The Emperor Jones

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The Emperor Jones (1920) is a play by American playwright Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953), in which a new style is tried; expressionism takes the place of realism in a drama which is, in effect, one long dramatic soliloquy revealing the terror that enters a Negro's soul as, driven into the jungle, he flies in terror from the beating of the drums.

Published in Nine plays, selected by the author. Random House, 1932.

Performance history in South Africa

1928: Performed by the Witwatersrand University Players.

1946: Rhodes University College Dramatic Society production produced by Leon Gluckman and Norman Addleson on 20-21 June, with Leon Gluckman and Beth Dickerson amongst others in the cast.

1960: Union Artists staged the play, directed by Leon Gluckman and starring Joe Mogotsi in 1960. It had an all-black supporting cast of thirty actors and was staged at the Wits Great Hall, opening 25 January 1960. Costumes designed by Arthur Goldreich. Later they staged it in a tent in the Showgrounds in Pretoria after much hostile negotiation.


Footlights, 1(4):10, 1929.

Theatre programme (1946 production) held by NELM: [Collection: DICKERSON, Beth]: 2009. 113. 2. 2.

World Drama, by Allardyce Nicoll. Harrap, 1949, p 884.

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