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Rudens ("The Rope") is a play by Titus Maccius Plautus, (254-284 BC)[1].

Not to be confused with The Rope by Eugene O'Neill (1918) or Rope (1929) by Patrick Hamilton.

The original text

The play tells the pathetic story of Palaestra who, having been stolen from her home in childhood, has fallen into the clutches of the procurer Labrax. She is eventually restored to her father and to her lover after a shipwreck. Written circa 211 BC.

Translations and adaptations

There have been many translations into English, one of the best known being The Rope by E.F. Watling (published as Plautus: The Rope and Other Plays. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964). A new translation by Peter Oswald, entitled The Storm, was produced at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London as part of the "World and Underworld" Season in 2005.

Translated into Afrikaans by Nerina Ferreira as Die Tou, from Watling's English version.

Translated into German as Der Schiffbruch ("The Shipwreck") by J.J.C. Donner. (Leipzig und Heidelberg, C.F. Winter'sche Verlagshandlung: 1864).

Performance history in South Africa

1992: Die Tou presented by CAPAB in the Nico Malan Theatre Arena in November 1992. Directed by Marthinus Basson, lighting by Malcolm Hurrell, music by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder. Members of the cast were Mary Dreyer, Jan Ellis, Neels Coetzee, Sizwe Msutu, Peter Butler, Elma van Wijk, Michelle Scott, Louw Verwey, Blaise Koch, Royston Stoffels and others.


World Drama by Allardyce Nicoll, 1949.

Programme notes

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