Les Frères Corses
The name "Montépin" is written "Montépinthe" in some sources.
The original text
The play, called a "drame fantastique en trois actes et cinq tableaux", is a dramatization of the French novella Les Frères Corses by Alexandre Dumas, père (1802–1870), first published in 1844 by Souverain. The work tells the adventurous and melodramatic story of two conjoined brothers who, though separated at birth, can still feel each other's pains and fears and seek to aid each other. First performed at the Théâtre-Historique in Paris on 10 July, 1850.
Translations and adaptations
Translated and adapted into English as The Corsican Brothers by Dion Boucicault (1820-1890). Boucicault's version was written for the actor-manager Charles Kean and it was first performed at the Princess's Theatre on 24 February 1852, directed by Kean, who also played both of the brothers. It went on to become a hugely popular melodrama, much performed in the late 19th century.
The original French work has also been translated directly by a number of other playwrights, including Frank J. Morlock.
Performance history in South Africa
1858: Performed as The Corsican Brothers by J.E.H. English and his company in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, on 21 September, with J.E.H. English, Mr Beverly, Mr Walter, Mr Dell, Mr Dillon, Mr Welson, Mr Harton, Mr Seaton, Mr Rennox, Mr Loeber, Mr Morly, Mrs Delmaine, Miss Delmaine and Miss Belmont. Remarkably, the role of "Griffo" was billed as being played by "A Domestic". The evening also included a "comic scene in one act" called A Conjugal Lesson (Danvers).
1860: Performed as The Corsican Brothers on the Eastern Cape border by the Band Amateurs of the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot on July 9 and 16, with a cast consisting of W. Dansie (Twin brothers), J. C. Wools (M. de Chaserd Rensud), M. Rafferty (M. Alfred Meynard), T. Brooker (Le Baron de Montgiron), J. Mann (Gaetano Orlando), T. Brooker (Marie Colonna), T. Patterson (Grifio), W. Allen (Boissee, a Wood cutter), T. Patterson (A Surgeon), J. F. Gay (Madame Sevillia dei Franchi), J. Grennan (Emilie de Lasparre), J. Durney (Marie, a domestic), A. Vogado (Estelle, lady of the ballet), W. Foster (Celestine, lady of the ballet). The Wandering Minstrel (Mayhew) was played as the afterpiece, and the evening included W. Allen on the violin ("in seven different positions") after which J. M. M'Kechnie sang a comic song, "Solomon Lob".
Facsimile version of the French stage text, BnF Gallica
North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 1. January 1, 1860.
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