Ma Femme et Mon Parapluie

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Ma Femme et Mon Parapluie ("My wife and My Umbrella") is a vaudeville in one act by Laurencin[1] (Paul-Aimé Chapelle, 1806-1890)

The original text

First performed in French at the Théâtre des Variétés, Paris on 23 June 1834 and published by Marchant (Paris) in the 1835.

Translations and adaptations

An English text entitled My Young Wife and My Old Umbrella was adapted from the French by Benjamin Webster, and first performed at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket on 23 June 1837, starring the adaptor, and published 1837.

A farce entitled My New Wife and My Old Umbrella ascribed to R.B. Peake[2](1792 – 1847), is mentioned as being performed in Cape Town by F.C.L. Bosman (1928, p.398) from local papers in Cape Town in 1850.

However, Bosman's entry is confusing, since he also mentions My Young Wife and My Old Umbrella by Benjamin Webster (possibly to indicate his awareness of the error), for there is no record of a play of this name by this name by Peake. The two titles appear to refer to the same play: Ma Femme et Mon Parapluie as translated by Webster. It was probably wrongly advertised by the company or wrongly quoted by a reporter.

Translated into Dutch as Mijne Vrouw en Mijn Parapluie, a version listed by Gillhoff ( p. 186) as an unidentified French vaudeville, performed by the Royal Dutch Theatre at the Hague in 1868, and by Bosman (1980) as a play by an unknown author.

Performance history in South Africa

1850: Performed in English under the title My New Wife and My Old Umbrella and attributed to R.B. Peake, by the Garrison Players (the group locally known as Captain Hall's Company at the time) in Cape Town on 8 May, as an afterpiece to Richelieu, or The Conspiracy (Bulwer-Lytton).

1850: Repeated in English (by special request, and now cited under its proper title of My Young Wife and My Old Umbrella, and correctly attributed to Webster) by Captain Hall's Company in Cape Town on 29 May, now as an afterpiece to The Lancers (Payne) and confusingly (according to Bosman, 1928[3]]:p, 398), a "Comedietta, in two Acts, by D. Boucicault, Esq., A Lover by Proxy! or My Daughter Sir! (Planché)" (Actually the latter was not one, but two one act plays: A Lover by Proxy by Boucicault and My Daughter, Sir!, or A Daughter to Marry by Planché .)

1883: Performed in Dutch as Mijne Vrouw en Mijn Parapluie by De Eendracht in the Volunteer Drill Hall, Cape Town, on 24 August, as preamble to a ball held in commemoration of the birthday of Crown Prince Alexander of the Netherlands, the patron of De Eendracht. It was the amateur company's last performance.


Facsimile version of the original French text, Imprimerie de J.-R. Mévrel, 1834, Google eBook[4]

Catalyst, Johns Hopkins Libraries[5],_Benjamin_Nottingham_(DNB00)

Gerd Aage Gillhoff. 2013. The Royal Dutch Theatre at the Hague 1804–1876. Springer: p. 186[6]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [7]: pp. 398

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 448-451.

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