Le Maître des Forges

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Le Maître des Forges (lit. "the owner of the ironworks") is a play by Georges Ohnet (1848-1918)[1].

The original text

Based on Ohnet's own novel called Le Maître des Forges, which was published in 1882 by Paul Ollendorff, Paris. A stage adaptation as "une pièce en 4 actes et 5 tableaux" was done by Ohnet himself. It premiered at the Théâtre du Gymnase Marie Bell in 1883, and became very popular, receiving more than 271 performances in a few months.

Translations and adaptations

First adapted into English by Robert Buchanan in an unauthorised version called Lady Clare, which was produced in 1883, and advertised as an "original" play[2].

On the 17th of April, 1884 , The Ironmaster, an authorized English adaptation of the play by Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)[3], opened at the St. James’s Theatre, London. The Pinero version was more popular than the Buchanan play, becoming a useful vehicle for the Kendals and being frequently revived during the following decade.

A number of film adaptations of the story were done over the years, e.g. in 1912, 1933, 1948, and 1959.

Performance history in South Africa

1886: The Ironmaster performed in English as part of a short season of eleven plays put on by a company brought to the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Madame Pearmain, from 22 November onwards.

1907: The Ironmaster performed in English as part of a short and apparently unsuccessful, season put on by Mrs Cora Brown-Potter (1857–1936)[4] and her company in the Opera House, Cape Town, under the management of The Wheelers, beginning in June and lasting little over a month.






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 1932. (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. 383, 427

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