The Blacks

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The Blacks (original title in French Les Nègres, clownerie). A play by Jean Genet (1910-1986).

The original text

Published in 1958, it was first performed in a production directed by Roger Blin at the Théatre de Lutèce in Paris, which opened on 28 October 1959.

Translations and adaptations

Translated from the French by Bernard Frechtman. Published in English by Faber and Faber, 1967.

Performance history in South Africa

1963: A press clipping announcing an extended run of Jean Genet's The Blacks at the Masque Theatre (Source: NELM: Collection: FLETCHER, Jill]: 2005. 75. 21. 3.)

1989: Presented by PACT at the 1989 National Arts Festival directed by Dieter Reible assisted by Alan Swerdlow. Designer Chris van den Berg, lighting designers Jane Gosnell and Dieter Reible. The cast: Peter Se-Puma, Soli Philander, Bill Curry, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Noria Mabuela, Margaret Williams, Tshidi Mochaki, Nomsa Nene, Kurt Egelhof, Norman Ntsiko, Samson Khumalo, Dan Sebogodi, Fats Bookholane.

2001: An English translation by Robert David MacDonald opened in a co-production by the Market Theatre and the Stockholm City Theatre at the Grahamstown Festival in June 2001, under the direction of visiting directors Martin Duncan and Ultz, with the following cast: Nthati Moshesh (the Queen), Sean Leon (the footman), Fezile Mpela (the governor), Kenneth Nkosi (the judge), William Ddumba (the missionary), Richard Sseruwagi/Mpho Molepo (Mr Wellington), Rapulana Seiphemo (Mr Village), Maria Salah (Miss Bobo), Lebogang Elephant (Mr Amistad), Thandi Monageng (Mrs Snow), Connie Mfuku (Mrs Slut), Motshabi Tyelele (Miss Stephanie) and Stephen Lwanga (Mr Samba). This production moved to the Market Theatre in Johannesburg in July and was also staged in Sweden and other European countries later in the year.


The Blacks theatre programmes.

Artslink, 7 July 2001.

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