She Stoops to Conquer

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She Stoops to Conquer (1773) is a comedy in two acts by Anglo-Irish playwright Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)[1].


The original text

Initially entitled Mistakes of a Night, the play was first performed in London at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden on 15 March 1773. Published by F. Newbery in 1773 as She Stoops to Conquer, but with She Stoops To Conquer, or The Mistakes Of A Night A Comedy also appearing below the author's name on the title page of the first edition of the text. This latter title is often used as the full title of the play.

It is considered one of the few fine dramatic works of its period and is still regularly studied, performed and adapted today.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted as a South African version called She Stoops to Conquer - Mistakes of an African Knight by Nicholas Ellenbogen, and set in Natal on a cane farm at around 1900.

Performance history in South Africa

1807: First performed in South Africa by the Garrison Players in the African Theatre in Cape Town on the 20th of June, followed by what was ostensibly a one-act version of Foote's farce Taste. The company included Captain Frazer, Mr Morgan,Captain Collins and, exceptionally for the time, a Mrs Kinniburgh. The production was managed by Mr Morgan, who also read a prologue written for the occasion by Captain Frazer, who in turn sang a song he had written (in character as Lady "Pentweazle" in Taste ), while Captain Collins read an epilogue he had written. According to F.C.L. Bosman (1928: p. 70)[2] these pieces are the oldest extant remnants of local theatrical writing (though not, he emphasizes, the earliest piece of written text or performance text, since there are records of earlier indigenous performances, prologues and even texts - e.g. Mrs Somers's prologue to a performance of Foote's Taste in 1800).

1807: Performed once again by the Garrison Players in the African Theatre in Cape Town on the 29th of August, followed by Love à la Mode (Macklin), as replacement for the originally planned The Padlock (Bickerstaffe and Dibdin), since not all the music was readily available.

1808: Performed by the Garrison Players in the African Theatre in Cape Town on the 8th of October, followed by The Apprentice (Murphy). Enhanced by a variety programme of song and dance, this was benefit evening for the widows and children of the 83rd Regiment.

1818: Performed by the Gentlemen Amateurs under the title She Stoops to Conquer, or The Mistakes of a Night, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 16 May, with the help of Mr Cooke and his company of ladies. The afterpiece was The Poor Soldier by O'Keeffe.

1823: Performed by the Amateur Company of the Garrison, under the title She Stoops to Conquer, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 10 May, with The Mayor of Garratt (Foote).

1823: Performed once more by the Amateur Company of the Garrison, under the title She Stoops to Conquer, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 16 July, with Bombastes Furioso (Rhodes).

1827: Performed by the Amateur Company of the Garrison, under the title She Stoops to Conquer, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 5 September, with Bombastes Furioso (Rhodes). This was a benefit performance for Mrs Black and Mrs Johnson.

1836: Performed by the Garrison Players, under the title She Stoops to Conquer, in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 3 August, with The Miller and his Men (Pocock).

1853: Performed in The Lyceum, the newly constructed Port Elizabeth theatre by the Port Elizabeth Dramatic Society on 26 September, under the title She Stoops to Conquer, with Did You Ever Send Your Wife to Camberwell? (Coyne).



1933: The play was the first production by Herbert Dhlomo's Bantu Dramatic Society, playing as opening piece in the Bantu Men's Social Centre on 28 April, 1933.

1948: Presented by the University of Cape Town’s Speech and Drama Department at the Little Theatre in June, directed by Joyce Burch.

1954: Presented by the National Theatre Organisation, produced by Taubie Kushlick starring Alan Chadwick, Barry Wallman, Pieter Geldenhuys, Frank Wise, Patrick Trevor, Leonard Graham, Joyce Bradley, Pamela Murray, Stephanie Shiller, Pat Simpson, Gordon Fergusson. Decor by Frank Graves, costumes by Doreen Graves, lighting by Harry Ligoff.

1966: A PACOFS production in 1966 was directed by John Boulter, the cast including Deon Joubert and Christine Basson.

1969: Directed by Roy Sargeant for NAPAC, opening on 28 April 1969 in St John's Theatre. Décor by Bill Smuts, costumes by Lucille Cross. The cast included Mervyn Johns, Helen Braithwaite, David McKail, Gillian Lomberg, Don McCorkindale, Christopher Galloway, Judy Murton and others.

1985: Performed in adaptation as She Stoops to Conquer - Mistakes of an African Knight at the National Arts Festival. Directed by Nicholas Ellenbogen with Greg Melvill-Smith, Bruce Young, Annie Robinson, Sue Pearson, Stephen Gurney, Brendan Grealy, Nicholas Ellenbogen, Frances Chili, Hamilton Ncayiyana, Ali Mohammed and Judy Ditchfield.


Sources

Inskip, 1972. p.135.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She_Stoops_to_Conquer

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp. 70-77, 109, 154, 183-4, 192, 196 and 508.

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988

NTO theatre programme, 1954.

Teater SA, 1(4), 1969.

National Arts Festival programme, 1985.

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