The original text
Written in 1881, t 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".
Various Afrikaans translations under the title Spoke ("Ghosts") have been done, usually from the English: M.P.O. Burgers did one in the 1940's, Louis van Niekerk in the 1980's and Nerina Ferreira also did one.
Performance history in South Africa
1947: The Burgers Afrikaans translation Spoke was staged 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.
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