Smiles and Tears, or The Widow's Stratagem

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Smiles and Tears, or The Widow's Stratagem is a comedy in five acts by Marie Theresa Kemble (1774-1838)[1] and Amelia Alderson Opie (1769-1853)[2].

Also found simply as Smiles and Tears or The Widow's Stratagem.

Not to be confused with the 1808 comedy Tears and Smiles by J. N. Barker.[3]

The original text

According to the foreword by Mrs Kemble, the serious part of the play was inspired by a story published in 1801 called The Father and Daughter by Amelia Alderson Opie (1769-1853)[4] (who is credited as co-author of the play in many sources), while some of the lighter scenes derive from an 1813 French comedy in one act, La Suite d'un Bal Masqué[5] by M. François (pseudonym of Alexandrine Sophie Goury de Champgrand Bawr)[6], and first performed at the Théâtre Français by the Comédiens Ordinaires du Roi, on 9 April, 1813.

First performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, on 12 December, 1815 by the Kemble company, and published in London by John Miller in 1815.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1863: A piece called The Widow's Stratagem (possibly shortened/adapted, for it was seemingly billed as a "sketch") was performed in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Mr Bowmer and Madame Bowmer as part of one of the Grand Concerts and Entertainments put on by a company of visiting entertainers led by J.F. Finlayson, as compère and musical director.


Facsimile version of the original published text of Smiles and Tears, or The Widow's Stratagem, Hathi Trust Digital Library[7]

Facsimile version of the original published text of La Suite d'un Bal Masqué[8]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.187

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