The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Buried

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The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Buried is a "comic operatic farce" in two acts by John Gideon Millingen[1] and James Kenney[2]. (In some publications the play is accredited to only one or the other of the authors.)

Also found as The Illustrious Stranger, The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Single, even Buried Alive, or The Illustrious Stranger or simply Buried Alive, it seems.

Sometimes also referred to as a "burlesque extravaganza" (e.g. F.C.L. Bosman, 1980: p. 70)

The original text

The text was apparently based in part on the French one act play, Le Naufrage, ou La Pompe Funèbre de Crispin, by Joseph de Lafont (1686-1725)[3], first performed on 17 June, 1710 and printed in the same year.

The English text of The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Buried was first performed at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1827, with music by Isaac Nathan, and printed by William Kenneth in 1827.

One source, the entry on Millingen in the 1894 Dictionary of National Biography (Vol 37: p. 439), [4], refers to a one act farce in prose by Kenney and Millingen, called The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Single, published in Home Plays, London, 1862 (this must surely read 1826?). If this is not simply an error (the article does not mention the later two act version at all), then this could have been the original work from which the 1827 operatic farce in two acts was developed by the authors, but as this is the only reference to the particular title, it would appear somewhat unlikely.

Translations and adaptations

It formed the basis for a burlesque version called Brown and the Brahmins, or Captain Pop and The Princess Pretty Eyes! by Robert Brown Reece. (For South African performances, see the entry)

It appears Reece did another version of the original play, now called The Stranger: Stranger than Ever in the New Queen's Theatre Royal on 4 November, 1868, and dubbing it "A Piece of Extravaganza".

Performance history in South Africa

1833: First performed in Cape Town in the African Theatre by the All the World's a Stage on Monday 6 May, as afterpiece to The Pilot, or a Tale of the Sea (Fitzball, based on Cooper). The production was a benefit for Mr Whiley.

1834: Performed in the Garrison Theatre by the Garrison Amateurs on Wednesday 19 November, as afterpiece to The Midnight Hour (Inchbald). The production was a benefit for Mrs Black.

1853: Performed in the Garrison Theatre by the Officers of the Garrison on Wednesday 14 September, with as afterpieces Bombastes Furioso (Rhodes) and Did You Ever Send Your Wife to Camberwell? (Coyne). Actors included R.A. Pasley, Captain Hall and Captain Fisher. The play was apparently announced as "Kenney's Operatic Farce..".

1858: Performed by Sefton Parry and his company as Buried Alive, or The Illustrious Stranger, under protection of Colonel Hope and the Cape Volunteer Corps, on 27 April in the Cape Town Theatre. Also performed was an English song ("The Ratcatcher's Daughter") and a play called All is not Gold that Glitters, or The Factory Girl. The orchestra of the Cape Royal Rifles also performed.

1858: Performed by Sefton Parry and his company as Buried Alive, or The Illustrious Stranger, under protection of Colonel Hope and the Cape Volunteer Corps, on 27 April in the Cape Town Theatre. Also performed was an English song ("The Ratcatcher's Daughter") and a play called All is not Gold that Glitters, or The Factory Girl. The orchestra of the Cape Royal Rifles also performed.

1858: Performed by Sefton Parry and his company as Buried Alive, or The Illustrious Stranger, on 17 June in the Cape Town Theatre. Also performed was Black-Eyed Susan, or All in the Downs (Jerrold).

1862: Performed by the Amateurs of the Band a drama group from the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot at the Garrison Theatre, Keiskama Hoek, (sic) on November 26. Cast: J. Diamond Cape Mounted Rifles (Aboulifar, King of the Island), W. Carr (Azan), P. Mulrennan (Alioajon ?), J. Davies(Gimbo), J. M'Kechnie (Benjamin Bowbell), W. Allan (Showemin, the usher), A. Vogado (High Priest), P. Nelson Cape Mounted Rifles (Irza), ***** (Fatima). Also performed was The Miller and His Men (Pocock and Bishop). (For more on contemporary responses to the performances, see the entry on the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot)

1862: The Amateurs of the Band (North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot) repeated the two plays at the Garrison Theatre, Keiskama Hoek, on November 29, with the same casts, except that "Aboulifar" in The Illustrious Stranger was played by J. Johnson of the Cape Mounted Rifles instead of J. Diamond.

Sources

Facsimile version of the original French text by Lafont, Théâtre Classique[5]

North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 14, Keiskama Hoek, December 10, 1862, page 272.

1894 Dictionary of National Biography (Vol 37: p. 439), Wikisource[6]

1892 Dictionary of National Biography (Vol 31: pp. 8-9), Wikisource[7]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Kenney_(dramatist)

Facsimile version of the original English text by Millingen and Kenney, Internet Archive[8]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [9]: pp. 194, 226, 403-4, 433.

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 69, 70, 73

North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 10. Christmas Supplement, 1861.

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