The Birds

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The Birds (Greek: Ὄρνιθες "Ornithes") [1] is a comedy by Aristophanes [2].


The original text

Written and performed in 414BC.

Translations and adaptations

Numerous translations have been made of it over the years, inter alia by Eugene O'Neill Jr and Gilbert Murray.

South African versions include:

Die hand vol vere (Afrikaans for "The Hand Full of Feathers") is an adaptation by André P. Brink(1971), a satire which comments on South Africans and the politics of the time (See Van Zyl Smit, 2005). The text was apparently not published.

Izinyoni (isiZulu for "Birds") is a 1974 adaptation by Themi Gwala.

Boklied (Afrikaans for "Goat Song") is a play by Breyten Breytenbach. As both Van Zyl-Smit (2005, p.273) and Conradie (1998, pp. 15-22) have pointed out, the second act of Breytenbach's complex and controversial play is a reworking of The Birds.

Performance history in South Africa

1965: Performed by the Drama Society of the University of Cape Town, in the Little Theatre, directed by Peter Kleinschmidt, using the Arrowsmith translation.

1966: Performed by the University of Natal, Department of Speech and Drama, directed by Pieter Scholtz using the D.Fitts and W. Arrowsmith translation.

1970: Die Hand Vol Vere, André P. Brink's Afrikaans adaptation was produced by the Youth Company of the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT) in 1970. A first version, directed by Carel Trichardt, was staged in Pretoria in December 1970; a revised version, directed by Francois Swart, was staged three months later in Johannesburg and then taken on tour.

1971: Die Hand Vol Vere, André P. Brink's Afrikaans adaptation was staged by PACT, directed by Francois Swart, with Will Bernard (Pistorius), David van der Merwe (Van der Merwe), Frantz Dobrowsky (Swartkraai), Nigel Vermaas (Hoepoe), Marie Koeleman (Nagtegaal), Sydney Rogers (Gerrebek), Janice Honeyman (Gaatjie), Jan Engelen (Staatsamptenaar), Stephan Bouwer (Wurm), Marietta Wessels (Boodskappie) and Joan Friedman (Darling). Designs by Patricia Slavin and choreography by Sandra Prinsloo.

1973: Performed in English by the University of Natal, Department of Speech and Drama, directed by Peter Larlham, using the D.Fitts and W. Arrowsmith translation.

1974: Izinyoni, the isiZulu adaptation by Themi Gwala was produced in 1974 at the Casa Cinema in Port Shepstone, Natal, in aid of the LEARN fund of the The Daily News. It was open to all race groups, even though theatres in South Africa were segregated till 1977.

1980: Performed by the Drama Society of the University of Cape Town,

1982: Performed by the University of Natal, Department of Speech and Drama, adapted and directed by Mervyn McMurtry.

1984: Die Hand Vol Vere, André P. Brink's Afrikaans adaptation was produced by PACOFS, directed by David Matheson with Eric Nobbs, James Borthwick and Anita de Jager.

1988: Breyten Breytenbach's Boklied was performed at the KKNK, Roodepoort and Bloemfontein, directed by Marthinus Basson.

2004-2005: Presented in the Gilbert Murray translation at the Dionysus Festival in in the Kirstenbosh Amphitheatre, directed by Roy Sargeant.

2011-2012: Presented in the Gilbert Murray translation by Siyasanga Cape Town Theatre Company and Artscape in the Kirstenbosh Amphitheatre 20 December 2011-15 January 2012. Directed by Roy Sargeant, design by Keith Anderson, original music by Michael Tuffin, choreography by Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi. Production manager Alfred Rietmann, stage manager Jerome Chapman, masks made by Corrine Smit and Hansie Visagie. Cast: Jeroen Kranenburg, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, Armand Aucamp. Members of The Chorus: Francis Chouler, Frans Hamman, Lee Roodt, Anele Situlweni, Michael Inglis, Riaan Visman, Melissa Haiden, Wiseman Sithole, Zonda Njokweni.

Sources

Wikipedia [3]

Van Zyl Smit in (SATJ No 19, 2005)

http://www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/productions/production/8418

http://www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/productions/production/8396

PACT theatre programme, 1971.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.

Programme: The Birds, Kirstenbosch Amphitheatre 20 December 2011-15 January 2012.

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