Called Back

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Called Back is a play by Hugh Conway (1847–1885))[1] and J. Comyns Carr (1849–1916)[2].

The original text

Based on a mystery/romance novella entitled Called Back by Hugh Conway (Frederick John Fargus)[3], published in Bristol by J. W. Arrowsmith, in 1883 and Henry Holt in New York in 1884.

Adapted for the stage by Conway in collaboration with J. Comyns Carr it was first staged in the Prince of Wales Theatre, London, on 20 May, 1884 by the actor–manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree. It had some popular success in England and America.

Translations and adaptations

The play was made into a feature-length Australian film named Called Back (W. J. Lincoln, 1911).

Performance history in South Africa

1885: Performed in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck and company in March, with Roebuck in the role of "Paolo Macari". He repeated it on the 21st, his last appearance on stage, before his untimely death on March 22. (There is some confusion about the actual opening dates for the play, with F.C.L. Bosman, 1980, citing two different sources: Vane Bennett's 1885 Biographical and Memorial Sketch of Roebuck, which has the opening date as 19 March, and D.C. Boonzaier's 1923 series of articles on theatre in Cape Town, which gives the opening date as 14 March.)

1904: Performed in the Opera House, Cape Town, by Leonard Rayne and company


Allardyce Nicoll. 2009. History of English Drama, 1660-1900, Volume 5, Part 2, Cambridge University Press: p.323[4]

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, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 356, 380, 421

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