Black-Eyed Susan

From ESAT
(Redirected from Black-Ey'd Susan)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

There are three related plays popularly known as Black-Eyed Susan (or Black-Ey'd Susan) which appear to have been done in South Africa:

1. The original three act melodrama by Douglas Jerrold (1829) performed at The Surrey Theatre.

2. A shortened two act version, also by Jerrold, created for Charles Kemble's production at Covent Garden in 1829. This became the standard published and performed text it would seem.

3. A burlesque version of Jerrold's work by F.C. Burnand (1867).

A number of other burlesque versions were also done elsewhere over the years, of course, e.g.. Too Lovely Black-ey'd Susan ("A New Burlesque Perversion of Douglas Jerrold's Famous Drama" by Horace Lennard, 1888).


The plays

Black-Ey'd Susan, or All in the Downs, the three act and two act versions (Jerrold, 1829)

An immensely popular nautical melodrama in three acts, written by Douglas Jerrold (1803–1857)[1], it is often simply referred to as Black-Eyed Susan, Black Eyed Susan, Black-Ey'd Susan and so on.

Based on John Gay's well known ballad by that name, it has been described as "a nautical melodrama (with all its stock characters) that praises the patriotic British tar (sailor) while critiquing authoritarianism in the British Navy"[2], it was the playwright's Jerrold's first successful play. Originally apparently a three act play, it opened at the Surrey Theatre on 26 January 1829 and setting a new record of over 150 performances. Later the same year Jerrold himself shortened the text to a two act version at the request of Charles Kemble, for performance as an afterpiece at the Covent Garden Theatre. The play was not only the most successful nautical drama of the 19th century, but became a key work in the history of English melodrama, and a stock play across the Empire, also in South Africa, till well into the 20th century. It was for example was the first professionally produced play in Australia, performed in Sydney at Barnett Levey's Theatre Royal in 1832.

Black-Eyed Susan, or The Little Bill That Was Taken Up (Burnand, 1867)

Entitled The Latest Edition of Black-Eyed Susan, or The Little Bill That Was Taken Up it is a burlesque by F.C. Burnand (1836–1917)[3]. It is also known in South Africa as Black-Eyed Susan, or The Little Bill That Was Taken Up.

The play was first performed in the New Royalty Theatre in Soho, London, on 29 November, 1866, and published by the Strand Printing and Publishing Company in 1867.

Performance history of the various versions in South Africa

The problem with some South African performances is that the sources are at times unclear as to which play is being referred to by the shortened title Black-Eyed Susan. For example, while it is assumed from the evidence that the burlesque version was brought to South Africa by Disney Roebuck in the 1870s,it is not always certain from the sources whether the play referred to as Black Eye'd Susan or Black Ey'd Susan by F.C.L. Bosman, and listed by him for Roebuck between 1875 and 1877, is always a reference to the burlesque by Burnand, and not to the original play by Jerrold.

1829: Jerrold's version first performed in Cape Town by H. Booth and local amateurs on 10 November as an afterpiece to Pizarro, or The Death of Rolla (Sheridan), with Booth as "William".

1858: Performed (under the full title) by Sefton Parry and his company on 17 June in the Cape Town Theatre. Also performed was Buried Alive, or The Illustrious Stranger (Milligan and Kenney).

1861: Performed as Black-Ey'd Susan by Sefton Parry and his company on 19 September in the Theatre Royal, with To Oblige Benson (Taylor).

1866: Performed as Black-Ey'd Susan by Le Roy and Duret Company on 28 June in the Theatre Royal, with Charles the Second, or The Merry Monarch (Duval).

1874: Performed in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company (in a shortened version - possibly the two act version, or it could have been the burlesque version) on 28 February, with Our Wife (Morton).

1875: Performed as Black-Eyed Susan in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 20 March, and described as a "great nautical drama", with Who Speaks First? (Dance).

1875: Performed as Black-Eyed Susan in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 22 March, with A Happy Pair (Smith).

1875: Burnand's Black-Eyed Susan, or The Little Bill That Was Taken Up performed in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 10 April and billed as a "new Burlesque", with Aurora Floyd (Braddon).

1875: Burnand's version performed in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 12 April, with Aurora Floyd (Braddon).

1875: Burnand's version performed in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 13 April and billed as a "Naughty-Gal-Burlesque", with Black Sheep (Yates).

1875: Performed as Black-Ey'd Susan in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 28 July, with Brown and the Brahmins (Reece).

1876: Burnand's version performed performed as Black-Ey'd Susan (and styled a burlesque) in the Athenaeum Theatre, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 23 June, with A Rough Diamond (Buckstone).

1877: Burnand's version performed performed as Black-Ey'd Susan (and styled a burlesque) in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 28 July , with The Bells, or The Murder of the Polish Jew (Lewis).

1877: Performed as Black-Ey'd Susan in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 30 July , with David Garrick, or Only and Actor (Robertson).

1877: Performed as Black-Ey'd Susan in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 31 July , with The Bells, or The Murder of the Polish Jew (Lewis).

1877: Performed by the Disney Roebuck company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 1 August, with Dan'l Druce, Blacksmith (Gilbert).

1877: The original text performed as Black-Ey'd Susan, or All in the Downs in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 6 September, with The Wonderful Woman, or The Marquis and The Cobbler (Dance).

1877: Performed as Black-Ey'd Susan in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 15 December, and styled a "nautical drama", with The Man with the Iron Mask (Lucas).

1885: A production of a burlesque version of Black-Eyed Susan was apparently done in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, under the management of H.C. Sidney and H.J. Fiedler.

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-Eyed_Susan

Facsimile of the 1856 Boston version, Internet Archive[4]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_William_Jerrold

Black-Ey'd Susan in The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, Oxford Reference[5]

Facsimile version of the 1867 text of the burlesque, Google E-book[6]

Michael V. Pisani. 2014. Music for the Melodramatic Theatre in Nineteenth-Century London and New York University of Iowa Press, pp94ff.[7]

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. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [8]: pp. 209-10, 242, 406.

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 68, 70, 73, 94,99, 110, 134, 211, 214-5, 312-3, 322-3, 326, 329-331, 334, 336, 340, 349, 360, 364.

William Groom. 1899-1900. Drama in Cape Town. Cape Illustrated Magazine, 10(4): 478-481, 517-520, 547-552, 580-584, 640-643, 670-672, 706-708.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page