L’Aigle à Deux Têtes

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L’Aigle à Deux Têtes ("The eagle has two heads") is play in three acts by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963)[1].

Original text

A play about Ludwig II of Bavaria and Queen Elisabeth of Austria. Written in 1943 and performed for the first time on the 21st December, 1946, in the Théâtre Hébertot in Paris. Published by Gallimard , 1946.

Translations and adaptations

Cocteau made a film of his play in 1948, using the main actors from the original French stage production. It was later filmed again.

Translated into English as The Eagle Has Two Heads by Ronald Duncan, who called his version as an "adaptation". Cocteau called the adaptation "preposterous". The Duncan English version was first performed at the Lyric Hammersmith in London on 4 September 1946, and then a new version (initially called Eagle Rampant) previewed at New York’s Plymouth Theatre in December 1946, then opened on 19 March 1947 in the same theatre with Tallulah Bankhead, but flopped.

Also known in English as The Eagle with Two Heads, The Two-Headed Eagle and The Double-Headed Eagle.

Translated into Dutch as De Dubbele Adelaar ("The double eagle"; performed by the Nationaal Toneel van Belgïe in Antwerp in 1947 and in De Vlaamse Schouwburg, Brussels, on 3 December, 1949) and into German as Der Doppeladler (first performed in the Deutschen Schauspielhaus, Hamburg on 26 August, 1948).

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Dubbele Adelaar ("The double eagle") by Jo Gevers and A.E. Vorster, most probably from the Dutch version.

Performance history in South Africa

1949: First performed in English as The Eagle Has Two Heads in South Africa by the Johannesburg Reps in the Library Theatre in 1949 starring Taubie Kushlick and Leon Gluckman, with Percy Tucker working backstage.

1952: Performed in English as The Eagle Has Two Heads at the Labia Theatre, Cape Town, starring June Range as Queen Elizabeth of Austria.

1968: Performed in Afrikaans as Die Dubbele Adelaar by SUKOVS, for opening of the Bloemfontein Civic Theatre (Stadskouburg) on 24 April. Directed by Jo Gevers with Rentia Human, Maryann Johnston, Johan Botha, Mees Xteen, George Barnes and Paul Eilers.




"Cocteau, Jean (1889-1963)", the IdRef website[2]

Trek, 16(3):20. March 1952.

Facsimile version of Het Volksbelang, Zaterdag 26 November 1949, Liberaal Archief, Gent[3]

"Cocteau's Doppeladler", review 26 August 1948: Zeit Online[4]

Teater SA, 1(1), 1968;

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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