Mooi Maria

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Mooi Maria ("Beautiful Maria") is an Afrikaans play by Pieter Fourie (1940-2021)

The original text

Based on a real incident and personalities from his youth in Luckhoff, and set in the rural Free State, the play uses splitting of characters, simultaneous events and flashbacks to tell the story of a young woman who loses her looks through a cruel twist of fate, and the effect of this on her life and love. Fourie saw it as a further development in his work with volkstoneel, breaking with the traditional use of realism found in the form.

The text was written in 1980 as an Oude Libertas Commission for the Performing Arts Council of the Orange Free State (PACOFS). It was dedicated to Anna Neethling-Pohl.

Performed by both PACOFS and CAPAB in 1980, and published by Perskor in the same year.

Translations and adaptations

Mooi Maria was adapted as a 45 minute radio play by Johan Rademan, and recorded under his direction with Joanie Combrink, Ronel Geldenhuys, Theresa Cloete, Marko van der Colf, Johan Botha, Trix Pienaar, André Rossouw and Johann Nel. He was assisted by Helena Carlsson and Alan Rabey. This version was broadcast by Radio Sonder Grense on 29 January 1996.

Performance history in South Africa

1980: First produced in the Bloemfontein Civic Theatre by PACOFS, opening on 13 June. Directed by Pieter Fourie with Sandra Kotzé (Mooi Maria), Ronel Kriel (Maria 2), Wilna Snyman (Ma Let), Willem de la Querra (Gert Koei), Paul Lückhoff (Neels), Chris Fourie (Dominee), Lida Meiring (Ennie) and George Barnes (Piet Lokasie). Decor by Cyril Londt, costumes by Dicky Longhurst and lighting by Brian Evans.

1980: The same production plays in the Nico Malan Theatre, Cape Town. Sandra Kotzé wins the Fleur du Cap Best Actress Award for this performance.

1981: A new production by CAPAB toured the Western and Eastern Cape in May and June. Directed by Fourie with Trudie Taljaard (Mooi Maria), Selma van der Vyver (Maria 2), Marga van Rooy (Ma Let), Paul Lückhoff (Neels), David van der Merwe (Gert Koei), Neels Coetzee (Dominee/Piet Lokasie), Irma Huysamer (Ennie). In some of the performances Ennie was played by Heléne Coetzee. Decor was by Urs Richter, costumes by Dicky Longhurst, lighting by Leon Benzakein.

1981: Performing rights granted by DALRO to the Deakor Dramaklub for performances in Kimberley during May.

1981: Performing rights granted by DALRO to the Hankey Toneelvereniging for performances in Cape Town during June.

1982: Produced by PACT in the State Theatre and the Alexander Theatre. Directed by Louis van Niekerk with Trudie Taljaard, Rika Sennett, Selma van der Vyver and Louis van Niekerk.

1985: Performing rights granted by DALRO to the A.F.T.O.M. for performances in Ladysmith during June.

1989: Performing rights granted by DALRO to the Lutzville Amateur Toneel for performances in Lutzville during August.

1993: Performed in Luckhoff on a Saturday in March by students of the Drama Department at the University of the Free State (UFS), directed by Anton Welman, as part of the centenary celebrations of the town.

1994: Performed in Bloemfontein and in Luckhoff during April, by students of the Drama Department at the University of the Free State (UFS), directed by Anton Welman.

2004 Performed in the Wynand Mouton Theatre, Bloemfontein, during May and again in July, by students of the Drama Department at the University of the Free State (UFS), directed by Stephanie Brink.

2011: Produced by Impresario, directed and designed by Albert Maritz, with Isadora Verwey, Anthea Thompson, Roeline Daneel, Waldemar Schultz, Neels van Jaarsveld, André Roothman, Theresa C. Sedras, Lille Goosen. Music by Philip Moolman. Stage-manager Gaerin Hauptfleisch, Costumier Stephanie Hough. Opened at the Aardklop festival on 4 October in Banketsaal 1, Potchefstroom. The production won awards as the Best Afrikaans Production, best director and best actress (Anthea Thompson).

2012: The 2011 production by Impresario, played at the KKNK festival in Oudtshoorn in April, with both Anthea Thompson, and Isadora Verwey being nominated for best actress and Neels van Jaarsveld receiving the Fiesta Award for best actor.


PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.

Mooi Maria theatre programme, 1981.

Nico Luwes 2010. Pieter Fourie (1940-) se bydrae as Afrikaanse dramaturg en kunsbestuurder: 1965-2010. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Bloemfontein: University of the Free State, pp.242-248; 665-669 [1]

Beeld, 26 September 2011.

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