The Bal Masqué
The Bal Masqué is a comic work by an unknown author, performed in South Africa in the 1860s.
This is not to be confused with Le Bal Masqué, the comic opera by Arthur Henry Ward (1883–1959).
The original text
Described as a "side-splitting entertainment", this was apparently a vaudeville style act, well known in Cape Town in the 1860s and probably brought here by the Christy Minstrels in 1862.
F.C.L. Bosman (1980: p. 260) ascribes the work to Arthur H. Ward by F.C.L. Bosman (1980: p. 260), on the basis of his work Le Bal Masqué, but this is highly unlikely, since Ward was only born in 1883. It must therefore have been earlier, burlesque-style work.
Translations and adaptations
Performance history in South Africa
1865: Performed as in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, as The Bal Masqué, or Sloppy Sam the Confidential Ticket Collector during September by the OIO Christy's Minstrels, led by Alfred Ray as "Sloppy Sam".
1865: Performed as in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, as the "Grand sensation Bal Masqué", on 6 November by the OIO Christy's Minstrels, led by Alfred Ray as "Sloppy Sam", now performing as a Christy's troupe under the auspices of the Ray and Cooper Company. Also on the programme were The Harvest Storm (Hazlewood) and "Prof Pepper's Ghost, as exhibited at the Polytechnic, London".
1867: A "side-splitting entertainment" called The Bal Masqué (Sloppy Sam) was performed by the dramatic company of the 9th Regiment in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town on 8 June, with Othello in Ireland ("semi-serio" opera based on Shakespeare).
Allardyce Nicoll. 1975. A History of English Drama 1660-1900: Late 19th Century Drama 1850-1900 Cambridge University Press
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