Guerre-Ouverte, ou Ruse contre Ruse

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Guerre-Ouverte, ou Ruse contre Ruse ("Open war, or ruse against ruse") is a French comedy by Mr Dumaniant (Antoine-Jean Bourlin: 1752-1828)[1].

The original text

First performed in Paris, at the Theatre du Palais Royal, 4 October, 1786. Published 1786 in Paris by Cailleau.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into English and adapted under the title The Midnight Hour by Mrs Elizabeth Inchbald (1753-1821)[2]. The translation published in 1787 and first produced at the Theatre Royal in England that year. It was to become one of her most successful works.

Translated into Dutch as Tot Middennacht, of List tegen List by B. Ruloffs in 1790, and by A. Maas in 1791. However, the original published title of the translation (Tot Middennacht, of List tegen List) is alternatively and more commonly spelled Tot Middernacht, of List tegen List in a number of sources, including the Biographisch woordenboek der Nederlanden (1869) and F.C.L. Bosman (1928). Strangely, Worp (1908), wrongly claims that this is a Dutch translation of the French play Les Intrigants, ou Assaut de Fourberies ("The intriguers, or assault by ") by Dumaniant (A.J. Bourlin), 1787. However, the use of the French subtitle in the Dutch version, a comparison of the texts, and many references in other sources all confirm that it was indeed a translation of the earlier play.

Performance history in South Africa

1823: The Midnight Hour, Inchbald's English version of this play, was first produced in the African Theatre, Cape Town by the English Theatricals on 14 June 1823, as a benefit performance for a widow with 5 children, alongside The Wedding Day (most probably the play by Mrs Inchbald).

1823: This production of The Midnight Hour was repeated on 21 June, 1823 with the addition of The King and the Miller of Mansfield (Dodsley)

1824: Performed in Dutch as Tot Middernacht, of List tegen List (in either the Ruloffs or the Maas translation) in Cape own by Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense. Announced for 23 October, but possibly only took place on 13 November, in the African Theatre, with De Echtgenoot Kluizenaar (Kotzebue).

1825: Produced in Cape Town in English, as The Midnight Hour, on 8 October, this time by the Garrison Players, (as companion piece to Exchange No Robbery, or The Diamond Ring). The players included H. Hanson, Mr Troward, Sgt Corbishley. Mr Rundle, Howell, Mrs Black, Mrs Gouland, Mr Mills, Mrs O'Brien.

1834: Performed in English, as The Midnight Hour, in the Garrison Theatre by the Garrison Amateurs on Wednesday 19 November, 1834, with as afterpiece The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Buried (Kenney and Millingen). The production was a benefit for Mrs Black.

1838: Apparently performed as The Midnight Hour in Grahamstown in this year by the Grahamstown Amateur Company, performing under the motto Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (Though there is some difference of opinion between F.C.L. Bosman and P.W. Laidler on whether it was not perhaps a performance in Cape Town - see Bosman, 1928: pp. 388-9).


Digital text Guerre-Ouverte, Internet Archive[3]

J.A. Worp. 1907. Geschiedenis van het drama en van het tooneel in Nederland. Deel 2. Wolters, Groningen . Fotomechanische herdruk Fa. Langerveld, Rotterdam (ca. 1972.): p.309[4]

A.J. van der Aa. 1869. Biographisch woordenboek der Nederlanden. Deel 12. Eerste stuk. J.J. van Brederode, Haarlem: Abraham Maas. p.12[5]

WorldCat entry on Les Intrigants[6]

Digital Text of Les Intrigants, Google Books[7]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [8]: pp. 188, 194, 280, 389

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