Un Secret

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Un Secret French drama in three acts by Narcisse Fournier (1803-1880)[1] and Auguste Jean François Arnould (1803–1854)[2]

The original text

It was first performed at the Théâtre de Vaudeville, Paris on 14 March 1840 and published in the Magasin Théatral by Marchant, 1840.

Translated into Dutch by A.H. de Bruine as Het Geheim and published in Amsterdam in 1840.

Productions in South Africa

There is some uncertainty about any productions of this work in South Africa. F.C.L. Bosman (1980), and presumably the company (Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst), claims that the play performed by various incarnations of Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst between 1855 and 1910 was a "tragedy in five acts". If this is correct, it does suggest that the play produced was in fact Das Geheimnis, a 5-act tragedy by Vulvius, and not this three act play by Fournier and Arnould, as Bosman states in his 1980 history. (The Dutch version is also a three act play.)

However, since we have nothing but these contradictory assertions by Bosman to go on, we list all productions of the play called Het Geheim here as well as under Das Geheimnis for the record.

1867: Het Geheim produced by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst at the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 26 June, with Uilenspiegel (Von Kotzebue).

1867: Het Geheim produced by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst at the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 16 July, with Het Bankroet van den Schoenlapper (Martainville).

1896: Het Geheim produced by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst at the new Opera House, Cape Town on 7 July, with De Sint Nicolaas Avond, of Het Bezoek door den Schoorsteen (Kup).

1910: Het Geheim produced as the last production by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst under the leadership of the 71 year old Johan Combrink, at the Good Hope Theatre 2 June and repeated on 4 June, followed by a ballet by 16 children, accompanied by the musical corps of F.H. Boonzaier. The critic D.C. Boonzaier wrote a devastating criticism of what was apparently a ludicrous melodrama, badly presented, though other critics weren't as negative.




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 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp. 462-3

F.C.L. Bosman, 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II: 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 443-4, 452


Kulturstiftung der Länder: Bibliothek der Deutschen Literatur - Bibliographie und Register, p. 423[4]

Facsimile of the German text of 1800 (Google eBook)[5]

Facsimile version of the French text of 1840 (Google eBook)[6]

Louis B. Petit,Catalogus Der Bibliotheek Van de Maatschappij Der Nederlandsche Letterkunde Te Leiden, (Part 2): p. 78 (Google eBook)[7]

J.A. Worp, Geschiedenis van het drama en van het tooneel in Nederland. Deel 2.P. 431[8]

Facsimile version of the 1840 Dutch translation by De Bruine, Google E-book[9]

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