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Marat/Sade is the shortened title of Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean Paul Marats dargestellt durch die Schauspielgruppe des Hospizes zu Charenton unter Anleitung des Herrn de Sade, a musical play by German writer Peter Weiss (1916-1982)[1].

The original text

A play within a play set in the Asylum of Charenton in 1808. The Marquis de Sade stages a play about the murder of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday and uses his fellow inmates as the actors. The play offers a complex, challenging and disturbing look at revolution.

It was first produced on 29 April, 1964 in the Schillertheater, Berlin, Germany.

Translations and adaptations

Translated in 1964 into English by Geoffrey Skelton [2], with lyric adaptation by Adrian Mitchell [3], under the title The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (shortened to Marat/Sade).

The English translation was first staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964 in a famous production directed by Peter Brook.

The English translation was filmed [4] in 1967, again directed by Peter Brook.

Performance history in South Africa

The play has been a popular training vehicle for training institutions all over the world ever since its first production, was famously performed as the first production done at the Market Theatre, and has been used many times by Drama Departments in South Africa since the appearance of the film and its first appearance on stage in the country in the 1970s.

1969: First presented in Southern Africa by the Dryden Society [5] on a tour of Lesotho and South Africa from 27 July - 20 September 1969.

1972: The first South African production of this landmark play was in 1972 by Barney Simon.

1973: In March 1973 the play was chosen as the central production of MDALI’s Black Arts Festival - in all likelihood the 1972 Simon production.

1976: On October 19th Barney Simon did another version of the play with The Company as opening production in the Market Theatre main theatre. Kenneth Hendel played the Marquis de Sade, Marat was played by Wilson Dunster and Charlotte Corday by Sandra Prinsloo. Hazel Feldman was the publicist.

1980: Staged from 2 to 5 July as a Little Theatre Presentation in the Concert Hall at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town, directed by Mavis Taylor, with Kiki Sevadjian (Marquis de Sade), Neil McCarthy (Jean-Paul Marat), Jennie Reznek (Simonne Evrard), Bryony Mortimer (Charlotte Corday), Robin Sanders (Duperret), Alan Murchison (Jacques Roux), Dumile Magodla (Kokol), Dawid Minnaar (Polpoch), Alida Theron (Rossignol), Robin Lake (Herald), Aubrey Shelton (M. Coulmier), Penelope Lorimer (Mme. Coulmier), Margaretha Fischer (Mlle. Coulmier) and others. Assistant director: Tjaart Potgieter, voice coach: Gay Morris.

2014: Performed in the UJ Arts Centre Theatre in April as part of UJ Arts and Culture’s RƎVO⅃UTION MMXIV programme. Directed by Alby Michaels, with Motlatji Ditodi as co-director, Craig Morris as choreographer, Franco Prinsloo as musical director, Nic Mayer as set designer, Oliver Hauser as lighting designer and and Jo Gladwill in charge of costumes. Performers include Jacques Bessenger, Mothusi Magano, Jenna Dunster and an ensemble cast of emerging performers including UJ alumni and students.

2017: Performed in the Baxter Flipside at the Baxter Theatre Centre from 23 February to 25 March, directed by Jaco Bouwer with Mncedisi Shabangu (Marquis de Sade), Charlton George (Jean-Paul Marat), Tinarie van Wyk Loots (Charlotte Corday), Bongile Mantsai, Zoleka Helesi, Richard September, Andrew Laubscher, Marty Kintu, Tankiso Mamabolo, Christelle Dreyer, Llandi Beeslaar, Sjaka Septembir, Siphenathi Mayekiso, Faith Kinniar, Grant van Ster and Luvuyo Mabuto. Original music for the production is composed by Pierre-Henri Wicomb, costume design by Birrie le Roux, lighting design by Patrick Curtis and choreography by Grant van Ster.


University of Johannesburg [6]

Little Theatre programme, 1980.

Tour programme (Dryden Society) held by NELM: [Collection: KORT, Maurice]: 2012. 379. 2. 26.

"Powerful Marat/Sade comes to the Baxter" - 23/02/2017 - News

Tucker, 1997.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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