Post Mortem

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Two plays by this name have been performed in South Africa: Post Mortem by Benjamin Bradford and Post Mortem by Pieter Fourie.

There are also three other registered plays by this title, not performed in the country to date:

Post Mortem (Noel Coward, 1931)[1], Postmortem (Ken Ludwig, 1983)[2], Post Mortem (A.R. Gurney, 2006)[3],

Post Mortem by Benjamin Bradford (1925-)

The original text

First produced in Lexington, Kentucky in 1970 and won the Radio Nederland Golden Windmill Radio Drama Award First Prize in the same year.

South African performances

1973: Performed as a lunch-hour presentation at The Space (Cape Town) in 1973, directed by Bill Flynn, with Phillip Boucher, Christopher Prophet and Mike Richard. Lighting and stage management by Donald Fuller.


Brian Astbury, 1979.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Post Mortem by Pieter Fourie (1940-2021)

The original text

Based on a newspaper report, this is a fictionalized version of a family massacre on a South African farm and the devastating effects of a range of neuroses and sexual problems, in which an unhappy woman resurrects her husband, a coloured girl and a young man from three graves in the veld, to ascertain what had really happened to them on that day. Seen by some reviewers as a highly symbolic work, the final of a series of "farm tragedies" written by Fourie (along with Die Koggelaar, Donderdag se Mense and Ek, Anna van Wyk), but was also seen as a "post mortem" of the previous plays and major themes in Fourie's oeuvre (see Luwes, 2012).

Written and first performed in 1993, the text was long only available as a prompt text from DALRO and the University of the Free State archives, it was finally published in 2016 by Protea Boekhuis. The text did not receive many positive reviews, largely being seen as containing a mere repetition of many old themes and techniques from his more compelling earlier work. For example, Hauptfleisch (2017) finds the work too schematic - "a series of short sound bits and visual images in which real depth of meaning gets lost".

South African performances

1993: First performed in the Wynand Mouton Theatre at the University of the Free State, directed by Chris Fourie, with Anton Welman, and three students - Simoné Verster, Linda Louw and Nico Davids. Lighting by Heike Gehring and stage direction by Judy van Zyl. The cast largely consisted of students, while Welman was a professional performer and two performers were members of the Heidram amateur theatre company from Heidedal.

1993: The University of the Free State production performed at the ATKV Kampustoneel in the Breytenbach Theatre, Pretoria in April. Once again directed by Chris Fourie, with the same cast of Anton Welman, Simoné Verster, Linda Louw and Nico Davids. Lighting by Heike Gehring and stage direction by Judy van Zyl.

1997(?): Tim Huisamen of Rhodes University approached Fourie with an offer to produce the play in Grahamstown, but Fourie declined.

2000: Performed in die Wynand Mouton Theatre, Bloemfontein from 25 Augustus tot 2 September. Directed by Anton Welman, with professional actors Stephanie Brink and Anton Welman, and two postgraduate students, Teresca Muishond and Richard Miles.


Nico Luwes 2010. Pieter Fourie (1940-) se bydrae as Afrikaanse dramaturg en kunsbestuurder: 1965-2010. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Bloemfontein: University of the Free State[4]]

Volksblad 17 Nov 2001.

Pieter Fourie. 2016. Post Mortem. Pretoria: Protea Boekhuis

Temple Hauptfleisch. 2017. Post Mortem deur Pieter Fourie: ’n resensie. LitNet 2017-01-31[5]

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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