The Petrified Forest

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The Petrified Forest by Robert Sherwood (1896-1955)[1].

The original text

The play is set in a gas station and roadside eatery on an Arizona highway and tells of Gabby, a frustrated painter longing to escape the desert, Alan Squier, a failed author who stops there and an escaped criminal called Duke Mantee, who holds them hostage.

First performed on Broadway in 1935 and published the same year.

Translations and adaptations

Filmed in as The Petrified Forest in 1936, directed by Archie Mayo with Leslie Howard, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart [2]

Performance history in South Africa

1946: Presented by the New Theatre, produced by Winifred Curtin in the Library Theatre. With Beryl Green, Charles Marais, Julius Kaplan, Sid Hossy.

1978: Produced by Tony Factor at the Colosseum starring American actor William Smith, Jeff Shapiro, Rex Rodgers, Peter Cheals, Rika Sennett as Gaby Maple, Nigel Kane and Phyllis Early. This production was a colossal disaster.


World Drama, by Allardyce Nicoll. Harrap, 1949.

South African Opinion, 3(1):23, 1946.

Review by Sydney Duval, The Rand Daily Mail, 26 April 1978 (Tony Factor production).

Tucker, 1997. 364.

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