'Quincampoix or the Wind Traders' is an 18th-century comedy written for the Amsterdam City Theatre (Amsterdamse Schouwburg) by Pieter Langendijk (1683-1756). In an English-language version, recently translated by Joyce Goggin and Frans de Bruyn, this fast-paced play about the financial bubble of 1720 will be available via livestream from the Beurs van Berlage at 18:00 on March 10. It will whisk us away to Amsterdam’s 18th-century coffeehouse Quincampoix, with all the drama of speculators feverishly trading till deep in the night.
Langendijk wrote this comedy in 1720 in the midst of a financial hurricane that blew into Amsterdam. His play was produced almost before the ink was dry and it filled the Schouwburg for a sustained run. Quincampoix was perhaps the most popular of the coffeehouses in the Kalverstraat, where traders and speculators made deals outside the official stock market, and where investors hoped to make a quick profit. Langendijk sketches a vivid picture of the chaotic and hysterical scenes at the coffeehouse, accented with colourful characters such as servants who ended up richer than their masters, and sleazy middlemen looking to make their fortunes. The comic character Bonavonture loses himself in speculative madness while his steady brother-in-law Noble-Heart saves the day, as well as his marriageable daughter Hildegonde. Two men seek her hand in marriage, but will her father prefer the over-blown trader Windbag, or will the true young Hendrik win her heart? Tune in to find out!