A Worm in the Bud
Also known as Fever
The original text
Written in 1988, it is cast in the form of a public lecture and utilising a correspondence between two sisters to explore an Englishwoman’s emotional experiences as the wife of an Afrikaner man in the late 19th century. In the play the philanthropic adventurer Emma corresponds with her sister Katy back in England, who learns the full and terrible extent of her sister's yearning and isolation when she discovers her sister's hidden diary.
Translations and adaptations
At a later point in her career, De Wet reworked A Worm in the Bud, calling the new play Fever. In this version Emma Burnett is described more sympathetically by expanding her sister Katy's story to engage with the Victorian attitudes they had grown up with. Fever was subsequently published along with a contrasting play, Concealment, in the collection De Wet: Two Plays by Oberon Books in the series Oberon Modern Playwrights (2007).
1996: Scenes from A Worm in the Bud were performed by seven final year University of Stellenbosch drama students in the Kellerteater at the University, directed by lecturer Shirley Johnston, with a cast including Paul du Toit, Angerie van Wyk, Martelize Kolver, Leanna Dreyer, Nicole Holm , Amelda Brand and Nico Dreyer. Set design and lighting by Kobus Rossouw. In a rare exchange, the production was also performed for and debated by the UCT drama staff and students, in the Drama Department of the University of Cape Town.
2010: Various productions of Fever done at one act play festivals in the south of England.
2014: Fever performed in London by Sian Clifford and Peta Cornish in June and July as part of the South African Season at Jermyn Street Theatre. Directed by Anthony Biggs, designed by Victoria Johnstone and lighting design by Charlie Lucas.
Pretoria News, 14 March 1990.
PACT theatre programme, 1990.
Marianne Gray. 2014. "Review: ‘Fever’ (Part of South African Season at Jermyn Street Theatre)" in The South African 2014-06-30
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