The word drama has three general uses in English (and in Afrikaans), namely to refer to a specific work of dramatic work (a drama = a play), as a collective term for a whole body of work written for the theatre (e.g. English drama, Afrikaans drama or Xhosa drama), or to refer to any situation in which there is conflict (i.e. “drama”). It is in these terms that drama studies (and in drama departments and literature departments at school and university) evolved over the century and plied their trade. More recently it has become usage to utilize the term in its narrower literary sense when referring to the body of written and printed texts, but not as a general equivalent for theatre (toneel or teater in Afrikaans). Thus, “English drama in South Africa” in more recent writing would normally refer to the texts of plays written in English in South Africa, not necessarily to the performance of such or other English plays in the country. (The latter would be termed “English theatre in South Africa”, qv.). However this distinction is quite arbitrary, and not really consistently applied, even today. Vide for example the books by Martin Orkin (Drama and the South African State, 1991) and Loren Kruger (The Drama of South Africa]], 1999), where Orkin for the most part does restrict himself to the printed texts, but Kruger most certainly does not (in a way thus suggesting she is playing with the built in ambiguity of the word, as outlined above). In contrast see for example Temple Hauptfleisch and Ian Steadman (South African Theatre: Four Plays and an Introduction, 1984), David Coplan (In Township Tonight! South Africa's Black City Music and Theatre, 1985), Robert Kavanagh (Theatre and Cultural Struggle in South Africa, 1985), Temple Hauptfleisch (Theatre and Society in South Africa, 1999) In all these cases written and printed texts, as well as unscripted or unpublished performances are discussed.
See further South African Theatre/Bibliography
Return to ESAT Personalities B
Return to South African Theatre Personalities
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page