Roger la Honte

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Roger la Honte is a French drama in five acts and eight tableaux by Jules Mary (1851-1922)[1] and Georges Grisier (1855–1909)[2]

The original text

Based on a popular French novel by Jules Mary (printed in Le Petit Journal and published by Jules Rouff, Paris, in 1886), the stage adaptation was written by Mary and Grisier and first performed in French at the Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique, Paris. The text was published in by Tresse & Stock, Paris, in 1892.

Translations and adaptations

The rights to the French play were purchased for England by the actors, William Terriss, Charles Cartwright and Charles Overton, and they then commissioned Robert Buchanan (1841-1901)[3] to write an English adaptation for production in London. Buchanan's adaptation, eventually known as A Man's Shadow, was initially performed as Roger la Honte, or Jean the Disgraced at the Elephant and Castle Theatre, London, on 29 November, 1888, before opening at the Haymarket Theatre as A Man's Shadow on 12 September, 1889 and playing till 29 March, 1890. The American production, entitled Roger la Honte, or A Man’s Shadow, opened at Niblo’s Garden on 8 October, 1889, produced by Augustin Daly with William Terriss in the starring roles.

The original novel was filmed a number of times in French[4], e.g. as a silent film directed by Adrien Caillard (1913), a silent film directed by Jacques de Baroncelli (1922), Roger la Honte (1933 film), a French film directed by Gaston Roudès (1933), a French film directed by André Cayatte (1946), and a French-Italian film directed by Riccardo Freda (1966).

Buchanan's English version was made into a 1920 British silent crime film called A Man's Shadow directed by Sidney Morgan.[5]

Performance history in South Africa

1894: Performed in the Opera House, Cape Town, by the visiting Emilie Bevan Comedy Company as part of their second season.


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.394-5

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