Der Papagoy

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Der Papagoy ("The Parrot") is a play in three acts by August von Kotzebue (1761 – 1819)[1].

Original text

In 1786 a Dutch comedy appeared in Haarlem under the title De Papegaay, Verrader en Ondershouwt; of Het Gemaakte Komplot by an unknown author. The text has a number of language errors, presumably including the misspelling of the Dutch word "Papegaai".

It was most probably an original Dutch comedy, for Von Kotzebue's earliest work only appeared in 1789, and Der Papagoy was first performed in 1791 and only published (as a "play" not a "comedy") in 1792. It is therefore unlikely that the Dutch work is a translation of Von Kotzebue's play. Whether the Dutch text may have been a source for the German play is another matter, but since no text can be traced, this must remain speculation for the moment.

Der Papagoy was first performed in Frankfurt on 2 May, 1791, and published in Leipzig by Joh. Baptist Wallishauser, in 1792 and in a collection - Die edle Lüge ; Bürgerglück ; Der Papagoy - in Vienna by J.J. Jahn, 1792.

Translations and adaptations

In 1792 a Dutch translation of Von Kotzebue's Der Papagoy was published in Amsterdam under the title De Papegaai ("The Parrot"). This was produced in South Africa under two misspelled titles, De Papegaay and Die Papegay.

Performances in South Africa

1803: Performed in Dutch by Tot Leering en Vermaak ("For Instruction and Amusement") on 5 March in the African Theatre. There is some uncertainty about the spelling since F.C.L. Bosman, who quotes an advert from the Kaapsche Courant on 26 February, 1803, has it as De Papegaay, while Jill Fletcher, also citing the Kaapsche Courant, but from 5 March 1803, has the (unlikely) title Die Papegay). The performance was part of the week-long celebrations surrounding the installation of J.W. Janssens as Governor of the Cape on 1 March 1803 of that day under the heading "Tot Lering en Vermaak" ["For Instruction and Amusement"]. This play by the master of melodrama was advertised as part of the celebrations surrounding the installation of Governor J.W. Janssens, 5 March 1803. It appeared in the Kaapse Stads Courant of that day under the heading "Tot Lering en Vermaak" ["For Instruction and Amusement"]

1825: Performed in Dutch under the title De Papegaai (alternatively De Papegaay according to Bosman, 1928: p. 293) by Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense on 24 September, with Het Huwelyk van Jocrisse (Guillemain/Fallée)


Facsimile version of the 1792 German edition, Hathi Trust Digital Library[2]

Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm Meyer, Friedrich Ludwig Schröder. Beitrag zur Kunde des Menschen und des Künstlers. Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe. Vol. 2, part 1. 1819[3]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 82, 111, 293,

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg.

Catalogus Der Bibliotheek Van de Maatschappij Der Nederlandsche Letterkunde Te Leiden (Brill Archive)[5]

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