La Belle Marseillaise

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La Belle Marseillaise is a French comedy in four acts and five tableaux by Pierre Berton (1842-1912)[1]

The original text

The piece turns on the attempted murder of Napoleon and was first performed in French at the Théâtre de l'Ambigu, Paris, on 3 March, 1905.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted into English by Madeleine Lucette Ryley (1858–1934)[2] and first performed as La Belle Marseillaise in New York's Knickerbocker Theatre, opening on 27 November, 1905. The title was altered to The Great Conspiracy and performed in London at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1907.

Performance history in South Africa

1907: Performed in English as La Belle Marseillaise in the Opera House, Cape Town, by the touring company of Mrs Brown Potter, under the management of the Wheeler Theatre Company. (The author wrongly given as "Paul Berton" by Boonzaier.)


J. P. Wearing. 2013. The London Stage 1900-1909: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel, Scarecrow Press[3]

D.C. Boonzaier. 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

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

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