramatics group based in Mytchett, Surrey in England, in 2012.)

Aladdin (in Sjiena) by Nerina Ferreira in 1994

Aladdin (in Sjiena) ("Aladdin (in China)") is an Afrikaans translation by Nerina Ferreira of Janice Honeyman's A Lad 'n a Lamp.

Performance history in South Africa

In South Africa, many versions of the Aladdin story have been done over the years. Where known, the actual version used is given.

Among the productions have been:

1861: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp in the new Theatre Royal, Cape Town by the Sefton Parry company on 14 October with Ici on Parle Français (Williams). The cast included Mrs Tellett, Mrs Parry,; and had Mr Bland as stage-manager and Richard Cooperas the scenic artist. It was reportedly a spectacular presentation and clearly popular, for it eventually played for five nights, each time as an afterpiece to a different main play.

1861: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town by the Sefton Parry company on 15 October with The Postboy (Craven ),

1861: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town by the Sefton Parry company on 17 October with Family Jars (Lunn),

1861: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town by the Sefton Parry company on 21 October with An Alarming Sacrifice (Buckstone).

1861: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town by the Sefton Parry company for the final time on 24 October with Your Life's in Danger (Morton). This performance was given as a benefit for the scenic artist Richard Cooper.

1867: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 29 April by Le Roy's Original Company company, with The Robber's Family (Anon) and Alfred Ray's puppetry performance called the Fantoccini Family. The evening was offered as a benefit for Alfred Ray and was under the patronage of The Cape Voluntary Organisation.

1874: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town from 5 to 21 January by the Disney Roebuck company, with Miss Enson as "Aladdin", and also including Mrs Palmer. . On the opening night of 5 January, it was followed by David Garrick (Robertson) ("by desire"). This particular programme was repeated on 7 January.

1874: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town on 6 January by the Disney Roebuck company, with Meg's Diversion (Craven). This programme repeated on 9 and 10 January.

1874: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town on 8 January by the Disney Roebuck company, for a "Grand Juvenile Night", with Plot and Passion () and the orchestra of the 86th Regiment. This programme repeated on 12 and 13 January.

1874: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town on 9 January by the Disney Roebuck company, with To Oblige Benson (Taylor). This programme repeated on 14 January.

1874: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) ("by request, positively the last time") in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town on 16 January by the Disney Roebuck company, with Pygmalion & Galatea ().

1874: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town on 17 January by the Disney Roebuck company, with Good-for-Nothing Nan () and A Regular Fix (). This was a matinee performance.

1874: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town on 19 January by the Disney Roebuck company, with Creatures of Impulse (). This programme repeated on 20 and 21 January.

1875: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town on 4 August by the Disney Roebuck company, with The Old Post Boy (). Miss Montague now had the role of "Aladdin" and Mr W. Elton appeared with distinction as the "Widow Twankey".

1875: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town on 5 August by the Disney Roebuck company, with East Lynne (Wood). The evening a benefit for the Manoque family, the father having been killed while working as a train guard on the Wynberg railway line.

1875: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town on 7 August by the Disney Roebuck company, with The Colleen Bawn (Boucicault).

1875: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town on 9 August by the Disney Roebuck company, with The Chimney Corner (Craven) and Partridge and Bread Sauce (Anon).

1877: Performed as the burlesque Aladdin, or The Wonderful Woman (?) in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 26 September by the Disney Roebuck company, with The Morning Call (Dance) and Jessie Brown, or The Relief of Lucknow (Boucicault).

1877: Performed as the burlesque Aladdin, or The Wonderful Woman (?) in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 27 September by the Disney Roebuck company, with Grandfather's Darling, or The Post-Boy (Gurney).

1877: Performed as the burlesque Aladdin, or The Wonderful Woman (?) in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 28 September by the Disney Roebuck company, with Withered Leaves, or The Fairy of the Glen (Broughton).

1877: Performed as the burlesque Aladdin, or The Wonderful Woman (?) in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 28 September by the Disney Roebuck company, with Robert Macaire, or The Roadside Inn Turned Inside Out (Byron).

1884-5: D.C. Boonzaier (1923) mentions Aladdin as one of the plays put on by the Henry Harper company during their season in the Theatre Royal, Burg Street, Cape Town. No details are provided, however.

1919: Produced as Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp, with Thomas Pauncefort and Dan Thomas, at His Majesty's Theatre in Johannesburg.

1945: Produced as Aladdin by Philip D. Levard for African Consolidated Theatres in the Empire Theatre and at the Alhambra Theatre in 1945, featuring Ivy Tresmand, Harry Hambleton and Neil McKay);

1978: Produced as Aladdin, written and produced by John Moss for NAPAC at the Alhambra Theatre Durban from 7 December 1978;

1984: Produced at the Baxter Theatre as ** , directed by Maralin Vanrenen who co-wrote the script with Ian Ferguson, with what they called "a Cape flavor". The cast included Dale Cutts, Charles Comyn, Adrienne Pearce, Peter Krummeck, Jennifer Ferguson, Peter Butler, Mike Chase and others . Marilyn Taylor’s musical band supplied the music.

1986: Produced by Joyce Levinsohn and Jill Gerard at the Intimate Theatre in 1986;

1988: Produced as A Lad 'n a Lamp (?) by PACT in the State Theatre Pretoria. Directed by Janice Honeyman, assisted by André Odendaal, with Robert Finlayson, Jenny de Lenta, Michael Richard, Bruce Alexander, Jeremy Taylor, Lisa Bobbert, Dorrit Rothschild, John Lesley, Kate Edwards, Neville Thomas, Christine Weir, Melinda Ferguson, Lisa Melman, Zane Meas, Rodney-Mark Venner, Shireen Hollier, Lauren Sherwood, Steven Breger, Bev Elgie, Lulu Tshoeula, Glenn Swart, André Odendaal, Nomsa Nene. Designed by Frances Michaletos, musical direction by Didi Kriel, choreography by Jennie Reznek and lighting design by Nic Michaletos.

1994: Produced as Aladdin (in Sjiena), Nerina Ferreira's version in Afrikaans of the text by Janice Honeyman was presented by TRUK Toneel at the State Theatre, Pretoria, from 30 September to 5 November under the direction of James Borthwick, starring, among others, A.J. van der Merwe, Ilse Fourie-Mazzone, Vanessa Pike and Siyabonga Twala.

2000-1: A Lad 'n a Lamp performed as the Christmas pantomime at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre , directed by Janice Honeyman with Dorothy-Ann Gould, Philip Godawa, Vanessa Pike and Jaco du Plessis.

2001-2: A Lad 'n a Lamp performed as the Christmas pantomime at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, directed by Janice Honeyman with Dorothy-Ann Gould, Philip Godawa, Vanessa Pike and Jaco du Plessis.

Sources

"Aladdin" in Wikipedia[3]. Accessed: 15 August, 2017.

"Most widely held works by De Wet Laubscher", WorldCat[4]

https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100210917

D.C. Boonzaier. 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 99, 107-8, 111, 222, 310-316, 326, 330, 335-6, 361, 380.

Baxter Theatre pamphlet (1984)

Programme of the PACT production (1988)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Lad_an%27_a_Lamp

Aladdin (in Sjiena) poster and programme (PACT 1994).

"A lad 'n a lamp", Artslink.co.za News[5]

"One week left to catch A lad 'n a lamp", Artslink.co.za News[6]


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