La Mandragola

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La Mandragola (The Mandrake, Florence, c. 1520) by Niccolò Machiavelli. ****

The Mandrake (Italian: La Mandragola) is a satirical play by Italian Renaissance philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli. Although the five-act comedy was published in 1524 and first performed in the carnival season of 1526, Machiavelli likely wrote The Mandrake in 1518 as a distraction from his bitterness at having been excluded from the diplomatic and political life of Florence following the 1512 reversion to Medici rule. Both contemporary and modern scholars read the play as an overt critique of the House of Medici; however, Machiavelli set the action in 1504 during the period of The Florentine Republic in order to express his frustrations without fear of censure from patrons already ill-disposed towards him and his writing.

The original text

Translations and adaptations

An adaptation by Athol Fugard and the Serpent Players is entitled The Cure.

Performance history in South Africa

1963: Presented by the Little Theatre Players in March, directed y Robert Mohr (Inskip 1972, p.149); Presented by the University of Cape Town Open-Air Theatre, directed by Robert Mohr, from 2 March 1963 (NELM [Collection: KORT, Maurice]: 2012. 379. 21. 5).

1973: CAPAB's Theatre-in-the-Round production directed by Keith Grenville, with John Whiteley, Stephen Gurney and Lois Butlin in the cast, 1973, going on an extended tour of the Eastern and Northern Cape.


Wikipedia [1].

Press clippings from the Eastern Province Herald and Daily Dispatch of 23 April and 18 May 1973.

Inskip, 1972. p.149.

NELM catalogue.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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