Edmund Kean

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Edmund Kean is a play by Raymund Fitzsimons ()[].

The play is simply billed as Kean in some cases.

The original text

The play is based on Fitzsimon's own biographical book Edmund Kean: Fire From Heaven (1976), the play offers a look at the life of the early 19th century actor Edmund Kean (1787-1833)[1], and explores the mystery of talent - and its (sometimes flawed) human embodiment.

First performed in August 1981 at the Harrogate Theatre, then in London with Ben Kingsley in the role of Kean. The production opened on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theater on 27 September, 1983.

No evidence of a published text has been found so far.

Interesting note:

According to the Wikipedia entry on Kean, there have been a number of plays about the actor over the years, all entitled Kean, beginning with a drama by Alexandre Dumas, père, in 1836, and followed by a comedy by Jean-Paul Sartre (1953), a Broadway musical by Peter Stone, Robert Wright, and George Forrest (1961), a BBC Play of the Month (1978) and a tragicomedy by Grigoriy Gorin, (called Kean VI, 1991). Interestingly enough, no mention is made of the Fitzsimons play Edmund Kean under discussion here, even though the 1983 TV version thereof is.

Translations and adaptations

The play was adapted for television and performed by Ben Kinsley in 1983, under the title Kean[2].

Performance history in South Africa

1985: Performed as Kean, produced by Pieter Toerien (by arrangement with Duncan C. Weldon) and directed by Rex Garner, with Michael Richard as "Kean". Designs by Jannie Swanepoel, costumes by Noreen Sterling, choreography by Jimmy Bell. It opened in the Leonard Rayne Theatre on 12 June for a run in Johannesburg, then moved to the Baxter Studio for a Cape Town run.





Brian Barrow and Yvonne Williams-Short (eds.). 1988. Theatre Alive! The Baxter Story 1977-1987. Cape Town: The Baxter Theatre.

Edmund Kean theatre programme, Pieter Toerien 1985.

Kerneels Breytenbach. 1985. Richard verstom as "tragediant", Die Burger, 10 Augustus, 1985.

Fiona Chisholm. 1985. Richard has an oral Rolls-Royce, Cape Times (an undated press cutting, ESAT archive).

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