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Phiri ("hyena" in Tswana) is a South African version of Volpone by Ben Jonson, adapted and directed by Barney Simon in 1972.

The original text

A musical play about the richest people and the poorest people in Soweto, based on Ben Jonson's Volpone, book and lyrics by Barney Simon, with help from Oswald Mthsali, Stanley Motjuwadi and Wally Serote, and music by Mackay Davashe, Cyril Magubane and Sophie Mgcina.

Phiri is an African jazz musical, an adaptation by Barney Simon of Jonson's Volpone, placing Ben Jonson's play in a township setting. Directed by Simon, and improvised and performed by the Phoenix Players, with music . (See Phiri)

Recorded on long play album "Hits from Phiri" by CBS in 1972.

Performances in South Africa

1972: First performed by Phoenix Players at Union Artists, directed by Barney Simon, with designs by Axel Peterson, with Sophie Mgcina,

NELM material: Produced by the African Music and Drama Association and the Phoenix Players, both working from Dorkay House, directed by Barney Simon, to be performed for white audiences, from The Star of 20 December 1971, opening in the Great Hall at the University of the Witwatersrand on 8 January 1972.


Loren Kruger, 1999: p. 168

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