Die Heks (“The Witch”) is a one act play by C. Louis Leipoldt (1880-1947).
The original text
This play is considered to be the first Afrikaans play of real substance. A one-act play, set in 1425, about a Cardinal (“The Hammer of the Witches”) who finds himself set to try two women as witches – and the one woman had been his lover, the other was his daughter.
Originally written in English in 1911, reworked in Afrikaans as Die Hamer van die Hekse ("The Hammer of the Witches") and prepared for publication with some other pieces in 1920, though not published.
It was finally revised and renamed Die Heks and published in 1923 by Nasionale Pers (and reprinted numerous times since). The slightly melodramatic realist form chosen for this play would become a dominant model for many of the 20th century Afrikaans playwrights.
Translations and adaptations
Performance history in South Africa
1925: Die Heks was first produced (on a double bill with Fagan's Lenie) by Stephanie Fauré and Paul de Groot on 2nd May 1925, in the Opera House, Pretoria, with De Groot and Faure in the leading roles, supported by Marguerite (later Greta) de Vos, Herman Steytler, Henri Cilliers and Elsa Niemeyer. The stage manager, make-up artist and set painter was Christiaan A. van Schaik, with the sculptor Fanie Eloff donating the dekor and helping with technical aspects. The play then went on a short tour of Transvaal, including Volksrust. Ultimately had approximately 70 performances. Performed many times since.
1949: Die Heks was performed in the Conservatorium of the University of Stellenbosch on 14 and 15 October under the direction of Marguerite de Villiers with a cast of students, including Limpie Basson.
1975: Brink's Die Hamer van die Hekse was staged by PACT in 1975, directed by Louis van Niekerk, with Francois Swart (Die Kardinaal), Eckard Rabe (Vader Placido), Don Lamprecht (Broeder Eugenio), Johan Malherbe (Di Civigni), Franz Marx (Hans Swieten), Marius Weyers (Andreas Brummer), Wilna Snyman (Elsa), Elise Hibbert (Janetta), Annette Engelbrecht (Greta), Will Roberts (Hofknaap), Christo Potgieter (Hofknaap) and others. Decor and costumes by Johan Engels.
Ons Vaderland 26 April 1925.
Die Heks theatre programme, 1949.
PACT theatre programme, 1975.
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