Under the Gaslight

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Under the Gaslight is melodramatic play in five acts by Augustin Daly (1838–1899)[1]

Also known as Under the Gaslight, or Life and Love in These Times.

The original text

Daly's first successful play, best known for the scene where a person is tied to railroad tracks as a train approaches, only to be saved from death at the last possible moment. First performed at the Worrell Sisters' New York Theatre in New York, starting on August 12, 1867. Published as Under the Gaslight: A Totally Original and Picturesque Drama of Life and Love in These Times in New York the same year (no publisher, but noted as "Printed for the author"). Also published as Wemyss's Acting Drama by Samuel French and Co. (as Issue 378 of French's standard drama: Acting edition), and called the "Author's Edition".

Often republished and performed, for unlike most 19th century American plays, it has continued to be a popular work, often revived even late in the 20th century.

Translations and adaptations

The play was adapted to a silent film of the same name in 1914.

Performance history in South Africa

1876: Performed by the Disney Roebuck Company in the Athenaeum Hall, Cape Town, on 9 September, with a cast that included J.B. Howe and Miss Louise Balfe in the leads. (For some reason F.C.L. Bosman, 1980, ascribes Under the Gaslight to Daly and Hazlewood.) Also performed that evening were Betsy Baker (Morton) and Little Don Giovanni (Byron).



Facsimile version of the 1867 published text, The Internet Archive[2]

Facsimile version of the Wemyss edition, Hathi Trust Digital Library[3]

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. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 342, 347, 349.

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