Lady Precious Stream

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Lady Precious Stream, a four-act comedy by the Chinese playwright Hsiung Shih-I (Chinese: 熊式一; also S. I. Hsiung or Xiong Shiyi; 1902–1991)[1].

The original text

Based on the Chinese folklore Wang Baochuan and Xue Pinggui, the play was first published as Lady Precious Stream, an old Chinese play done in English according to its traditional style in London, 1934.

In 1935 it was performed as Lady Precious Stream at the Little Theatre in John Street, London, by the People's National Theatre, directed by Nancy Price and Hsiung, and ran for 1,000 nights. The play was performed on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in New York later and adapted for television in 1950.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Dutch as Jonkvrouw Edelwater ("young lady precious water") by Marnix Gijsen (1899-1984)[2], with music by Peter Welffens.

Translated into Afrikaans from the English version, Lady Precious Stream, by Fred le Roux as Juffrou Edelwater ("Miss precious water" ). An introduction and commentary written by Fred Engelen is included in the typed text (called "Juffrou Edelwater"), held in the Drama Department archive at Stellenbosch University.

Performance history in South Africa

1945: Produced in English by Nancy Body for the Speech-Training Department of UCT, in the Little Theatre, starring Audrey Pearce, Harry Mann, Joyce Grant, Carey Lacey, Cynthia Brodie.

1952: Produced in English by the Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society (Pemads) at the Little Theatre, (Loubser Hall of the Athenaeum Club) in Port Elizabeth in October-November. Produced by Honor Edmonds. Starring Eric White, Robert Fletcher, Marjorie Vereker, Jack Fisher, Bill Turner, Doreen Bellairs, Elaine Campbell, Helen Mann, Patty Stow, W Ferreira, C Christodoulou, C Hayter, R Thomas, Ruth Thomas, Winton Ferreira, Cecil Hayter, Cherry Jackson, Lorraine Victor, Douglas Bailes, Jack Fisher, Alice Bright, Trixie Posner, Hope Minnie, Patricia Syer. Stage Managers: Jack Bromberg and Bob McClelland. Lighting: Maurice Wolowitz. Photography: Bruce Mann.

1962: Juffrou Edelwater performed in Afrikaans under the auspices of the Interim Cape Theatre Board (ICTB) as its first play in 1962 in Stellenbosch and at the Hofmeyr Theatre. Directed by Fred Engelen, with Tine Balder in the title role, along with Fred le Roux, Ria Olivier, Fanie Smit, Louw Verwey, Gertie Smith-Visser, Cynthia Dekker, Morné Coetzer, Isabel Combrink, Frans Marx, Pieter Fourie, Marie Pentz, Trudie Kok. Director Fred Engelen and Patrick Mynhardt alternated in some of the roles. The production received mixed reviews.


South African Opinion, 2(3):24, 1945: Trek, 9(22):18, 1945.

"Lady Precious Stream" Pemads theatre programme, 1952.

Grütter, Wilhelm, CAPAB 25 Years, 1987. Unpublished research.

Juffrou Edelwater typed text held in the Drama Department archive at Stellenbosch University.

Juffrou Edelwater theatre programme, 1962.

Listing of productions in the UTS programme for Arms and the Man, H.B. Thom Theatre, Stellenbosch, 1968 (held in ESAT Archive)

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