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Anastasia can refer to the famous Russian Grand Duchess known by this name, or to the many creative works based on her story.

Anastasia the character

The mystery of the life and death of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia (1901-1918)[1], purported to be the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna, have been the source of many creative works over the years.

Dramatized versions of the life and death of Anastasia

Anastasia by French playwright Marcelle Maurette (1903-1972)[2]

A full-length French play, it was first performed and published in French in 1952, and it is seemingly this play that , in its turn, has been the inspiration for a number of other dramatic works.

Translations of the French play

The French play was adapted into English by Guy Bolton in the year of its appearance, the English text published by Samuel French, 1952 and first performed in English at the St James Theatre, London, opening 5 August 1953.

The Bolton stage version was translated into Afrikaans by Petrovna Metelerkamp in 1977

Anastasia the 1956 film

The Bolton version was filmed in 1956 starring Ingrid Bergman as "Anya".

I, Anastasia the musical

In 1981 the Bolton stage play was adapted as a musical play by Robert Wright (1914-2005) [3] and George Forrest (1915-1999) [4]], with a book by Jerome Chodorov and Guy Bolton and music based on themes by Sergei Rachmaninoff. The piece is variously known as I, Anastasia, Anastasia: The Musical and The Anastasia Affaire (subtitled: The Rachmaninov Musical).

The Anastasia File an original play by Royce Ryton

An original new English play, The Anastasia File was written for and first performed by the Cambridge Theatrical Society in 1978.

(For more on this play, click on the title to go to the entry in ESAT.)

Anastasia an original musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and Terrence McNally

In 2017 a new musical play, simply called Anastasia was premiered, with music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and a book by Terrence McNally. It was based on the 1997 animated film of the same name[5]. After a pre-Broadway run in Hartford, Connecticut, the show premiered on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre in April 2017, followed by multiple productions worldwide.

Performance history of plays about Anastasia in South Africa

1950s: According to a list of productions published in the Oedipus Rex theatre programme of 1956, André Huguenet was in a production of this play for the Arts Theatre in Cape Town. Probably the Bolton English version. The exact year is not mentioned, nor is it referred to in his autobiography.

1977: The Afrikaans adaptation by Metelerkamp staged by PACT, directed by Francois Swart, with David van der Merwe (Tsjernow), Harriet Pienaar (Warja), Don Lamprecht (Petrowski), Louis van Niekerk (Prins Bounine), Evert Snyman (Sergei), Sandra Prinsloo (Anna), Phillip Swart (Drivinitz), Jan Prinsloo (Sleedrywer), Trudie Taljaard (Skropvrou), John Harley (Oblenski), Wilna Snyman (Oud-Keiserin), Elise Hibbert (Livenbaum), and Etienne Puren (Prins Paul). Decor and costumes by Chris van den Berg.

1979: The Afrikaans adaptation presented by KRUIK Toneel in Afrikaans opening 1 September at the Nico Malan Theatre directed by Pieter Fourie starring Liz Dick (Anna), Marko van der Colff, Brümilda van Rensburg, Johan Malherbe, Schalk Jacobsz, Roger Dwyer, Willem de la Querra, Anna Cloete, Neels Coetzee, Wilna Snyman, Nerina Ferreira, Johan Esterhuizen and Marikie Basson. Decor and costumes by Dicky Longhurst, lighting by Malcolm Hurrell, stage manager Brenda Kaye. (This production subsequently ran at the H.B. Thom Theatre in Stellenbosch from 27 to 29 September.)

1981: The Robert Wright and George Forrest musical play I, Anastasia opened at the Alexander Theatre, Johannesburg, on 10 December, directed by Diane Todd and featuring her in the leading role. This is referred to by Percy Tucker (1997, p 405) as the "World Premiere" production and was overseen by the two writers, who had been brought out for the occasion.

1986-1987: Royce Ryton's The Anastasia File produced by Pieter Toerien, first performance at the Leonard Rayne Theatre 28 June 1986 and at the Baxter Theatre in 1987. Directed by John Carson, starring Sandra Duncan, John Whiteley, Neville Thomas, Michael Maxwell, Theresa Iglich. Set designed by John Carson and Jannie Swanepoel, lighting by Jannie Swanepoel, costume designer John Tullis.


Mélisande Musique, Montreal Canada[6]

PACT theatre programme, 1977.

CAPAB theatre programme, 1979.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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