A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities is a 1859 historical novel by Charles Dickens (1812-1870)[1].

The original text

Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, it explores the complexities of the French Revolution through the stories of a variety of characters.

First published in 1859 as a weekly serial in the journal All the Year Round (April to November), and, according to Wikipedia[2], "is the biggest selling novel of all time", having sold over 200 million copies.

The novel has often been adapted for stage, film, radio and TV, also in South Africa. Among the 19th century stage adaptations are:

The Bastille Prisoner: A reading prepared by Charles Dickens (1866, never used); The Tale of Two Cities; A Drama by H.J. Rivers (1862); A Tale of Two Cities. A Drama by Tom Taylor (Lacy's Acting Edition of Plays, n.d.); The Only Way: A Tale of Two Cities (usually known simply as The Only Way) by Freeman Wills and Frederick Longbridge (first performed in 1899, apparently unpublished).

South African stage versions

1899: Performed as The Only Way (Wills and Longbridge) in the Opera House, Cape Town, by the Herbert Flemming Company, with J. Edward Pearce as "Sydney Carton".

1963: A stage version adapted and directed by Jeppe Milton was staged by the St John Ambulance Players in the St John's Theatre in Durban, with Dale Cutts as Sydney Carton.

1984: Produced by the University of Natal (Durban). Adapted and directed by Themi Venturas in the Music-Hall style, as though directed by Dickens himself with a Victorian company. Performed as the university's entry for the National Arts Festival Student Drama, 1984. Stage manager Linda Nichol; Set designer Mark Faith, built by Rogers Ganesan and The Company; Costume Beth Olmesdahl and June Gielink. The cast: Mark Faith, Bradley Mart, Christopher Wells, Alan Adams, Themi Venturas, Brenda Radloff, Melanie Bowles, Celeste Litkie, Catherine Ross, Anne Harvey.

1996: Produced by the Johannesburg Civic Theatre at the National Arts Festival, 1996, adapted for the stage and directed by Janice Honeyman, assisted by Roy Hunter. Set design James MacNamara, costumes design Lindy Grindlay, lighting design Jane Gosnell, sound design John Shaughnessy, puppets Lynton Richards. The cast: Simon Jones, David Lee, Neville Thomas, Iain Paton, Nicky Rebelo, Robert Colman, Chris van Niekerk, Rebecca Waddell, Jennifer Woodburn, Maragret Heale, James Borthwick, Catharine Cooke, Yana Sakelaris, Alistair Prodgers, Michael McCabe, Brett Goldin, Denise Stock, Peter Holden, Mike Huff, Thomas Hall, Dale Cutts, David Butler, Simon Huff, Erin Cutts, Chelsea Hopkins.



Frederick Wilse Bateson. 1940. The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (Volume 1). CUP: p.443, Google E-book[3]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.407.

St John Ambulance Players theatre programme, 1963.

National Arts Festival programme, 1984, 1996

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

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