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Kismet ("Fate" or "Destiny") is the title of two related works:

(1) A 1911 three-act play written by Edward Knoblauch (later Edward Knoblock).

2) A 1953 musical with lyrics and musical adaptation (as well as some original music) by Robert Wright and George Forrest. [1]

The original play

The play, called An "Arabian Night" In Three Acts in the published version, is about a wily poet who talks his way out of trouble several times; meanwhile, his beautiful daughter meets and falls in love with the young Caliph.

It was first performed by Oscar Asche at the Garrick Theatre, London, on 19 April 1911, and it ran for two years in London and later opened in the United States. Filmed a number of times and published by Baker in 1922, and in the collection Kismet and Other Plays (1957)

Translations and adaptations

In 1953, the story was adapted into the famous musical by Robert Wright and George Forrest, with themes from the music of Alexander Borodin, and a book by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis, based on the Knoblockplay.

First produced on Broadway in 1953, and in London's West End. Filmed in 1955 film by MGM.

Performance history in South Africa

The Knoblock play

1914-1918: produced by Leonard Rayne, with a cast that included Rayne, Freda Godfrey, Dapne Lange, Marda Vanne.

195* Performed by NTO ???

The Wright and George Forrest musical version

1973: Performed, as their first musical, in the Johannesburg Civic Theatre by PACT. Directed by Anthony Farmer (who also designed the sets, with costumes by Neels Hansen), and featuring Lawrence Folley, Gé Korsten, Barbara Veenemans, Kerry Jordan and Iris Chapple starred in this musical at the Civic Theatre

1980: Performed by PACT, directed by Neels Hansen.

1991: Staged by the Port Elizabeth Gilbert & Sullivan Society.


Facsimile of 1922 publication, Internet Archive[2]

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