L'Isle des Esclaves

Jump to navigation Jump to search

L'Isle des Esclaves (also written L'Île des Esclaves) (1729) by Marivaux (1688-1763) [1] is a one act comedy [2]. The play is characterized by a mixing of genres: Greek characters, a shipwreck leaning towards tragedy, and social commentary. Iphicrate and his slave Arlequin find themselves shipwrecked on Slave Island, a place where masters become slaves and slaves become masters. Trivelin, the governor of the island, makes Arlequin and Iphicrate, as well as Euphrosine and her slave Cléanthis, change roles, clothes, and names.

The play was presented for the first time on March 5, 1725 at the Hôtel de Bourgogne by the Comédie Italienne.

The original text

Published in Théâtre complet / Marivaux. Paris : Garnier Frer̀es, 1980-1981.

Translations and adaptations

Its title is usually translated into English as The Island of Slaves or Slave Island.

A translation into English was published in Plays by Pierre Marivaux. London : Methuen Paperback, 1988.

Neil Bartlett has adapted this brilliant comedy of role-swapping and redemption, which premiered at the Lyric Hammersmith in April 2002.

Performance history in South Africa

The Island of Slaves as translated by Mitzi Booysen and Raimond Schoop was presented by Minotaurus at The People's Space in January 1982 directed by Dieter Reible starring Chris Galloway (Iphicrates), Blaise Koch (Fool), Trix Pienaar (Euphrosine), Mitzi Booysen (Cleanthis) and Marthinus Basson (Instructor).

This production opened at Upstairs at the Market as a late night performance on 29 March 1982 under Reible's direction including Neville Thomas in the cast.


The Island of Slaves theatre programme, 1982.

Market Theatre Annual Report, 1983.

Photograph held by NELM: [Collection: MARKET THEATRE]: 2004. 30. 5. 42.

Return to

Return to I in Plays 2 Foreign Plays

Return to South_African_Theatre/Plays

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page