The Good Soldier Švejk

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The Good Soldier Švejk is the title usually given plays based on a 1921-1923 satirical novel by Jaroslav Hašek.

Also spelled The Good Soldier Svejk, The Good Soldier Schweik or The Good Soldier Schwejk in various adaptations or translations.

The original text

The unfinished satirical/dark comedy novel by Jaroslav Hašek was formally called Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války in Chech (literally The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War) and tells of a good-humored, simple-minded, middle-aged man who appears to be enthusiastic to serve Austria-Hungary in World War I.

Translations and adaptations

The novel has been translated in more than 58 languages, and it and and its themes have served as inspiration for films, plays, an opera, a musical, comic books, and statues, even the theme of restaurants in a number of European countries.

The first notable stage version was The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schwejk, adapted from Hašek's novel by Max Brod, Hans Reimann, Erwin Piscator, Felix Gasbarra, and Bertolt Brecht, with sets by George Grosz. (In 1943 Bertolt Brecht wrote a sequel called Schweik in the Second World War.)

In 1986 Neil McCarthy did a South African adaptation of the novel for CAPAB

Performance history in South Africa

1968: A Little Theatre production was adapted and directed by Robert Mohr in December. Mavis Lilenstein was the stage manager.

1986: Based on the novel Neil McCarthy directed, reworked and designed a play presented by CAPAB in March 1986 with Nicky Rebelo as Svejk, also starring Diane Wilson, David Butler, Marthinus Basson, André Roothman, Willie Fritz and Marion Holm. Lighting by Malcolm Hurrell.

1990: Directed by Neil McCarthy with Jennie Reznek, Andrew Buckland, Nicky Rebelo, Gys de Villiers, Lionel Newton, Barry Berk at the Market Theatre.


Donald Inskip 1972. Forty Little Years: The Story of a Theatre. Cape Town: Howard Timmins: p.154.

Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

NELM catalogue.

Nico Malan Theatre Centre pamphlet

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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