Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

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Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme ("the common or citizen gentleman") is a five-act "comédie-ballet" by Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622–1673)[1], with music by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–1687)[2]. Also written Le Bourgeois gentilhomme.

The original text

First presented on 14 October 1670 before the court of Louis XIV at the Château of Chambord by Molière's troupe of actors, for the entertainment of the King. It was shown to the public in Paris for the first time at the Palais-Royal Theater 23 November 1670.


Freely translated into Dutch as De Burger Edelman by C.E. Boniface. The text is unpublished, but the handwritten manuscript of this translation is in the Jardine Collection in the South African Library of Parliament.

Translated into Afrikaans by F.P. van der Merwe as Die Adellike Burger. Published as a performance text by DALRO.

There are many English translations under a range of titles, among them: The Would-be Gentleman by A.R. Waller and The Self-made Gentleman by George Graveley; The Middle Class Gentleman (is entitled . Also found as The Bourgeois Gentleman, The Bourgeois Nobleman (e.g. by Sue Rippon), The Would-be Gentleman, The Middle-Class Gentleman (e.g. by Philip Dwight Jones, 2008)[3], The Tradesman Turned Gentleman, The Shopkeeper Turned Gentleman", and so on.

Performance history in South Africa

In the original French

In English

1951: The English text by A.R. Waller, The Would-be Gentleman, was presented by the Department of Speech-Training and Drama of the University of Cape Town at the Little Theatre in October 1951. Production and choreography by Matine Harman. Some of the cast members were Jannie Gildenhuys, Pietro Nolte, Michael Venables, Edna Jacobson and Aubrey Louw. Costumes designed and created by Doreen Graves, settings by Cecil Pym, lighting by E.G. Marshall.

In Dutch

1825: Performed as De Burger Edelman ( a free translation by C.E. Boniface) by Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 28 May 1825. The cast consisted of Boniface, Jan Smalberg, Miss L.E. Meurant, L.P. Biel, C. Roselt, B. van de Sandt, L.H. Meurant, F. Waldek, W. Brandt, De la Sablonière, A. de Waal, W. Burnet, R.S. Allemann, H. Roselt, De la Colline, A. de Kock, J. de Kock, K. de Kock, J.J. Piton, J. Terhoven and J. Herholdt. Also three sets of dancers.

1834: Performed in the African Theatre by as De Burger Edelman by Vlyt en Kunst on 15 November 1834, with a selection of dances under the title De Dans der Snyders, ders Koksmaten, der Turken, de Gavotte, performed by Mr E. Garoute and four pupils from his dancing school. The play was repeated at the beginning of December, this time accompanied by a Dutch translation by C.E. Boniface of Rousseau's French one-act play Pygmalion.

In Afrikaans



Theatre programme, UCT, 1951.


F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 122, 124, 281-284; 316, 331, 373-4.

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