Difference between revisions of "Gaiety Company"

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The name '''[[Gaiety Company]]''' was often used for theatre companies performing musical comedy in South Africa during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
#REDIRECT [[Gaiety]]
=The general use of term "Gaiety"=
[[Gaiety]] (or in some cases "Gayety") may refer to:
A specific kind of mood: i.e. the state of being happy, light-hearted or cheerful
A specific kind of activity: i.e. a lively celebration or set of festivities, performance activity, entertainments or amusements. Some sources refer to this as a dated use of the word.
="[[Gaiety]]" as a theatre and performance form= 
From the latter notion of [[Gaiety]] as a reference to a broad range of activities, comes the theatrical use of the term, especially in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. In this case it usually referred to a specific type of light musical entertainment (often in [[vaudeville]] style), the people/companies that engage in such performance,  and/or the venues used for such performances. Hence its use as the name given to [[Gaiety |Gaiety performances]], [[Gaiety|Gaiety Companies]], [[Gaiety|Gaiety Girls]], [[Gaiety|Gaiety Theatre]]s, etc. A number of such companies and theatres are still in existence today.
Several sources refer to the  musical comedy '''''[[In Town]]''''' (Ross, Leader and Carr, 1892) as "the first Edwardian musical comedy" and even refer to it - along with '''''[[A Gaiety Girl]]''''' (Hall, 1893), which probably provided the name -  as "the start of the [[Gaiety]]  movement in theatre"[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwardian_musical_comedy].
=Gaiety companies in South Africa=
[[Impressario]]s such as [[Frank de Jong]] and in particular the [[Wheeler Theatre Company]] were very prominent in the promotion of [[Gaiety]] entertainment in South Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
==The "Original" Gaiety Company==
According to [[D.C. Boonzaier|Boonzaier]] (1923), the first [[Gaiety Company]] (he refers to it as the "original") made its appearance in Cape Town in 1894, setting a high standard for and beginning a popular trend in musical comedy that would become a feature of South African theatre at the start of the 20th century. He appears to be referring to a company led by [[Cairns James]] (and popularly referred to as the '''[[Cairns James Company]]'''), that appeared under the auspices of the [[Wheeler Theatre Company]]. The season predictably opened with a performance of ''[[In Town]]'' (Ross, Leader and Carr) on 9 June 1894, followed by ''[[Mam'zelle Nitouche]]'' (Meilhac and Millaud), ''[[Miss Decima]]'' (Burnand), ''[[A Gaiety Girl]]'' (Hall).
== Frank de Jongh's Gaiety companies ==
The name [[Gaiety Company]] was most notable in the case of theatrical companies brought to Cape Town by [[Frank de Jongh]], lessee of the [[Cape Town Opera House]] from 1896-1937. These companies consisted of well-known overseas performers and artistes, including [[Zena Dare]], [[Matheson Lang]], [[Sybil Thorndike]], [[Lewis Casson]], [[Irene Vanbrugh]] and [[Kate Vaughan]] in a variety of plays, operas and ballets.
==The [[Edward Sass]] Gaiety Company==
On 1 June 1895 a new [[Gaiety  Company]], led by [[Edward Sass]], performed a number of plays in the [[Opera House]], Cape Town, under the auspices of the [[Wheeler Theatre Company]]. Other company members included [[James Nelson]], [[J.H. Darnley]], [[J.B. Gordon]], [[Emma Glynne]] and [[Ada Logan]]. Their repertoire included ''[[The New Woman]]'' (Grundy), ''[[Doctor Bill]]'' (Carré /Aidé), ''[[The Case of Rebellious Susan]]'' (Jones), ''[[Liberty Hall]]'' (Dibdin), ''[[The Solicitor]]'' ([[J.H. Darnley|Darnley]]), ''[[The Masqueraders]]'' (Jones), ''[[The Second Mrs Tanqueray]]'' (Pinero) and ''[[The Bauble Shop]]'' (Jones). According to [[D.C. Boonzaier|Boonzaier]] (1923), Sass was an excellent manager and most punctilious about the ''mise-en-scène'' of his productions.
==The Gaiety productions of the [[Wheeler Theatre Company]]==
From 1901 onwards, the [[Wheeler Theatre Company]] mostly used the [[Good Hope Theatre]] as their in Cape Town and apparently began to concentrate more specifically on [[Gaiety]] musical comedies and light opera, using companies they set up themselves or imported [[Gaiety companies]]. According to Boonzaier (1923) , "they may be said to have created almost a monopoly for themselves in South Africa" in these fields. They now mostly used the [[Good Hope Theatre]] as their in Cape Town to host companies to put on a wide range of [[Gaiety]] shows there. Among the many relevant pieces seen there in the period 1901-1903 were ''[[San Toy]]'' (Morton), ''[[A Runaway Girl]]'' (Hicks and Nichols), ''[[Florodora]]'' (Hall),  ''[[The Geisha]]'' (Hall), ''[[The Messenger Boy]]'' (Tanner and Murray), ''[[Kitty Grey]]'' (Pigott), ''[[The Shop Girl]]'' (Dam), ''[[Djin Djin]]'' (Royle and Williamson), ''[[The Gay Parisienne]]'' (Dance), ''[[The Casino Girl]]'' (Smith), ''[[A Country Girl]]'' (Tanner), ''[[The Girl from Kay's]]'' (Hall), ''[[Three Little Maids]]'' (Rubens), ''[[The School Girl]]'' (Manchester and Maurice) and ''[[The Lady Slavey]]'' (Dance).
==The [[Greene and Brickwell]] Gaiety Company==
The newly formed company, headed by [[Frank Greene]] and [[Maimie Brickwell]], performed in the [[Opera House]], Cape Town, probably under the auspices of the lessee [[Leonard Rayne]], at the end of 1906, putting on ''[[The Dairymaids]]'' (Thompson and Courneidge) and  ''[[The Blue Moon]]'' (Ellis and Greenbank). In 1907 they put on two more pieces, ''[[The Catch of the Season]]'' (Hicks and Hamilton) and ''[[The Beauty of Bath]]'' (Hicks and Hamilton).
==An unnamed Gaiety company, [[Opera House]], 1908==
At the beginning of 1908, a new (but unnamed) [[Gaiety Company]] put on ''[[The Girls of Gottenburg]]'' (Grossmith et. al.) and ''[[The Little Minchus]]'' (Vanloo & Duval/Hamilton) at the [[Opera House]], Cape Town.  Possibly they also did ''[[The Spring Chicken]]'' (Jaime & Duval/Grossmith)  and ''[[The Forty Thieves]]'' (unnamed author)
= Sources =
[[F.C.L. Bosman]]. 1980. ''Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912''. Pretoria: [[J.L. van Schaik]]: pp.398-427
= Return to =
Return to [[South_African_Theatre/Venues|South African Theatre Venues, Companies, Societies, etc ]]
Return to [[The ESAT Entries]]
Return to [[Main Page]]

Latest revision as of 07:28, 16 January 2020

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