Le Truc d' Arthur

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Le Truc d' Arthur ("Arthur's trick") is a French comedy in three acts by Alfred Duru (1829-1889)[1] and Henri Chivot (1830-1897)[2].

The original text

The French play is based on and/or a modernised version of Marivaux's three-act comedy Le Jeu de l'Amour et du Hasard (first performed in 1730, and known in English as The Game of Love and Chance), and tells of an amorous state official who changes places with his valet to enter the service of a dashing widow, whom he admires, and to avoid an engagement to the daughter of a vulgar tanner, who turns out to be the widow's landlord. Her maid had once been deserted by the valet and the widow is herself is engaged to a Russian count.

First performed in Paris at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal 14 October, 1882.

The French text was also published by P.V. Stock, as Volume 9 of Auteurs dramatiques, in 1908.

Translations and adaptations

Le Truc d' Arthur was adapted into English as Gloriana (after the English name for the widow), "a light comedy in three acts" by James Mortimer (1833-1911)[3]. Mortimer's version is set in England and the characters appropriately Anglicised in accordance with this. First performed (as Gloriana) at the Globe Theatre, London, on 10 November 1891 and in New York on 15 February 15, 1892. The title was later changed to My Artful Valet in other productions.

Performance history in South Africa

1903: Performed as My Artful Valet by the James Welch Company as part of a season of plays that also included The New Clown (Paull), Cousin Kate (Howard) and The Man in the Street (Parker).

1904: The James Welch Company returned to the Opera House, Cape Town at the beginning of the year for another short season with the four plays.




The Theatre, Volume 28[4]

J.P. Wearing. 2013. The London Stage 1890-1899: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Scarecrow Press: p. 92.[5]


Review of Gloriana by Willa Cather, Nebraska State Journal, January 10, 1894:p.6[6]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.417

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