La Vita Che Ti Diedi

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La vita che ti diedi ("The Life I Gave You") is a play by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936)[1].

The original text

Inspired by his novels The Waiting Room (1916) and The Pensioners of Memory (1914), and was originally written for Eleonora Duse (1858 – 1924)[2], but who never performed it. Finally performed in January and February 1923, at the Teatro Quirino in Rome on 12 October 1923, starring Alda Borelli (1879-1964)[3].

The text published in 1924 by Bemporad.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into English as The Life I Gave You. Text published by Penguin in 1959.

Translated into Afrikaans by Con de Villiers (1894-1978) as Die Lewe wat ek jou Gegee het. (Also found as Die Lewe wat ek jou Geskenk het.)

The De Villiers translation adapted for radio by Fred Engelen, and broadcast by the SABC in its Afrikaans programme Meester drama ("Master Drama") on 11 December, 1964

Performance history in South Africa

1964: Performed in Afrikaans as Die Lewe wat ek jou Gegee het by PACT in the National Theatre in Pretoria, the Library Theatre in Johannesburg and taken on tour in the Transvaal. It was directed by Victor Melleney and the cast included Anna Neethling-Pohl (Donn'Anna), Kita Redelinghuys (Lucia), Francois Swart (Don Giorgio), Wena Naudé (Donna Fiorina), Leonora Nel (Elisabetta), James Norval (Giovanni), Salomi Louw (Lida), Roelf Laubscher (Flavio), Elsa Fouche (Francesca) and the women played by Anna Cloete, Frances Coertze, Mariekie Drotske, Mathilde Hanekom, Paddy Norval and Marga van Rooy. Décor by Raimond Schoop, costumes by Margaret Louttit. At one point Pieter Hauptfleisch joined the touring company to replace an indisposed actor.

1964: Performed in Afrikaans as Die Lewe wat ek jou Gegee het by the Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch, directed by Fred Engelen, assisted by Annatjie Vorster, for the Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in the Botha Hall in Stellenbosch, in September, during the Stellenbosch Arts Festival. Members of the cast were Anna Neethling-Pohl (Donn'Anna), Tine Balder (Lucia), Ben Verwey (Don Giorgio), Marie van Heerden (Donna Fiorina), Antoinette Terblanche (Lida), Franz Marx (Flavio), Madelein Viljoen (Francesca), Gertie Smith-Visser (Elisabetta), Willem de la Guerre (Giovanni), Woutrine Theron et al. Décor by Fred Engelen and Willem de la Guerre, Costumes by Elise Ziervogel. After the Stellenbosch run, the production was staged in the Hofmeyr Theatre in Cape Town.


PACT report 1963/64.

PACT theatre programme, 1964.

UTS theatre programme, 1964.

Listing of productions in the UTS programme for Arms and the Man, H.B. Thom Theatre, Stellenbosch, 1968 (held in ESAT Archive)

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Copy of the Engelen radio text, found in the radio archives of the Stellenbosch Drama Department

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