Heathcliff and the Dancing Bear
The original text
Written while she was still a student, this is believed to be the earliest play written by De Wet, and explores various stages of entrapment enslavement and exploitation, using as premise the life of Emily Brontë's brooding hero before he arrived at Wuthering Heights. Unpublished and unproduced for many years, the text was lost for a number of years, till an incomplete copy was unearthed by De Wet in 1996 at the behest of director Shirley Johnston, who used some scenes for a production called Drifte, done with senior students in Stellenbosch in that year.
Finally produced in a musical version under the title Heathcliff Goes Home, as De Wet's final directorial production as a staff member at Rhodes University in 2007. In the programme notes to the production De Wet says: the play "is an examination of different states of entrapment, enslavement and exploitation, and the yearning for release and self realisation" (Rhodes Drama Review 2007) Using as premise the life of Emily Brontë's brooding hero before he arrived at Wuthering Heights, the production took as frame a group of travelling entertainers, in a celebration inspired by Shakespeare's comedies.
Translations and adaptations
Performance history in South Africa
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.
Shirley Johnston. 2018. "Drifte - Discovering the Secrets of Reza de Wet’s Heart". Draft article, courtesy of the author.
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