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Fadren ("The Father") is a short naturalistic tragedy by Swedish playwright August Strindberg (1849-1912)[1].

The original text

The play, published as Fadren (and called a "Sorgespel i tre akter") in Swedish in 1887, and performed the same year. A German version was performed in Berlin in 1890.

The play explores the struggle between parents over the future of their child This results in the mother, using her cunning manipulative skills, subduing and finally destroying the father.

The haunting play was the important precursor to Strindberg's masterpiece Miss Julie, one of key works in the history of Naturalism[2] in the theatre.

Translations and adaptations

The play has been translated into many different languages. Translations into English, as The Father, have been done by i.a. Peter Watts (1958), Michael Meyer (1964), Harry G. Carlson (1981), Michael Robinson (1998), Gregory Motton (2000) and Laurie Slade (2012).

Translated into French as Le Père or simply Père. (Not to be confused with Le Père, the 2012 text by Florian Zeller.)

Translated into Afrikaans by Wilhelm Grütter, entitled Die Vader.

Translated into Afrikaans by Pieter-Paul Fourie, entitled Die Vader.

Translated into Afrikaans by Schalk Theron, entitled Die Vader. (Text available at the Stellenbosch University Library, Manuscripts Section. Reference 31/22/3.)

Adapted for radio in Afrikaans as Die Vader by an unnamed author in 1962. It was probably based on the Afrikaans text by Schalk Theron.

Filmed as a TV movie in Swedish, directed by Keve Hjelm and broadcast in 1967[3]

Performance history in South Africa

1962: Die Vader broadcast by the SABC in the programme Radioteater on 18 May, directed by Monica Breedt.

1969: Die Vader, the Grütter Afrikaans translation was staged by CAPAB, opening in the Hofmeyr Theatre on 8 April, directed by Mavis Taylor. The cast included Pieter Geldenhuys (Die Kaptein), Hermien Dommisse (Laura), Wena Naudé (Magriet), Annelisa Weiland (Bertha), Ernst Eloff (Kaptein), Jannie Gildenhuys (Die Pastoor), Johan Malherbe (Nojd) and Pieter Joubert (Dr Ostermark). Stage manager Mavis Lilenstein. Décor and costumes by Stephen Andrews.

1969: Produced in English by CAPAB in association with PACOFS, directed by Roy Sargeant, with Joe Stewardson, Joyce Bradley, Helen Braithwaite and Gillian Garlick.

1978: Die Vader, the Fourie Afrikaans translation, was staged by PACT, directed by Louis van Niekerk, with Patrick Mynhardt (Die Kaptein), Wilna Snyman (Laura), Elise Hibbert (Berta), Don Lamprecht (Dr Ostermark), David van der Merwe (Die Pastoor), Anna Neethling-Pohl (Magriet), Gerben Kamper (Njod) and Fanie Bezuidenhout (Die Ordonnans). Décor and costumes by Johan Engels.

1986: Produced in English by the Rhodes University Drama Department, directed by Brian Pearce with Lindsay Reardon and Cornelia Schulz.

2013: Produced in English by the Wits School of Arts/WitsMusic and Wits Theatre as a student version, directed by Makhaola Ndebele.


The Father (Strindberg play) in Wikipedia [4]


Copy of Die Vader, the 1962 radio adaptation broadcast by the SABC, found in the Stellenbosch Drama Department archives in 2022.

Teater SA, 1(4), 1969

CAPAB theatre programme, 1969.

PACT theatre programme, 1978.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.

Press clipping held by NELM: [Collection: DICKERSON, Beth]: 2009. 113. 4. 9.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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