Dead: A Slight History of One Called Ivan

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dead: A Slight History of One Called Ivan is a collaborative danceplay by Gary Gordon and Reza de Wet (1952-2012).

The original text

Devised by the Gary Gordon and the First Physical Theatre Company, based on a script by Reza de Wet and an original music score by Leonhard Praeg, the text follows the life of a character called "Ivan", providing "an expressionist and surreal journey through his damaged life from cradle to death." (Juanita Praeg, 2018). Apparently De Wet was working on a Russian play at the time, which meant she was steeped in Russian world of St Petersburg. The play is based on quotes from Jean Genet and Marquis de Sade and employs two characters, "Mr Horace Balls", "Ivan's drunk and dishevelled biographer" and an ever-present "Singer", to tell the story.

The text of the script and a description of the work (by Juanita Finestone-Praeg) has been published in Physical Intelligence Volume 1: Experiments in Physical Theatre (First Physical Theatre Company, 2002).

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1996: Performed by the First Physical Theatre Company at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown duing July, choreographed by Gary Gordon, with inter alia Lindsay Reardon. An original music score was written and performed live on the accordion by Leonhard Praeg, in addition to music from Zhalejka–folklore from St Petersburg used in the production. Designs by Lindy Roberts


Juanita Finestone-Praeg. 2002. Physical Intelligence Volume 1: Experiments in Physical Theatre. Grahamstown: First Physical Theatre Company.

Juanita Praeg. 2018. "Drifting: Reminiscing. Remembering. Reinventing. Reza" (Draft manuscript, courtesy of the author.)

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page