Rip van Winkle
Rip van Winkle is the name of a character in a number of stories, plays, films, and so on, as well as the title of various stage and film versions of the of the original tale about the character.
A number of these works have been performed or shown in South Africa.
The original tale
"Rip Van Winkle" is the title of a short story by the American author Washington Irving (1783-1859). It tells the story of Dutch-American villager in colonial America who falls asleep in the Catskill Mountains and wakes up 20 years later, having missed the American Revolution.
While there are a number of similar sotries in the canon of Europaean folklore, myth and literature, Irving's tale is widely thought to have been partly based on Johann Karl Christoph Nachtigal's German folktale "Peter Klaus", set in a German village, in which a goatherd goes looking for a lost goat and finds some men drinking in the woods. Having had something to drink with them, he falls asleep and wakes back up after twenty years.
Irving's version was first published as one of the stories in the first volume of Irving's book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent on June 23, 1819, published by Cornelius S. Van Winkle (Baltimore, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia).
The story of Rip has been translated and adapted in numerous ways since.
Stage versions of the tale
The first dramatized version of the tale was performed on 26 May, 1828, on the Albany stage by Thomas Flynn, the adaptation by an unnamed local writer. In October of 1829 a new version called Rip van Winkle, or The Demons of the Catskill Mountains! by a British actor, John Kerr, was produced at the Tottenham Street Theatre in London as well as the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.
In 1850, an adaptation of the Kerr version was done by Charles Burke with the title Rip van Winkle, a Legend of the Catskill Mountains (published by Samuel French as no of their "Standard Drama". The play was performed in Philadelphia and elsewhere, featuring American actor Joseph Jefferson, Burkes brother-in-law.
In 1865 Joseph Jefferson (1829-1905), who had performed various dramatizations of the character on the 19th-century stage, asked Dion Boucicault (1820-1890) to write a new stage adaptation based on the earlier versions by Kerr and Burke. Called Rip Van Winkle, or The Sleep of Twenty Years it was a three-act version (later expanded to four acts by Jefferson), which opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 4 September, 1865 and on Broadway in 1866. The text was published by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1895 as Rip van Winkle as played by Joseph Jefferson, with a subtitle stating: now for the first time published, with illustrations. No accreditation is given on the title page for the contributions of Irving, Boucicault, Kerr or Burke.
It was adapted as an operetta in three acts by Robert Planquette, with an English language libretto by Henry Brougham Farnie and based on the stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, after the play by Dion Boucicault and Joseph Jefferson. The English version was first performed at the Royal Comedy Theatre in London on October 14, 1882, adapted by Dion Boucicault. The French version was adapted as Rip, with a libretto by Henri Meilhac, Philippe Gille and Farnie and was first shown at the Folies-Dramatiques in Paris on November 11, 1884. A revised version was also done in Paris in 1894.
Productions of Rip van Winkle in South Africa
Film versions of the tale
International film versions
In 1896 the Jefferson/Boucicault play was adapted as a short black-and-white silent compilation film (made up of scenes from the story, starring Jefferson), written and directed by William K.L. Dickson. The series was released in May, 1903.
On December 6, 1910 a silent version, produced by the Thanhouser Company and distributed by Motion Picture Distributing and Sales Company was released. It featured Frank H. Crane as "Rip Van Winkle".
On 9 November 1914 a new version featuring Joseph Jefferson was released. It had been produced by Edwin Middleton for Rolfe Photoplays (as B.A. Rolfe Photoplayers Inc.), with a scenario by Frederick Story. Distributed by Alco Film Corporation (1914) and by Sunbeam Motion Picture Corp. in 1921 (re-release).
South African film versions
The cast consisted of Jamie Uys, Wynona Cheyney, Rina Viljoen, Gert van den Bergh, Willem Loots, Johan Malherbe, Kristo Pienaar, Petro McDonald, Willie van Rensburg, Willie Herbst, Douglas Fuchs, Johan du Plooy, Nilo Naudé-van Zyl, Marie Fuchs, Ernst Schutte, Lydia Lindeque, Pieter de Bruyn, Arthur Hall, Pieter Hauptfleisch, Dana Niehaus, Ben Willemse, Christo Gerber (as Chris Gerber), Ralph Loubser (as Ralph Laubscher), Francis Coertze (as Frances Coertze), Roelof de Bruyn, Awie Labuschagne, Sam Petzer, Siegfried Mynhardt, Gilbert Gibson, Kosie Jooste, Harry Hughes, Ian Strauss, André Huguenet (as himself - uncredited)
Music is by Richard Cherry, cinematography by Vernon Whitten, film editing by Peter Henkel, makeup by Hilda Geerdts, production management by Willie Herbst, set construction by Bob Evans, sound by Anthony Keyser, visual Effects by James Reindorp, camera operator Vincent G. Cox, wardrobe by Hilda Geerdts, continuity by Yvonne Jennings. Music for the film provided by Anton de Waal and Nick Potgieter.
Go to ESAT Bibliography
Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays
Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays
Return to PLAYS III: Collections
Return to South African Festivals and Competitions
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page