The Actress Of All Work, or My Country Cousin

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The Actress Of All Work, or My Country Cousin is a comic sketch, in one act by William Henry Oxberry (1784-1824)[1].

The play is also known as The Actress Of All Work, or Six in One or The Actress Of All Work

The original play

One of the first, and an interesting example of, the so called "transformation pieces", also known as "protean farces", popular in the 19th century.

Originally opened 25 Oct 1819, at the Adelphi Theatre, London. On September 9 1821 a production was put on by Mr Tayleure, starring Mrs Tayleure. Published texts by J. Duncombe, 1819; W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1819.

According to the Oxford Companion to the Theatre (2nd ed. 1957) the play "was probably inspired by Colman's Actor of All Work, written for Mathews in 1817".[2]

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1833: Performed as The Actress Of All Work (author not mentioned ) by the All the World's a Stage on 21 September, with The Day After the Wedding, or A Wife’s First Lesson, the interlude A Race for Dinner (Rodwell), and the farce Rival Valets (Ebsworth).

1833: Performed, now as The Actress Of All Work, or Six in One (author not mentioned ), by the All the World's a Stage on 11 November, with The Iron Chest (Colman), and St Patrick’s Day (Sheridan).

1866: Performed in Cape Town by the Le Roy and Duret Company on 9 and 11 April, with Madame Duret portraying six characters, as well as three in the accompanying play, The French Spy, or The Wild Arab of the Desert (Aubert?).

1866: Performed in Cape Town by the Le Roy and Duret Company on 17 May, with The Green Bushes, or Ireland a Hundred Years Ago (Buckstone).

1866: Performed in Cape Town by the Le Roy and Duret Company on 18 June, with Good for Evil, or A Wife's Trial (Augier), Hunting a Turtle, or Trust a Woman's Wit (Selby) and a popular "dance-song", The Nervous Cures.

1867: Performed in Cape Town by the Le Roy and Duret Company on 3 September, with A Price for an Hour (Morton) and scenes from Hamlet (Shakespeare).

Sources

The 1919 published text, Google Books[3]

Jane Goodall. 2002. Performance and Evolution in the Age of Darwin: Out of the Natural Order. Psychology Press, 2002: p. 125[4]

Facsimile of John Bull, Volumes 1-2 , p. 305[5]

25 Oct 1819 playbill, British Library[6]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [7]: pp. 227

F.C.L. Bosman, 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 203-4,208-9, 211,218, 227, 229.

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