The original text
Written in 1881, it was first staged in 1882 in Chicago, USA, in a production by a Danish company on tour and at the time The play was was very controversial because of its subject matter, which includes religion, venereal disease, incest and euthanasia.
Translations and adaptations
Translated into many different languages, in English usually entitled Ghosts. However, Ibsen did not approve of this choice, because the original Danish title Gengangere would be more accurately translated as "The Revenants", which literally means "The Ones who Return".
Translated from the original Norwegian by Nerina Ferreira for CAPAB in the late 1980s. Ferreira was an actress as well as a fine translator, and an interestingly annotated copy of her translation, including 12 comments on language, characters and the like for the performers was used for the 1990 CAPAB production. In this she confirms that hers is not an academic translation but one in which performer is the prime concern. She adds:"Noors vertaal lekker in Afrikaans" (i.e. "Norwegian translates enjoyably/easily into Afrikaans")
Performance history in South Africa
1947: The Burgers Afrikaans translation was staged as Spoke in the His Majesty's Theatre, Johannesburg, with André Huguenet, Anna Neethling-Pohl, Hendrik Hanekom, James Norval and Anna Cloete. (Note: Like the 1947 Afrikaans Hamlet, this production played a significant role in persuading the government to support a national theatre).
1968: An English production, directed by Frank Shelley for NAPAC, the play opened in St John's Theatre on 24 October. The role of Mrs Alving was played by Valerie Miller. Others in the cast were: David Horner, Reinet Maasdorp, Reg Richards. Set design: Bill Smuts; costumes: Lucille Cross.
1982: Spoke, the van Niekerk Afrikaans translation was staged by PACT, directed by Etienne Puren, with Wilna Snyman (Helen Alving), Johan Engelbrecht (Oswald Alving), Jan Schutte (Pastoor Manders), Amor Tredoux (Regina Engstrand) and Eric Nobbs (Jacob Engstrand). Costumes by Bronwen Lovegrove and lighting by Peter Just.
1990: Spoke, the Ferreira Afrikaans translation was staged by CAPAB in the Nico Arena in August, directed by Marthinus Basson and the cast were Antoinette Kellermann (Mev Helene Alving), Paul Malherbe (Dominee Manders), Gustav Geldenhuys (Osvald Alving), Louw Verwey (Engstrand) and Isabelle Mostert (Regine Engstrand). Designs by Birrie le Roux, lighting by Malcolm Hurrell, stage manager Hannelie de Beer.
The Mime, 1(3), 1928.
Teater SA, 1(1) and (2), 1968.
PACT theatre programme, 1982.
Nico Malan Theatre pamphlet June-August 1990.
Go to ESAT Bibliography
Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays
Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays
Return to PLAYS III: Collections
Return to South African Festivals and Competitions
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page