The Brothers

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The Brothers is a title that occurs quite often, and in a variety of guises, and can refer to a number of plays written and/or done in South Africa:

Those formally titled thus include:

1. The Brothers by Edward Young (1753)

2. The Brothers by Richard Cumberland (1769)

3. The Brothers by Reza de Wet (2006)

There are also a few plays simply entitled Brothers or Broers ("brothers" in Afrikaans). For them, see the entries under those titles.

In addition, some sources and commentators on occasion refer to plays containing the word "(The) brothers" as "The Brothers" or "Brothers", e.g. the English translation of the German play Bruderzwist, oder Die Versöhnung by August von Kotzebue, or the French play Les Frères à l'Épreuve by Benoît Pelletier-Volméranges.

The Brothers by Edward Young (1753)

The Play

A five-act Gothic style tragedy in verse about the feud between Perseus and Demetrius. Written and performed in 1752-3 at the Royal Theatre, Drury Lane and published by R.Dodsley, London, in 1853.

Translations and adaptations

Possibly translated into Dutch as De Gebroeders, according to F.C.L. Bosman (1928)

Productions in South Africa

1818: According to F.C.L. Bosman (1928), this play may have been performed in Dutch under the title De Gebroeders by Tot Nut en Vermaak, Cape Town, on 15 August, 1818. However, he also suggests it may have been a translation of Bruderzwist, oder, Die Versöhnung, the German 5 act play by Von Kotzebue.


Facsimile version of the 1853 text, Google E-book[1]

The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre 1737-1832, as edited by Julia Swindells, David Francis Taylor[2]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp. 133.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

The Brothers by Richard Cumberland (1769)

The Play

A comedy set partly in Cornwall, about a villain and his virtuous young brother. The play, completed in 1769, was Cumberland's breakthrough work and very popular.

Productions in South Africa

1807: Produced in Cape Town on 10 October by the Garrison Players, followed by High Life Below Stairs (Townley). A prologue was written and spoken by Captain Collins, and an epilogue by Captain Frazer. The cast, mentioned in the Prologue, included Captain Frazer, Captain Collins, Captain Napier, Mr Morgan, Mr Strawbenzee, Mr Loftus, Mr O'Flaherty, Mr Longley, Mr Gleadow, Mr Hamilton, Mr Wilson and Mr Stock.


F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp.73-4, .

Go to ESAT Bibliography

The Brothers by Reza de Wet (2006)

The play

A play depicting a night in the lives of Anton Chekhov and his brother Alexander, when they argue about the death of their middel brother, Kolya. Also known in the Afrikaans version as Broers

First published as The Brothers by Oberon Books in 2006.

Translations and adaptations

Reworked in an Afrikaans version by the author as Broers ("Brothers")

Translated into French as Mes Frères (My Brothers) by Caroline Benamza.


South African performances

2005: First performed as The Brothers at the Actor's Studio at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, Johannesburg, in September

2006: Rewritten in Afrikaans by De Wet, at the request of director Marthinus Basson, it premiered as Broers ("Brothers") at the Aardklop festival. Directed by Basson with Eben Genis, Coba-Maryn Wilsenach en Laudo Liebenberg. Designs by Marthinus Basson.

2007: Broers went on going on to play at other festivals in 2007.

International performances

2014: Performed in English as The Brothers At the White Bear Theatre, Kennington Park Rd, London in April 2014, directed by Karima Setohy with Ralph Aiken, Edmund Sage-Green and Beth Dalloway.


Gordon Dickerson. 2018. Personal correspondence with Temple Hauptfleisch.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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