Der Bibliothekar

(Redirected from The Private Secretary)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Der Bibliothekar ("The librarian") is a German comedy in four acts by Gustav von Moser (1825-1903)[1].

The original text

The German text, called a "Schwank in Vier Akten" was first performed in 1878 and the text published in 1891, with an English introduction, notes and vocabulary by B.W. Wells.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Dutch as De Bibliothecaris by an anonymous author, probably in the early 1880s.

The play was translated into English and adapted by Charles Hawtrey (1858-1923)[2] and re-titled as The Private Secretary. The English play originally had four acts, but was soon reduced to three acts and became very successful, running at the Cambridge Royal Theatre in 1883 before being brought to London in 1884, and playing there until 1886. Hawtrey himself revived the play twice, in 1892 at the Comedy Theatre, and in 1895 at the Avenue Theatre.

Performance history in South Africa

1886: Performed as The Private Secretary by the Wheeler Brothers Company in the Theatre Royal in Burg Street, Cape Town, with Irish Justice (Anon./Morton?) in May. It was their opening production there, and Frank Wheeler played the leading roles in both plays ("Reverend Spalding" and "Peter Mulvaney").

1892: Performed as The Private Secretary in the Vaudeville Theatre, Cape Town, by the visiting Emilie Bevan Comedy Company as part of a three-and-a-half month season of 20 plays which began on 8 August.

1890s: Performed, somewhere between 1891 and 1898, in Dutch as De Bibliothekaris by the rederijkerskamer Oefening Baart Kunst in the President Theatre, Pretoria (no author mentioned).

1903: Performed as The Private Secretary in the Good Hope Theatre, Cape Town, for a few nights towards the end of the year by Frank Wheeler (as "Rev Spalding") and what was apparently an inadequate "scratch" company.

1929: Presented as The Private Secretary by the Kokstad Amateur Dramatic Society, produced by S.J. Halford, with A.L. Moon, Douglas Halford, Eric Haird, Tom Christie, Mrs T. Scott Warren, Maud Sandwich, Gertrude Wallace. Scenery imported from Messrs Samuel French from London, adapted for local requirements by Joe Cuthbert.

1958: Performed as The Private Secretary at the Little Theatre, Cape Town, was directed by Gordon Roberts.


Facsimile version of the German text, edited with introduction, notes and vocabulary by B.W. Wells[3],_born_1858)

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.381, 394-5, 417, 428

Ludwig Wilhelm Berthold Binge. 1969. Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950). Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.

P.J. du Toit. 1988. Amateurtoneel in Suid-Afrika. Pretoria: Academica.

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg.

Footlights 1(5):12, 1929.

Inskip, Donald P., 1972.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page