The Third Degree

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Two stage plays by this name have been done in South Africa.

The Third Degree by Charles Klein (1867-1915)[1]

In London it was entitled Find the Woman.

The original text

First performed in 1908, it was a huge success.

Filmed as a 1926 silent romance film produced and distributed by Warner Bros. and directed by Michael Curtiz.

South African performances

1914: First performed in South Africa by the J.C. Williamson Theatre Company , which included Madge Fabian, Stephen Ewart, George R. Montford, and others.


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The Third Degree by Don Maclennan (1929-2009)

The original text

The Third Degree is an absurdist piece that satirizes the academic pursuit of knowledge. Interviewed by the local newspaper, Maclennan remarked that the play was about the “ghostly academic mechanism or process in which logic defeats life.”

A full-length play, first performed in 1967 and published in 1971 by Balkema in one volume with The Coat by Athol Fugard.

The play is one of a series that have come into existence through the activities of a small group of Rhodes University staff and students, the others in the series including A Place of Safety, H.E.L.P., The Great Wall of China and Focus.


1967: First performance was by the Rhodes University Players, directed by Athol Fugard (first performed with Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape in a double bill).


A scrap album dated 1966-1967 held by NELM: [Collection: Rhodes University. Drama Department]: 2006. 6. 2. 5.

Sydney Paul Gosher. 1988. A historical and critical survey of the South African one-act play written in English. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Pretoria: University of South Africa.

Gareth Cornwell. 2009. Don Maclennan (1929-2009). English in Africa 36 No. 1 (May 2009): 13-16

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