The Cape Mail
The original text
According to J.P. Wearing (2013), the play was founded on an incident in Jeanne qui Pleure et Jeanne qui Rit, a French comedy in four acts by (1859) by Philippe François Pinel Dumanoir and Ange de Kéraniou (published in January 1860 by Michel Lévy frères and first performed in Paris at the Théâtre Gymnase-dramatique, 4 April 1860).
In 1864 Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) adapted the comedy as an operetta in one act called Die Hanni weint, der Hansi lacht ("Hanni who cries and Hansi who laughs"), in German (with a libretto by an unnamed author) and Jeanne qui Pleure et Jeanne qui Rit in French (with a libretto by Charles Nuitter (1828-1899) and Etienne Tréfeu ).
Scott's play (perhaps based on the one act opera) was written shortly after, and refers to the battle of Rorke's Drift in Natal (1879). First performed at the the Prince of QWales Theatre, Liverpool on 27th October, 1881, later at the St James's Theatre, London, on with Jessie Milward and Brandon Thomas. Performed at Wallack's Theatre, New York in May, 1883. It was also performed Vaudeville Theatre, London on 11 October, 1897, playing till 2 February 1898.
Originally published in English by Samuel French in 1881, as French's acting edition, no. 1784.; and again in London and New York by Macmillan in 1899.
Translations and adaptations
Performance history in South Africa
Ruth Silvestre. 2009. Final Perormance. Troubador Publishing Ltd: p.42
Jerold Savory and Patricia Marks. 1985. The Smiling Muse: Victoriana in the Comic PressAssociated University Presses: p.
J.P. Wearing. 2013. The London Stage 1890-1899: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Scarecrow Press: p. 358
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