Letters from Patient Essop

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Letters from Patient Essop is a play by Graham Weir (1959-2020).

The original text

According to Weir (in an interview with Guy Willoughby)[1], Letters from Patient Essop began life as part of a larger show done with the Elastic Band, but in 2001 became a complete musical play on its own.

The seed for the play was a set of old pictures Weir had found in a shop on Long Street, Cape Town, from which he selected about 50 at random. He took them home, laid them out. Thing that they represented "Essop’s world", he used the pictures as a frame, and wrote 15 to 20 letters to fit in with the pictures.

Translations and adaptations

A recording of the music and story of Essop was made by Graham Weir, Sven Goldin and Simon and was published as a CD album, sold at performances of Not the Midnight Mass.

The script was also published by Graham Weir in a book entitled how GRAHAM WEIR has accidently managed to stay aLIVE, launched at the Grahamstown Festival in 2002. Besides the script, the volume also includes extracts from the play How Graham Weir Accidentally Managed to Stay Alive, the scripts of Psychodelic Cowboy and Sister Nun, Tales From The Dark Corner, Brief Descriptions and some of his short stories.

Performance history in South Africa

2001: First performed at the Grahamstown Festival, directed by Bo Petersen and performed by Graham Weir.

2002 Performed at the Baxter Theatre, opening 15 April 2002.


Rapport 27 May 2001.

Guy Willoughby, 2002. "in the Sanlam Studio Theatre at the Baxter ", Mail & Guardian 3 May 2002[2]

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