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Rope is a play in three acts by Patrick Hamilton (1904–1962) [1].

Also known as Rope's End in the USA.

Not to be confused with the two plays titled The Rope

The original text

A psychological thriller in three acts about two students influenced by Nietzsche who kill a fellow student then invite a number of friends and the victim's father to a meal which they eat off the casket of the dead student.

The play opened at the Strand Theatre, London, in a try-out by The Repertory Players on 3 March 1929. The following month the play opened in the West End at the Ambassadors Theatre on 25 April 1929.

It was first performed as Rope's End in New York at the Theatre Masque on 19 September, 1929.

The text was published as Rope by Samuel French in 1929.

Translations and adaptations

The play was translated into Afrikaans as Galgtou ("hangman's noose") by André Huguenet in 1945.

Die Sesde Gebod ("The sixth commandment") appears to have been an alternative title used for the same translation. This is possibly part of a strategy used by Huguenet when on tour in order to draw bigger audiences by avoiding the contentious titles and perhaps seeking to play on the religious sentiments of his conservative Afrikaans public. This was a practice he would follow throughout his career when playing in small towns. In his autobiography however, Huguenet only refers to the play as Galgtou, as does the historian Ludwig Binge (1969) and a number of the performers in the production (e.g. Antonius Ferreira in Van Schoor et al., 1962.).

Performance history in South Africa

1945: Performed in Afrikaans as Galgtou in André Huguenet's translation. Produced and directed by Huguenet with Estelle Hugo, Antonius Ferreira, Johann Nell, Annali Smuts, Rudolf Nel, Alvino Willemse and André Huguenet himself. He claims that with this play he was the first director to introduce the novelty of playing a play straight through without a break, to highten the tension. The production was recognized by the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns ("South African Academy for Science and the Arts") which bestowed a medal of honour on this production for the high standard it had set.

1945: The same production was apparently performed as Die Sesde Gebod, at the Hofmeyr Hall, Cape Town, opening on 5 March.

1946: Presented in the original English by the Cape Reps, produced by Harold J. Laite in the Hofmeyr Hall, in September. With Cynthia Howison, W.S. Lee, E. Sakinofsky, Dan Bosman, Dorothy Olver, Ted Clapham, Arnold Pearce, Ulich Brown.


South African Opinion, 3(8):24;

Trek, 11(6):18, 1946.

Trek, 9(18) :15, 1945.

Ludwig Wilhelm Berthold Binge. 1969. Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950). Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.184.

André Huguenet 1950. Applous! Die Kronieke van 'n Toneelspeler. Kaapstad: HAUM: pp. 219-221.

A.M. van Schoor et al. (eds.). 1962. André Huguenet. Johannesburg: Afrikaanse Pers Boekhandel: pp. 30-32.

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