Black-Eyed Susan, or All in the Downs
Not to be confused with Black-Eyed Susan, or The Little Bill That Was Taken Up, Burnand's burlesque based on the Jerrold work.
The original text
Based on John Gay's well known ballad by that name, it has been described as "a nautical melodrama (with all its stock characters) that praises the patriotic British tar (sailor) while critiquing authoritarianism in the British Navy", it was the playwright's Jerrold's first successful play, opening at the Surrey Theatre on 26 January 1829 and setting a new record of over 150 performances. It is a key play in the history of English melodrama, and became a stock play across the Empire, also in South Africa, till well into the 20th century.
Translations and adaptations
An American version, published in 1856 by William V. Spencer, Boston, is apparently an adaptation, as it is called "A nautical and domestic drama, in two acts" (1856), based on the "carefully marked copy" of a performance in the Boston Theatre.
Black-Eyed Susan, or The Little Bill That Was Taken Up is a burlesque of Jerrold's play by by F.C. Burnand (1836–1917) and was first performed in London in 1866, published in 1867. It was brought to South Africa by Disney Roebuck, and it is not always certain from the sources, whether the play Bosman (1980) refers to a "shortened version" in one place and regularly lists for Roebuck between 1875 and 1877 as Black Ey'd Susan or Black Eye'd Susan, always refers to the original play by Jerrold or the burlesque by Burnand.
For this reason the South African performances by Roebuck are listed in both entries, below as well as in the entry on Burnand's play)
Performance history in South Africa
1877: Performed in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck's company on 6 September, with The Wonderful Woman, or The Marquis and The Cobbler (Dance).
Facsimile of the 1856 Boston version, Internet Archive
F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 68, 70, 73, 94,99, 110, 134, 211, 214-5, 312-3, 322-3, 326, 329-331, 334, 336, 340, 349, 360, 364.
William Groom. 1899-1900. Drama in Cape Town. Cape Illustrated Magazine, 10(4): 478-481, 517-520, 547-552, 580-584, 640-643, 670-672, 706-708.
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