Op Dees Aarde

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Op Dees Aarde is an Afrikaans play by Reza de Wet (1952-2012).

(Also written: Op dees aarde - literally "On This Earth", but an idiomatic Afrikaans expression of surprise, akin to "What on earth?").

Known as Good Heavens in English.

The original text

A subtitled "'n Plattelandse storie" ("A rural story"), it is a Gothic play about the spirit of a deceased sister, who died in illicit childbirth, and returns home on every year for her birthday, to the delight of her mother and brother, and despair of her two "ugly" sisters. The sisters, deeply and bitterly envious of her youth and beauty, find her a painful reminder of their own miserable existence. But on this fateful evening they hatch a diabolical plot to rid themselves of her forever.

First published in the collection Vrystaat Trilogie ("Free State Trilogy") in 1991 (HAUM-Literêr).

Translations and adaptations

Translated into English by the author as Good Heavens and published in Reza de Wet: Plays Two published by Oberon Books, 2005. (African Gothic and Breathing In are also included in the collection.)


1986: First performed at the Kampustoneel festival in by the Rhodes University Drama Department, directed by Denys Webb, with Marijke Echererria("Ma"), Marc Hoarth ("Tokkie"), Reza de Wet ("Sophie"), Kelly Oates ("Minnie") and Embeth Davidtz ("Bybie").

1986: Performed in Afrikaans at the Grahamstown Festival by the same cast.

1987: Performed by PACT under the direction of Sandra Kotzé starring Petru Wessels (Sophie), Ronel Kriel (Minnie), Lida Botha (Ma), Pieter Brand (Tokkie), Natania van Heerden (Baby), Cobus Coetzer (Ou man). Set design by Chris Pretorius, costume design by Sandra Kotzé, lighting by James MacNamara.

1996: Scenes from the play 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.

2012: Performed as Op Dees Aarde – 'n Plattelandse storie by TEATERteater at the Aardklop festival, produced by Hugo Theart, directed by Marthinus Basson, with Wilna Snyman, Joanie Combrink, Alida Theron, Ludwig Binge and Karli Heine. Designer Marthinus Basson, Assistant-director Hugo Theart, stage manager and lighting designer Jaco Van Wyk, assistant stage managers Stefan O'Connor and Heinrich Botes, production assistant Gabi Immelman, costumes Artscape Wardrobe, with Penny Simpson as costume coordinator, assisted by costumiers Eva Parsons, Gabieba Isaacs and Effendi Davids

2013: The 2012 production by TEATERteater was performed at the KKNK festival.



Gordon Dickerson. 2018. Personal correspondence with Temple Hauptfleisch.

Op Dees Aarde theatre programme, 1987.

Marisa Keuris 2006 Die rol van die sprokie in Reza de Wet se Op dees aarde (1987), Stilet 18(1):39-50

KKNK programme, 29 March-6 April 2013)

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