A Jack and a Jill

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A Jack and a Jill was a musical romance composed by Douglas de la Harpe and staged in Graaff-Reinet in August 1947 to raise funds for the Red Cross.

Douglas de la Harpe wrote and produced the play while in hiding in the Italian Appenine mountains during the Second World War. After being captured in Tobruk he was shipped off to an Italian Prisoner-of-War camp. When the Italians surrendered, he and a group of other prisoners from the Middleburg and Graaff-Reinet districts escaped and took to the mountains after their guards unlocked the camp gates and left them open. In the tense atmosphere of the threat of recapture by the Germans and of raids for food from nearby villages, De la Harpe wrote lyrics and music for the play. Eventually, when he was finished, he placed the manuscript in a bottle and buried it in a cave for safety, but he was then recaptured and sent to a German POW camp in Bavaria, Germany. The bottle with the manuscript was never recovered but after the war, when he returned to Graaff-Reinet, he re-wrote the play and called it A Jack and a Jill.


Saturday Post, July 12, 1947.

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