Twelfth Night, or What You Will

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Twelfth Night, or What You Will [1] is a comedy by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)[2].

Most often referred to simply as Twelfth Night.

The original text

First performed c1601. Perhaps the most popular Shakespeare play in South African theatre, certainly performed more than any other in the 19th century. (???***)

Translations and adaptations

Translated by Uys Krige into Afrikaans, as Twaalfde Nag, commissioned by PACT. (HAUM, 1967).

Translated into Xhosa as Ubusuku beshum' elinambini : mhlawumbi oko ukholwa kuko by B.B. Mdledle in 1959.

Performance history in South Africa

First recorded South African performance in the Military Barracks in Cape Town in 179*?]

1895: Performed by W.J. Holloway and company of the Wheeler Theatre Company at the Standard Theatre, Johannesburg. They had been brought out to South Africa by the Wheeler Brothers to do a series of Shakespeare plays.

1941: Produced by Marda Vanne in the Hofmeyr Hall and at the Standard Theatre, Johannesburg, in 1941, also playing Maria. With Gwen ffrangçon-Davies (Olivia), Lydia Lindeque (Viola), Cecil Williams (Orsino). Settings by Basil South. Music composed or arrangend by Percival Kirby and recorded in Johannesburg.

1946: A production by students of the University of the Witwatersrand was directed by Dighton Stammers.

1949: Leonard Schach directed the Cape Town Repertory Theatre Society for the opening of the Labia Theatre from 23 May to 4 June. Decor and costumes were by Dorrit Dekk. In the cast were Joyce Bradley, Dorothy Felbert, Gavin Haughton, Cecil Jubber, Ken Taylor.

1953: Performed professionally in English by National Theatre Organisation and taken on a National tour. Directed by Leonard Schach, with Gerrit Wessels, Siegfried Mynhardt, Frank Wise, Alan Chadwick, Edna Jacobson, Roma Reilly, Aedwyn Darroll, Vivienne Drummond, Michael Perry, Pieter Geldenhuys, David Ritch, Barry Lategan, Timothy Spring. Decor and costumes were by Frank Graves.

1964: Performed by PACT in Afrikaans as Twaalfde Nag, using the commissioned translation by Uys Krige. It opened on 11 August, directed by Leonard Schach assisted by Leonora Nel with Dawid van der Walt, John Engelbrecht, Pieter Geldenhuys, Lourens Odendaal, Kita Redelinghuys, Japie van Niekerk, Cobus Rossouw, Marius Weyers, James Norval, Marga van Rooy, Joan Brink, Roelf Laubscher, William Egan, Salomi Louw, Paddy Norval, Francois Swart and Louis van Niekerk. Decor designed by Graham Brown, costumes designed by Margaret Louttit.

1969: Presented by CAPAB at the Hofmeyr Theatre, directed by Michael Atkinson, August 1969, starring himself (Orsino), Ken Leach (Curio), Glynn Day (Valentine), Brian Kennedy (1st Officer), Roger Dwyer (2nd Officer & Sea Captain), Frank Laubscher (3rd Officer), Lyn Hooker (Viola), Elliot Playfair (Priest), Valerie Fletcher (Olivia), Gillian Garlick (Lady in waiting), Margaret Heale (Maria), Pieter Geldenhuys (Sir Toby Belch), Jeff Smith (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Will Bernard (Feste), Ralph Lawson (Sebastian), Wilson Dunster (Fabian), Bernard Brown (Malvolio), Paul Fosbery (Antonio) and others. Set designed by Raimond Schoop, costumes designed by Chris van den Berg, stage manager Brian Kennedy, lighting devised by Scott Robertson. Music and songs arranged by Michael Tuffin.

1970: Staged by the Theatre Workshop Company in Durban, directed by Pieter Scholtz, with himself (Orsino), Gillian Lomberg (Viola), Dennis Schauffer (Malvolio), Nerissa Holdcroft (Olivia), Joseph Ribeiro (Feste), Ann Wakefield (Maria), Phillip Boucher (Sir Toby Belch), Roger Orton (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Mervyn Podmore (Curio & Priest), Michael Finlay (Valentine), Edwin Winship (A Sea Captain), Garry Gordon (Gentleman), Robert Gordon (Fabian), David Ritchie (Antonio), Michael Roland (Sebastian), Colin Stansell (1st Officer), Keith Humphrey (2nd Officer) and Jeremy Hurley (Servant). Costumes by Tom Owen.

1974: Staged by The Company, directed by Janice Honeyman, with a cast including Lindsay Reardon, Jon Ossher, David Eppel, Danny Keogh, Ron Smerczak, Jud Cornell, Vanessa Cooke, Aletta Bezuidenhout and Sue Kiel. Music by John Oakley-Smith.

1975: Performed in Afrikaans as Twaalfde Nag by CAPAB at the Nico Malan Theatre, opening on 29 September. Directed by Cobus Rossouw, assisted by Sandra Kotzé, with Nic de Jager, Regardt van den Bergh, Allan Dyssel, Jana Cilliers, André Rossouw, Fanie Bekker, Sandra Kotzé, Pierre van Pletzen, Mees Xteen, Liz Dick, Pieter Joubert, Pieter Geldenhuys, Marcel van Heerden, Neels Coetzee, Louise Mollett-Prinsloo, Jan Prinsloo, Ralph van Pletzen and Gavin Power. Decor and costumes by Chris van den Berg, lighting by Pieter de Swardt, music by Michael Tuffin. This production opened at the H.B. Thom Theatre in Stellenbosch on 21 October 1975.

1977: Directed by David Horner for SODA.

1980: A pop/ rock Bloemfontein Shakespeare Circle production of Twelfth Night was directed by Marlene Kotzen, with John Rodgers as Feste, Lindsay Reardon as Orsino and Reza de Wet as Viola, at the Civic Theatre, Bloemfontein.

1981: Twaalfde Nag, the Krige Afrikaans translation was staged by PACT, directed by Francois Swart (assisted by William Egan), with Louis van Niekerk (Orsino), Rika Sennett (Olivia), Sandra Prinsloo (Viola), Carel Trichardt (Sir Tobie), Pierre van Pletzen (Sir Andries), Franz Marx (Malvolio), Don Lamprecht (Feste), Amor Tredoux (Maria), Etienne Puren (Sebastian), Ben Kruger (Antonio), Eric Nobbs (Seekaptein), Klasie Coetzee (Fabio), Johan Blignaut (Priester), Richard van der Westhuizen (Valentino), Johan Engelbrecht (Dienskneg & Digter), Nico Liebenberg (Curio), Trudi Lamprecht (Hofdame), Kritch Krook (Matroos), Alida Theron (Hofdame), Schalk Schoombie (Matroos), Richard Carlsson (Musikant), Graham Weir (Matroos), Laurence Lurie (Sint Nikolaas) and Ronny Belcher (Swarte Piet). Decor and costumes by Gloria Lovegrove.

1984: Twaalfde Nag, the Krige Afrikaans translation, was produced by PACOFS at the National Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown in 1984 under the direction of Truida Louw with Nico Liebenberg, Christo Compion, Franz Grabe, Anita de Jager, Danie Burger, Marko van der Colff, Johan Malherbe, Hélène Truter, Bill Curry, Mary Dreyer, Pierre van Pletzen, Blaise Koch, Christo Potgieter, Hugo Taljaard, Danie Burger, and others. Decor by Johan Badenhorst, costumes by James Parker.

1988: Directed by Joseph Ribiero at the Wits Theatre for SODA.

1989: Maynardville directed by Keith Grenville starring Ralph Lawson, Pauline O'Kelly, Don Maguire/David Muller (alternating as a sea captain), André Roothman, Timothy Mahoney, Peter Butler, Phillip Boucher, Fiona Coyne, David Alcock, Bo Petersen, James Irwin, Willie Fritz, Edward Turner, Royston Stoffels/John Dennison, Carsten Rieger, André Samuels, Toni Mitchell, Theo Vilakazi, Ivan Abrahams. Designed by Peter Cazalet, lighting by Malcolm Hurrell, music by Péter Louis van Dijk. This production was also seen at the Oude Libertas Theatre.

1990: Directed by Christopher Weare at the Little Theatre, opening 1 September 1990.

February 11 - 27, 1993: CAPAB presented Twelfth Night, a Helen Mann Production for The Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival at the Mannville Open-Air Theatre with Guest Actor, Pete Kruger as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Starring Robert Stewart (Orsino, Duke of Illyria), Petro Mocke (Valentine), Kevin Hughes (Curio), Aileen Berry (Viola, a shipwrecked lady, later disguised as Cesario), Johnny Steyn (Sebastian, her twin brother), Matt Thurley (Captain of the wrecked ship), Cliff Barnard (another sea captain), Lesley Harper (Olivia, a countess), Linda-Louise Swain (Maria), Jeremy Baylis (Sir Toby Belch), Brett Adkins (Malvolio), Geoff Day (a member of Olivia's household), Grant Almirall (Feste, Olivia's jester), Dennis Slattery (a Priest), and Matt Thurley (Officer), Tremaine Doorly-Jones (Lady of Olivia’s Court) and Nicola Hughes (Lady of Olivia’s Court).

1993: Directed by Jerry Mofokeng at the Wits Theatre for SODA.

1998: Presented at Maynardville, directed by Clare Stopford, starring Peter Butler, Michele Burgers, Bo Petersen, Langley Kirkwood, Gavin van den Berg, June van Merch, Kurt Wustmann, David Dennis, Ivan D. Lucas, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Terence Bridgett, David Isaacs, Akin Omotoso, Emile Serfontein, Nomzamo Sishuba, Jackson Vuka. Designer Peter Cazalet, lighting designer Malcolm Hurrell, music composition David Kramer, choreography Alfred Hinkel.

1998: Staged at the Market Theatre, 6 May - 6 June starring Esmeralda Bihl, Terence Bridgett, Coco Merckel, Peter Butler, David Dennis, Langley Kirkwood, Ivan D. Lucas, Geoffrey Matentji, Erica Petersen, Carlo Radebe, June van Merch, Isadora Verwey, Gavin van den Berg, Kurt Wustmann and others.

2005: A notable multiracial production of the Uys Krige Afrikaans text was done by Janice Honeyman at the Oude Libertas Theatre in Stellenbosch, KKNK and Baxter Theatre in 2005, featuring i.a. Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Marius Weyers, Peter Butler, Chris van Niekerk, Jeroen Kranenburg, Quanita Adams, Royston Stoffels and Ivan Abrahams. *

Other notable productions include **, **, **, **,. It has been performed a number of times at Maynardville, beginning with ***’s version in 195*, with ** and including Roy Sargeant's 1978 (with Jana Cilliers, Helen Bourne, Evelyn Dalberg, Roger Dwyer, John Whiteley, Daniel Davies, John Burch, Joseph Ribeiro), Clare Stopford's 1998 (an adaptation set in a Cape fishing village, with Michele Burgers, Bo Petersen, Peter Butler, David Dennis, Gavin van den Berg, June van Merch, Ivan D. Lucas, Langley Kirkwood and others, with music by David Kramer) and Geoffrey Hyland’s 2006 versions, with **.

An innovative production by The Company in the Blue Fox, Johannesburg in the 1970s used a set consisting only of two cushions, two deck chairs and a green carpet with a hole in it.


Trek 26 September 1941, 19.

Helikon, 2(9):19-21.

Inskip, 1977. p 119, 120, 126.

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.

Twelfth Night theatre programme, CAPAB 1969.

Theatre Workshop Company theatre programme, 1970.

Twaalfde Nag theatre programme, 1975.

PACT Twaalfde Nag theatre programme, 1981.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

The Company theatre programme (undated).

Press clippings held by NELM (1980 production, Bloemfontein): [Collection: DICKERSON, Beth]: 2009. 118. 6. 24.

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