Menschenhass und Reue

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Menschenhass und Reue ("Misanthropy and Repentance") is a German drama in five acts by August von Kotzebue (1761 – 1819)[1].

The original text

The original German produced in Berlin on 3 June 1789 and published by Himburg in Berlin, 1789–90. It was one of the most popular German plays of the first half of the 19th century, and is claimed to have been be the prototype of the so-called "Rührstück" or "Melodrama".

Translations and adaptations

Menschenhaat en Berouw (Dutch, 1790)

Translated into Dutch as Menschenhaat en Berouw ("Misanthropy and Repentance") by Jan Steven van Esveldt Holtrop[2]. Published in Amsterdam by H. Gartman, W. Vermandel and J.W. Smit in 1790, first performed 1791.

The Stranger (English, 1798)

Translated into English by Benjamin Thompson (1776?-1816)[3] as The Stranger, revised for the stage by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816)[4]. First performed in this version at the Drury Lane Theatre, London in 1798.

The Thompson/Sheridan version of the play was an immense success in the English-speaking world, including both England and the United States, and the play is seen by many as one of the harbingers of the wave of popularity enjoyed by the melodrama in the nineteenth century.

Also known as The Stranger, or Misanthropy and Repentance.

Performance history in South Africa

1819: Announced for performance in Dutch by Men Doet Wat Men Kan , in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 5 June, using the title Menschenhaat en Berouw. However it was postponed, only taking place 12 June 1819, with Uilenspiegel (Von Kotzebue) as afterpiece.

1825: Performed in English as The Stranger on 11 June by the English Theatricals in the African Theatre, Cape Town with 20 Percent, or My Father as afterpiece.

1834: Performed in Dutch as Menschenhaat en Berouw by Door Yver Vruchtbaar in the The Stellenbosch Amateur Theatre (De Stellenbosche Liefhebbery Tooneel) on 26 July, with De Man Naar de Klok (Von Hippel/Maas).

1855: Performed in English as The Stranger by G.V. Brooke and company in the Garrison Theatre, Cape Town, on Tuesday 9 January 1855, with Mr Brooke, Miss Cathcart, and a number of amateurs from the Cape. The afterpiece was The Angel of the Attic (J.M. Morton) as afterpiece.

1857: Performed as The Stranger, or Misanthropy and Repentance by Sefton Parry and his company in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, on 16 November, with The Good-for-Nothing (Buckstone).

1861: Performed as The Stranger by the company of Sefton Parry in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 5 September, with Betsy Baker, or Too Attentive by Half (Morton).

1866: Performed in the Theatre Royal by the Le Roy and Duret Company on 23 April, with as afterpiece The Area Belle (Brough and Halliday).


Klaartje Groot. 2010. Geliefd en gevreesd: Duits toneel in Nederland rond 1800:pp. 181ff[5]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [6]: pp. 59, 134, 200, 254, 276, 411,

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