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Drif ("a river ford or crossing", "passion") is a play by Reza de Wet (1952-2012).

The original text

Apparently inspired by H.A. Fagan's play Opdrifsels, it is a Gothic style tale, telling of two sisters who guard the ford or crossing in the river, in order to warn travelers in times of flood and to pull drowned bodies out of the water and bury them, to ensure their spirits come to rest. The arrival of a Svengali-like magician-hypnotist (“Maestro”) and his assistant is the catalyst for a serious confrontation between the sisters and the past.

Drif is the third play in a trilogy published by HAUM Literary as Trits ("threesome") in 1993, a publication which won De Wet her first Hertzog Prize for Afrikaans Literature.

Translations and adaptations

Originally translated into English by the author as Drift by the author and staged by CAPAB in 1996.

An adapted English translation was published under the new title Crossing in the anthology Drama for a New South Africa (ed David Graver) by Indiana University Press in 1999 (also containing Sophiatown, Mooi Street Moves, Ipi Zombi?, Horn of Sorrow, And The Girls in Their Sunday Dresses, Purdah)

Translated into English as Crossing by Steven Stead and produced in the Riverside Studios in London in October, 2000.

The Steven Stead version was published by Oberon Books in the collection Plays One by Reza de Wet (in 2000), this volume also containing De Wet's plays Missing and Miracle in the Stead translations.

A physical theatre version, entitled Crossings, was devised and presented by Floyed de Vaal in 2003.

A Greek translation called was published (with a Greek version of Mis) in 2006 and in 2018 it was being translated into Czech.

Performance history in South Africa

1994: First presented by CAPAB opening 28 May 1994 at the Nico Arena, also at the National Arts Festival opening 30 June 1994, directed and designed by Marthinus Basson, with Wilna Snyman (Hermien), Mary Dreyer (Sussie), Michelle Scott (Esmeralda), and André Roothman (Maestro). Lighting by Malcolm Hurrell, music by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder. Winner of a number of awards, including Fleur du Cap Best Actress Award for Mary Dreyer, Fleur du Cap Best Director Award and Fleur du Cap Award for Best New Indigenous Script.

1995: Performed by students of the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in the H.B. Thom Theatre in November, directed by Johan Esterhuizen, assisted by Hugo Theart, starring Suzanne Smith, Martelize Kolver, Lisl Wolmarans, Paul van Wyk, Gaerin Hauptfleisch, Willemien Brümmer, Christelle Stoltz, Jeanine du Plessis. Stage manager and lighting designer Kobus Rossouw.

1996: Staged by CAPAB in English as Drift in 1996, opening on 26th October in die Nico Malan Theatre. Directed by Marthinus Basson with Mary Dreyer (Sussie), André Roothman (Maestro), Diane Wilson (Hermien) and Jana van Niekerk (Esmeralda). Design by Marthinus Basson, lighting design by Malcolm Hurrell.

2003: Briefly renamed Crossings it was performed in an adapted form as a physical theatre production in South Africa. Directed by Floyed de Vaal, it premiéred at the Grahamstown Festival.

2003: Performed at the Grahamstown Festival in French (with English surtitles) by Paris-based Amandla Theatre Company, in July, translated and directed by Caroline Benamza.

2015: Performed in Afrikaans in the Hofmeyrsaal, Stellenbosch, by Dubbelpunt Produksies on 17-28 November. Directed and designed by Mari Borstlap with André Roothman, Cintaine Schutte, Ira Blanckenberg and Marlie Katzke Sound design by Wilken Calitz.

International performance history

2000: The British premiere of Crossing took place at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith in September.

2001: The British production of Crossing was taken on a tour of the Midlands in March to May.

2003: Performed in French by the Amandla Theatre Company at their theatre in Paris, translated and directed by Caroline Benamza.

2005: A Greek language production opened in Athens in November.

2011: A Greek production opened in Athens January.

2013: A Greek production opened in Athens February.


Drif programme 1994

Drift programme 1996


The Sunday Independent, 1 October 2000.

Adrienne Sichel 2003. "Preview of the National Arts Festival". The Star, 12 March 2003.

Drif Promo Poster', received from Mari Borstlap (mariborstlap@gmail.com) on Friday, October 30, 2015 8:08 AM

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