The Dead Heart

Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Dead Heart is the main title of an "Adelphi Historical Drama", consisting of a prologue and three acts, by Watts Philips (1825–1874)[1].

The play is also referred to as The Dead Heart, or The Storming of the Bastille and The Dead Heart: A Story of the French Revolution

The original text

The play, based on unnamed sources, was apparently written in 1856 and first performed at the Adelphi Theatre. Watts was later accused of plagiarizing Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, though his work had been written long before Dickens's story was serialized in All the Year Round. (See Falconer, 1921, pp. 5-7)

Translations and adaptations

A revised version of the play by Walter Herries Pollock was performed as The Dead Heart: A Story of the French Revolution at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 28 September, 1889, and published in the same year by Samuel French.

Performance history in South Africa

1877: Performed as The Dead Heart, or The Storming of the Bastille by Disney Roebuck and his company in the Theatre Royal Cape Town on 1, 2 and 3 December.


D.C. Boonzaier. 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p. 363

Facsimile version of the 1889 version by Pollock, The Internet Archive [2]

J. A. Falconer "The Sources of a Tale of Two Cities", in Modern Language Notes, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jan., 1921), pp. 1-10)[3]

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants, carnivals and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page