Fortune and Men's Eyes

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Fortune and Men's Eyes [1] is a 1967 play written by Canadian playwright John Herbert (1926-2001) [2] about a young man's experience in prison, exploring themes of homosexuality and sexual slavery. The play was inspired in part by Herbert's own experience; he spent four months imprisoned in a youth reformatory after having been convicted of wearing drag in 1947. The title comes from William Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 which begins with the line "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes".

The original text

Translations and adaptations

It has been translated into forty languages and produced in over a hundred countries. It is the most published Canadian play.

In 1971 Herbert wrote a film version of the play and it was filmed under direction of William Hart and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [3].

Performance history in South Africa

1974: First done in South Africa by The Space in 1974. Directed, designed and lit by Pieter-Dirk Uys with Marthinus Basson, Neels Bezuidenhout, Bill Curry, Vincent Ebrahim and Jonathan Sherwood. Bill Anderson was the stage manager. After the run the author donated his royalties to The Space (Cape Town).

1975: Staged by The Company in The Nunnery in Johannesburg (September), directed by Barney Simon with Paul Slabolepszy (Smitty), Bill Flynn (Rocky), Ron Smerczak (Queenie), Danny Keogh (Mona) and Nigel Vermaas (Guard).

1981: Directed by Dawie Malan, starring Kurt Egelhof as Smitty (in Durban).


Wikipedia [4]

The Company theatre programme (undated).

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Astbury 1979.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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