- 1 The original tale
- 2 Stage adaptations
- 2.1 International stage adaptations
- 2.2 South African stage adaptations
- 2.3 Performance history in South Africa
- 2.4 Sources
- 2.5 Return to
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 more dramatized versions of the Arabian Nights stories, see The Arabian Nights
The titles of the various dramatic works mentioned below, as well as other titles found on posters and in advertisements, are often simply referred to as Aladdin by reviewers, critics, as well as the cast and the public.
International 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:
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)
Possibly a retitled version of Byron's one act burlesque.
A popular pantomime burlesque by James T. Tanner (1858-1915) and W.H. Risque (fl. 1900) was first performed by the George Edwardes Company at the Gaiety Theatre, London in 1906, running for 203 performances. The book is by Tanner and Risque, and with lyrics by Adrian Ross, Percy Greenback, W.H. Risque, and George Grossmith, Jnr. and music by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton (and additional numbers by Frank E. Tours). It was apparently a contemporary Edwardian version of the tale, with the action set in various exotic locations such as the Klondike, Kimberley, The Rand (South Africa), Park Lane and Chicago, hence it is also referred to as an "Edwardian comedy" and a "musical extravaganza" in some cases. The score was published by Chappell & Co. in 1906.
A Lad an' a Lamp and similar titles
There are also quite a few versions of the tale that have employed an alternative title, utilizing wordplay based the name of the main character. Thus we find such titles as 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 a Lamp (a 1988 South African version by Janice Honeyman - see below) and 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.)
Other dramatized versions of the tale
There have also been a number of straight plays and musicals based on the tale, for instance Adam Oehlenschläger's verse drama Aladdin (1805), a musical comedy version with a book by S.J. Perelman and music and lyrics by Cole Porter (1958-9), and various versions of what is usually referred to as 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.
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)
Aladdin by Maralin Vanrenen and Ian Ferguson in 1984
A Lad 'n a Lamp by Janice Honeyman in 1988
The text was first developed by Honeyman in 1988 and performed numerous times since - usually directed by the author herself.
Aladdin (in Sjiena) by Nerina Ferreira in 1994
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 Cooper as 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 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 (Taylor and Lang) and the orchestra of the 86th Regiment. This programme repeated on 12 and 13 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 (Gilbert).
1874: Performed as Aladdin, or The Wonderful Scamp (Byron) in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town on 17 January by the Disney Roebuck company, with Creatures of Impulse (Gilbert). 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 Good-for-Nothing Nan () and A Regular Fix (Morton). 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 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 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 29 September by the Disney Roebuck company, with Robert Macaire, or The Roadside Inn Turned Inside Out (Byron) and a ballet.
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.
1888: Binge (1969: p. 33) mentions performances of an Aladdin in Pretoria by The Bob Bolder-Mabel Hayes Company during August, the production drawing some attention because they satirized local issues such as "Oom Paul" Kruger's chances in the election, speculation, gold shares, and the like.
1984: Produced at the Baxter Theatre as Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp: A pantomime, directed by Maralin Vanrenen who co-wrote the script with Ian Ferguson, with what they called "a Cape flavour". 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.
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.
"Most widely held works by De Wet Laubscher", WorldCat
Programme of the PACT production (1988)
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