The Double Bass

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Original title Der Kontrabass (written 1980), a play by German dramatist Patrick Süskind (born 1949). The play is the monologue of a double bass player, speaking to the audience in his small sound-proofed apartment and drinking beer. He tells anecdotes about the instrument's history and actually playing, he reveals more and more of his past and present rather miserable situation and the image of a lonely man who realises that his performance is mediocre.

The original text

This monologue in one act premiered in 1981.

Translations and adaptations

Translated to English by Michael Hofmann and published in 1987 by Hamish Hamilton. Another translation was done by Roy Kift.

Performance history in South Africa

The version by Roy Kift was presented by SWAPAC Drama in 1988 under the direction of Peter Kleinschmidt starring Mees Xteen. The play opened in Windhoek on 21 June 1988 and toured to Grahamstown (National Arts Festival), Cape Town (Nico Malan Theatre), Bloemfontein (André Huguenet Theatre), Johannesburg (Windybrow Theatre), Maskerteater Pretoria, The Loft Theatre, Durban. It was performed in Swakopmund on 24 October 1988.

Produced by Gina Benjamin at Upstairs at the Market, 1993 starring Sean Taylor.


Wikipedia [1].

The Double Bass programme, 1988.

National Arts Festival programme, 1988. 54.

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