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There are two plays often referred to simply as Becket:

Becket by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)[1].

The original text

A verse play - basically a "cabinet drama", meant to be read - it was first published in 1879 as Becket: A Tragedy in London, printed by Clements. Published as Becket by Macmillan and Co., 1884. In 1897 it appeared in the collection Becket, and Other Plays.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted for actual stage performance by Henry Irving (1838–1905)[2], and published under the names of Alfred Tennyson Tennyson and Henry Iriving by Chiswick Press, 1893.

The full title given is Becket, A Tragedy and this version is further described as being "in a prologue and four acts: as arranged for the stage by Henry Irving and presented at the Lyceum Theatre on 6th February 1893".

Not often performed afterwards.

Performance history in South Africa

No South African performance has been traced so far, however, the play is mentioned by Boonzaier (cited in Bosman 1980), since Genevieve Ward, an actress who had greatly impressed the critic on her tour through South Africa in 1891 with Luscombe Searelle's company, was later to be one of the performers in Irving's original 1897 production in London.

Becket ou l'Honneur de Dieu by Jean Anouilh (1910-1987)[3]

The French original has been translated into English as Becket and is often performed under the that title.

For more on this play and its South African performances, see the entry on Becket ou l'Honneur de Dieu


D.C. Boonzaier. 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.

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