Van Kalabas Does His Bit

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Van Kalabas Does His Bit is a play by Stephen Black (1879-1931).

The original text

The play is a sequel to Black's play, Love and the Hyphen, in which the character Gert van Kalabas finds himself in the Great War.

The play was written in 1916. In previous performances of Love and the Hyphen, Charles Leonard had played the role of Van Kalabas (Stage and Cinema, 3 February 1917. p 9) and was due to play the role in the sequel. However, Leonard was killed in a bar fight during rehearsals in October 1916, and was subsequently and speedily replaced by Cecil Kellaway who was then on tour in India. Unfortunately, Kellaway's return to Cape Town was delayed due to the war, and finally Black went on as Van Kalabas on opening night.

Published in a collection of Black's plays edited by Stephen Gray (Ad Donker 1984). Published in Three Plays by Ad Donker. A complete acting typescript copy is held in the Strange Collection at the Johannesburg Public Library.

Performance history in South Africa

1916: First performed by Stephen Black's company on 29 November 1916 at the Opera House in Cape Town (with Black in the title role), before transferring to the Railway Institute and subsequently going on tour where it also played at the Standard Theatre, Johannesburg in February 1917. Cecil Kellaway eventually joined the company, playing "Van Kalabas", and Black then took her the roles of "West" and "Sergeant Peace". Others in the cast included Margaretha van Hulsteyn (playing male and coloured roles), Mabel Morton (as "Trixie"), Frikkie Page (as "Tickey van Slaap" and later as "Cupido") and Page's wife, Dolly Sinclair (as "Maria").


Stephen Gray (ed.) 1984. Stephen Black Three Plays. A.D. Donker.

Return to V

Return to South African Theatre Plays

Return to Main Page