The Rise and Fall of the First Empress Bonaparte is strictly protected by copyright.

Applications for performance rights, both professional and amateur, should be addressed to:

PD Uys Productions


But please read the play with pleasure.

Download the text of The Rise and Fall of the First Empress Bonaparte

The story of Napoleon and Josephine must be as daunting to playwrights as it has been irresistible to film producers....Pieter-Dirk Uys has turned the whole thing inside out and in doing so has shown his sure dramatic sense and knowledge of human motives. It is Josephine who occupies the centre of the drama and how absolutely right this is, for when one looks at Napoleon and all his brothers and sisters during this episode of history, it is Josephine who is the real magnet of their emotions - whether these emotions were love, hatred or envy. She was the light and the rest of them were moths. The fluent dialogue flashes along at an easy pace, the period costumes and musical effects add much to the atmosphere and one brilliant scene gives way to another. I would say it is Pieter-Dirk Uys's best so far.

– Brian Barrow,  Cape Times, 19 August 1977

Pieter-Dirk Uys has imbued his work with a sense of bitchiness which makes it very entertaining at times ... It has the potential of a play which will last the test of time.

– Garalt MacLiam,  The Star,  29 July 1983

Gedryf deur in haas ongelooflike verbeeldingskrag, 'n byna fanatiese soeke na dit wat waarlik (teatraal gesproke) werk, 'n sterk ontwikkelde vermoe om dialoog sinvol, ekonomies en vloeiend te maak en 'n onomslagtige daarstelling van 'n magdom gegewens binne 'n fyn afgebakende dramatiese raamwerk, maak Pieter-Dirk Uys se The Rise and Fall of the First Empress Bonaparte heerlike ontvlugting.

– Paul Boekkooi,  Beeld, 1 Augustus 1983

Uys's play about Napoleon's first spouse is quite different from anything else he has written — and is quite the most finished ... he treats the portentious stuff of history rather as does an Anouilh or a Shaw. He keeps it lurking, peripherally, in the wings while, on the forestage, he diverts with waggish humour.

– Raeford Daniel,  Rand Daily Mail, 12 August 1983

This is a thoughtful and enjoyable play...any night you like, Josephine!

– Adrian Monteath, Sunday Times, 21 August 1983

Quite different from anything else Pieter-Dirk Uys has written, this study of the marriage of Napoleon and the Creole beauty, Josephine de Beauharnais, and of the bitter internecine feuding between the members of the Bonaparte Family, provides an intelligent and highly entertaining evening.

– Michael Venables,  The Citizen, 13 August 1983