L'affaire du Courrier de Lyon

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A number of plays and other works have been written about the infamous French criminal case generally known as "L'affaire du Courrier de Lyon" (or sometimes the "Courrier de Lyon" case in English)[1].

The original event

Le Courrier de Lyon, ou L'attaque de la Malle-Poste by Moreau, Siraudin and Delacour (1850)

A French play in five acts and eight tableaux by Eugène Moreau (1806-1876), Paul Siraudin and Alfred Delacour

The original text

The play deals with about a famous French criminal case known as "l'Affaire du courrier de Lyon" (or the "Courrier de Lyon" case in English[2]. It concers an event that occurred during the French Revolution when, during the night of 27 and 28 April 1796, a mail coach on its way to Lyon and carrying money for the Army of Italy, was ambushed outside Paris by several armed men. Both the driver and the armed guard were brutally killed.

First performed in the Théâtre de la Gaîté, Paris, on 15 March, 1850. Published Michel Lévy fr. in 1850 and in 1856 (as Volume 61 of Théâtre contemporain illustré).

Facsimile version of the original French text, BnF Gallica[3]

Translations and adaptations

The French play later formed the basis of the French film Affaire du courrier de Lyon by Claude Autant-Lara and Maurice Lehmann (1937[4]).

Performance history in South Africa

The Courier of Lyons by Charles Reade (1854)

Charles Reade ()[] wrote an English play in three acts called '[5] in 1854.

L'Affaire du Courrier de Lyon by Marcel Dubois (1953)


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 1932. (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.203-205

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