Der Zerbrochene Krug

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Der Zerbrochene Krug; ein Lustspiel is a comedy (1808) by German poet, dramatist, novelist and short story writer Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) [1].

The original text

The farce relates the story of a judge who presides over a trial where he has to settle who had broken a jug in the room of a young woman late one night. The judge acts most suspiciously, both before and throughout the whole trial.

Conceived in 1801, the play was written in 1806 and first staged by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Weimar, where it premiered on 2 March 1808. The German text published in 1811.

Translations and adaptations

Usually translated into English as The Broken Jug or The Broken Pitcher.

A translation into Afrikaans by A.F.H. van Dijk with the title Die Gebreekte Kruik ("The Broken Jug"). Text available at the Stellenbosch University Library, Manuscripts Section. Reference 31/17/6.

Another translation from the original German was done by Wilhelm Grütter, also titled Die Gebreekte Kruik.

The Van Dijk translation was adapted by Dieter Reible and Tjaart Potgieter and renamed Moleste met die Magistraat.

Performance history in South Africa

1953: The translation into Afrikaans by A.F.H. van Dijk with the title Die Gebreekte Kruik was performed by the Bloemfonteinse Teatergroep in 1953. Direction and décor by Schalk Theron, costumes by Dollie Serfontein. Leading roles by Martin ven Niekerk, Alice Wilmot, Michael Cassaleggio, Maria Bosman and Hildegarde Eisele.

1963: The Grütter translation was presented by PACT in 1963, directed by Jannie Gildenhuys, starring Leonora Nel, Jan Bruijns, Phyllis Punt, Jannie Gildenhuys, Roelf Laubscher, Francois Swart, Kita Redelinghuijs, Vicki Vosloo, Limpie Basson and Ernst Eloff. Performed in the Civic Theatre, Johannesburg, Nasionale Skouburg, Pretoria and touring Transvaal.

1968: Presented by SWAPAC alternatively in German, English and Afrikaans with different casts. Performed in Windhoek. The German production also toured to Karibib and Swakopmund.

1993: Moleste met die Magistraat was presented by TRUK Toneel in 1993 to commemorate their thirtieth anniversary. Dieter Reible directed and the cast were Don Lamprecht (Walter), Louis van Niekerk (Adam, Magistraat]], Tjaart Potgieter (Ligt), Antoinette Kellermann (Tant Martha Roelofse), Wilmien Rossouw (Eva), Eghard van der Hoven (Vitus van der Poel), Hannes Muller (Rupert), Deon Breytenbach and Neville Engelbrecht (servants). Designed by Chris van den Berg, lighting by Jacques Mulder.


Helikon, 2(9):17

PACT report 1963/64.

Review by Lewis Sowden, The Rand Daily Mail, 13 June 1963.

SWAPAC list of productions 1966-1976.

Moleste met die Magistraat theatre programme, 1993.

Antoinette Kellerman's typed and annotated performance copy of Moleste met die Magistraat, found in the Stellenbosch Drama Department archives in 2022.

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