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South Sea Bubble
is a play
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
actor and playwright Noël Coward
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...
. It was written in 1949 but not performed until 1951. The play was moderately successful but failed to match the popularity of Coward's pre-war hits.
The play is named for the South Sea Bubble, an economic bubble that arose due to speculation in the South Sea Company.
Originally written for Gertrude Lawrence
Gertrude Lawrence was an English actress, singer and musical comedy performer known for her stage appearances in the West End theatre district of London and on Broadway.-Early life:...
under the name of Home and Colonial
, her unexpected death meant that she never played it. Coward intended her to take it after her run in The King and I
The King and I is a stage musical, the fifth by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The work is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon and derives from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who became governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in...
. The play was changed into Island Fling
, which opened in 1951 with Claudette Colbert
Claudette Colbert was a French-born American-based actress of stage and film.Born in Paris, France and raised in New York City, Colbert began her career in Broadway productions during the 1920s, progressing to film with the advent of talking pictures...
in the lead. It ran for eight performances in Westport, Connecticut
-Neighborhoods:* Saugatuck – around the Westport railroad station near the southwestern corner of the town – a built-up area with some restaurants, stores and offices....
, USA. South Sea Bubble
itself finally opened in the West End
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...
under its final title with Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh, Lady Olivier was an English actress. She won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire , a role she also played on stage in London's West End, as well as for her portrayal of the southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, alongside Clark...
as Sandra, the wife of the governor of the imaginary island of Samolo.
Coward liked the character so much that he later made it one of the key characters in his novel Pomp and Circumstance