Diderich Menschenskraek

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Diderich Menschenskraek ("Diderich the terrible") is a Danish comedy in one act by Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754) [1].

More correctly written in Danish as Diderich Menschen-Skræk, and sometimes cited as Diderich v. Menschenschreck, Diderich Menschenschreck, etc). Holberg's first name varies according to the language in question, being given as "Ludwig" in German, "Lodewyk" in Dutch and Afrikaans.

The original text

The original Danish play performed in the Lille Grønnegade Theatre in Copenhagen and published in 1724 and published in 1731.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Dutch De Bedrogen Officier by Henrik Van Elvervelt, performed and published in Amsterdam by Izaak Duim in 1761.

Later also translated into Dutch, now as Dirk Menschenschrik, and published in Amsterdam by Steven van Esveldt in 1767 (in the collection Zes aardige en vermakelyke blyspeelen by Lodewyk Holberg (the Dutch version of the author's name). Best known in South Africa under the Dutch title Dirk Menschenschrik.

Translated into German as Dietrich Menschenschreck (also cited on occasion as Dieterich Menschenschreck, Dietrich Menschen-Schreck, etc) and apparently first published in 1726.

It is usually translated into English as Diderich the Terrible, and was published under this name by **, and by Henry Alexander in Seven One-Act Plays, 1950. It has also been translated and published as Captain Bombastes Thunderton, by H.W.L. Hime, and published in Three Comedies, by Longmans and Company, 1912.

Performance history in South Africa

1837: Performed in Dutch as Dirk Menschenschrik by Vlyt en Kunst on 19 August in the Liefhebbery Toneel (Hope Street Theatre) in Cape Town, as afterpiece to Othello, of De Moor van Venetien (Shakespeare). Directed by C.E. Boniface. The rest of the programme consisted of some tricks by "een Groote Baviaan" as afterpiece. The musical society De Getrouwheid assisted in the evening's entertainment.

1849: Performed in Dutch as Dirk Menschenschrik by Tot Oefening en Vermaak on 23 August in the Hoopstraat-Skouburg (Hope Street Theatre) in Cape Town, as afterpiece to De Deserteur (Von Kotzebue).

1849: Performed in Dutch as Dirk Menschenschrik by Tot Oefening en Vermaak on 26 September in the Hoopstraat-Skouburg (Hope Street Theatre) in Cape Town, as afterpiece to De Molen by Auerstad (Ernst).




Facsimile version of De Bedrogen Officier, 1761 (Google eBook)[2]

Facsimile version of the 1767 Dutch text[3]




F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 338, 454

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