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Pavane is an Afrikaans play by André P. Brink (1935-2015).

The original text

The title "Pavane" refers to a majestic processional dance of the 16th- and 17th-century European aristocracy, used to open ceremonial balls and used as a display of elegant dress until about 1650.[1]

The play was written by Brink after a visit to South America in 1970, and tells of a three guerrillas from an unnamed country in South America, who kidnap the daughter of the British Ambassador with the intention of trading her for the release of seven prisoners. The theme of the play has echoes of the South African political struggle at the time and the text was not popular with the South African government at the time.

First produced as an experimental workshop production 1973.

Published by Human & Rousseau, 1974.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into English by Anthony Akerman in 1975 and first performed in Cardiff.

Performance history in South Africa

1973: Première production in August, presented by the CAPAB Afrikaans Company's Workshop Theatre in the Hofmeyr Theatre in Cape Town, directed by Mees Xteen. Stage manager Mavis Lilenstein.

1974: In August Marie van Heerden directed an student production by the University of Stellenbosch's amateur theatre society, USAT, in the Libertas Theatre, Stellenbosch. She made use of a using a re-worked script that Brink had written after the CAPAB workshop production in 1973. The cast consisted of Space van Heerden ("José"), d'Este du Plessis ("Teresa"), Herman Binge ("Mario"), Lochner de Kock ("Miguel"), Christine Hulme ("Maria-Carmen"), Jannie Hofmeyr ("Antonio"), Henri Laurie ("Pepe") and Sharon Montgomery ("Claudia"), with live music performed by Laurika Rauch.

1975: Performed in English by the Sherman New Plays Workshop in the Sherman Arena[2], University College of Cardiff, Wales. The text was translated and directed by South African Anthony Akerman, who also did the sound and a radio voice. The voice of the "General Baltazar" was played by another South African, Michael Picardie.

1980: Staged by PACT in the Breytenbach Theatre, directed by Francois Swart, with Don Lamprecht (José), Amor Tredoux (Teresa), At Botha (Mario), Eric Nobbs (Miguel), Christine Basson (Maria-Carmen), Gerben Kamper (Antonio), Ben Kruger (Pepe) and Rika Sennet (Claudia). Decor and costumes by Chris van den Berg.


USAT theatre programme, August 1974.

A copy of the typed text, found in the Stellenbosch Drama Department archives in 2022.

PACT theatre programme, 1980.

Sherman New Plays Workshop theatre programme and several reviews, courtesy of Anthony Akerman (2022/08/26) This material now held

Graham Jones. 1975. Review of Pavane. The Guardian, 25 February, 1975.

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