Le Roi se Meurt

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Le Roi se Meurt is a play in one act by Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) [1]

The original text

One of the prime examples of the Theatre of the Absurd, it is the third work in what became known as Ionesco's Berenger Cycle, being preceded by The Killer (1958) and Rhinoceros (1959), and followed by A Stroll in the Air (1963).

First performed at the Alliance Française in Paris on 15 December, 1962, with a mise en scène by Jacques Mauclair

Translations and adaptations

Translated into English as Exit the King and also been translated as The Ceremony.

Translated into Afrikaans by Bartho Smit as Die Koning Sterf ("The king dies"). Published as a performance text by DALRO in 1970, then formally by HAUM-Literêr (1984) in Bartho Smit-vertalings; 1 (which also includes Die Les and Die Renosters).

Performance history in South Africa

1966: Die Koning Sterf produced by the University Theatre Stellenbosch in the Botha Hall in May 1966, produced by Jocelyn de Bruyn and starring Johan Esterhuizen, John Cartwright, Bie Engelen, Rina la Grange, Woutrine Theron, Piers Nicholson. This production was subsequently staged in the Beattie Theatre in Cape Town.

1967: Die Koning Sterf presented by SATS.

1969: Die Koning Sterf: Direction, décor and costumes by Jo Gevers for CAPAB, opening in the Bellville Stadskouburg on 28 January 1969 and in the Hofmeyr Theatre on 3 February 1969. The cast: Louw Verwey, Kita Redelinghuys, Bie Engelen, Pieter Joubert, Nerina Ferreira, Pieter Geldenhuys. This production was taken on tour to Paarl, Worcester, Ceres, Strand, Port Elizabeth (Opera House 18-22 February), Grahamstown, East London (Guild Theatre 27 February - 1 March), Stellenbosch (H.B. Thom Theatre, 4-8 March).

1970: Presented in English by PEMADS at the Little Theatre, Port Elizabeth, directed by Peter Kleinschmidt, from 17 December 1970 to 2 January 1971.

1972: Presented in Afrikaans by Dinkteater/Think Theatre, Pretoria, directed by Danie Burger with Pieter Brand and others.

1977: By the experimental theatre company Fringe (1977, dir Dawie Malan).

1982: Presented by Stud Productions, directed by Dawie Malan in the The Laager opening 21 June 1982, starring Vanessa Cooke, Ralph Lawson, Beverley Melnick, Deon Stewardson, Chris van Niekerk, Brümilda van Rensburg, Warwick Greenaway.

1983: Presented by Natal University (Durban) at the National Arts Festival Student Drama in 1983, directed and set designed by Themi Venturas, stage manager Linda Nichol. The cast included Mark Faith, Irene Theotokatos, Brenda Radloff, Robyn Glenn, Bradley Mart, Maureen Lahoud, Chris Wells, Terance Zeeman, Robert Sember.

1984: Presented by CAPAB at the Nico Arena opening 14 September 1984, directed by Marthinus Basson starring David Dennis, Dawid Minnaar, Megan Kruskal, Jennifer Steyn, Victoria Bawcombe and Romano Gorlei. Design by Penny Simpson, lighting design by Pieter de Swardt.

1997: Presented by the UCT Drama Department, directed by Cory McLeod, costumes by Claire Berlein.



UTS theatre programme 1966.

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

Donald Inskip 1972. Forty Little Years: The Story of a Theatre. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. p.152.

Die Koning Sterf theatre programme, 1969.

Teater SA, 1(3), 1969.

NELM: [Collection: KORT, Maurice]: 2012. 379. 12. 31 (PEMADS production).

Exit the King theatre programme. CAPAB 1984.

Die Burger 20 Sept 2013.

National Arts Festival programme, 1983.

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