La Jeunesse de Henri V
Also found as La Jeunesse d'Henri V
The play Charles the Second, or The Merry Monarch is an adaptation based on it. Other possible derivative works include the ballets Betty and The Wags of Wapping and possibly Charles II, or The Wags of Wapping.
The original play
Performed in the Théâtre Français, on 9 June, 1806 and at St Cloud before the royal family on 22 June. Published in Paris in 1806.
Translations and adaptations
The Dutch translation
Payne's English adaptation
An English adaptation, entitled Charles the Second, or The Merry Monarch was done by John Howard Payne (1791–1852). By Payne's own admission it was based on (and largely an English translation of) a printed copy of Duval's play which he had found in Paris. Apparently Washington Irving (1783–1859) assisted in the writing of the play, but is not credited, or at most is mentioned as "contributor" is some versions, and as "a literary friend" in the Preface by Payne. This version was first produced at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden by Charles Kemble in 1824 and published in London by John Cumberland, in 1824, and by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, also in 1824.
The Grand Ballet version
In 1846 a French Ballet version of the play, called Betty, was done by M. Mazilier, and first produced in Paris at the Academie Royale de Musique, as a vehicle for the prima ballerina Sophie Fuoco.
This version was re-produced and brought to London in 1846, now called The Wags of Wapping (since the title "Betty" did not work well at all in English) and was first performed at the Drury Lane Theatre on 16 November, 1846, with Fuoco in her first appearance before a London audience.
Performance history in South Africa
This play was apparently very popular in Cape Town during the mid-19th century, particularly in the English version by Payne.
1830: Performed as Charles the Second, or The Merry Monarch in Cape Town by All the World's a Stage on 19 June, 1830, as afterpiece to The Gambler's Fate, or A Lapse of Twenty Years (Thompson). Billed as a "Petite Comedy" on this occasion.
1831: Performed as Charles the Second, or The Merry Monarch once more ("by special request") in Cape Town by All the World's a Stage on 11 June, 1831, as afterpiece to The School of Reform, or How to Rule a Husband (Th. Morton).
1833: Performed as Charles the Second, or The Merry Monarch in Cape Town by members of All the World's a Stage, led by Mr Heath from the Theatre Royal at Liverpool, on 30 November 1833, as afterpiece to Venice Preserved (Otway).
1846: Performed as Charles the Second, or The Merry Monarch in Cape Town (possibly by All the World's a Stage) in the newly renamed Hope Street Theatre, now called the Victoria Theatre, on Tuesday 21 July, 1846, with an interlude (Fortune's Frolic, or The Ploughman Turned Lord by Allingham) and as afterpiece A Day after the Fair (Somerset).
1852: Performed as Charles the Second, or The Merry Monarch in Cape Town by members of the Garrison Players, including Captain Hall and Lieutenant Johnson, with the help of local English amateurs, on 24 March, 1852, as afterpiece to Othello (Shakespeare). The performance was part of three evenings done "for the benefit of the unfortunate soldiers who perished in H.M. Steamer Birkenhead". Unfortunately it appears that the three performances had apparently not served their intended purpose, as they eventually ran at a loss of £30.
1860: A performance of a work entitled Charles II, or The Wags of Wapping (ascribed to "Ryan?" by F.C.L. Bosman, 1980) was given on 12 November by the Cape Town Dramatic Club, in the Cape Town Theatre in Harrington street. The cast included the professionals Sefton Parry and Charles Fraser and featured miss Annie Rowlands, who also played "Betsy" in the accompanying piece, in her farewell to the stage. Given that Miss Rowlands was a gifted young dancer and actress, it is highly likely that this was an adapted version of the Ballet version of 1846.
Go to the ESAT Bibliography
Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays
Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays
Return to PLAYS III: Collections
Return to South African Festivals and Competitions
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page