I Remember Mama

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I Remember Mama is a 1944 play by English playwright and theatre director John van Druten (1901-1957) [1].

Translated into Afrikaans as Ek Onthou vir Mamma by Fred le Roux.

The original play

Based on the fictionalized memoir Mama's Bank Account by American writer and memoirist Kathryn Forbes (1908-1966) [2], it focuses on the Hanson family, a loving family of Norwegian immigrants living at 115 Steiner Street (identified as Larkin Hill in the 1948 film) in San Francisco in the 1910s.

Produced by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, the Broadway production opened on October 19, 1944 at the Music Box Theatre and ran for 713 performances. The cast included Mady Christians, Oscar Homolka, Joan Tetzel and Marlon Brando, making his Broadway debut as Nels.


Translated into Afrikaans as Ek Onthou vir Mamma ("I Remember Mama") by Fred le Roux in 1948. Published by DALRO, 1969.

Performances in South Africa

1947: Presented in English by the Theatre Players, produced by Cyril Chosack, Cathedral Hall, Cape Town, with Audrey Pearce, John Becker, Jimmy Gordon, Reg Wilkinson. Designs by Jennifer Craig

1948: The Le Roux Afrikaans translation was produced by K.A.T., featuring students of the A.D.K. (including Doreen Brink), directed by Ria Olivier.

1951: Presented by JAATS from 6 to 16 June in the Library Theatre, Johannesburg, directed by Suzanne van Wyk with Aletta Gericke in the lead.

1951: Ek Onthou vir Mamma presented by East London Technical College Drama Club.

1954: The Le Roux Afrikaans translation was performed by National Theatre Organisation, playing for 263 performances. It was directed by Aletta Gericke and starred Johann Nell, Wena Naudé, Mathilde Hanekom, Martie Groenewald, Reenen van Niekerk, Bobbette Fouché, Nilo Naudé-van Zijl, Eghard van der Hoven, Daan Retief, Elsa Fouché, Tilana Hanekom and Helix Meyer. Decor by Kobus Esterhuysen, costumes by Ann Case, lighting by Harry Ligoff.

1971: The Le Roux Afrikaans translation was presented by the University of Pretoria Drama Department at Die Masker starring first year students in October, under the direction of Hannes Horne

1983: The Le Roux Afrikaans translation was staged by PACT, directed by Louis van Niekerk, featuring Marga van Rooy (Mamma), Nico Liebenberg (Pappa), Elise Hibbert (Katrin), Jocelyn Broderick (Christine), Albert Raphael (Mnr Hyde), Johan Engelbrecht (Nels), Petru Wessels (Tante Trina), Alida Theron (Tante Sigrid), Marie Pentz (Tante Jenny), David van der Merwe (Oom Chris), Schalk Schoombie (Mnr Thorkelson), Rita Ehlers (Die Vrou), Leonard Moss (Dr Johnson), Ilse Swanepoel (Verpleegster), Adri van der Merwe (Verpleegster), Marie Hoogenraad (Mej Moorhead), Hennie Bouwer or Pierre de Villiers (Arne), Magdel-Marie Smith or Riette van Staden (Dagmar) and Arthur Masekwemeng (Kelner). Design by Gloria Lovegrove and lighting by Michael Lovegrove.

19**: The Le Roux Afrikaans translation was staged by the Bellville Afrikaans Theatre Society (B.A.T.), directed by Iris Roux, with Magdalena Leibbrandt (Katrin), Ralda Stopforth (Mamma), Martin van Niekerk (Pappa), Coenie Cerff (Nels), Roosmarie Bam (Christine), Bettie Kemp (Dagmar), Tossie Lochner (Tante Trina), Madeleine Viljoen (Tante Jenny), Christelle Human/Elaine de Wet (Tante Sigrid), Gerrit van der Merwe (Oom Chris), Reg van Niekerk (Mnr Hyde), Dirk Potgieter (Dr Johnson), Roy Niemann (Pieter Thorkelson), Marlene Cerff (Verpleegster), Dorothea van Schalkwyk (Die Vrou) and Pierre Knoesen (Arne). Decor by Coenie Cerff and costumes by Rakla Stopforth.


Wikipedia [3]

South African Opinion, 4(1):23, 1947.

Undated newspaper clipping found in a scrapbook prepared by Sophie Snyman, student in Speech and Drama at the University of Stellenbosch, dated 1951.

NTO theatre programme, 1954.

PACT theatre programme, 1983.

B.A.T. theatre programme (undated)

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Arts Theatre Club archive held by George Mountjoy.

See ESAT Bibliography

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