Der Besuch Der Alten Dame

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Der Besuch Der Alten Dame ("The visit of the old lady") is a German tragicomedy by Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990)[1].

The original text

A classic play about revenge, telling of a woman who returns to the village after the war to seek vengeance.

First performed in German as Besuch der alten Dame at Schauspielhaus Zürich, in 1956.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted and translated into English as The Visit by Maurice Valency and had its first Broadway theatre production, in 1958, directed by Peter Brook and starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Besoek van die Ou Dame ("The visit of the old lady") by Bartho Smit in 1962 and published in Bartho Smit: Vertalings 2 by Haum-literêr.

Numerous adaptations have been made over the years, including a 1964 film with Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn, directed by Bernhard Wicki and a 1971 opera, with a libretto by the author and music by Gottfried von Einem. (For more on the adaptations, see the Wikipedia entry at ).

Performance history in South Africa

1962: Presented in Afrikaans as Die Besoek van die Ou Dame by Die Johannesburgse Afrikaanse Toneelkomitee at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre in 1962, with Anna Neethling-Pohl in the lead, directed by Fred Engelen.

1963: Produced in English as The Visit by Albert Thomas for the Peninsula Dramatic Society at the Labia Theatre from 11 to 16 February 1963.

1966: Presented in English as The Visit by CAPAB, opening 13 October 1966 at the Hofmeyr Theatre directed by the New York director Stanley Waren [2] starring Babs Laker, Johann Nell, Phillip Boucher, visiting British actor Michael Mellinger, Alan Prior, Michael Newell, Eric Brundl, Yvonne Bryceland, Glynn Day, Norman Ettlinger, Pietro Nolte, Norman Coombes and others. Decor and costumes by Michael Clarke.

1994: Performed as The Visit by Magnet Theatre.


Wikipedia [3].

Flyer for the Johannesburg Civic Theatre inaugural festival in 1962.

Material collected by Gladys and Albert Thomas held by NELM: [Collection: FLETCHER, Jill]: 2005. 75. 21. 9 and The Argus 13 February 1963. (Labia production).

Die Loodswaaiers programme, 1966.

The Visit theatre programme, 1966.

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