Farce is an ancient, yet perennially popular theatrical form.
Farce in general
Farce aims to provoke laughter, but can accommodate a darker vision of humanity's animality and egoism. Farce is characterized by violent verbal and physical activity, accelerating pace, intricate plotting, and iconoclastic impropriety. The works of Brandon Thomas (notably the classic Charley's Aunt -1892), ** , Hotel Paradiso (18**) ** and ** are classic examples, also produced in South Africa.
The term farcetta came into vogue in the 19th century, but basically meant the same thing and was simply used by some authors as an attempt at novelty. (See Allardyce Nicoll's A History of English Drama 1660-1900, Volume 4 (pp 131-135) for instance.)
Farce in South Africa
Most farces produced in South Africa have been versions of imported plays: For example Brandon Thomas's Charley's Aunt (1892) was produced by Leonard Rayne in 1896 while Gustav Preller produced an Afrikaans version, Piet s'n Tante in 1909.
The most prolific early farceur in Cape Dutch and later Afrikaans was Melt Brink, particularly between 1904 and 1921. Other Afrikaans authors of note include C.J. Langenhoven (Die Onmoontlike Tweeling, 1919), Gerhard J. Beukes (As ons twee eers getroud is!, 1952), Bartho Smit (Don Juan onder die boere, 1960), P.G. du Plessis ('n Seder val in Waterkloof), Nico Luwes (Die Graswewenaar), Chris Vorster, .
In English, imported "Aldwych" and "Whitehall Farces" have been presented by amateur groups, companies and impresarios from the beginning of the British occupation in 1800 till today. The early local pioneer of the form in English was Stephen Black. More recent locally written farces in English include works by Pieter-Dirk Uys (e.g. Farce About Uys) (1983), Clive Howard Morris (Maid in South Africa, 1987) Robert Kirby (Panics, 1991), Paul Slabolepszy Heel Against the Head, 1995), Fiona Coyne Glass Roots, 2000).
Among producers there have been a number of prominent names, including Leonard Rayne, Brian Brooke, Pieter Toerien, Hendrik Hanekom, Pieter Fourie, Rex Garner), Nico Luwes, Mik Return to South African Theatre Terminology and Thematic Entries
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