Le Capitaine Roquefinette
The original text
Probably a burlesque version of scenes and characters from the novel Le Chevalier d'Harmental (known as The Conspirators in English) by Alexandre Dumas and Auguste Maquet (published in 1843), it was first performed in Paris at the Théâtre des Variétés 27 October 1843. This vaudeville version was published by in French by Lacombe (Volume 23; Volume 44) in 1843 and by J-A Lelong in Brussels in 1844.
A full dramatisation of the original novel – in five acts, a prologue and ten tableaux – was first performed under its own title of Le Chevalier d'Harmental on 16 July 1849 at the Théâtre-Historique in Paris. The play later became the source for an opéra comique in five acts with the same title, with music by André Messager and a French libretto by Paul Ferrier. First performed at the Opéra Comique (Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt) in Paris on 5 May 1896 and the Vienna Hofoper in the 1896-97 season.
Translations and adaptations
It appears to have been translated and adapted into English as a comic drama called A Lucky Hit by Edward Stirling (1809-1894). First performed as both A Lucky Hit in London on 1 February, 1858. This was clearly a translation and adaptation of the French play since the 1861 South African performance (under the title of both The Lucky Hit and A Lucky Hit ) indicates that it is also set in Versailles and features the same characters as the French work.
However, Sterling had earlier written another play and used the same phrase as part of his title, A Lucky Hit, or Railroads for Ever. It was first performed as in London on 23 April, 1836 and published by T.H. Lacy, in Volume III of Lacy's Acting Editions. Little else is known about the play, and as the French novel and play were only written in 1843, it is surely not the same work, unless the French novel was in fact an adaptation of the English play - which is highly unlikely.
Performance history in South Africa
1861: Performed in the Garrison Theatre, Grahamstown, on 28 and 30 December, and referred to as both The Lucky Hit and A Lucky Hit by the North Lincoln Sphinx, (Vol 1, No. 10, Christmas Supplement, page 146). The cast consisted of W. Malcom Esq. (Duc D'Anjou, King of Spain), Captain G. E. Bulger (Baron de Ville Blanche, a courtier), S. F. Poole Esq (Chevalier de Castagnac, a poet), W. J. B. Martin Esq. (Raoul de Givery, an Officer of the Guard), R. Annesley Esq. (Captain Gascon La Tour, a disbanded officer), J. S. Brougham Esq. (1st Gentleman of the Court), J. C. Little Esq. (2nd Gentleman of the Court), Corporal J. Davies (Baroness de Ville Blanche). Also performed on the evening were Dying for Love (J.M. Morton) and The Eton Boy (E. Morton). (For more on contemporary responses to the performances, see the entry on the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot)
1862: Performed by the Officers of the Regiment (North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot) with the same cast during a repeat of their programme of 28 December 1861, which again featured the one act plays Dying for Love (J.M. Morton) and The Eton Boy (E. Morton), along with a new locally written work Two Years In Paris (Annesley). (For more on contemporary responses to the performances, see the entry on the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot).
Facsimile version of the 1843 edition of the French play, Google E-books[https://books.google.co.za/books?id=I8IWUMEMb-wC&source=gbs_navlinks_s
Facsimile version of the 1843 edition of the French play, Google E-books
Allardyce Nicoll. 1930. History of English Drama, 1660-1900, Volume 5, Part 2: CUP Archive
Allardyce Nicoll. 2009. A History of Early Ninteenth Century Drama 1800-1850. Cambridge University Press, 
North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 10. Christmas Supplement, 1861.
North Lincoln Sphinx Vol 1, No 11. January 28, 1862.
Go to ESAT Bibliography
Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays
Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays
Return to PLAYS III: Collections
Return to South African Festivals and Competitions
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page