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L'Idiot ("The idiot") is a French play by André Barsacq (1909-1973)[1] based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's famous novel.

The original text

Идиот ("Idiot") is a Russian novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)[2], telling of Prince Myshkin, a young man whose goodness, open-hearted simplicity and guilelessness lead many of the more worldly characters he encounters to mistakenly assume that he lacks intelligence and insight.

Originally published serially in the journal The Russian Messenger in 1868–69, it has been widely translated (usually as The Idiot in English) and often filmed.

André Barsacq adapted the novel for the stage as L'Idiot. The play was first performed in 1966 at the Théâtre de l'Atelier. Published on L'Avant-Scène Théâtre (n° 367, 1966).

Translations and adaptations

Barsacq's French adaptation was translated into English as The Idiot and into Afrikaans as Die Idioot by A.E. Vorster (published as a performance script by DALRO in 1969).

Another kind of adaptation of the Doestoevsky novel is the English play Subject to Fits by Robert Montgomery, which the author insists is not as an adaptation, but in fact a new work written as "a response" to Dostoyevsky's novel. (For more on this adaptation, see the entry on Subject to Fits.)

Another play sometimes referred to as The Idiot by translators/directors is L'Imbecille ("The imbecile") by Luigi Pirandello ()[], which is in fact an original work and not related to the Russian novel. For example, a South African translation of the Pirandello play by Con de Villiers is entitled Die Idioot ("The Idiot"). (For more on Pirandello's play and versions of it, see the entry on L'Imbecile).

Performance history in South Africa

1969: Die Idioot, the Afrikaans version of the Barsacq text, was directed for CAPAB by Jo Gevers, opening at the Port Elizabeth Opera House on 2 January 1969 and on 20 January 1969 in the Hofmeyr Theatre, Cape Town. Jannie Gildenhuys, Cobus Rossouw, Ernst Eloff and Tine Balder in the lead roles, with Wena Naudé, Pietro Nolte, Fitz Morley, Johan Malherbe, Cheryl Heath, Heléne Carstens, Lianda Martin, Val Donald, Dawid van der Walt, Leonora Nel, Willem de la Querra, Roelf Laubscher, Martin Crous, Will Bernard and Sandra Kotzé. Costumes designed by Jennifer Craig.






B. Poirot-Delpech. 1966. "L'Idiot, adapté de Dostoïevsky par André Barsacq", Le Monde 21 January, 1966[https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1966/01/21/l-idiot-adapte-de-dostoievsky-par-andre-barsacq_2703802_1819218.html

Teater SA, 1(3), 1969.

Die Idioot theatre programme, 1969.

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