Shutka v odnom deystvii
The original text
A vaudeville style farce about the idea of the male being a 'bear' tamed by a woman, the paly was inspired by the French two act comedy Les Jurons de Cadillac by Pierre Berton (1842-1912), which had been published by Michel Lévy frères in 1874. Chekhov's piece was originally dedicated to the and director/actor Nikolai Nikolaevich Solovtsov, Chekhov's boyhood friend, who first played the character Smirnov when it was first performed in the Korsh Theatre in Moscow on October 28, 1888. The play was an instant success and a long term source of royalties for the playwright.
Translations and adaptations
Translated into English as Known in English as The Bear (or The Boor), and at times subtitled "A Joke in One Act", the play had its English language premiere in London in 1911 and was first performed in New York in 1915.
There appears to have been an Afrikaans translation by an unnamed translator titled Die Beer ("The bear"), that was used by the students and staff of the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department (Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch) in the H.B. Thom Theatre for performances in October 1975, and later again in 198*.
Another Afrikaans translation, now called Die Buffel (literally "The buffalo", but metaphorically "the boor or brute") by Alewyn Lee, was published by Tafelberg, 1980, in the collection Die Buffel en ander eenakters and in 1992 in the collection Skouspel (also by Tafelberg).
Performance history in South Africa
1945: Produced for the Krugersdorp Municipal Dramatic and Operatic Society by Anna Neethling-Pohl as their entry in the 1945 FATSSA Play Festival, featuring Frieda Mardegant. A second society, the Natal Society Play Reading Group, also produced the play at this festival.
1974: Performed in English in the lunch-hour slot at The Space (Cape Town). Bill Tanner was the director and the stage manager was Andrea Fine. The cast consisted of Limpie Basson, Yvonne Bryceland and Keith Grenville.
1975: Die Beer performed in Afrikaans by students of the Drama Department directed by Ria Olivier, starring Johan Fourie, Anna-Marie Engelbrecht, Carina Steyn, Herman Pretorius, and Christine Monaco in October.
2013: Performed in English, in tandem with The Proposal, from 22 to 26 August, 1 to 12 September at the Intimate Theatre, Cape Town, by The Mechanicals, as part of their Chekhov Season, which also included The Cherry Orchard (6 to 17 August and 27 to 31 August).
Bosman, 1928: pp
Trek, 10(8):23, 1945.
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